A Travellerspoint blog

Day 15: "Keep Portland Weird," a Day Exploring Portlandia

Portland, OR all day long

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We woke up by late morning and started off on an adventure to find the strangest food we could for brunch in the city where nothing is normal. We ended up on a street filled with food carts for a couple blocks in every direction, with food of literally every ethnicity and style. It took us each about 45 minutes to choose between all the incredible carts all trying to out-weird each other. It gave us plenty of time to also observe the eclectic mix of businessmen and hippies stopping for their daily lunch break.

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After lunch I dragged my friend to the infamous Powell’s bookstore, a place the size of a small city that I’d been dreaming of visiting for ages. I could’ve spent hours in each section, and easily would’ve if there weren’t a million other things I wanted to see in the city. We went to a comic bookstore which featured comics handdrawn by locals, and wandered by some equally unique spots and people before we got hungry again.

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We made our way to our second infamous Portland bar, and probably my second favorite of all time, this one called the Shanghai Tunnel. On the outside, the place looks abandoned and doesn’t have any obvious signs saying the building is a bar. When we entered, no one was there (a way to deter tourists, probably) and we had to walk to the back of the building and turn to find the bouncer who sent us down a small also unmarked staircase. We walked into a small dimly lit room that I can only describe as “cool,” with arcade games crammed in the corner and the most unique and delicious cocktails and beer selection I’d seen in a long time. We heard the noodle bowls were good and ordered those with our beers; both my food and my drink ended up being my favorites of the whole trip. If any of you visit Portland, definitely this place out (and remember it's a secret!)

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We were reading about city events that night over dinner and noticed a standup comedy show featuring the best of Portland’s comedians was starting in half an hour. We left the bar and made it to the Helium Comedy Club just in time for the first act. Everyone was hilarious, exactly the style of comedy I liked, for only $5. I think I'm meant to live in this city.

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We knew after the comedy show we’d have to check out Voodoo Donuts, one of the city’s biggest attractions for its weird donut types and 24/7 services. There was a line out the door (of course), and the donuts ended up being plain cake donuts just covered in various toppings. It was a bit of a disappointment considering all the hype, but it was very Portland.

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Our cab driver had suggested we check out a bar on one of the top floors of a skyscraper but when we got there the place was overly formal and we were very underdressed in our plaid attire. The waiter snobbishly avoided us so after a few pictures of the view, we bitterly left for a more casual place to chill out a bit and people watch. We ended the night early so we could wake up on time tomorrow. We needed a full day in Portland before heading to Seattle, WA that night.

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Posted by aswoger 23:43 Archived in USA

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