The Portland State campus is the focal point of the University District. Complementing the college campus are a few gems that draw people in from across the region. Every Saturday of the year (rain or shine), the Portland Farmers Market bustles with local vendors in the center of the PSU park blocks. Get a hot breakfast or lunch, pick up flowers for your sweetie or purchase the fixins for your weekend meals. Cheap date? Visit the 5th Avenue Cinema for an indie film. The theater is Oregon’s only studentrun cinema and has been operating as a non-profit since 1989. Admission is $5 for the general public and free for PSU students. There is FREE POPCORN at every screening.
Head this way for a game at Providence Park, or to try on clothes at Portland Gear. Explore the Japanese Garden and International Rose Test Garden (home to more than 500 varieties of roses). Top off your day by enjoying a reuben sandwich on the front patio at Goose Hollow Inn.
Cross the river for tantalizing BBQ at the People’s Pig or a night of endless board games at Game Knight Lounge. Good weather calls for a stroll along North Williams. And while the westside’s Forest Park may have the square footage, both Dawson Park and Irving Park hold their own when it comes to great places for the community to gather. Make your way west to enjoy Por Que No’s Mexican fare, and its patio seating makes for excellent people-watching.
This quiet neighborhood in Portland’s farthest north corner is home to a few of our favorites. Head straight to Tienda Santa Cruz for tacos and flan. Those of the vegan persuasion might be more inclined to chow down at Homegrown Smoker for meat-free BBQ. Cathedral Park is a great spot for photos, especially with the iconic St. John’s Bridge in the background.
One of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods, the Alberta Arts district is 30 blocks of shops, restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for the perfect mural selfie, this street has many to choose from. Sip Juice Cart is a great first stop, nestled next to Thicket, a boutique plant nursery; Tiny Massage Cart, a massage parlor in a cart; Great Notion, an eclectic brewery with patio seating; and Portland’s well-known Pine State Biscuits. No matter which direction you walk, you’ll find art, excellent food and drinks and IGworthy photo oppportunities.
If you’re a film or history lover, then a trip to Hollywood is worth your time. The Hollywood Theater is owned and operated by a non-profit organization and is the central landmark of this neighborhood. The theater shows classic and contemporary films. They are known nationally for their efforts to provide educational programming and financial support for local filmmakers and for their 70mm projections. If you won’t have time to go to Hollywood, you can watch short films by regional filmmakers in Hollywood’s free microcinema at the Portland International Airport while you wait for your flight.
A short walk from campus, this pocket of downtown is home to some of Portland’s favorite places to shop or grab a bite. Treat yourself to something sweet at Blue Star Donuts or Petunia’s Pies and Pastries, explore the shops at Union Way, or enjoy a film at Living Room Theaters.
The shop-lined stretch of NW 23rd is often the first stop for many visitors to Portland. Brave the line at Salt & Straw (or skip it altogether by walking right in to buy a pint of your favorite flavor), then meander the residential streets in the area before getting weird at the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium.
Known for shopping and the world’s largest independent bookstore— Powell’s City of Books, the Pearl District is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike. This neighborhood has transformed over the last few decades from the central location for logging and industrial manufacturing to loftstyle apartments and swanky shops. You’ll find the Portland restaurant locations for several Oregon craft breweries and the headquarters for a number of Portland-based companies including KEEN Shoes.
This older, modest section of the city is home to some gems of its own. Oaks Amusement Park opened in 1905 and is home to a skating rink and roller coasters. You should also pop into Portland Puppet Museum and Fat Albert’s Breakfast Cafe. Those with a darker sensibility should plan to make a visit to Wilhelm Funeral Home, the 6-acre labyrinth filled to the brim with marble statues and gilded coffins, open to the public only on Memorial Day each year.
Foodies should sprint directly to Division Street, where you’ll find Portland’s favorite flavors. Start your day with a Scandanavian breakfast at Broder (we recommend the aebleskivers for donut-lovers!), and cool off in the afternoon sun with stops for scoops at Eb & Bean, and not-so-hidden gem Fifty Licks. Avoid the lines by arriving early to Pok Pok to chow down on their famed fish sauce wings. Spend the evening relaxing at Löyly, a Scandavianinspired spa, or laugh the night away by checking out the world’s longest continuously running late-night showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Clinton Street Theater.