A hipster highway journey by means of Seattle, Portland and San Francisco | Untapped USA

If your inside cool child is asking out for a trip, the west coast of America has all of the microbreweries, bikes and cat yoga you want

By Christian Koch

Fly into: Seattle, Washington
Stop off in: Portland, Oregon
Fly out of: San Francisco, California
Distance lined: 810 miles

Stop 1: Seattle, Washington
Smells like entrepreneurial spirit. Seattle could have spawned huge companies similar to Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing, however information analysts Infogroup topped it the “World’s Most Hipster City” – it has the best focus of microbreweries, record-stores and tattoo parlours anyplace on the planet. What higher place to fly into to begin your hipster-themed journey across the States?

Hipster Tourist Holding A Camera Sitting In A Cafe Drinking Coffee

Many of those micro-businesses occupy former car-repair outlets in Capitol Hill. It’s micro-everything right here. Within a number of blocks, there’s micro-distillery Sun Liquor; micro-avant-garde file retailer Wall of Sound; microbreweries so miniscule they’re “nano-breweries”, similar to Outer Planet; plus sufficient micro-roasteries to caffeinate the continent – see Victrola’s lab-like roasting room; or Vivace’s latte artwork.

The neighbourhood additionally has extra dive bars than you may shake a PBR can at, together with Linda’s Tavern – the unofficial headquarters for Seattle’s 1990s’ grunge scene. Decorated with arcade video games and taxidermy, the bar was allegedly the final place Kurt Cobain was seen alive. Nirvana nuts can even discover a religious home at Hotel Max whose Sub Pop Records-themed rooms are geared up with Crosley record-players and vinyl by the era-defining label.

For nostalgia-driven souvenirs, grungy plaid shirts aplenty might be found within the University District’s classic shops. Second-hand bookshops, similar to Magnus Books additionally do nicely on this boho patch. And analogue-loving trendsters who stage VHS nights might be keen about Scarecrow, the US’s largest video retailer, with 130,00zero movies in stock.

Close-Up Of Gum WallPhoto Taken In United States, Seattle

WA14138-00...WASHINGTON - The Monorail entering the tunnel through the Museum Of Pop Culture located at the Seattle Center.

The wall of gum; the Museum of Pop Culture

In the neighbouring Fremont space, issues get quirkier. Obeying the native motto “De Libertas Quirkas” (“freedom to be peculiar”), one of the best time to witness Fremont’s freakiness is its annual Summer Solstice Parade in June, the place stilt-walkers, puppeteers and body-painted cyclists come out in pressure. The remainder of the 12 months, guests can take pleasure in Sunday morning flea markets, much more microbreweries, plus offbeat statues (assume 18-foot tall trolls and large 1950s’ rockets). You’d anticipate nothing much less. After all, what different metropolis would have a wall lined in used chewing gum (Gum Wall, in Post Alley) and a museum resembling a sliced-up guitar (Museum of Pop Culture) amongst its foremost vacationer points of interest? Being various in Seattle is the norm. To paraphrase Cobain, simply come as you’re.

Bike Commuter in Portland OregonA young man commuting in an urban city environment on his street bicycle, a waterproof bike bag on his back. This is the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland, Oregon, that follows along the Willamette river. Downtown is visible across the water, the sun shining brightly between the buildings. Horizontal, in-camera lens flare, in motion.

Portland – a cycle-friendly metropolis

Stop 2: Portland, Oregon
Grab a rent automotive from Avis and make the three-hour drive to Portland – a metropolis so ridiculously hip it spawned a parody TV present, Portlandia. And it’s no shock. Hit the streets and also you’ll discover cat yoga and the world’s first vegan mini-mall. But there’s substance behind the satire: most of the world’s most hipster traits have prospered right here.

Take meals carts, for instance – in Portland, these take the type of caravan-style meals cart “pods”. The metropolis’s now famend culinary cart scene affords a bewildering array of global delicacies: bulgogi burritos, Bosnian cabbage rolls, connoisseur grilled-cheese sandwiches, heck, even Israeli poutine.

