Because here, drinking = thinking.

  • OMSI AFTER DARK (above): Grown-up geeks mob the museum for a night of boozy science and kid-free fun.
  • HISTORY PUB MONDAY: Local experts lead lively humanities lessons between pints of McMenamins ale. 
  • PAINT AND PROST WORKSHOP: Art School Studio students sip Northwest beer and wine and hone their craft. 
  • SCIENCE PUB PORTLAND: Beer halls put the PhD in pub with talks on robotics, geology, and oceanography. 
  • THINK AND DRINK: Oregon Humanities hosts this happy-hour conversation series, combining deep discussions with deeply discounted drinks.

Because you can get there from here. 

Fourteen American airports fly nonstop to both Europe and Asia year-round. Portland International is the smallest. Delta’s routes to Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Tokyo Narita pump an estimated $215 million into the region’s businesses. Beyond money, the flights put us on the world map: Schiphol connects Portland to Africa; Narita opens up China and Southeast Asia.

Because small is the new big.

We’re a haven for VIPs looking to trade in Big-City success for a unique brand of careerism. A sampling of Stumptowners who braved the 21st-century Oregon Trail:

  • Steve Gaynor, former game designer at California’s major AAA gaming company 2K Marin, returned to Portland to launch indie game studio the Fullbright Company—and its critically acclaimed debut game, Gone Home
  • Rick Gencarelli left a culinary career in New York City and Burlington, Vermont, to open a food cart called Lardo, which has become a local sandwich empire with three brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Rodney Hicks, who made his Broadway debut as a part of the original cast of Rent, came to town for Portland Center Stage’s Oklahoma! and never left. He returns to PCS’s stage this spring to play the lead role in Othello.
  • Scone whisperer Kim Boyce, former pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills, relocated to open shoebox-size Bakeshop on NE Sandy Boulevard. 
  • Carrie Welch, once vice president of public relations at the Food Network, traded meetings with Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray to wait tables at Wildwood, launch local PR company Little Green Pickle, and co-found Feast Portland.

Because sometimes, you can’t even pick a reason.

How easy and fun it would be to write about oceans of clean water falling profligately from the sky, in a world where clean water and wars over it will be the story of this century; or to write about shaking hands with Ken Kesey and Barry Lopez and Ursula K. Le Guin in the streets of this city, the three greatest writers we ever had; but why don’t I say something real and blunt instead?

I love the shaggy moist grace of people here. I love the insistence on creativity. I love the general lack of class-snottiness and status-brandishing. I love that money matters but it doesn’t rule the roost. I love that mostly people are friendly except about parking. I love that spiritual search beats religious arrogance here. I love that a mayor once exposed his personal sculpture to a statue.

I hate that we need an active, energetic food bank, and I love that it collected 44 million pounds of food to share last year. I love that when the sun finally comes out in July people emerge from their caves moaning and steaming and singing songs of awe. I love that who your parents were is not as important here as who you are. I love that a river runs through us and I hate that it’s a foul sewer.

I love that we don’t care much about what outsiders think of us because finally we grew up enough to care only about being a better us. I love that the city bird looks like a grim blue skinny dinosaur with wings and a bad toupee. 

Brian Doyle edits the University of Portland’s magazine. His novel The Plover appeared in April. 

...And all the other stuff that makes us Portland: 

North American Organic Brewers Festival // Hidden staircases in Goose Hollow // The Springwater Corridor Sellwood’s Stars Antique Mall // Sunday Parkways  // Pier Park disc golf course // Portland Winterhawks // Cherry blossom season // Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail // The St. Johns Bridge // Alley 33 fashion show  //Summer berries! Winter mushrooms // Microbrews in movie theaters // The Timbers Army // Hiking to Pittock Mansion // The Hillsdale farmers market // Pendleton blankets // Open skate at Oaks Park // The Writer’s Room at Multnomah County Library // Sunset MAX commutes over the Steel Bridge // Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade // Snow at the Japanese Gardens // OBT Exposed // Old-growth trees within city limits // Oregon Zoo train... Did we miss your favorite thing about Portland? Tell us in the comments below!