Quaking Grass

4050 Northeast Broadway Street, Portland, OR 97232 Directions
+15032854419
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From Our Editors

After spending time in Quaking Grass's furnished loft studio, you learn why some of the yoga, Zumba, and holistic-dance instructors refer to the space as their "big living room." Once inside the studio, you find yourself in a sprawling, high-ceilinged loft. Natural light spills in from tall windows and onto green walls, where African art and decorative Asian fans hang. Scanning the room, you see plush furniture, a kitchenette, and a massive Native American dream catcher, painted white and hanging 6 feet to the floor.

Quaking Grass is home to the Healing Arts Collective; many of its members left positions as businesspeople, teachers, and lawyers in favor of a more relaxed lifestyle. According to director Heather Straube, they each felt called to help others through techniques such as massage, yoga, and dance. Instructors lead students through progressive poses in Vinyasa yoga, dances set to Latin and Caribbean beats in Zumba, and blends of meditative martial arts and freeform movement in Earthquake Ecstatic and Nia dance. Though they guide some classes step-by-step, instructors emphasize free exploration over adhering to a strict routine—reminding students that they can meditate silently, pair off with partners, or dance alone to practice leading and following at the same time.

Once each month, Quaking Grass's members also host an open community clinic, experimental salon, and potluck. Practitioners stationed throughout the space introduce curious guests to basics of tarot-card reading, massage, hypnosis, quantum touch, and a host of other holistic methods—with the hope that visitors, like babies balancing their first checkbooks, experience something new. Individual members, artists, or community practitioners may also lead workshops or lectures explaining their craft.

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Groupon Guide

Portland Guide

Few cities would embrace such an unconventional slogan as “Keep Portland Weird,” but the liberal Pacific Northwest haven revels in its eccentricities. Visitors can find stickers bearing this phrase pasted on local businesses that range from an art-house movie theater to a donut shop that once glazed its baked goods with NyQuil. Many of Portland's residents see alternative culture as the norm—quirky boutiques, cafes, locally minded farmers markets, and outdoor festivals all embody the city's counterculture proclivities.

Originally planned with strict urban-growth boundaries that left plenty of room for parks and green spaces, the city is now laced with extensive bikeways and miles of leafy trails that cross plots such as Forest Park. Many of these parks are destinations in their own right: Pioneer Courthouse Square holds free concerts and festivals in warm weather, giving locals good reason to refer to it as “Portland’s living room.” Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park sprawls across the west bank of the Willamette River and was recently named one of America’s greatest public spaces by the American Planning Association.

The city's progressive environmentalist culture is also reflected in the numerous restaurants, cafes, coffee roasters, and brewpubs that serve sustainable and local cuisine. In many neighborhoods, streets are narrow and the blocks are compact, which explains why many residents forgo cars in favor of walking shoes, fixed-gear bikes, and vintage trolleys.

Portland has also been called a city where the old meets the new: Catholic cathedrals and old drawbridges share a skyline with high-rise buildings that house a growing number of tech companies. In Nob Hill, upscale Mediterranean, French, and Vietnamese restaurants coexist with original Victorian homes. Formerly home to little more than empty warehouses, the Pearl District has recently sprouted a bevy of art galleries and specialty loft boutiques. Portland boasts one of the largest collections of microbreweries in the country, and a good number of them can be found in this culturally hip neighborhood.

Two of Portland's main attractions are the International Rose Test Garden and the authentic Japanese Garden—landmarks that reflect the city's blend of Asian and European sensibilities, as well as its residents' affinity for high culture. Portland Art Museum, the Pacific Northwest's oldest arts facility, houses works from the European masters to modern art; other museums highlight interactive science exhibits and local maritime history. One of Portland's must-see literary landmarks is Powell's City of Books, the world's largest independent bookstore.

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