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What They Don’t Tell You About Moving to Portland

A Pacific Northwest urban hotspot, Portland is a vibrant metropolis that’s distinct from other cityscapes in the country for numerous reasons. As you stroll down the streets, the blend of historic and modern, traditional and quirky, and rustic and refined tell captivating stories. The city has endless recreational activities, a thriving cultural community and a friendly vibe that makes everyone feel welcome. Whatever your reason for moving to the City of Roses, learning local secrets will help you feel at home quickly.

1. Portland isn’t like Portlandia, but it’s still weird.

The show Portlandia is more satirical than it is a documentary. Residents either love it or hate it.

Yes, Portland has a quirky character. After all, the city’s unofficial motto is, “Keep Portland weird.” However, restaurant servers don’t take 20 minutes explaining where your food came from and birds aren’t on everything. On the other hand, drivers can be overly polite and there are a lot of people with tattoos.

2. Portland has 95 officially-recognized neighborhoods.

When you ask a Portlander where they live, they might tell you the Pearl, Nob Hill, West Hills, Hollywood, Laurelhurst, Sellwood and other locations that might have you scrambling for a map.

Portland has five sections between the Willamette River and the I-405 freeway loop: north, southwest, northwest, southeast and southwest. Within each section areneighborhood associations.

3. Beer talk is a second language.

Beer is beloved in Portland. The city is home to more than 100breweries pumping out award-winning brews at a record pace. Portland’s brew community is ripe with industry jargon about all things related to beer. If you’re into enjoying a cold one every now and then, knowing basic beer and brewing vocabulary will serve you well in your quest for the best-fermented craft concoctions.

4. Wine country is only 30 minutes away.

Portland is big on beer. Residents love their wine, too.

Just 30 minutes away, in the Yamhill Valley, is an escape to Oregon’s wine country. Here, you’ll find six American viticultural areas with about 80 wineries and 200 vineyards that produce some of the best vintages on the planet.

5. Learn to ride public transit.

It’s no secret that Portland traffic is terrible. While it isn’t as bad as other parts of the country, it isn’t getting better. Parking can be a challenge, too.

If you move to Portland and find yourself fortunate enough to be near a public transit line, take advantage of it. Portland’s public transit is reliable and expanding all the time. If you’re feeling hip, hire a pedicab to take you to your destination.

6. Shopping local is a must.

Portland isn’t big on chain stores. While they do exist, you’ll find a great variety of local shops with everything you need, from amazing food carts to eclectic gift shops to clothing boutiques. When you support local business, you support your neighbors.

7. Rain is no big deal. Umbrellas are optional.

On average, Portland receives 44 inches of rain per year. The U.S. average is 39 inches.

In Portland, rain is expected. You’ll find that many people can’t even be bothered by it enough to use umbrellas. Instead, they often turn to hats or invest in all-weather jackets with hoods (made by a Pacific Northwest-based company, of course).

8. Portlanders Take Recycling Seriously.

Depending on your neighborhood, the waste management company might provide you with up to three different bins: one for trash, one for recycling, and one for compost. Even receptacles on the streets and in buildings have specific labels for trash and recycling.

9. VooDoo Donut Isn’t the Only Donut Shop in Town.

The best time to get a treat at VooDoo Donut is when you don’t mind waiting in line for a while at the risk of hearing they’re sold out. Do yourself a favor and support other local bakers by trying out donut shops that aren’t on the radar.

10. It’s OK to Be Yourself.

When you see Portlanders, you might see big beards, sleeve tattoos, amazing piercings, far-out hairstyles, plaid mixed with with stripes, costumes, mismatched socks, and other things that might seem strange. This doesn’t necessarily mean Portlanders are weird. They just feel comfortable being who they really are. In turn, their neighbors accept them for they really are.