Oh, To Have a Fun, Relaxing Time in Portland, Oregon
April 7, 2008 5:03 PM   Subscribe

It's been awhile since I've stayed in Portland. I am spending 5 days there next week. What are some fun things to do? Where are some fun places to go?

I usually devoted a day to Powell's and the surrounding area. I'd also spend time in the Hawthorne District...would usually spend an afternoon there and take in a movie at the Casbah. I am basically looking for bookstores, coffeehouses, museums, fun esoterica and erotica, farmers's markets, hikes, reasonably priced restaurants along with interesting places to stay (I'll be there from Aprill 14 to April 18. Are there farmer's markets happening during the weekdays. The more the merrier!
posted by goalyeehah to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (16 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I am also looking for good new and second-hand clothing stores that sell western wear. (Cowboy hats, boots, clothing etc.)
posted by goalyeehah at 5:06 PM on April 7, 2008

Ground Kontrol is a must.

You may be able to find some duds at Buffalo Exchange, which is close to the smaller Powell's location.
posted by nikksioux at 5:07 PM on April 7, 2008

If you like bookstores, you'll love Powell's. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It's huge. And it carries books that are in and out of print.
posted by HotPatatta at 5:11 PM on April 7, 2008

I had a great time staying at the Kennedy School, a hotel made from an elementary school built in the 20's, a few years ago.
posted by bartleby at 5:23 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here's the Farmer's Market schedule. Unfortunately, none of the weekday markets have started yet.

Sounds like you might enjoy the Velveteria, a museum of black velvet paintings. They just moved to the address listed on their web site, but I don't know if they've opened back up yet.

As recommended above, the Kennedy School is a fun place to stay (although their food is mediocre at best), but if you don't have access to a car, it's a little far from everything.

You might also consider the Jupiter Hotel, although it can get a little noisy at night, since the rooms open onto the same courtyard as the doors to the Doug Fir Lounge. It reminds me a little of a grittier Portland version of the West Hollywood Standard Hotel. What's your budget?

Also, when you say "reasonably priced" restaurants, what do you mean? Reasonably priced means very different things to different people. I happen to absolutely love places like the Farm Cafe (conveniently located just a few blocks from The Jupiter Hotel) and Lovely Hula Hands (worst website ever, but a truly exceptional restaurant, especially for the price), and think they are fantastic value for the quality of food they offer, but not everyone would find them to be reasonably priced. Either way, both of them are very, very Portland-- right down to the fact that they don't take reservations.
posted by dersins at 5:40 PM on April 7, 2008

Voodoo Donuts is a Portland landmark and its only seven blocks from Powell's.

Also, I always recommend the Laurelhurst because movie tickets are $3, and a popcorn and a pint of beer are $5, so for the price of a regular matinee at a chain theater, you can get a movie and a helluva snack.

Depending on your taste, Jackpot records is considered by some to be Portland's best record store; it doesn't particularly appeal to me, but it was voted as Portlands best record store in Esquire a few years ago. They also have locations near the small Powell's on Hawthorne and the big Powell's on Burnside...
posted by Kiablokirk at 5:46 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Depending on your taste also, but The Portland Mercury is a good source for goings-on about town.
posted by nikksioux at 5:53 PM on April 7, 2008

Response by poster: Reasonably priced on this trip is $25-30 a meal.
posted by goalyeehah at 5:55 PM on April 7, 2008

You might try McMenamin's White Eagle Saloon for lodging, too. It's just a couple of blocks off the yellow MAX line, so it's very convenient for getting downtown. I don't know of anyone who's ever stayed there, but it's a nice historic bar downstairs, with music you might like.
posted by mumkin at 6:01 PM on April 7, 2008

If you're in the mood for delicious vegan food, be sure to stop by Veganopolis! I could eat their Democracy Burger everyday for the rest of my life. And the lavender lemonade is divine. Vita Cafe, which is in Alberta, is another vegan/vegetarian favorite of mine.
posted by krisken at 6:02 PM on April 7, 2008

OH my GOSH ... last time I was in Portland my friends took me to this place that did nothing but foot massages, and it was THE most relaxing, awesome thing I've ever experienced. You sit up on these elevated sofas and they soak your feet in hot water, scrub them with fancy scrubs, rub them every which way, and it's just fabulous. By the end of it your feet and legs are so relaxed you can barely walk on them. A-mazing.

