Oregon's Portland has a reputation for quirkiness and creativity - the city's unofficial slogan is 'Keep Portland weird.' If that's not enough to win you over, how about brilliant beer, delicious local food, big green parks, and great hiking and cycling?
Icelandair offers frequent cheap flights to Portland from the UK and Europe for bookstore browsing, bicycling, festivals, and craft brews.
Before you stop to sample the beers and smell the roses in Portland, fancy trying out some of Iceland's crafty dining options, from skyr to smoked lamb? When you book flights to Portland with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
Green is good in Portland, and the list of parks worth a visit is long. Top of the tree is the USA's largest urban park: 5100-acre Forest Park. It's only 10 minutes from downtown and is full of hiking and cycling trails. Its neighbor is the slightly less-wild Washington Park, and it's home to the city's zoo, arboretum, a children's museum, and a museum dedicated to forests.
In Washington Park, stop by two city favorites: the impressive Japanese Garden, a haven of zen, and the International Rose Test Garden, a heady place filled with 500 types of roses. Rest assured: on rainy days (of which there are many), there's still plenty to do in this town. Museums cover art, history, and science, while loads of cozy cafes and brewpubs beckon.
Like the rest of the west coast, Portland has embraced the farm-to-table movement, and eating well (locally, seasonally, sustainably) is assured here - as are cool food trucks, perfectly brewed coffees and neighborhood farmers markets (there's a good one held Saturdays at the Portland State University campus).
Every neighborhood has some good options for eating - try out the Pearl District for some fun dining and drinking choices. The Pine Street Market is a downtown spot worth checking out - it's an upmarket food court that's home to nine restaurants under one roof. To help you tap into the acclaimed local brewing scene, do some homework online or join a local tour (and have someone else do the planning and driving).
The Saturday Market is a local institution - it sets up along the waterfront and sells great arts and crafts, with food vendors and musicians to keep you entertained. And despite the name, it's held on Sundays, too. One of Portland's unlikely big attractions is a bookstore - and Powell's City of Books is no ordinary bookstore. It's huge (sprawling over a city block in the Pearl District), and beloved. Wander the Pearl District for fine shopping and eating options, and the Hawthorne District for funky finds.
For the full mall experience, seek out Pioneer Place or Lloyd Center. Lloyd Center is the state's largest mall - it even has an ice-skating rink.