Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein made me do it. 



Freshman year it was LA. Sophomore year it was Europe. Junior year it was Puerto Rico. 
And now...

Think to yourself: if “last spring break!!! of college!!! forever!!!” were a destination, what would it be? Not Portland, that’s for sure. Also, important clarification: and by Portland, I mean Portland, Oregon — yuppie utopia, vinyl wonderland, where cold brew is a blood type, brunch a sacred religion and Lyft drivers double as spiritual life coaches. OH and land of ~$7 cocktails~ that make you question your overpriced NYC existence. So, basically: not Portland, Maine.

I’d also like to mention that Portland makes for the perfect last-minute getaway. "Last minute" as in booking a red-eye to PDX from JFK, spontaneously dropping $50 on rain boots and feeling your Californian soul shatter to pieces and sending love letters to numerous Airbnb hosts in hopes of nabbing the ultimate bungalow (spoiler alert: it happens). But at that rate, I didn’t care — I just wanted an excuse to escape the city and savor my last moments of undergrad freedom. Sorry Punta Canta — you had my heart (and credit card) for a hot minute right there, but then I remembered Portlandia. Hipster television of my dreams.

THE PREFACE
  • Land in Portland some time around midnight. Airport is ominously quiet. Air strangely feels "fresh". Remember that it's 3 AM back in NYC — AKA your preferred haunting hour/time of the night where you're most likely downing a hard liquor and crying about your dating woes at a gentrified Williamsburg bar
  • Your Lyft driver is also from LA. Pleasantries are exchanged about weather and traffic — the classic combo. "It's chill here," he claims. He will also ask what Seamless is. As a NYC transplant, you are unsure how to explain such a sacred concept to him
  • Arrive at your Airbnb — location: Hawthorne Boulevard in SE Portland. Every "house" is really a bungalow and you are amazed at the endless stretch of concrete unspoiled by New Yorkers walking at a speed of 90 mph. You also suspect that your Airbnb host really likes gardening
  • Be forced into sleep-deprived small talk your Airbnb host. Unofficially brand her as the hippie witch cat lady on Hawthorne. Your quarters: a quaint corner bedroom on the first floor that somehow smells like your uncle's house in suburban Paris. Moment of redemption: she has a (black!) cat named Athena (you'll later give a five-star rating solely for Athena) 
  • Get a ~good night's rest~, which means approximately five hours of sleep
    THE HIGHLIGHTS
    • Expect to have unusually intimate conversations with every Portlandian. Not limited to:
      • The Bartender Who Belongs In Brooklyn: Listens to shoegaze and likes Bushwick. Asks your roommate why she is swiping on Tinder at the bar. Gives you a free. plate. of. fries. Bartender's choice: something with tequila
      • The Woodstock Hippie Lyft Driver: Was told she was going to die of brain cancer at age thirty-two. Follows Bob Dylan on tour and moves to NYC with her dog and a guitar. Is told she is not going to die of brain cancer. Moves to Miami to become a cocktail waitress and learns how to do kamikaze shots with tourists. Wants to adopt foster dogs and children. Tells me I have "good energy" and that she hopes we'll "run into each other in another lifetime"
      • The Lyft Driver From Montana: Just moved to Portland from Montana. 
      • The Buffalo Exchange Employee Who Went To Coachella "First": Originally from San Diego. Owns a place in Palm Springs. Thinks Coachella is "overrated" nowadays
      • Leather Jacket Guy Sitting At The Bar: Once lived in LES with his ex-wife in the '80s. Doesn't seem to realize that LES in the '80s is the opposite of 2017 LES. 
      • The Barista At Five Points: Thinks your look is "cool"
    • As a lifestyle blogger turned cosmopolitan travel writer probably once said: "brunch is a blood sport in Portland". They were not kidding:
      • For a temporary Scandanavian getaway, Broder on SE Clinton is the spot for Swedish brunch — try the aebeleskive (pancake balls dipped in ligonberry jam goodness) or the very Insta-worthy brekkie board (also, Bloody Marys — if you're into that sorta thing)
      • Come to Jam On Hawthorne for real, authentic Portland locals getting their rainy brunch fix and heaping portions of Nutella French toast, hashbrowns and eggs — American breakfast fare to the max
