Why Portland is America’s coolest destination

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While San Francisco and Los Angeles remain the top tourist destinations in the Western United States, it’s worth heading a little further north to the city that is fast becoming recognised as the nation’s capital of cool. Nestled in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, Portland combines the best of urban living with the breath-taking beauty of America’s diverse landscape. Our quick guide to Portland introduces just a few of the city’s coolest attractions.

Independent culture

No American city can escape the clutches of the nation’s biggest chains, but Portland does a good job of fostering its independent businesses. With more than 75 microbreweries, Portland is at the forefront of the craft beer revolution. From British-style pubs to brewery tours and beer festivals, you won’t have to look far to find award-winning ales with locally-sourced ingredients. Fortunately, Portland’s vibrant street food scene will allow you to soak up the IPAs in the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods. Clustered into pods, these brightly coloured food trucks offer inventive culinary treats, often with a side order of puns. Check out Fried Egg I’m In Love in the eclectic Hawthorne neighbourhood, which is home to indie boutiques and record stores. The biggest food truck pod on Alder Street is a stone’s throw away from Powell’s Books, which claims to be the biggest independent bookstore in the world.

The great outdoors

Perhaps unsurprisingly for the nation’s most bike-friendly city, eco-conscious Portland has some of the most stunning outdoor sights. Reflecting its diverse history, both the Japanese Garden on the grounds of an old zoo and the Lan Su Chinese Garden in the centre of the city offer tranquil respites from the urban streets.

Keep Portland Weird

This popular slogan that appears on buildings and signs throughout the city reflects Portland’s individualism and eccentricity. From its annual Naked Bike Ride to the Voodoo Doughnut shop that doubles as a wedding chapel, you’ll find plenty of Instagram-worthy scenes to make your friends back home swoon.

Before you get weird in the city of cool, make sure you secure your ESTA visa for two years of travel in the United States. Check out our easy three-step ESTA registration service here.