As you may or may not have known, I just returned from a weeklong roadtrip from one of my favorite cities, Portland, Oregon. Why Portland? Portland has remained one of the most artistically centered, music oriented, and alternative cities on the Northwest. It's a cleaner, sounder San Francisco. Amazing bands such as The Shins, The Decemberists, and Elliot Smith come from this city. They even have numerous webpages devoted to their music scene http://www.indiemusicportland.com/
It is not uncommon to see art galleries on every block, 4 block long bookstores, an array of vintage boutiques, and an abundance of coffee shops, including their signature Stumptown Coffee. There was even a small strip on SE Stark St. that included several vegan shops including Sweet Pea Bakery, Skapegoat Tattoo, and FoodFight! Grocery.
Gluten Free Vegan Baked Goods from Sweet Pea Bakery
With all these attractions, what I most liked about Portland was the originality. It seemed as if everyone there had their own style, their own opinions, and their own personality. No one was aiming to be anyone else and no one looked or acted like the social norm. It is a city where you are free to be anything and anything really does go. If you haven't had a chance yet to visit, I suggest you do.