Keen is a Oregon institution. In addition to outfitting residents in hiking gear for exploring the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge, its headquarters in Portland is a destination in itself: a sustainably refurbished pre-war warehouse in the Pearl District. We spoke to brand director Linda Balfour about where else first-time visitors should add to their must-see list. (You won’t find these under-the-radar gems in typical tourist guides.) “Portland is so special and the community of people is one of the reasons Keen is headquartered here,” she says. “It’s got the perfect mix of being a great, fun city, with amazing rural landscapes.”

RISE AND SHINE “Brunch is a big thing here. Put your name on the list, then grab a coffee and maybe a Blue Star donut to tide you over while you wait. Kin in Northeast Portland is really good, but there are all kinds of brunch places tucked away. You really can’t go wrong with food in Portland.” 

TAKE A HIKE “Portland has great access to the outdoors: Within an hour and 15 minutes you can be surfing in the Pacific Ocean or skiing on Mount Hood. One of my top-five hikes on Mount Hood is called Paradise Park. There are breathtaking views, and when you finish you can have cocktails at Timberland Lodge!”

ADMIRE SOME ARCHITECTURE “The Keen Garage is repurposed in ways you would never imagine: car hoods, glass electrical caps and high school bleechers have all become really beautiful fixtures and furniture. Our staff at the store also make it a really great visit: Not only do you have experts who will help you find the right shoe for the right activity (see above), but they also have different passions in Portland and can tell you where to go for great food or good music.”

INDULGE IN RETAIL THERAPY “Make sure to bring reusable shopping bags. Bring-your-own-bag is a pretty big thing here, and there’s tax-free shopping, which means there are a lot of opportunities you won’t want to pass up. I really enjoy the shops on Mississippi Avenue – there’s a unique collection of items that range from locally made to international brands.”

BE YOUR OWN TOUR GUIDE “If you’re a beer drinker, definitely take time to check out a number of local breweries. You can create a quick DIY beer tour in the Pearl District, where you’ll find Ten Barrel, Cascade Brewery and Rogue, among others.”

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES “One of the things that’s really cool about Portland is there are so many gardens. There’s a place called the Grotto, which is a hiden gem in Portland. Then there’s the Hoite Arboretum and, of course, the rose gardens.”

Weekend getaway: Miami
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