Home base for edgy chefs, alternative rock bands, progressive environmentalists, and urban-planning junkies, Portland has developed major-league hipster cachet over the past decade. Visitors will find Portlanders a friendly, easygoing bunch happy to share their terrific restaurants and bars, burgeoning arts scene, and gorgeous parks. And who can blame them if, in their hearts, they'd rather keep their small (pop. 500,000) city small?
Sampling from the fabulous food carts—serving Thai, Lebanese, Italian, and Japanese snacks, among others—on Southwest Alder Street between 9th and 10th avenues, and Southwest 5th Avenue between Oak and Stark streets.
An afternoon or evening walk along the roughly six-block, gallery-and-café-dotted stretch of the Mississippi Avenue Arts District (from about Northeast Fremont to Northeast Skidmore).