Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle. In comparison, Portland’s environment is not as fast-paced; instead it has a more laid-back, casual feel to it. Portland, however, is still a city just shy of 600,000 people, and as such has quite a few amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation.

Portland has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas Fir trees, and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color. Furthermore, Portland has some of the mnost favorable weather conditions on the West Coast, with a temperate climate and a diverse array of many fascinating types of clouds.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture here and fuel many progressive city planning practices, such as an urban growth boundary, which have made Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similar-sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive 15 mi (24 km) from downtown and be out in the countryside.