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Six Things You Never Knew About Portland

September 29, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Portland 0 Comments

Portland, Oregon, sometimes called the Rose City, is a city steeped in history, environmental consciousness, and outdoor activities. Most visitors head here to explore Mt. Hood and other natural beauties, but Portland is not to be missed.

#1 - Portland is a Metropolitan City
One of the best things about Portland includes its gorgeous skyline, especially when viewed from the river. A favorite way for many to spend an afternoon is by basking in the sunlight on a lunch cruise aboard the Portland Spirit, which trolls the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

The city has a population of more than 575,000, three large colleges, hundreds of restaurants, and dozens of year-round activities. Once thought of as a small rainy town out West, Portland has a lot of surprises in store for the new visitor.

#2 - Unique Art Scene
Draw artistic inspiration from Oregon’s cultural and social flavor; the monthly Gallery Walk in the Pearl District or the Last Thursday art event on Albert Street are a great way to meet people and enjoy Portland’s unique arts scene. Portland’s famous Saturday Market is also a popular tourist and resident destination. After a stroll through the myriad of booths selling local arts and crafts, head to the Portland Art Museum for even more serious art examples.

#3 - The Secret Shanghai Tunnels
Between the 1850s and 1940s, dangerous events were taking place underground in Portland. Today, you can tour the tunnels that stretch from the North End to the South End of the waterfront, and learn about how many workers were abducted and sold to sea faring pirates to work in the Orient. Additionally, these tunnels were used in prohibition to create and distribute illegal alcohol.

While not a pleasant piece of Portland history, it is a fascinating and important reminder of the way things once were. The tunnels can be toured with a guide.

#4 - The Rose City is Green
The people of Oregon make smart environmental choices. Starting with the eco-friendly light rail, the effective recycling program, and its dependence on renewable energy resources, Portland has been ranked one of the nation’s “greenest” cities time and time again.

Additionally, Portland demonstrates its dedication to the environment through a variety of eco-conscious restaurants and farmer’s markets. Local ingredients show up in everything ranging from fresh breads to Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables.

#5 - Cyclist’s Haven
Portland has more than 200 miles of paved bicycle lanes, which include lanes on city streets and dedicated paths throughout town. Because of this and because of the city’s widespread mass-transit system, a car is not necessary to get around.

#6 - Better Weather Than You Might Think
It’s a common misconception that Portland is a rainy, dreary place. Yes, it’s true, it does rain here quite a bit during the winter months, but each of the summer months see less than an inch of rain. You might even find yourself in sweltering 100 degree heat on some of those same summer days too. But that’s rare. Usually the average daytime temperatures stay in the upper 70s.

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