Upscale Northwest Portland (also known as the Alphabet District because a string of blocks are in alphabetical order) is a great place to stroll, shop, dine and hike. In addition to the shops and eateries on Northwest 23rd and 21st avenues, it also contains one of the largest urban forests in the country: Forest Park.
The downside of the neighborhood is the lack of parking. So take the streetcar, buses, taxis, Uber or Lyft.
The best start to your day might be a croissant at Ken’s Artisan Bakery. Their breads, pastries and sandwiches are perfection. If you want the full-meal deal, waddle over to the Stepping Stone Café, which serves hearty breakfasts all-day long. They also have spiked coffee drinks, bloody marys and mimosas if it’s really your day off.
There’s a wide variety of clothing and beauty boutiques, coffee shops and other shops in Northwest Portland. Get fun and funky at 3 Monkeys at 803 NW 23rd Ave., a curiosity shop that’s been in Portland going on 40 years. It has sassy, silly, sexy and scandalous gifts scattered about its two floors. Find your treasures amongst two floors of wigs, antiques, masks, flasks, cards and plain crazy gifts.
Try on a classy new hat at Goorin Bros. at 808 NW 23rd Ave. Men and women will find a perfect topper to stroll around rainy Portland. Twist on 30 NW 23rd is nationally known for its jewelry and other baubles. Will Leather Goods on 816 NW 23rd is a terrific place to pick up a leather backpack, new wallet, belt or purse.
For lunch, stop in at the Laughing Planet Café at 922 NW 21st Ave. It bends over backwards to infuse its burritos and bowls with ingredients from local purveyors.
Spend a part of the afternoon getting a peek at Portland’s glorious past at the Pittock Mansion. Completed in 1914, this Rose City treasure creatively incorporates Turkish, English and French designs. The Pittock estate spreads across 46 acres and offers glorious views of the city.
Another option is to explore expansive Forest Park. Its 5,000 wooded acres nudge right up against the city’s northwest neighborhoods, and its trails appeal to hikers, runners and bicyclists.
With the refined, cozy atmosphere and incomparable cuisine, dinner at Paley’s Place just might be the perfect Portland dining experience. Try Chef Vitaly Paley’s delicious lamb loin chops or his butter-poached halibut, and be sure or try his knee-buckling warm chocolate soufflé cake.
For an after-dinner drink, head on over to Portland’s first craft cocktail bar, the Teardrop Lounge. Then, get artsy with a BodyVox modern dance troupe performance, or check out what’s playing at the eclectic Cinema 21. Or for a more casual evening, rack a few games at Uptown Billiards.
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