Lately it seems like the entire country has zeroed in on Portland as a cultural mecca and all we can say is…it’s about time. From a historic and vibrant music culture to a culinary and wine scene that would thrill even the most discerning foodie, PDX truly does have it all. So where does one begin to get a taste of all the City of Roses has to offer? Here are our favorites for Portland’s best in music, art, food and wine.
Sounds of the City
Often in the shadow of Seattle’s grunge and rock history, Portland’s music scene rivals the depth and breadth of the Emerald City, offering intimate shows, and a wide range of music genres and hip venues. There’s the infamous Crystal Ballroom, once hosting dance revivals during the Great Depression and showcasing then unknown artist Marvin Gaye in the 60s, now welcoming O.A.R and Kacey Musgraves in their lineup. Tap into your inner hipster at Doug Fir Lounge where indie beats pair well with red leather banquettes and the Barkeep’s Choice cocktail–you pick the spirit, they handle everything else. Looking to fist pump? Head to Holocene for electro and house dance parties. For jazz that rivals the clubs of New Orleans, make your way to Jimmy Mak’s for a live performances Monday through Saturday.
Meet Portland’s Makers
Sure, Portland’s got all the fancy schmancy places like the Portland Art Museum (the oldest art museum on the West Coast) and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, but we think you should have a look at the amazing creations from local Portland artisans. Start at MadeHere PDX, a one-stop-shop for high-quality leather goods, hyper-local snacks, unique art and even furniture all crafted by various vendors in, you guessed it, Portland. On Saturdays, the Portland Saturday Market is a must for any art fan as the nation’s largest open-air arts and crafts market, featuring more than 400 eclectic booths. Are you a maker yourself? Flex your DIY muscles at ADX Portland, a collaborative makerspace where guests can learn various trades of art and design from experts.
Essential Eats & Drinks in PDX
It’s easy to make fun of Portland’s all-local-organic-fresh-sustainable-seasonal-everything mentality when it comes to food, a la Portlandia, but let’s face it, the food actually does taste better! Portland also offers every cuisine you could possibly imagine thanks to more than 600 food carts, grouped in pods around the city to make for easy sampling. Hit up the Alder food pod to snack on just out of the fryer falafel, juicy dumplings and sandwiches stuffed with thick cuts of pastrami. For a more formal setting, nosh on fresh fare (sourced from their own farm just outside of the city) at Meriweather’s, or indulge in playfully sophisticated Italian at local standout Pazzo Ristorante, also with a seasonally rotating menu. While it’s hard to ignore Portland’s beer culture, try sipping world-class vinos at Southeast Wine Collective or Ambonnay, two of the best wine bars in the city, serving vintages straight from the nearby Willamette Valley wine region.
Experience the Best of Portland’s Culture at Hotel Vintage
Where do you stay to experience it all? At Hotel Vintage in downtown Portland, the worlds of art, music and wine meld together seamlessly throughout the property. Every evening, one of the hotel’s 117 winery partners from the Willamette Valley educate and pour, giving you an intimate wine tasting right in the hotel’s living room. Frequent winery friends include Ponzi Winery, Bethel Heights Vineyard and Elk Cove Vineyards. From Thursday to Saturday, the real party begins at Bacchus Bar, where up-and-coming local musicians play alternative, folk and bluegrass from 6 to 8 pm., to complement the bold wines with a vibe that’s understated and cool.
The ode to Oregon wine culture is carried throughout the hotel’s design and artwork, with guestrooms named after Oregon wineries, graffiti-inspired cork portraits and statement walls in deep shades of Pinot Noir to give the feel of staying in wine country, but with the perks of downtown right outside the door. In the two-story lobby, look for light fixtures reminiscent of grape clusters, an area rug with an aerial view depicting the Willamette Valley, a life-size picture of Bacchus the God of Wine and a wineology chalkboard that shows how an Oregon grape becomes Oregon wine.