North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods are known for their lively street festivals, pub crawls and iconic Stumptown dining. The Alberta District has the Last Thursday street fair every summer. The Mississippi/Williams area has stylish shops and great nightlife. The Lloyd District has the Oregon Convention Center, Moda Center (where the Trail Blazers play) and the ice rink at Lloyd Center shopping mall, where Tonya Harding triple-axeled her way into the hearts of America.
Start your day with brunch at Tasty n Sons. It offers a menu that goes well beyond traditional breakfast fare with seasonal dishes such as cast-iron frittata with butternut squash, and steak and eggs with a cornmeal pancake with jalapeño butter.
Take a nostalgic stroll at the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park. The Oregon author wrote Ramona the Pest, Henry Huggins and other beloved children’s books.
Another outdoors option is The Grotto. This botanical garden and Catholic shrine that draws people of all beliefs for its beauty and spiritual ambiance. Nearby is Rocky Butte, a 3.2-mile hike (or windy drive) to enjoy spectacular views of Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens.
Portland has a wealth of reasonably priced, public golf courses. These include Heron Lakes Golf Club in North Portland, and Broadmoor and Rose City golf courses in Northeast Portland. Locals rarely let a sprinkle interfere with their tee times and, when the sun is out, it’s heaven on earth.
Before you head back, stop in at the Danner Factory Store and pick up a pair of first-rate work boots that will be the envy of hipsters everywhere.
For lunch, head to Stanich’s. George and Gladys opened the place in 1949 and it’s served the city’s best burger ever since. Another popular choice is the Reggie biscuit sandwich at Pine State Biscuits. Or, try something wonderfully familiar at the Grilled Cheese Grill, a converted school bus serving a gourmet take on an old-time luncheon delight.
Plenty of cities have craft brews, but few have the pedigree and variety found in the Rose City. Start with a granddaddy, Widmer Brewing Company, which brought a U.S. version of hefeweizen into the hearts and palates of American beer drinkers. Next, get your smart phone maps ready to enjoy an assortment of perfectly Portland pubs, including nearby Labrewatory, Stormbreaker, Ex Novo, Ecliptic and 5th Quadrant. In between, you can join other Portlanders standing in line for tacos at Por Qué No.
If your partner wants to hit the mall, but you’re into a more eclectic brand of browsing, stop in at Hippo Hardware. This one-of-a-kind warehouse on E. Burnside has an expansive variety of hardware, lighting and plumbing from the 1850s to the 1960s. There is 30,000 square feet of showroom on three floors to keep you browsing for that perfect accent to your fixer-upper back home.
There are plenty of gourmet eateries to discover in Northeast Portland, but for my money, Noble Rot offers a perfect dining experience. It has a 3,000 square-foot garden to keep its dishes as fresh as can be and its seasonal food menu changes depending the chef’s inspiration. What I love is it’s reasonably priced and they take reservations.
Beast is another popular choice if you plan far enough ahead. It serves a high-end, gourmet prix fixe meal. It’s more of an event than a casual nosh.
For evening entertainment, check out what’s happening at the Alberta Rose Theatre. It has live music, comedy, films and other events. Mississippi Studios is another live music option and don’t forget to venture out for the Last Thursday street party during the summer months in the Alberta District.
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