I'm almost positive that the place is called Barefoot Sage, and I believe that it is in the Hawthorne District -- though I'm not sure about the neighborhood because I've only been to Portland a couple of times. I didn't pay, so I can't swear to how decadently expensive it is, but I promise you it's worth it.
posted by mccxxiii at 6:10 PM on April 7, 2008

The Barefoot Sage. Yes, on Hawthorne.
posted by mrnutty at 8:06 PM on April 7, 2008

For Western Wear, I've bought gifts at Portland Outdoor Store for people, and they had a pretty good selection of western clothing, cowboy boots, saddles, etc. They don't have a website, but they've been around forever at 304 SW 3rd Ave. Really, really nice people there too.
posted by ugf at 8:08 PM on April 7, 2008

Crema, featuring gorgeous and delicious Spanish Lattes and two of my favorite pastries, Orange Ginger scones and the Mushroom and Manchego biscuit. A short drive off of Hawthorne.
posted by Asherah at 8:16 PM on April 7, 2008

How long has it been since you were last in town? Since it sounds like you're somewhat familiar with the burg, knowing that may help us to suggest things that will be new to you.

Also, did you check the Portland tag? Because this kind of thing comes up not infrequently. Selected hits:

Things to do in Portland on a layover (downtown)?
Things to do in Portland when you're dead?
What to do in the Pacific Northwest?
What should I do with my last three weeks in Portland?
What to do on vacation in Portland (that I can't do in Seattle)?
Everything I wanted to know about Portland and more
What to see/do and where to stay when visiting Portland?
Visiting Portland, OR... recommended places to go, things to do, people to see?
Please tell me about Portland, Oregon

Those don't include the specific questions about restaurants and dining, among others.
posted by mumkin at 11:31 PM on April 7, 2008 [4 favorites]

Pied Cow, Belmont and uhh like 38th I think. Hop skip and a jump away from Hawthorne area. Then eat some delicious breakfast at the Cricket Cafe on Belmont and 32indish. Go hang out on Tabor if you feel so inclined on Belmont and 60th.

Like shopping? Jewelry? The Gold Door is one of my favorite PDX stoors and the go-to for all of my gift needs pertaining to ladies. It's on Hawthorne and uhh...shit. 35th? It's by the Ben and Jerry's and also next to the Buffalo Exchange there.

Jackpot Records is my favorite record store--it's intimate and the guys that work there are really nice and helpful and non-pretentious (unlike the twats at Everyday Music). It's really close to Powell's.

There is an amazing coffee shop by the Crystal Ballroom--on Burnside but in NW Burnside, so like if you're at the Crystal and you see the freeway overpass you walk across and it's right there next to a dog goods shop on the corner. Other favorite coffee shops include World Cup on 18th and Glisan but that may just be the charming NW residential area it's located in.

NW 21st is an absolute must. Anna Bananna's on 21st and Northrup is sort of a go-to Portland coffee shop--it's even in Paranoid Park, so you know it must be cool. Personally I find it a little too obnoxious, young and blatantly hipster but it does have good coffee and good munchin'. If you want to eat out on the cheap I'd suggest Laurelwood Public House on 21st and Kearney--great beer and cheap, delicious and varied food. Cinema 21 is also on NW 21st, so catch an artsy flick in a real PDX institution.

McMenanin's is always a good bet, Laurelhurst or the Baghdad for beer and a movie. Check the website for addresses as I'm not familiar (just recently turned 21, so the drinking novelty has thus far not applied to me).

Shopping or at least a stroll in the heart of downtown is always nice, especially if the weather is agreeable. Broadway is *the street* to check out the "city" aspect of PDX, with all of its fancy hotels, restaurants and boutiques. Check out Pioneer Courthouse Square which Broadway hits at Yamhill and wander around. Portland Coffee House is right around there too and is worth a visit for the people watching and the delicious coffee.

Old Town is fun, too. I didn't check out when you'll be there but definitely go to Saturday Market. I haven't been in PDX for the past 8 months but I think I read that it was getting moved, so I'd suggest googl'ing it. Other than that there's the famous Stumptown coffee on 3rd and...Oak? Ankeny? Don't recall. It's pretty Portland Hipster but it's fun and sort of essential as far as Portland culture goes.

Whew! How I miss my hometown and long to go back...have a blast!
posted by nonmerci at 7:09 AM on April 8, 2008

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