You've probably been reading a lot about Portland, Ore., in the news recently -- thanks to Sam Adams, who became the city's first openly gay mayor in January (though not without some ensuing controversy). But this city has got a lot more to offer than scandalous politics. Portland has an irrepressible sense of fun and a whole lot of character. America's other P-Town exudes eclectic charm from every nook of its park-encircled urban landscape. A glance up from your BlackBerry yields some of Portland's famed quirks. Bumper stickers proclaim "Keep Portland Weird!" while miniature plastic horses are tied to old hitching rings on sidewalks. Meanwhile, the city's official doughnut comes in the shape of a voodoo doll that "bleeds," thanks to its jelly filling. If you're here for business and looking for a little after-hours fun, Portland comes up roses.
The city's outlook is as sustainable as it is offbeat. Despite its smaller stature compared to other major U.S. cities, Portland has the highest number of LEED (U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating) certified projects in the country. The Oregon Convention Center, the largest in the Pacific Northwest, is one such building. Originally opened in 1990, the state-of-the-art facility was expanded in 2003 to nearly 1 million square feet of convention space. Travel Portland, the municipal tourism authority, provides meeting planners with a Green Meetings Toolkit. Visiting the city saves some green as well, as Oregon has no sales tax (read: "guilt-free shopping").