Introduced in 2003 as an initiative to support local businesses, “Keep Portland Weird” has fast become Portland’s unofficial motto. Anyone who’s been to the city or watched cult TV show Portlandia will know that the phrase has been taken to heart, and Portland is proud to be, well, a little bit quirky. Here’s why we think it’s one of America’s strangest but greatest cities.
Despite its size, it’s treated like any other park – events and concerts take place around the site (including, apparently, a wedding), and a miniature ferris wheel was once placed into it by a full-size crane.
If you’re not up for riding in the buff, there’s the Worst Day Of The Year bike ride to help you get over the February blues (fancy dress encouraged), and a bike-themed film festival in May.
You can take organised cycling tours with Pedal Bike Tours, all of which end up back at their shop where you can talk bikes over a local beer.
If you’re into music, head over for the KK Quiet Music Festival: a weekend of “sonic serenity” for those who prefer to turn down the bass.
For those without a strong stomach, the Stark Vacuum Museum houses, you guessed it, a bemusing selection of vacuum cleaners. It's a wonder no one ever thought of this before.
You can sign up to an underground tour of the tunnels to discover more about Portland’s potentially shady past, and whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the setting is certainly ghostly.
Get your caffeine fix at Rimsky-Korsakoffee House and you're also likely to get more than you bargained for, as some of the cafe’s “bewitched” tables vibrate or move up and down. The dimly-lit interior, filled with hanging ornaments, adds to the haunting atmosphere, and don’t miss the bathroom; its bizarre underwater theme features a mannequin in a kayak and feet dangling from the ceiling.
Explore more of Portland with the Rough Guide to the USA or go to VisitTheUSA.com.