If you’re looking to visit an artistic, funky and progressive city, pack your bags for “the City of Roses!” Portland’s incredible arts community, vibrant nightlife and progressive politics make it an accepting and welcoming destination for any traveler. It’s a laidback, big city that still has a small-town feel to it—and reasonable prices to match. Portland is known as a great place for lesbians… but don’t worry boys, there’s plenty for you here, as well!

Portland was the first top-30 U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor (Sam Adams, 2009-2012) and city commissioners recently decided to make two thirds of city restrooms gender-neutral. In 2016, Oregon became the first state to elect an openly bisexual governor, Kate Brown.

Portland is serious about art. The Center for the Performing Arts—a cluster of downtown theaters—stages a wide variety of shows year-round. The Native American art collection at the Portland Art Museum is second to none. The Northwest Film Center presents a year-round exhibition program of foreign, classic, experimental and independent cinema.

Portland’s alternative performing arts venues stage some of the most incredible and unorthodox productions in the nation. Check out the Vagabond Opera for dark and ironic vaudeville; Star Theater for burlesque shows and eclectic musical performances; Darcelle XV for glitzy-glamorous drag shows; and, both Silverado and Stag for naked male dancers.

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For classic American fare with an innovative Pacific Northwest twist, grab a bite at Gracie’s Restaurant, located in the fabulous Hotel DeLuxe—a boutique, Art Deco hotel that is a fabulous tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Era. Portland also has a ridiculous number of microbreweries, microdistilleries, international food carts, coffeehouses and bookstores.

The great outdoors.
The Willamette River, which runs through the town’s mix of modern towers and renovated warehouses, provides ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits. Gay beaches with nude stretches can be found on the Columbia River at Sauvie Island to the west of town and at Rooster Rock State Park to the east. Pacific Ocean beaches, temperate rain forests and Mt. Hood (Oregon’s highest peak and one of the most prominent of the Cascades’ volcanoes) are all just a short drive from downtown.

Outlook hazy.
Now that recreational-use marijuana is legal in Oregon, consider consuming cannabis-themed events in Portland like the Oregon Dope Cup (Oct. 29, 2017) and the Cannabis Classic (a statewide competition and award ceremony on Dec. 17, 2017).

The Hawthorne District in southeast has a long reputation as the center of the city’s lesbian scene, but it’s popular with anyone who has an alternative, progressive bent. Burnside Triangle (aka – “Pink Triangle”) contains a plethora of LGBTQ-friendly independent shops and restaurants.

Out and about.
For a night on the town, check out Hotflash/Inferno, a popular women’s dance night at Trio Club every second Saturday and at Bossanova Ballroom every fourth Saturday. Also pop into Star Theater every first

Thursday to see BOYeurism, a mostly male PDX variety/cabaret and burlesque show featuring “a testosterone tornado of the region’s sexiest dancers, aerialists, vocalists, acrobats and performers!” Portland also hosts Pride Northwest (June 16-17, 2018) and the massive Portland Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Sept 29 – Oct 5, 2017).

The City of Roses is calling. Please answer.

Fun Fact:
Portland is one of the few American cities to allow fully nude male entertainment.

Get lost in Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore.

Drive two hours northwest to Astoria and do the truffle shuffle in front of the famous Goonies house.

Stay at the Hotel Rose, a funky boutique hotel that has 142 guest rooms with scenic cityscape and waterfront views.

Don’t miss a fabulous evening at the Tony Starlight Showroom, a Hollywood-inspired dinner theater that’s called “The Las Vegas of Portland.” Be sure to attend on a night when legendary piano player Bo Ayars is tickling the ivories. Ayars was Liberace’s long-time conductor and musical director and is the last living member of Liberace’s “inner circle.” He also toured with Elvis Presley, wrote music with Barbra Streisand and brought the D.C.-based musical political satire troupe, the “Capitol Steps,” to national fame. He’s very approachable, so say hello during a break… and tell him that Q Virginia sent you.