Have you heard that Portland, Oregon is weird? I have. Portlanders are proud of their motto, Keep Portland Weird. I was curious and traveled there for my birthday. What I discovered was pretty dang strange.
18 signs of weirdness in Portland:
The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium.
Caught in Portland’s weird culture at a strange museum.
An indoor gas station.
Indoor. Gas. That doesn’t really make sense to me. Weird. But since it rains a lot, I can see where this would come in handy.
They pump your gas for you at self-serve stations.
It’s weird when you jump out of your car to pump gas and they run out and take the hose out of your hand. At first, my husband suspected the guy had stolen his charge card information.
The street signs are marked NW, SW, NE, and SE instead of the usual directions.
The signs remind you of where you are in town since probably because there are microbreweries on every block. You may forget where you are.
Salt and Straw
Check out the line.
This Portland original sells ice cream in weird varieties like pear and blue cheese, Arbequina olive oil, and strawberry balsamic with black pepper.
The ingredients of the butterfly yum –
When asking for restaurant recommendations, everyone raved about the food carts. Most were trucks, by the way.
I walked up to the line of grimy looking trucks/carts and chose one with a line of customers. I ordered what the lady ahead of me ordered. Mango shrimp paradise. It was most excellent!
Their restaurants are amazing too and very reasonable compared to Colorado.
The wait staff is paid minimum wage, unlike in most states where they are paid less and have to make it up in tips. You would think they would provide poor service since some customers may not tip as well. The opposite was true. Weird.
We tipped our usual 15-20%.
We have Voodoo in Denver but I haven’t graced their doorway. I didn’t understand the fascination until I bit into the heavenly goodness of old-fashioned ingredients and sweet, sweet perfection. The line was long but well worth it.
Powells City of Books
Not so much weird as huge. Largest bookstore in the World!
The underground train to Washington Park.
When you take the train to Washington Park, you end up 260 feet below the ground. The deepest in the US.
Fun facts from the depths:
Washington Park is no ordinary park. It has an arboretum filled with hiking trails, a Rose garden, a Japanese garden, a zoo, and lots more!
It’s super weird. It may be sixty degrees, but with the humidity, it feels like thirty. I wore my leather jacket most of the time. It rains a lot. But when it’s sunny, it’s wow, with views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood.
They have a vacuum museum. Yep.
Super cool and weird only that no one else has copied McMenamins‘ business plan.
The first time you hear the name of this unique and charming enterprise you may ask again. I needed to see the spelling.
Two brothers bought historical buildings in several Oregon and Washington cities and transformed them into hotels and entertainment facilities. We visited a pub transformed from a speakeasy. The restaurant and bar area was filled with paintings. It had a back room filled comfortable couches and chairs for lounging. We were encouraged to hang out after dinner.
We found one in Bend that was a converted Catholic School. It deserves its own post!
Okay, so this bird in a tree in the Chinese garden landed on my head!
Not sure why they chose a reindeer. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation.
These characters on a street corner.
Press the little arrow. You can listen and dance along.
People were super friendly and willing to help us which wasn’t weird at all. While walking to Washington Park, I asked a man if we were close to the entrance. “Another mile and a half in that direction,” he said and pointed across the bridge. He suggested turning around and taking the train.
This super nice man escorted us the entire way.
A weird speeding ticket
I didn’t see many police officers around nor heard many sirens, but I did get pulled over by a state patrol officer in a tiny town while driving down from Mt. Hood. Don’t worry, I only got a warning. Whew.
When I looked at the ticket a few days later, it had someone else’s name, license, and registration on it. WEIRD!
There are lots of other weird things to do in Portland like visit their Shanghai Tunnels or have coffee at Rimsy-Korsakoffeehouse. We’ll save them for next time.
Portland embraced me. I fit right in!
Anything weird in your town? Had you heard about the importance of keeping Portland weird?
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