Portland additionally helped pioneer the craft beer revolution (latest figures counsel 60 to 70-and-counting breweries). There’s a wealth of experimentation taking place right here: a Breakside Brewery tasting flight may embrace pinot noir barrel-aged beer, mango IPAs or salted-caramel stouts. Such is Portland’s beer bounty, it’s simple to neglect it borders one in all America’s finest wine areas: Willamette valley, whose vineyard tasting rooms rival their city, hop-heavy counterparts. Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, with its free wine socials, affords the right refuge.


Baristas are rock stars in Portland; hardly shocking given native Stumptown Coffee’s trailblazing position within the third-wave espresso motion (assume nerding out over Kalita Waves). There’s additionally a working espresso tour (“exercise while learning about Portland’s micro-roasters,” they are saying) – or Courier Coffee delivers java by bicycle.

Ah, biking. Portland is likely one of the most cycle-friendly cities within the US, with 350 miles of motorbike lanes, with one of many highest figures for bike commuters within the nation and biking occasions all year long from the Bride Pedal to the Tweed Ride. Its Instagram-ready location, framed by dormant volcano Mount Hood and close to to Columbia River gorge, makes it excellent for outdoorsy varieties too. Stock up at hipster climbing model Poler Stuff earlier than heading out.

USA, Oregon, Portland, The St. Johns Beer Porch,

Portland FatFancyIMG 7335

Ray’s Ragtime Hollywood; Fat Fancy

The finest approach to strategy Portland? Like an area. Scour residential classic shops Ray’s Ragtime Hollywood or plus-sized Fat Fancy (native Beth Ditto is a fan). Browse Portland’s bookstores, whether or not it’s Powell’s Books (the world’s largest indie bookseller) or unbiased feminist bookshop and event house In Other Words. Portland may have been parodied as someplace “young people retire” (Portlandia, once more), however inside days you’ll be understanding the best way to be a part of them …

The stunning MaestraPeace mural on the exterior of The Women’s Building in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.

The Maestrapeace mural on the Women’s Building within the Mission District of San Francisco

Stop three: San Francisco
Grab a home flight from Portland to San Francisco. When the town was the epicentre of the 1950s’ beat scene, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac would sprinkle it into each wine-and-jive-fuelled dialog. The North Beach space continues to be redolent of that period, with poetry-scribbling, beret-wearing hepcats propping up Caffe Trieste or Chinese cocktail dive Li Po. Learn extra on the fantastic Beat Museum, whereas City Lights Bookstore retains radicalism alive with sections entitled “commodity aesthetics” and cabinets stacked with zines.

Contemporary cool crowds usually tend to be noticed within the Mission district, clutching macchiatos from Ritual Coffee Roasters en path to taking part in frisbee in Dolores Park. The district’s Latino tradition has resulted in mural-coated bodegas (additionally see open-air Clarion Alley’s constantly-evolving street-art) and very good meals – La Taqueria’s bungalow-sized burritos are obligatory Mission fare. Don’t depart with out visiting writer Dave Eggers’ non-profit pirate-supply retailer, 826 Valencia, or sampling “secret breakfast” ice-cream (bourbon and cornflake flavour) from Humphry Slocombe. And, sure, it’s named after the 1970s’ British sitcom (Are You Being Served?).

826 Valencia Matthew Millman copy


Pirate provide retailer 826 Valencia; ice-cream at Humphry Slocombe

The Bay Area’s countercultural vibe is arguably most alive in Oakland. Arty varieties who can’t afford San Fran’s tech-boom costs have moved to the so-called “Brooklyn by the Bay”. Many have arrange boho boutiques, barbers or shrub-tasting courses in Temescal Alleys. Try Hotel Zephyr for a spot to remain, with an awesome location on Fisherman’s Wharf. Kombucha and ukuleles on the prepared …

For extra inspiration and to guide your journey to the US, go to

Travel News


Show More

Related Articles