“I decided to go to Portland Oregon for a week, I had never been there before and it was a beautiful city with a vibrant queer community. I found it very easy to meet new friends. I also spent a lot of time at the LGBT center where I had a great time with the staff. I volunteered helping with the Portland Queer Film Festival, which was great fun. I also got to see a lot of different parts of Portland. I got to visit the Pearl district, the Bridge district, the city center, the city park, and I walked around downtown.”
To many Portlanders, Portland is a laid-back city where it’s fun to get to know your neighbors. Some call it the city of roses, others the city of trees. Some say it’s growing too fast, others that it’s not growing fast enough. Ask Portlanders what they love the most about their city and you’ll get a wide variety of answers. But ask them what they hate and they all have a word or two to say.
I visited Portland, OR this past week. Portland is a city of neat people with progressive values. I was able to witness the city’s progressive political climate, its progressiveness, and its queer vibe. But there is one more facet of Portland that I was able to see: its cultural diversity. It’s no secret that Portland is a very culturally diverse city. It’s also no secret that Portland has a sizable transgender population. I’m happy to report that I saw both of these facts during my trip. I’m happy to report that I saw both of these facts during my trip.
While Portland is regarded as one of the west coast’s progressive hotspots, it lacks the same ambiance as its siblings Seattle and San Francisco. Instead, it has the sense of a Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Milwaukee relocated thousands of miles away. With hundreds of architecturally fascinating bridges crossing the Willamette River, as well as new, contemporary structures to complement the more classical early-century stock, there’s a gritty Midwestern feel here.
The Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland is perfectly located between downtown and the trendy Pearl District. The lush Willamette Valley has helped Oregon become a major wine producer. Kimpton continues the local wine concept throughout the hotel with colorful, whimsical wine themes. Each of the 117 rooms is named after a vineyard in Oregon. The Willakenzie Estate, which I found (thanks to Google!) located approximately 30 miles to the southeast, in Yamhill, Oregon, was our large double queen room on the 6th level.
The 117 rooms and public areas of the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland are all decorated with a delightful wine theme. (Photo courtesy of Paul Heney)
The wine theme continues throughout the property. There are lights made out of wine bottles on the elevator doors, corkscrew images on the elevator doors, quotes about wine on each floor (“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world. –Ernest Hemingway”), and a brilliant “spectrum of wine” artwork on the second floor that I absorbed for more than a few minutes.
Scandals, The Eagle, Local Lounge, and Crush are among the city’s gay bars, which include CC Slaughters, which is renowned for dancing and drag performances, as well as Scandals, The Eagle, Local Lounge, and Crush. Stripper performances are popular at Silverado and Stag PDX, and Steam Portland is a nearby bathhouse. On a Tuesday evening, we decided to check out Stag. The club had excellent cocktails, beautiful bartenders, and sexy dancers, despite being a little quiet on a weekday. We spoke with Reyce, a new transplant from Chicago, who praised the city for its welcoming views toward LGBTQ visitors.
Aside from pubs, Portland offers a diverse range of activities. Powell’s City of Volumes, with over a million books, is the world’s biggest independent bookshop. The main shop in midtown Manhattan is split into nine color-coded rooms, including the Red Room housing LGBTQ books. The International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden are two excellent attractions in the city’s Washington Park neighborhood, which is located in the hills immediately west of downtown. Both of these pieces of paradise will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts (the Japanese Garden has a modest charge, but the Rose Garden is free), and you should expect to spend at least an hour visiting each.
Meeting up with the PDX Front Runners, an LGBTQ+ jogging and walking group that meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. with choices of 2.5, 5, and 6 miles, is a fun and healthy alternative for queer tourists. Following that, they all congregate at Suki’s Bar for supper and cocktails. Trail runs and a monthly happy hour are also held by the organization.
We tried a little bit of everything in Portland’s great culinary scene. Cheryl’s on 12th is a wonderful place to go for breakfast, or you can always go to the city’s famous Voodoo Doughnuts. We loved the funky, international selection of food carts around the city, such as Hua Li House, part of the Cart Blocks at SW Park Ave. and West Burnside St. Bae’s Fried Chicken did not disappoint, and we loved the funky, international selection of food carts around the city, such as Hua Li House, part of the Cart Blocks at SW Park Ave. and West Burnside St.
Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge was one of the author’s favorite things to do in Portland with his family. (Photo courtesy of Paul Heney)
More delights exist nearby for sightseers with a rental vehicle. The Columbia River Gorge is a must-see attraction, and it’s simple to get from the city’s eastern suburbs. There are many locations to stop along the Oregon or Washington sides of the river, with famous waterfalls, beautiful views, and lots of hiking opportunities. This journey may be done in a half-day or you can go farther upriver and spend many days investigating.
Plus, during a Portland trip, Pinot Noir lovers may visit the beautiful Willamette Valley. This lush valley, which extends about 100 miles southern into Eugene, provides LGBT visitors with many chances to attend wine tastings, shop for favorite bottles, taste local food, and stay in charming bed and breakfasts or Airbnbs.
In the Willamette Valley, Coeur de Terre Vineyards is a must-visit for wine sampling. (Photo courtesy of Paul Heney)
McMinnville, approximately an hour southwest of Portland, is a friendly community with plenty of dining choices, and it’s a wonderful place to call home in the Willamette Valley. Flaneur Wines has a quirky tasting facility in a repurposed grain elevator in Little Carlton, Oregon. Or go to neighboring Lemelson Vineyards or Coeur de Terre Vineyards for a farm/vineyard experience, which was my particular favorite, with excellent wines and the owners’ dogs lying at our feet!
Portland, Oregon is known for its liberal attitude regarding gay-friendly issues, especially in the gay-centric city of Portland, Oregon. The city is known for its liberal gay-friendly laws that allow gay marriage, and the acceptance of gay and lesbian couples in the community.. Read more about portland queer scene and let us know what you think.
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