Portland, on the United States’ Pacific Northwest coast, is shaping up as the new Seattle/Melbourne, with its passion for indie music, coffee and cycling. Oregon’s low-rise, river-bestriding capital has long taken a creative approach to city planning, ensuring its heritage architecture remains pristine and independent stores, arts spaces, bars and cafés flourish.
Nicknamed Stumptown for its lack of skyscrapers, it’s also handy for snowboarding and trekking in the surrounding wilderness or quaffing in the Willamette Valley vineyards. Check out This breezy city is best explored on two wheels, so hire a bike and pedal to the Pearl. Once a decaying warehouse district in downtown, it’s been transformed into a hub of galleries, boutiques, restaurants and performance venues.
For snowboarding at nearby Mount Hood, head for Timberline Lodge ski school or escape for some whale-watching, wine tours or wild times with Eco Tours of Oregon. Buy up Portland’s music scene has spawned hipster bands including The Dandy Warhols, The Gossip and The Decemberists; snap up old-school local vinyl or CDs at 2nd Avenue Records. Find covetable homewares at Canoe (www.canoeonline.net; 1136 SW Alder).
For savvy womenswear, try Una (922 SE Ankeny) or hit Hattie’s Vintage Store at 729 E Burnside Street.
Dine out Chilled-out Euro-style tavern Clyde Common (1014 SW Stark Street) does a mean brunch (with cocktails!), with hearty peasant food for lunch or dinner, and a late-opening bar. Pop to Kenny & Zukes deli (1038 SW Stark Street) for pastrami on rye. Smart dining beckons at Le Pigeon (738 E Burnside Street) or you can’t beat Ken’s Artisan Pizza (304 SE 28th Avenue).
Drink up Sample the local beans at Stumptown Coffee Roasters; there’s a branch at 1026 SW Stark Street off the Ace Hotel Portland’s lobby. Microbreweries rule here, so sip on craft beers at boho Lucky Labrador Brew Pub (915 SE Hawthorn Boulevard) or go on a breweries tour care of Distillery Row. For over 50 wines by the glass, try Navarre (10 NE 28th Street). Crash out Book into budget-boutique Jupiter Hotel in Portland,a funky mid-century motel built around one of the city’s best live music venues, with free coffee and WiFi, and guest bikes for rent. Hearty, seasonal meals are served in the Doug Fir Lounge and Cowboy Coffee cocktails in the futuristic-meets-Wild West bar.
Party with the bands after hours at the Lounge’s muso space; no need to worry about stumbling home. For more stylish getaways visit Mr & Mrs Smith’s collection of boutique hotels and holiday houses. Book through Smith for exclusive extras at all stays, including a bottle of prosecco and free parking at Jupiter Hotel.