Oregonians may disagree about which craft beer is the best, and which secret hiking spot has the best views — but there is one thing everyone will agree on: Oregon is definitively and inarguably the best state.
After living in other countries and different states around the US, I’ve come to really believe that Oregon is one of the best kept secrets in the US.
I grew up a mere hour away from the beach, an hour and a half from a mountain where I could ski and snowboard, minutes away from rivers to float down and a plethora of hiking spots accessible in the blink of an eye.
I’m ready to finally put this discussion to rest, and claim once and for all that Oregon is the best state out there — here are 20 things that prove it.
1. Crater Lake
Yep, that's real. Crater Lake is the pride and joy of many Oregonians, and you truly have to visit it to take it all in. At 1,943 feet deep, it is the deepest lake in the United States, with some of the freshest water to be found in the world.
2. Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world
According to a study completed on June 18, 2014 -- there are 55 breweries in Portland, 75 in the Portland metro area, with a total of 172 brewing companies in the state of Oregon.
Just thinking about all the delicious craft beer is making me crave a Ninkasi Tricerahops, or a maybe a Rogue Dead Guy -- the only problem with having so much beer is choosing which one (or five) you want.
3. Naked Bike Ride
People from Portland just love to be naked, it's just a fact -- throw a bike ride in there and it's like Christmas. Thousands of Portlanders gather every year for a communal ride around the city, what's not to like about a city with so much freedom?
4. Beaverton, OR is the home of Nike headquarters
Nike was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in 1964 -- and the first Nike shoes were made on a waffle iron. Now a multibillion dollar company, Nike employs pretty much half of my friends who have graduated from UO.
5. Bend, OR boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year
In a state known for copious rainfall, Bend is a gleaming ray of hope and (literal) sunshine. With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, mountain ranges, lakes and rivers galore, Bend is the perfect outdoor playground for anyone with an adventurous side.
6. No sales tax
Richard Masoner / Cyclelici
I mean, how awesome is that? Oregon is one of only five states that doesn't have sales tax -- the others are Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire and Delaware. So when something says it costs $3.99, it actually costs $3.99 -- may shoppers rejoice!
7. Portland has more strip clubs per capita than any other city in the US
I mean, I'm throwing this one in here for the dudes. Portland has one strip club for every 9,578 residents, making it really easy for people who want to go to strip clubs, to go to strip clubs. Just reporting the facts here, okay?
8. Multnomah Falls
Located a mere 30 minutes outside of Portland, Multonomah Falls is a beautiful example of the natural beauty Oregon has to offer. It is Oregon's tallest waterfall, and the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.
9. Powell's Book Store
Bibliophiles bow down, and take in the most amazing book store you'll ever get lost in. Powell's is the ultimate book-lover Mecca and the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world, deserving of an entire day of wandering and oohing and aahing at the books that cover ever surface.
Pro tip -- conquer one room at a time (my favorite is the blue room) and once you've found the book you want, dig through the pile to find the cheapest one, you can find loads of books for $2 or $3.
10. Oregon Brew Fest
Taking place July 23-27, 2014, it's the festival that all grads come back home for. Remember all that craft beer I mentioned at the beginning?
Well, this is a festival where you can sample 88 different craft beers, and then walk around downtown with a buzz and visit a few food trucks -- perfect way to spend a summer day.
11. Burnside Skatepark
Originally built without permission, the Burnside Skatepark located under the east side of the Burnside bridge is now an iconic Portland landmark.
It is the home of some seriously talented skaters, and has been featured in video games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and has even appeared in a few movies.
12. There is a town called Boring, Oregon
I wish I could say that Boring is a hip, happening place. However it's not -- it's quite boring, but nonetheless hilarious that there is a city called Boring.
13. Mt. Hood
Would you just look at this photo? Look at all that NATURE! Go into it. Breathe the fresh air. Walk around in the forest. It's MARVELOUS.
14. Oregon Country Fair
If you like to partake in mood-altering substances, Oregon Country Fair is the place for you. You know that scene in "Across the Universe" when they take LSD?
That's what Oregon Country Fair looks like. You'll find people on stilts, incredible body paint and some pretty psychedelic creations.
15. Fueled By Fine Wine Marathon
If running 13.1 miles then drinking copious amounts of wine sounds like your thing, the Fueled by Fine Wine Marathon is absolutely for you.
After you torture yourself running for over two hours (and believe me, it will take you over two hours) you get to celebrate with other fellow tortured runners and treat your sore muscles with glass after glass of Oregon wine. Personal Fav -- try the Lange Winery Pinot Noir Three Hills Cuvee.
16. "The Goonies" was filmed in Canon Beach and Astoria, Oregon
Ah, nostalgia. Anyone else remember this 1985 classic, about kids going out to search for pirate treasure so they don't lose their homes to foreclosure? That's the actual Goonies house featured above.
17. The public has access to all of Oregon's beautiful beaches
Per the 1967 Oregon Beach Bill, the public has access to all of the beautiful beaches. So that means the hotels can't kick you off any property, it's all open to be shared and enjoyed by everyone. Here's a great resource for anyone planning on going to the Oregon coast, and is deciding where go.
18. Oregon Shakespeare Festival
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit professional theatre that has been around since 1935. Located in Ashland, Oregon the plays run from February through early November every year in two indoor stages, and one outdoor stage.
19. An incredible coffee scene
Just like favorite craft beers and hiking spots, Oregonians are loyal and fierce about their coffee. Stumptown is probably one of the most well-known coffee roasters, with locations in NYC, LA and Seattle.
20. "Keep Portland Weird"
And last, but certainly not least -- my favorite thing about Oregon is that you are really free to be who you want to be. Portland's motto is "Keep Portland Weird," and the people who live there surely do their part to live up to it.
Top Photo Courtesy: Radcliffe Dacanay/Flickr