With a creative, cosmopolitan energy channeled into a premier dining circuit, an inimitable style scene and more, Portland, Ore. is a get-there-now destination that’s high on panache, low on pomp.
Photo courtesy of The Hoxton
STAY Hip London-born hotelier The Hoxton imported its brand of cool stateside last year, debuting in Brooklyn before opening in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood in late 2018. “We love the laid-back, West Coast vibe,” notes North America Managing Director Timothy Griffin. “There’s a diversity of creative people in Portland—from chefs to potters to athletes—that doesn’t exist in many other places.” The ambient din of trendy patrons chatting over Proud Mary java, brewed from the hotel coffee bar, scores the chic lobby; the smart, walnut-paneled guest rooms feature a restrained, Northwest modernesque aesthetic (Roomy rooms from $175 per night). Mexican-inspired plates from chef Johnny Leach at first-floor concept La Neta are a tantalizing gateway to sips in the speak-easy-style basement bar or Insta-worthy rooftop taqueria Tope.
SHOP No fashion subculture is more au courant than streetwear, and PDX is the stuff of fashionista fantasy. Wake up your wallet at streetwear consigner Compound Gallery with hard-to-find gems from faves like BAPE and Supreme. For serious sole searching, near-mythical models at kicks consignment shop Index PDX can fetch thousands (in 2015, the shop unloaded a pair of autographed Air Jordan 7 Kobe Bryant Away PEs for $25,000).
EAT & DRINK Naturally, the birthplace of James Beard hosts a bumper crop of notable toques. By the splashy Alberta Arts District, Naomi Pomeroy plates joie de vivre at French-inspired prix fixe spot Beast (six-course tasting menu with wine pairings $175 per person). Downtown, internationally driven bites (Korean fried chicken, pork schnitzel) score at John Gorham’s steakhouse, Tasty n Alder. And oenophiles swoon over Gabriel Rucker’s Central Eastside wonder, Canard, whose menu touts a dazzling wine program—$475 bottle of 2013 J.-F. Mugnier 1er Cru Les Amoureuses, anyone?—curated by co-owner Andrew Fortgang. The city knows its hard stuff too: Visit Westward Whiskey Distillery, home of the eponymous tipple, to see magic at work (distiller shadowing experience $2,500 for up to five people).
SEE & DO Respite awaits at the tranquil Portland Japanese Garden, where on a clear day, marvels like Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens are stunningly visible. To best appreciate your surroundings, lift off with Oregon Helicopters(Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge tour $399), flying from the city’s public heliport. As the scene coalesces below, it’s clear that the City of Roses is in full bloom year-round.