While summer usually gets all the hype, fall offers plenty of fun activities and festivals that will have you totally in love with PDX all year round.Read More
Ready to broaden your knowledge of Portland’s art and film scenes? Take our March challenge and explore one of these arts and culture events!Read More
When You’re Getting Ready to Move to PDX…
Ahhh, Portland, Oregon. It’s an outdoors lover’s paradise. It’s where the rebirth of America’s artisan movement began. It’s where farmers markets outnumber fast-food joints. In truth, there are dozens of reasons why so many people are moving to Portland, and if you’re reading this, then you must be interested in it, too.
So, if you’re thinking about relocating to beautiful Portland, Oregon, then here are some of the things you’re going to want to know before you get here.
If You Like Food Trucks, You’re Going to Love Portland
In Portland, food trucks are legitimate. These aren’t your usual hot dog stands. Portland’s food trucks serve up expertly prepared cuisine of the caliber that any fine dining restaurant would love to have on its menu. And, the selection is extensive, so there’s always something new to try for lunch.
Portland’s Dress Code Is Casual
Portlanders like being comfortable. Whether they’re at work, at the opera, or at home, the dress code is always casual. Plus, tattoos and piercings are A-OK here. In fact, those without them are the ones who tend to get the funny looks.
You Don’t Pump Your Own Gas
Unless you’re moving to Portland from New Jersey, you might be surprised to learn that you have to stay in your car when you’re getting gas. Oregon is one of the states that has laws stating only gas station attendants are allowed to pump gas. This might seem weird at first, but don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
Portland Loves the Arts
Portland is a city that loves art, books, music, and culture of all kinds. If you love to read, few cities are as appealing, especially because Portland is home to the famous Powell’s bookstore, the self-described “City of Books.” And, the music scene in Portland is second to none.
Portland Is a Green City
With beautiful mountains surrounding the city, Portland is not only green in the literal sense, it is also green in the environmental sense. In Portland, you’ll see a lot of people riding their bikes or taking public transportation to and from work. And energy conservation, recycling, and composting are major topics of conversation among most of Portland’s residents. Portland is a city that constantly strives to reduce its carbon footprint, and it prides itself on leading the green movement.
It Rains a Lot
Oregon is recognized for its substantial rainfall, and its reputation is well deserved because it does rain a lot here. But when it’s not raining, you can expect some of the most beautiful days you will ever see. And because the sun doesn’t shine as often here as it does elsewhere, the times when it does shine causes everyone to feel connected and in good spirits.
Coffee, Beer, and Wine Are in Ready Supply
Portland is synonymous with coffee shops. It might be cliché, but it’s true – the city has an incredible number of boutique and artisan coffee shops, each one serving up cups of fresh roasted goodness by the bucket load.
Portland is also home to one of the country’s largest microbrewery scenes… pretty much anywhere. The city has a wide variety of craft beer producers with most breweries offering samples and tours. And, despite being mainly a beer town, Portland’s wine scene has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years.
So, whether you’re a coffee addict, a beer enthusiast, or a lover of fine wines, you’ll find your favorite beverage is in ample supply here in Portland.
Portland Is the City of Roses
The tradition of filling Portland with roses dates back to the 19th century, and it is such a part of Portland’s heritage that the city is often called the “City of Roses.” The fact that Portland hosts the annual Portland Rose Festival and that it is home to the International Rose Test Garden aren’t mere coincidences.
So, do you think you have what it takes to live your best life in Portland, Oregon? If you’re artistic at heart and you love strong coffee, good beer and wine, composting your waste, eclectic cuisine, comfy clothing, and you aren’t afraid of a few rainy days, then you’ll love Portland and Portland will be glad to have you. Just make sure you read our handy guide to assimilating to Portland culture first!
Doing Good with Comedy
Curious Comedy Theater, located just around the corner from Old Town Brewing on NE MLK, is a non-profit organization with a mission of improving the lives of others through the art of comedy. The theater specializes in improv and sketch comedy, and offers a diverse and ever-changing roster of shows, with an average of 6-7 shows per week. Visitors that come for the comedy will be happy to find that the atmosphere inside the theater is intimate and thoughtfully arranged, with tables and chairs where guests can enjoy snacks and beverages during the show.
