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Food Cart Pods

Food Cart Pods

Portland owes its CNN-given title of "home to the world's best street food" to a unique phenomenon: the so-called "food cart pods," clusters of food trucks and stalls that enjoy a semi-permanent location, and often have a shared dining area with tables and seats. With several hundred food carts (and counting), the variety of cuisines represented is truly impressive, with tiny kitchens cooking up anything from classic Americana burgers to pork belly pancakes (Pancake Underground @ Cartlandia) and Korean-style tacos (Koi Fusion @ Prost Marketplace). Food cart pods in the downtown area include ones on Fifth and Third Avenues, plus the one on Portland State University campus. There are also Cartopia and Cartlandia in Southeast, Prost Marketplace and Killingsworth Station in the north, plus quite a few others.
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Coffee Culture

Coffee Culture

Dubbed 'home of the American coffee culture,' the city knows what it it takes to make a great brew. In a 2016 survey of 100 American cities, Portland came out victorious boasting the largest number of roasters per capita, as well as the highest number of cafes. With that many places to enjoy a great cup of joe, one would think there is little room left for discovery – and that can't be further from the truth. Portland continues to introduce unexpected additions to its coffee scene: see Oracle Coffee, run by "vegan straight-edge anarchist" Andy Hurley (the drummer of Fall Out Boy), or one of the first brewer-roastery combinations in the nation, called Modern Times. Choice here is truly endless, but if you want to see where it all began, try the original location of Stumptown Coffee Roasters (now a chain with outlets from New York to LA) at 4525 SE Division Street; it's argued Portland's fame as a coffee city first emerged from this very tiny space.
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Breweries

Breweries

Portland's beer culture goes back to the 80s, when the craft beer movement first began gaining momentum. What started as a handful of breweries has grown to be a crucial element of Portland's identity – one of its many nicknames being "Beervana" – with roughly 80 (and counting!) craft operations in the city. A great way to discover this side of Portland is embarking on a bike tour of a few breweries (Pedal Bike Tours and Portland Bicycle Tours offer guided routes), but if you want to squeeze a lot into a short space of time, we recommend Loyal Legion (99 local brews on tap), Apex or Bailey's Taproom to sample the finest of local brews. You'll need a few flights to pick a favorite.
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International Rose Test Garden

International Rose Test Garden

Experience first-hand why Portland is famously dubbed 'City of Roses' at its very own Rose Test Garden, the oldest official garden of its kind in the USA. It all began during WWI, when the garden was first set up as a refuge for roses that risked falling victim to war bombings and resulting in many varieties' extinction. Not only did the flowers avoid the ill fate, but continue to be cultivated and bloom in Portland to-date (April through October, peaking in June). Admission to see all 650 kinds is free of charge.
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Forest Park

Forest Park

Portland is home to the nation's largest wooded urban park: a short hike in, and you'll barely believe civilization is only steps away. 70 miles of trails traverse the forest overlooking the Willamette River, and although you'll have nature all to yourself at times, you're sure to also run into Portlanders out on a jog or walking their pups – prepare to be greeted with a friendly "hello." If you have time, hike up to Pittock Mansion, a French Renaissance-style château that was once occupied by the family of a publisher and businessman Henry Pittock, and has now been turned into a historic house museum open to visitors. Another popular hiking destination is the so-called 'Witch's Castle' (pictured) – remnants of an abandoned stone house overgrown with moss, used by local students as a Friday night hangout location. The place is steeped in a bit of mystery, and although there is no record of any ties to witchcraft, its original dweller is rumored to have been the first person in Oregon to be sentenced to execution for murder in 1859.
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Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Before you head out to explore parks further afield, take a stroll through one of Portland's most popular urban spaces: the Tom McCall Waterfront Park overlooking the Willamette River. There's usually plenty of activity here, given all of the cyclists, skateboarders, joggers and picnickers that come here, but even more come to attend major outdoor events and festivals held here throughout the year. On hot summer days, many flock to the refreshing Salmon Street Springs
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