      • Tin Shed is brunch in your grandmother's garden — don't skip out on homemade buttermilk biscuits and rosemary mushroom gravy (also, when in doubt, order the Naughty, not the Nice)
    • It is perfectly acceptable to Google "why does every restaurant in Portland have Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce???? And is it really better than Cholula???"  
    • One must only order coffee with macadamia nut milk
    • Buy Beach Boys and Allah-Las on vinyl even though you don't own a record player (but swear one day you will)
    • No one believes you are 22 and will card you. Every. Single. Time. 
    • Re-invent your whole wardrobe/apartment because thrifting in Portland is a magical experience and you will ~likely~ go broke:
      • Zig Zag Wanderer: '60s and 70s pysch threads HEAVEN. Smells like incense. Soundtrack is a heavenly loop of Mamman Sani. Locally-made fragrances, healing crystals and retro postcards
      • Red Light Clothing Exchange: Expect to spend 39048248 hours rummaging through the racks. A healthy amount of perfectly worn-in band tees. A guy you went on one date with will text you in the dressing room and ask if you if you're free Wednesday at 1:15 AM
      • Living Threads Vintage: Higher price range, carefully curated selection. End up nabbing a '70s striped long sleeve for just $25 which also smells decidedly '70s
    • Crushed rose petals on wet pavement make for excellent photography
    • Warning: that one white man at the Portland Japanese Garden lecturing you on "Asian culture" because, as an Asian-American, you absolutely have no background knowledge
    • Befriend a guy from NYC who is in Portland for a job interview. He'll drown you in Yelp recommendations for Upper West Side bars (his 'hood) and you'll bond over a mutual love for the algorithm for Spotify's Discover Weekly playlists (he will also have a girlfriend)
    • Pro-tip: Flying Cat Coffee has breakfast burritos for $6 and you will quickly discover the edible definition of pornography
    • Realize you are a weak human being when your roommate convinces you to download Tinder social for one night. Drown in a sea of regret when you see 329048 mutuals from high school who have since moved to Portland
    • It is perfectly acceptable to spend 30 minutes in front of a neon art piece at the Portland Art Museum for the perfect Snapchat as other tourists judge you
    • Your living nightmare is Blue Star's Mexican chocolate donut that is offensive to donuts everywhere and suddenly you would commit crime for Krispy Kreme
    • Is it dinner time already?
      • Pok Pok: Overrated, but you can pretend you are in a tropical Thai beach village for one night. The mango-coconut-vodka liquid concoction that was a better idea on paper. Honorary mention to the spicy Vietnamese (?) fish sauce wings that one should never eat on a first date, unless emergencies/cravings call. Suddenly you cannot stop thinking about your long awaited backpacking trip to SE Asia (one day...)
      • Por Que No: For surprisingly quality tacos that fulfill your never-ending desire for all things Mexican. Margaritas should come with a warning "do not text any boy after consumption" label. Guac is passing, ceviche satisfying.
      • Lechon: For you want to want to feel ~adult~ and have your first Argentine food experience. Pick your poisons wisely — Mal Humorado for reposado tequila, habanero and pineapple or El Vicente for mezcal and aperol. Debate if the couple next to you is a cougar/boy toy situation and feel shivers go down your spine when you see her stroking his cheek
    • From the Lyft driver who tried to self-promote his blog numerous times during the car ride: "Voodoo Donuts is overrated."
    • Constantly complain about how everything in NYC is so expensive compared to Portland while simultaneously paying for said prices and never learning how to set a weekly budget
    • Get mistaken as a native Portlandian twice (reasoning: going umbrella-less in the rain)
    • Pineapple gummies will never quite be the same for you ever again
    • Have your world collapse when you discover that Fred Armisen only lived in Portland during the summers to film Portlandia and feel betrayed by Hollywood and celebrity culture as a whole
    And for a more visual recap of my Portland getaway... 


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