A 20-Something Girl Guide to Portland by Krishna de la Cruz

I just got back from Portland, Oregon and can’t stop raving about it to all my friends. I loved it and I think it’s mostly because I live in Austin, I love Austin, and Portland very much feels like a sister city to Austin.

I stayed at a a cute boutique hotel called Jupiter Hotel, on east Burnside Street. I loved it because it was affordable and walking distance to the hip bars and shops on the east side of Portland, and to the Burnside Bridge. The hotel concierges were all super knowledgeable about what the cool walking distance spots were in the area, and one of them even grabbed a pen and paper and mapped out the ideal bar hopping day.

My trip started on Thursday of Memorial Day weekend, but unlike other well-known cities, Portland was not packed with crowds of vacationers. That was perfect for me because I tend to run away from large crowds of people. Thursday was spent bar hopping and I have to say my favorite bar was Roadside Attraction in the southeast quadrant of Portland.

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If you love the movie Practical Magic, or are into witchy vibes, period, you will love this place. Something cool about Portland is that roses there grow like weeds, so the outdoor patio of this bar reminded me so much of the garden/greenhouse in Practical Magic, with roses and other unique looking plants growing everywhere. The indoor area is dark, red, smoky, and feels very mystical. A dive-y speakeasy. Roadside Attraction is not immediately apparent if you are just walking down the street. It is in the middle of a mostly residential neighborhood and it looks like a closed up secret garden that could be part of any other home, so be on the lookout!

 

Hiking is one of my favorite hobbies so a majority of my trip was spent hiking. On Friday, I started a hike at Macleay Park, not really knowing where I would end up, and I ended up hiking up a forest-y mountain for about a mile or two, and stumbling upon the Pittock Mansion with a breathtaking garden and viewpoint. You can take a tour of the interior of the mansion for $12 and explore the gardens and viewpoint for free.

 

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Saturday was one of my favorite days because–POWELL’S CITY OF BOOKS. If you are a fellow book-lover, let it be known, you will probably spend three hours at this bookstore. This is one of the only places that I felt was affected by Memorial Day weekend in terms of the amount of people inside the store. But obviously, that didn’t stop me from browsing my life away. This bookstore is HUGE and has a ton of color-coded rooms with different literary themes. My favorite genre is contemporary fiction so I spent most of my time in that room. I bought The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. I follow several book club Instagram pages and that’s usually how I find books to read and how I decided to buy this book in particular. Recently I’ve noticed that my favorite subtopic seems to be women coming-of-age stories.

 

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On Sunday funday, my last full day there, Oregon blessed my soul with its nature. I walked along the pedestrian walkway under the Burnside Bridge. Then drove out with friends to Multonomah Falls and to Mosier, Oregon for my favorite hike yet.

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Being outside, taking walks, and hikes, are all so essential for me. I try to go for walks at least three times per week. It is my time for self-reflection and ENDORPHINS! The mountains of Mosier were everything.  Geographically, this trail felt like a prarie – not really any trees, just the open skies, and flowers, and grass. We did not hike the entire trail, but made it to the top of one hill, and hiked a total of about 600 feet uphill. Mosier is a tiny town with a population of 400 people and it is about an hour and a half east of Portland.

 

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Monday morning was short before heading out to the airport, but not too short to leave without eating my favorite meal of the entire trip–Blue Star Donuts, “Donuts for Grownups.” The location I visited was downtown and the line was nearly out the door, but it moved very quickly. I didn’t care about the line at all because I was a kid at a candy store. Some of the donuts are alcohol-infused, but my favorite donuts were the Mexican Hot Chocolate and Blueberry Cake.  If all else fails, please don’t leave Portland without trying these.
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All in all, Portland reminded me very much of Austin in terms of the friendliness of the people, the emphasis on local businesses, and quirky everything, just with a lot less people and a lot more nature. I’ll be back.

MEET THE AUTHOR

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Krishna de la Cruz is currently an attorney living in Austin, Texas. She grew up on the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas and the Rio Grande Valley. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Spanish from Texas State University in 2014 and Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2017. While in law school, she was an Executive Editor on the The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review for Race and Social Justice where she wrote an article focused on the issue of violence against women, particularly women of color. The article is titled “Exploring the Conflicts within Carceral Feminism: A Call to Revocalize the Women Who Continue to Suffer.” During law school, she traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, where she was certified in Mexican Legal Studies at Universidad de Guadalajara.

In her spare time, Krishna enjoys reading, journaling, and hiking Austin trails. Krishna is a big enthusiast of mental health, mindfulness, physical wellness, and her Mexican heritage. Currently Krishna is planning her first trip to Southeast Asia.

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