Portland one of ‘the Best Towns Ever’

A customer shops for fresh produce at the Portland Farmers' Market, held Wednesdays in Monument Square. (BDN photo by Brian Swartz)

A customer shops for fresh produce at the Portland Farmers’ Market, held Wednesdays in Monument Square. (BDN photo by Brian Swartz)

We’ve seen Portland lauded by national publications for its beer, coffee, economy, farmers markets, environmental friendliness, healthy living, second career opportunities, and on and on and on.

Tourists walk along the Harbor jetty late evening in Duluth, Minnesota, Outdoor magazine's "Best Town Ever." (Tom Wallace/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

Tourists walk along the Harbor jetty late evening in Duluth, Minnesota, Outside magazine’s “Best Town Ever.” (Tom Wallace/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

It’s really kind of become a bit of a running gag how frequently Maine’s largest city is pumped up by magazines in search of the best places in America — if not the world — for eating, vacationing, raising families, you name it.

But even in that environment of steady superlatives, Outside magazine takes the cake for hyperbole in singing Portland’s praises. In a cover story touting, in bold letters, the “BEST TOWNS EVER,” Portland finds itself ranked No. 13.

(The subhead proclaims these cities to be “PERFECT PLACES TO MOVE NOW” in case you still weren’t sure how strongly Outside magazine feels about these locations.)

Sure, Portland is behind 12 other towns, like top-ranked Duluth, Minnesota, and No. 2 Provo, Utah, but considering the competition apparently includes all other towns to ever exist — I’m looking at you, Babylon — that’s still pretty good.

Outdoor magazine notes that Portlanders make the best of their long winters by nordic skiing and pond hockey. But they forgot to mention winter swimming, as seen here during one of Portland's annual Polar Dips. (BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Outside magazine notes that Portlanders make the best of their long winters by Nordic skiing and pond hockey. But they forgot to mention winter swimming, as seen here during one of Portland’s annual Polar Dips. (BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Portland finished just behind No. 12 Charleston, South Carolina, and just ahead of No. 14 Nashville, Tennessee.

Outside developed its list based in large part on reader votes, with Duluth earning a whopping 221,350 votes. Portland finished with 30,230 votes, less than 2,000 away from 12th place and about 5,000 away from 11th.

The magazine highlighted Portland’s proximity to mountain-biking and sea kayaking opportunities, as well as its diverse and locally sourced restaurants, First Friday Art Walk and Portland Symphony Orchestra.

Outside writer Megan Michelson even gives Portland a pass on its cold season, writing:

Sure, winters can be long and rough, but locals don’t mind. They congregate for full-moon Nordic skiing at Riverside Golf Course and break out the pond-hockey gear. 

Piper Panzeri, owner of South Portland-based outfitter Out in the Open Adventures, told the publication she has “watched the transformation from a rough-around-the edges city to a thriving cultural destination.”

Part of the Portland skyline. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

Part of the Portland skyline. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.