The bigger Portland gets, the more the little things matter.

We mean that literally.

It might be the hand-carved ice in your cocktail, or the insects your neighbor has been keeping in her house as pets. Heck, they might even be microscopic.

Our annual Best of Portland issue has always acted as a kind of magnifying glass. While our Readers' Poll shows the preferences of the public, we as a newspaper like blowing up those tinier, more idiosyncratic parts of the city—the details that might otherwise get lost in the sprawl and noise we spend the rest of the year trying to make sense of.

As the din of car horns, jackhammers and warring political factions grows louder, digging out those details from between the city's ever-narrowing crevices becomes increasingly important to us—because oftentimes, it's the smallest things that serve as the biggest reminders of why we bother putting up with the rest of it.

Sometimes, they're hidden gems that aren't so hidden—you just never would've thought to look for them. Like the weekly DIY wrestling night at the local Eagles lodge, or the sports bar that offers unadvertised tours of its historic (and possibly haunted) basement.

Yes, Portland is still a damn weird place—a place where Uber drivers turn their cars into spaceships and cartoonists turn Donald Trump into a decent person. We live in a town where you might walk into a fast-food restaurant and find a former writer for The Simpsons reviewing the burger, or go roller skating and find our biggest sports star out on the rink with you.

But it's also striving to become a more inclusive place, whether that means working to "decolonize" the culture of yoga or opening a gender-affirming waxing salon.

It's all those things put together that make Portland such a special place to live. Sure, life here is louder, harder and more overwhelming than it used to be. But everyone has reasons for continuing to stick it out here—big, small and microscopic. Here are 50 of our own.

Click here for the full Best of Portland 2018 guide.