Things I Have Been Asked By Portland Tourists

As a Portland tour guide, I am often asked questions about my city. Here are some of them.

“Why do so many people in Portland have backpacks?”

“Why do people in Portland dress like that?”

“What are Portland’s major religions?”

“Is it true that people have chickens in their yard?”

“Where’s the Apple store?”

“Is being a tour guide your main job?” [I do not like this question]

“Have you seen Portlandia?”

“What’s the deal with Voodoo Doughnut?”

“How come there are so many homeless people?”

“Why is Portland called ‘Stumptown?'”

“Is Portland safe?”

“What’s the difference between the streetcar and light rail?”

“Where’s the Pearl District?”

“What’s that building right there?”

“Where are you from?” [When I say "Portland" people often act surprised.]

“Is it true that there’s a place where they put bacon on donuts?”

“Where’s the bad part of town?”

“Do people here like Obama?”

“The sea gulls here seem fatter than the sea gulls on the east coast. Why is that?”  [I later found out that the east and west coasts do, in fact, have different varieties of seagulls.]

“What do people here think of Portlandia?”

“What’s quinoa?”

“What time are the food carts open?”

“Why are there so many strip clubs?”

“What’s up with Voodoo Doughnut?”

“Do people really ride their bikes naked?”

[Said while looking east across the Willamette from Waterfront Park.] “Is that area across the river still part of Portland?”

“I heard that some people in Portland have goats. Is that true?”

“Do you guys really not have a sales tax?”

“What do you guys think of Seattle?”

“Why don’t people here pump their own gas?”

“What, exactly, is a ‘hipster?'”

“Where’s Voodoo Doughnut?”

And,

“What’s with all the white people?”

4 Responses to Things I Have Been Asked By Portland Tourists

  1. You forgot one….why are they’re so many terrible drivers? Is Drivers Education not available to High School students?

  2. Last time I checked, ignorance is excusable especially in tourists. In fact, many of these are FAIR questions from tourists… For example “Is that area across the river still part of Portland?” is a fair question because in many cities the river (or harbor) is a border between different cities.

  3. I recently moved to Kentucky from Portland. The main question I get asked when I saw I’m from Portland is “Have you seen Portlandia?”

  4. You should create a Portland FAQ based on these.

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