Tuesday May 23, 2017
Portland. Portlandia. Potlandia. Whatever you want to call the “Jewel of the Pacific Northwest,” the beloved Oregon outpost has more weird and quirky in its DNA than Austin and Williamsburg combined. It’s the kind of artisan-nurturing city where a curly mustached hipster in a Darth Vader mask unicycles down the street while playing bagpipes, raver girls lock their pink Hula-Hoops to public bike racks, and trendy, hole-in-the-wall bars hand out free slices of bacon with every craft beer or cocktail purchased (yes, Bacon Mondays is a thing).
In Portland, it’s not uncommon to see men with bushy beards and sleeve tattoos knitting together in the city’s coffee shops, or a plot of land next to City Hall being used by the city to cultivate its own Swiss chard. Walkable, shared and farm-to-table is Portland’s motto, and as of July 1, 2015, the 600,000 people who “Keep Portland Weird” can share more than bike paths and small plates of locally sourced cheese. Oregon laws made it legal for adults ages 21 and up to possess and consume recreational marijuana, making “the place where young people go to retire” – Portland’s unofficial tourist slogan – one of the hippest and most happening pot destinations. If you're spending the weekend in Portland, go green with these cannabis-friendly activities.
The 1980s is alive and well in Portland’s Old Town, where the vintage video game palace Ground Kontrol (is the K in Kontrol a wink, wink to Mortal Kombat?) attracts legions of high-score seeking stoners. The retro barcade recently expanded by 4,000 square feet, adding a concrete and steel, Fifth Element-style bar and a retail area selling classic console games and merchandise. Ground Kontrol is a Portland institution, and its selection of old school pinball machines and Golden Age video games a nostalgic head trip for gamers who came of age in the era of coin-operated entertainment.
Powell’s City of Books
It’s not just a bookstore. It’s a "city of books," which means it’s easy to get lost, take a wrong turn, or fall down the rabbit hole in the massive, multi-story shop on Burnside Street. In fact, Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore in the world. It has the hipster cred of San Francisco’s City Lights Books and ten times the inventory, making it a mecca for bleary-eyed bibliophiles. Used books, new books, first editions, Powell’s is the place where besotted readers go for psychoactive inspiration.
Fubonn Market and Lan Su Chinese Garden
Portland’s Fubonn Market is a Pan-Asian wonderland, a place where anime meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the ramen and candy aisles a day-glow psychedelia of cheap treats and obscure confections. It’s a must-see destination but it can also be overwhelming, so if you want to keep your Asian-inspired trip alive without "greening out," visit Lan Su Chinese Garden. Located at Northwest Everett Street, close to Downtown Portland, the garden features Asian-inspired architecture and landscaping and is the perfect spot for quiet reflection and meditation. Get your Zen on at the garden’s traditional tea house, where a finely selected tea will clear your mind and erase any memories of Fubonn Market’s durian-flavored candy (there’s a reason why durian is called the world’s smelliest fruit).
Portland’s public transit system is efficient and easy to use. No matter how much sativa you’ve smoked, the MAX light rail service and TriMet buses will effortlessly get you from point A to point B, and one of those points has to be Skidmore Bluffs. Located along the Willamette River, this spot sits atop cliffs and offers one of the most spectacular views of Portland and the surrounding greenery. It’s a popular destination in the summer, when locals come to unwind and watch the sunset, and one of the best smoke spots in Portland.
Once a neglected corridor of warehouses and railways, the Pearl District is now the center of Portland’s urban renaissance. It’s a perfect place to stroll, people-watch, and let the soft hum of humanity roll over you like fog season along the Oregon coast. Art galleries, boutiques, coffee houses, music stores (Everyday Music is a vital stop for vinyl enthusiasts), and acclaimed restaurants and breweries line the streets of the Pearl District. It’s also home to Oregon’s Finest, the first licensed medical dispensary in the state. Oregon’s Finest serves rec enthusiast as well, but only med card holders have access to the dispensary’s secret menu.
Where to Munch
Portland is a foodie’s fantasy, a city where every type of food on a weed-inspired wish list can be found, from Pok Pok’s fish sauce wings to Voodoo Doughnut’s deep fried delights. There are farm-to-fork restaurants and urban wineries, not to mention of the world’s best farmers’ markets. But Portland is famous for its street food. Over 600 food trucks and vendors set up shop in Portland, many in small communities called “pods,” the SW 9th and Alder pod being the city’s most distinguished, featuring over 60 food vendors on a city block. There are great stoner eats is this colorful warren of taco trucks and charcuterie counters, Romanian chimney cake vendors and shrimp and grit kiosks. Portland is a mighty gastropolis, and the perfect place to be when the munchies take hold.
Portland is one of the pot-friendliest destinations in the country, a place where toking tourists can go green, kick back, and wear a Darth Vader mask as they unicycle down the street playing the bagpipes.