Portland has long had a strong coffee culture; well known for its coffee houses, coffee shops, cafes and a take-it-slow lifestyle. All this produces many great locations around the city to get some work done.
My career as a software engineer was largely launched in the Los Angeles area but the evolution of how I worked most effectively as a software engineer was in full swing when I made Portland my home again. I was in love with working from anywhere outside of an office building. Parks were good. Home was great. Working from a restaurant or cafe was high on the list.
My “zone”, as I like to call it, was not easily time-boxed and my environment played a big role.
I needed background noise and strangers milling about. I got my creative inspiration from things I would read on someone’s shirt or the colors I would find on walls and in paintings. Often the typeface of a sign or the smell of something delicious would be enough to set me on a course for hours at a time. For me, I had to work all over the place. I needed to be in many places around many ever-changing things.
I’ve found a real goldmine in Portland’s coffee shops, cafes and coffee houses. Even restaurants in Portland are great for sitting for a few hours and getting work done. The work-friendly nature of so many great places is unreal. I’m convinced the best coffee shops to work from are in Portland.
It’s a combination of things that make my last statement a fact.
The people in Portland are super nice. It’s almost cliche how nice complete strangers can be. I can’t count the number of times I’ve struck up a conversation with a stranger that happened to be near me, only to find myself inviting them to my next BBQ in no time at all. Friends come easy out here and it makes for a great work-friendly culture throughout many locations around the city.
Bikes are a preferred method of transportation
You might be wondering — what do bikes have to do with fostering a great coffee shop coworking environment? Riding a bike provides people a more intimate relationship with their environment. Lots of bikers equals lots of people who care about the neighborhoods they live in. Good neighborhoods sprout great local cafes and great local cafes make for a great remote working spaces. Pretty cool huh?
Portland’s MAX light-rail system is pretty great. I can get from one side of the city to the other in less than 60 mins during peak hours. Combined with a downtown streetcar and a lot of buses that seem to drop you off in front of most anywhere, Portland’s public transit system does a fantastic job of providing easy access to so many great coffee houses and WiFi ready cafes.
It’s all about the neighborhoods
Portland is very ‘neighbor-hoody’. Every neighborhood has its own charm and its own micro-culture. It all spills into the neighborhood businesses. You can spend the better part of a day exploring just a few blocks in many of these neighborhoods. When I work from favorite coffee shops in a great Portland neighborhood, I often show up early and leave late. I walk from cafe to coffee house. I stop by a grocery store for some food and a bottle of walking water. I find it best to bring a bag, or a backpack in my case, and simply move from place to place as the day unfolds.
Coffee shop coworking in Portland is second to none.
I started workfrom.co to provide a way for others to quickly find a great place to get some work done while out and about. My hope is that you find this information as helpful as I have over the years. Nothing like this exists right now. There are some reviews and some articles on the “top 20 coffee shops in Portland Oregon” but trying to sift through Yelp reviews is no fun and reading articles that tell you little if anything about wether or not a coffee shop is work-friendly is of no use. Use workfrom.co as a guide to finding a great place to sit down, pop open a laptop and get a little work done.