Shows and Events
Among the theaters most popular events is the Curious Comedy Showdown, a showdown of comedy talents in which six performers receive points based on applause from the audience. Only one performer can win! Curious Comedy Showdowns occur every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 PM. Other popular features include include Revolution Comedy, a social justice fueled comedy night, and Open Court, an open mic style improv night where anyone is welcome to join in the fun.
If you're interested in learning the art of improv comedy, but not quite confident enough to jump into an Open Court show, consider taking one of the many comedy classes offered by Curious Comedy. The programs are fully accessible to all members of the community, with many of the classes offered for free and financial aid and internship programs available to help cover costs for the more advanced classes. Learn more about Curious Comedy's free improv classes here.
Looking for a location to host your next big event? The theater can help with that, too. Offering catering, a full bar and kitchen, projector and screen, and even private shows, the venue is fully equipped to handle all sizes of events, from weddings to business meetings. Learn more about using the theater as an event space here.
Experience the Theater for Yourself
If you haven't experienced the joy of taking part in a comedy performance by shouting out topics for the performers to improvise off of, now is the perfect opportunity. To learn more about attending a show or class from Curious Comedy Theater, visit their website.
The City Beautiful Movement as a City Planning Guide for PDX
Portland has become known for a great many things of late. We are alternately the beer capital of North America (at least), the best place to get a cup of good coffee in the nation (don’t tell Seattle), and the donut capital of the world (if you believe in the pink box). But long before someone thought to skewer a man-shaped donut with a pretzel stick, Portland was known for other things, among them, our fantastic park system.
But a park system like we enjoy in Portland, with one of the largest urban forest reserves in the world, as well as the world’s smallest park, does not simply happen accidentally. It takes careful planning to enjoy the level of livability that Portland natives take for granted, while also being a prime reason why people are flocking to the city from across the globe.
Perhaps most important and a hidden secret of our vast and green outdoor spaces is the notion that Portland’s legacy of public parks is largely thanks to a family you may never have heard of: The Olmsted’s.
The Olmsted Brothers
The Olmsted Brothers Company was one of the nation’s earliest landscape design and architecture firms. John Charles and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, the head of the nation’s first landscape architecture firm, formed the company back in 1898. The brothers helped to found the American Society for Landscape Architects, and designed park systems for many cities in the U.S. as well as the portions of the National Park System.
There were many high profile projects undertaken by the Olmsted Brothers between 1898 and the 1940s, including the grounds of both Oregon State University and the University of Washington, the Portland Park system, the road systems in Yosemite National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a parks plan for the City of Los Angeles, which was largely ignored.
The Olmsted Plan for Portland
Portland commissioned the Olmsted Brothers to draw up an urban greenspace plan for the city in 1903, during the run-up to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Portland was a city of only 161,000 prior to the exposition, and grew to population of 270,000 in the five years that followed it. While this massive growth spurt was happening, the City of Portland was scrambling to implement the Olmsted Plan for the city's development, including its securing of neighborhood and regional parks, as well as the construction of scenic boulevards and pedestrian pathways.
Emanuel Tillman Mische, a former employee of the Olmsted Brothers, was hired by the city to manage the implementation of the Olmsted plan, but not until 1908, while the population explosion of the young city was already underway. Mische served as Parks Superintendent for the city until 1914, but struggled with putting the Olmsted plan into action as real estate prices were rising and development was running wild.
In the century that has followed, however, Portland has continued to use the Olmsted Plan for the basis of its city planning.
The City Beautiful Movement’s Legacy in Portland
The City Beautiful Movement was a reform movement within architectural and urban circles that rose to popularity in North America during late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally, the movement was associated with many of the larger cities of the East, including Detroit, Chicago, and Washington. But thanks to the Olmsted Brothers and other proponents, the movement came to be the governing philosophy of city planning in the young cities of the West, too.
In Portland, we have the movement and the Olmsted family to thank for the International Rose Test Garden and the rest of Washington and Forest Parks, Mount Tabor Park, and Willamette Park. On top of these landmarks, we also owe the Olmstead family a debt of gratitude for the forty-plus mile system of bike paths and pedestrian walks that connect many of the city’s original parks with many of the additional green spaces that have been set aside as Portland has continued to grow.