At long last, my dream to see Portland, Oregon has been realized. With only a weekend to explore the city, I could not tell how well Portlandia portrayed it, but nearly everyone we met was overtly friendly and the slightest bit odd.

Although it had been raining steadily for nearly seven days when we arrived and 100% chance of rain was forecast for the entire weekend, the weather is not as much of a hindrance to exploring the area as one would think. For one, the rain happened to be patchy; go a few miles in any direction, and you might find no rain, lighter rain, or a complete downpour. A few times, we even saw the sought-after patches of sun that Portlandia featured in one of their episodes.

Our strategy was to see what we could outdoors when not raining, and during heavy downpours, drink good beer from any of the over fifty craft breweries the town has to offer. The strategy worked out well.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, named after the Multnomah people who first settled the land was our first highlight. We were fortunate to get a break in the rain early Saturday morning and arrived before the crowds. The waterfalls are stunning, as I remember them from famous photographs. There is a nice trail that leads to the very top of the 627 ft (191m) high top waterfall and continues on through beautiful, lush forest.

International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden, home to over 7,000 rose plants, is not exactly at its prime at the end of October. The cascading terraces offer great views of Portland, however, and we did see a few late blooms here and there.

Japanese Garden

The Rose Garden's neighbor, the Japanese Garden, is much more impressive in October. The tiny, finely manicured Japanese maples are a radiant red and attract many hardcore photographers, somewhat absurdly so. The five and a half acre grounds are a real sanctuary, and one could easily spend a day here relaxing when it is not raining.

Cannon Beach

Having visited Deschutes Brewery and checked off our most important attractions, we decided to head to the coast Sunday afternoon and see at least a short stretch of the scenic Oregon coastline. We chose Cannon Beach for being the closest beach to Portland. It is a quaint beach town with miles of fine sand and unusual rock formations. Haystack Rock is practically its icon.

The rain avoided Cannon Beach, and we were treated to some great countryside scenes in the late afternoon's Fall sun rays.