‘Keep Portland Weird’ has become the unofficial slogan for Oregon’s most eccentric city. You’ll find the words on bumper stickers, in shop windows and on a famous mural in a car park off SW 3rd Ave, alongside the city’s coffee shops, microbreweries, farmers’ markets, independent bookshops, colourful food carts, zine culture and kooky suburbs full of crafty shops. Now, a slice of Portland weird is taking over the Truman Brewery and hoping to prove there’s substance behind the Portlandia hipster stereotypes.
For three weeks from April 18, Londoners can get a taste of the City of Roses at You Can, In Portland, a pop-up shop and event series featuring the Pacific Northwest city’s best designers and makers. Expect stalls selling feminist clothing, handcrafted homeware, jewellery made from skateboards and sustainable coffee-brewing equipment. For a deeper insight into Portland culture, there’ll be talks with leading designers and entrepreneurs, live mural-drawing, craft beer and tea-sampling, free vegan tattoos and spoken-word slams.
You can also take on the challenge of cycling part of the 4,900-mile distance from London to Portland on a stationary cycle; lucky riders can win on-the-spot prizes. If three weeks of Portland at the Truman isn’t enough, we have a few ideas…
PortLondia: the most ‘Portland’ places in London
Ross Brown opened this café opposite Brockley station after being inspired by the way they serve up the brown stuff in Portland. They’re passionate about beans here, with Square Mile roasts and a guest filter coffee each week.
5 Coulgate St, SE4 2RW. Brockley Overground.
Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland’s Pearl District has a cult following thanks to its eccentricity-flavoured and decorated balls of fried dough (its signature doughnut is shaped like a Voodoo doll, with a pretzel stake in the middle.) Crosstown’s spots, dotted around London, serve up their doughy treats with just as much creativity. We recommend the Sea Salt Caramel Banana.
Various locations in London.
The food trucks dishing out tastebud-tingling street food are at the centre of Portland’s gut-busting food scene. Get a taste of the meals-on-wheels action in London by tucking into an oozing grilled cheese sandwich from the little yellow Cheese Truck which often rolls into Maltby Street Market.
Maltby Street Market on Sundays and at The London Cheese Project in summer.
Craft beer and microbreweries are a mainstay in Portland’s food and drink scene, and London has its fair share too. Head to Hackney Wick’s canalside Crate Brewery – it’s kitted out with salvaged materials – and raise a pint of pale ale to our friends across the pond.
The White Building Unit 7, Queen's Yard, E9 5EN. Hackney Wick rail.
Portland’s nickname is the City of Roses, thanks to its luscious patches of the scented blooms. Get a whiff for yourself in Regent’s Park’s perfectly formed garden, home to the city’s largest collection of roses - that’s a whopping 12,000 buds.
Regent’s Park. Baker St or Regent’s Park tube.
You Can, In Portland is at the Old Truman Brewery April 18-May 7. Entry is free.
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