Judging by the crowds, you cannot visit the Old Town district of Portland without joining the queues for your box load of Voodoo Doughnuts, where the wondrously wacky creations just keep on being dreamed up.

Open 24/7, the lines hardly ever stop forming for these zany doughnuts, topped with crazy-eyed flavours like bacon and bubble gum dust. (Surprisingly, a winning mix.)

Portland's neighbourhoods seem to be eclectic and eccentric in equal measure, with each district exuding its own sense of place, personality, purpose or re-purpose.

Division St shopping.
Division St shopping.

Wandering into the neighbouring Pearl District, an enormous revitalisation wave has transformed derelict warehouses and railway yards into an industrial-chic hub of loft living, stylish shopping, eye-grabbing eateries and breweries.


The city's oldest microbrewery, BridgePort, is here, as is the world's largest independent bookstore. Powell's City of Books consumers an entire block, brimming with two million new and used volumes.

If I could borrow someone's credit card and binge-buy, this would have to be the store of my dreams. Powell's has developed an app to help you navigate their outrageous range of titles in stock.

Crossing the bridge, I ventured to Central Eastside to stake out some more soothing craft brews.

Portland craft beer tasting
Portland craft beer tasting

Wayfinder Beer has set up shop in a reclaimed grain warehouse, rich with exposed bricks and beams. Among the 16 taps are collaborations with stand-out brewers including Zoigalhaus and Hopworks.

Ecliptic Brewing was a fabulous lunch-stop, where the convivial brewpub serves up comfort cuisine.

I enjoyed a pan-fried chicken in with almond-chive cous cous and roasted figs, paired with a Starburst IPA, which had lovely citrus, pine and fruit flavours. I must admit that I felt very uncool, with no body art or metal on my person, exploring a city where virtually every second person seems to be a hipster: bearded, tatted up to their eyeballs and weighed down with piercings.

When it comes to the city's liquid assets, Portland boasts more than 65 craft breweries within the city's limits, more than any other city in the world.

Fancy a deep dive into the craft beer scene? Brewvana's Pacific Northwest is the Best Tour is an essential experience, showcasing decorated breweries and some of the personalities that power proceedings.


Another lip-smacking neighbourhood for your agenda is Division/Clinton, widely considered as the cradle of Portland's hottest new eats.

Just ask your accommodation provider what's trending. Salt & Straw pulls the crowds with its unusual icecream combinations, like blue cheese, olive oil and spring flowers. Too radical? Plump for the fiendishly good vanilla and chocolate gooey brownie.

Clinton Street Theatre is famed for faithfully screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show, every Saturday for 40 years. And still they roll in.

Nob Hill homes and shops.
Nob Hill homes and shops.

Enjoy living and eating like a local on Nob Hill

Set among a backdrop of handsome Victorian and Colonial Revival homes, wrapped in tree-lined streets, Nob Hill is reminiscent of its namesake in San Francisco.

The trophy homes rub shoulders with the chic and eclectic shopping district, which blends old-school glamour with inventive, artisanal flair and a splash of bohemianism.

Top spots include Kells Brewery, Saint Cupcake NW, Mission Theater, Saint Honore Bakery and Southland Whiskey Kitchen.

Nosh yourself silly at Besaw's, a beloved Portland eatery, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for more than a century. Its current incarnation reopened in 21st Ave, with a distinctive Art Deco inspired decor.

I enjoyed a smoked salmon scramble for lunch and harissa-marinated pork chops with lobster mushrooms for dinner. It's the ultimate "local". There's a lot to be said for waking up in a hotel that fully feels integrated with the neighbourhood.

Awakening each day in Nob Hill, a cheeky squirrel greeted me out the window, racing up a tree to raid a bird's nest.

Nob Hill homes and shops.
Nob Hill homes and shops.

Inn @ Northrup Station is a class act in embracing that cherished sense of living like a local. This funky boutique hotel feature's eye-poppingly colourful guestrooms, expansively sized and complete with full kitchen facilities.

The hotel serves a cracking complimentary continental breakfast, they will happily give you a ticket to ride the Portland Streetcar and there's a rolling roster of special extras, like free Sunday Sundaes, Movie Night Mondays and Wine Down Wednesdays. Like Portland itself — you'll just love it. ¦ www.northrupstation.com