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Portland's Indie Style

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Photo: João Canziani

On summer nights, when the air is soft and sweet-smelling, you could be fooled into thinking Portland has always pushed an eco-utopian agenda. Walking where the light from streetlamps is dappled by coniferous trees, you’ll pass green buildings, fair-trade shops, and, every few feet, solar-powered curbside meters that reject your money at times when parking is free. But stay awhile—close a few bars in the Belmont district, or chat with some punks playing hackysack downtown, and you’ll learn that Portland is also a perverse and obstinate place: underneath its crunchy exterior are the living relics of a once-booming logging town that never went bust. It’s this side of Portland, honest and funky and more than a little weird, that’s made the town a magnetic dot on the indie circuit, drawing writers (Chuck Palahniuk), filmmakers (Gus Van Sant), and multitudes of now mainstream bands (the Dandy Warhols, the Shins, and the Decemberists, to name a few).

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Destinations: Portland, OR · Downtown · East Burnside

Inspired by: Portland, Oregon’s Indie Scene — by Tom Austin, Published Jul. 2007

Hotels (4)

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    Hotel deLuxe

    Old Hollywood-style glamour pervades this elegant, slightly-off-the-beaten-path hotel; you’ll feel it from the moment you ascend the wide marble st

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    The Benson

    This 14-story hotel with brick siding dates to 1913 in downtown Portland, featuring premium century-old elements like Italian marble, Austrian crys

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    Ace Hotel, Portland

    This is pure Portland: creative, authentic, irreverent. Rooms in the revamped 1912 hotel are decorated with murals and fitted with vintage claw-foo

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    Jupiter Hotel

    San Francisco has the Phoenix. Los Angeles has the Standard Hotel. Now Portland has the rock star–worthy Jupiter Hotel. Carved out of a 1960’s mote

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Restaurants (8)

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    Alibi Restaurant and Lounge

    This establishment in north Portland has been operating in one form or another for over eight decades. Larry and Carla White have been in charge fo

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    Simpatica Dining Hall

    Located in an art-lined basement with communal tables in a building east of the Willamette River, this restaurant sprouted from a charcuterie and b

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    Proper Eats Market & Café

    Opened in the city's northern St Johns neighborhood in 2006, this vegan establishment houses a market that showcases organic produce, plus a café w

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    Jake's Famous Crawfish Restaurant

    A downtown Portland fixture since 1892, this restaurant specializes in Pacific Northwest seafood. The menu at Jake's Famous Crawfish Restaurant cha

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    Higgins Restaurant & Bar

    Chef Greg Higgins has helped to set the standard for local and sustainable cooking at his eponymous restaurant near Portland State University. The

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    Paley's Place

    Set in a Victorian house in Northwest Portland’s Alphabet District, Paley’s Place and chef Vitaly Paley have appeared in numerous print and broadca

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    Acme Food & Drink

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    Voodoo Doughnut

    Since 2003, Oregonians have lined up around the block to get into downtown Portland's funky Voodoo Doughnut, where toppings include Cap'n Crunch ce

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Activities (21)

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    Torso Vintages

    First-rate vintage clothes with high-end prices.

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    Magpie, Portland

    This downtown shop with a single floor is fronted by a wavy orange and green sign and sells all manner of vintage clothing for men and women. Todd

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    Alma Chocolate

    A black awning and sidewalk tables greet visitors to Sarah Hart’s Spanish-inspired chocolate shop, promising “(mostly) sin free chocolate.” Alma is

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    Live Wire

    This weekly happening benefits charity and is broadcast over airwaves in Oregon and southwestern Washington courtesy of the Oregon Public Broadcast

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    Portland Japanese Garden

    Five gardens—Flat, Strolling Pond, Natural, Tea, and Sand & Stone—span 5.5 acres of this Japanese garden located near the Rose Gardens in Washingto

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    Portland Jazz Festival

    Created by PDX Jazz, the US Bank Portland Jazz Festival showcases local and Pacific Northwest jazz talent as well as widely known musicians and sin

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    Portland Opera

    The Portland Opera is known for presenting not only supertitled operas but also Broadway shows on tour. Additionally, their creative and skillfully

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    Oregon Symphony

    The oldest orchestra west of the Mississippi, the Oregon Symphony was founded under the name Portland Symphony in 1896. The orchestra moved to its

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    White Bird

    Founded in 1997 by Walter Jaffe and Paul King, White Bird is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting local dance companies while also bri

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    TBA (Time-Based Art) Festival

    Portland Institute for Contemporary Art resides in the trendy Pearl District and presents this 10-day festival that dates to 2003 and celebrates th

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    Chamber Music Northwest's Summer Festival

    Clarinetist and Avery Fisher Prize co-winner David Shifrin has been CMN’s artistic director for more than three decades, overseeing a five-week, no

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    Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

    The West Coast’s largest blues festival dates to 1987 and draws internationally renowned musicians like Buddy Guy and Lucinda Williams to the shore

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    Oregon Zoo

    Located three miles southwest of downtown Portland, the 64-acre Oregon Zoo is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1887 when Richard

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    Portland Art Museum

    Since the construction in 2005 of a new wing, the Pacific Northwest’s oldest art museum has really become two facilities in one. In the original bu

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    Columbia Sportswear Company

    The huge flagship store of this Portland-based outerwear and sportswear company sells durable, rugged gear, clothing, footwear (the Titanium Daska

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Similar Trips (1)

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  • Green Travel in Portland

    Portland, OR

    Going green is serious business in Portland, where hotels are Energy Star–certified and restaurants have their own roof gardens and water wells.

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