Having been spared the kind of aggressive, remorseless development that many Seattle residents have come to loathe, Portland still retains a pleasant, small-city feel, both for its well-preserved Beaux Arts architecture and walkable urban core, as well as its easygoing atmosphere. That said, there’s not a lot to keep intrepid tourists here for more than a day, with most of the city’s handful of major attractions located within close walking distance of each other on the short city blocks – half the size of most American cities. On the other hand, while Portland’s unpretentious bohemian flavor may be lost on more gung-ho travelers, the city remains an excellent spot for casual visitors to slack around for weeks at a time, with a wealth of good diners, microbreweries, clubs, bookstores and coffee houses to keep you occupied.
The city was named after Portland, Maine, following a coin toss between its two East Coast founders in 1845 (“Boston” was the other option). Its location on a deep part of the Willamette River, just 78 miles from the Pacific and surrounded by fertile valleys, made it a perfect trading port, and it grew quickly, replacing its clapboard houses with ornate facades and Gothic gables.
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