where all the young people go to retire

Last week’s office gossip was punctuated by many epic debates: To brunch or not to brunch? Ice cream versus froyo? Watching movies or actually living life? Whiskey instead of scotch? Is it cool to hate someone who hates something you love?

But the overarching theme: Which is the better Pacific Northwest city — Seattle or Portland?

Unfortunately, I’m the worst representative Seattle has. The best I can ever do is let people know that “Seattle’s really pretty when it’s sunny.” In comparison, Portland’s fanbase is practically rabid for its weird little city. Because of my lackluster admiration for Seattle, my Portland co-workers are constantly encouraging me to relocate 200 miles south. (+1 for Portland: No one in Seattle has ever tried to convince outsiders to move here.)

Last week, I roadtripped down to see some of my favorite colleagues with only two things on my calendar: working, and seeing Portland through a Portlander’s eyes. I’ve spent time in the city before — eating Voodoo doughnuts, drinking Spanish coffee and getting my nose re-pierced at one of the neighborhood tattoo parlors — but I’ve never really looked at it as much different than a smaller version of Seattle.

This opinion does not sit well with my friend Barrett. He has spent the past two years unabashedly listing Portland’s superior qualities and is determined to convert me.

So, like any good lobbyist with a cause, he tailored his most recent pitch to his audience: “Food and booze are good.”

In a very short amount of free time, we managed to eat and/or drink at Portland City Grill, Old Town PizzaLincoln Restaurant, Irving Street Kitchen, Bare Bones Cafe (twice), and Biscuits. Considering the limited free time I had, that’s a lot of rad stuff. It’s also not counting the entertainment time, such as walking B’s adorable dog Indy, drinking microbrews and gossiping, or watching TV and movies I wholeheartedly approve of and watch regularly like “Parks and Recreation,” “Mean Girls” and “Lost In Translation.”

And I’ll admit it, even though Seattle doesn’t want me to, Portland enchants me.

But I’m still not moving there.

*It’s the obvious joke, which I make a lot because I’m lazy, but the dream of the 90s is alive in “Portlandia.” Put a bird on it!

*Image via curtisperry.

10 thoughts on “where all the young people go to retire

  1. Portland is a great city. Definitely Top 3, just behind New York & San Francisco. Seattle is in the Top 5, just behind Portland. BTW – these are FACTS. What I like about Portland vs. Seattle is the unique, independent vibe that Seattle is missing. Is there a Seatlandia show that exemplifies this? Didn’t think so.

  2. OK, so where was the stop at #9 in Olympia???? Glad you had a good time. I’ve spent many hours in Portland. When I attended OSU in Corvallis I spent most of my weekends in Portland. I also belong to the Portland Culinary Alliance – a foodie group that meets once a month for meeting, dining, shopping, etc.

    I like Portland a lot but only to visit. I wouldn’t want to live there.

    I heard that you’re going to NY this weekend. WOW! You’re sure not letting any grass grow under your feet. You’re on the go more than I am!! Did you know that your mom & I are going to Las Vegas in Oct. & on a Caribbean cruise in March? Fun times.

    How is the thesis coming along? You should be finished soon.

    Always good to hear from you & to read your blogs. Keep them coming. Love you – Grams XOX

  3. Honestly, the older I get, the bigger the gap between Portland and Seattle grows. What was once a dead heat is now a yawning chasm.

    It’s not really fair to put Biscuits in that list. It kinda blows. And we only did Bare Bones twice because it’s stumblehome distance.

  4. Never heard of Bare Bones, now it’s on MY list 🙂 So, I’m partial to Portland, but I’ve spent a limited amount of time in Seattle (though it seems to be more and more frequently), and I LOVE Seattle. I think they two are really different, even if the climates are similar and the seafood’s good all around. We should plan two separate trips: 1) you come here and stay w/ me and I’ll show you MY view of Portland, and 2) I’ll come there and stay with you and you show me YOUR view of Seattle. Or maybe that’s just my excuse to eat/drink and hang out with you.

  5. I like both cities for different reasons…Portland definitely has a lot going for it but it can’t compete with Seattle’s waterfront location and Pike Place Market, there is the joy of the smell of the saltwater coming in on the air when you have a great seafood meal in Seattle that Portland lacks. Also the waterfront aquarium and access to the ferry system to Bainbridge or Bremerton. But shopping and culture are alive and well in Portland and there are more young people there. Seattle will always be first on my list because I was a teenager in Seattle and I know it well, Portland is my add-on city….free bus transportation in downtown Seattle has a vibe that the Portland lightrail doesn’t quite match….Seattle was better before they built the Westlake Mall, there were a lot of old eateries and shops that got wiped out when they built it. Great job on the blog Cari, keep it up!

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