Portland’s weird and wacky traditions and customs make for an exciting life in the city. With plenty of festivals and events to suit every taste, an array of family-friendly attractions, a quirky restaurant scene and thriving nightlife, Portland is a bubbling metropolis that’s becoming the city of choice for more and more expats.
Although the city is by no means cheap, the quality of life it offers is seemingly outweighing the high costs involved. With young adults coming from all over the country, and even the world, to study in this university city, Portland is also a student hub and is equipped for their tastes and shallow pockets.
Shopping in Portland
Portland is split into districts and neighbourhoods with each boasting its own flare, and the same can be said for shopping in the city. From Downtown, Portland’s retail core, to the Pearl District, to Nob Hill, newcomers to Portland will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Those in search of major brands in Downtown need look no further than Pioneer Place, while Union Way houses a number of small local shops. Boutique shopping can be done in both the Pearl District and Nob Hill, but those looking for a mall should head over to Lloyd Center. Being the largest mall in the state, with more than 150 stores, Lloyd Center is sure to have something for everyone. 811 Building is an indie mall of sorts, housing local apparel, accessory designers and vintage threads and is perfect for those with a more eclectic taste.
Nightlife in Portland
Portland has a thriving nightlife that is sure to get both the young and old out on the town. From speakeasies to classy rooftop bars, and from dance to karaoke and comedy clubs, the city has something for everybody.
Those in more of a gaming mood will discover Portland’s casinos and arcades are a lot of fun. Bowling, live music, late night snacks, Portland has it all. With many eateries staying open into the early hours of the morning, or even all night, those finding themselves craving a greasy meal or even a doughnut at 2am need not worry.
Eating out in Portland
As Portland is known for its food trucks, newcomers to the city should not hesitate to head down to the food truck pods on Third or Fifth Avenue for a bite to eat. These hipster style, portable kitchens serve delicious, hearty food and can be found just about anywhere in the city. There’s no need to worry about the struggle of eating on your feet, as the food truck pods all have tables for their customers to stretch out at and enjoy their meal.
Those wanting to dine indoors have a wide range of restaurants to choose from in the city, from luxurious first-class meals at the city’s finest spots, to scrumptious budget friendly dinners that satisfy the cravings. Portland’s city centre has got something for every taste, as well as every wallet.
Sports and outdoor activities in Portland
Getting outdoors is never a problem in Portland. The city is littered with beautiful gardens, parks and forests where people can get out into nature and enjoy the peace and quiet or get in some exercise.
With bike lanes on every street, as well as mountain biking trails all around the city, newcomers will find that cycling is a part of Portland’s very make up. The city also hosts both the World Naked Bike Ride and Pedalpallooza each year, showing its support for cycling being both fun and a useful mode of transport.
From Roller Derby’s to soccer matches, there is plenty of sport to spectate in the city. Those wanting to take part themselves, however, will find many little league teams or clubs to join. This energetic city has plenty to offer for those wanting to get involved in the sport scene.
►Looking for some child friendly activities in the city? See Kids and Family in Portland.
"I love the Bohemian vibe of Southeast Portland and how friendly people are in Oregon. Most people actually say hello when you meet them in the morning, as opposed to in Copenhagen when they look right through you as if you don't exist. Here in Portland, I live in a very green area with lots of squirrels and the odd raccoon and I can walk to six or seven cafes which is important to me since I write a lot outside my home." Learn about Peter's experience of life in Portland in his interview.
Are you an expat living in Portland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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