This past week I got to travel to Portland for work, and took a couple of extra days to explore the city. I was attending a conference, PyCon, which took up most of my time, but I still got to travel quite a bit. We got an Airbnb on the east side of the city, and got to explore a bunch of neighborhoods: Burnside, Hawthorne, and Pearl District were where we spent most of our time.

Much like San Francisco, Portland is filled with foodies and hipsters obsessed over good coffee, good beer, and good restaurants. Unlike San Francisco though, things there are reasonably priced. If it weren’t so spread out, I might consider living there at some point in my life, but I can’t get past its suburban feel. Even with its electric orange Nike Bikes everywhere, the need for a car was evident. Another thing I found really odd was that all the shops closed super early - finding any coffee other than Starbucks open past 5pm was a challenge. Small city problems I guess.

For the nerds out there, here are some notes about my experience at the conference itself. The TL;DR is 10/10, would attend again.

Voodoo Doughnut had lots of character, and the food was good, but pretty overrated.

Hippos with togas and tiaras on fake greek columns. Sure, why not? That’s how you market your antique store.

I wish I had put a bit more thought into this one, lining up the corners with that diagonal bar, but it is what it is.

The missing light fixtures inspire lots of confidence and say “come get your loan here” loud and clear.

We briefly talked to the owner of this bookshop. Turns out he used to live in SF, just a block away from Hannah’s.

Coava Coffee. This place was half coffee shop, half wood shop. Their macchiato was 👌

The density of antique and used furniture stores in Portland was kind of crazy. It seemed like there was one or two in every commercial block.

Lardo East. Good beer, good sandwiches, way too much food.

Waaaay too much food.

Also these googley eyes.

Take a dive.

I’d take my dog boating, too.

We wanted to go to the Rose Garden, but since the flowers don’t bloom until early June, went to Hoyt Arboretum instead.

There was a small Chinatown. We didn’t go in, but passed by the gates near the Pearl District.

Powell’s is insane. A whole block worth of books, on several floors, and pretty much any topic imaginable. I couldn’t have gotten Hannah to leave if we hadn’t had dinner reservations.

Dinner was at Kachka. It was probably one of the best meals either of us had had in a long time. They encourage you to get a flight of vodka to sip with your meal. If you ever go, get the clay pot rabbit, you won’t regret it.

We did some post-dinner bar hopping. This night of low light photo convinced me that I really do want to buy a full frame DSLR. Hopefully I’ll have some news on that soon.

Strangely, it seemed like a lot more people smoke cigarettes in Portland than in any other city I’ve been to in the US. Most bars, like this one, had an open area where people would gather to smoke.

On our last day there, we had planned a trip to Multnomah Falls, but we had a rental car malfunction. We ended up just walking through a random neighborhood instead, grabbing ice cream at Fifty Licks, and having Thai food at Pok Pok. Glass half-full.

The end.

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