Portland’s Northeast Side

Portland, Oregon’s northeast has a certain scruffy elegance.

We split our 2006 Portland visit between two different lodgings in this part of town, and it’s so residential that you can’t help but feel at home here. Visit a farmer’s market, walk to a casual restaurant, go see a movie…y’know, all the stuff you’d do in your own neighborhood, if only you had the time.

To get a taste of tony Irvington, we stayed in the historic mansion known as Portland’s White House. This 1911 Greek Revival and antique-filled B & B on NE 22nd Avenue has sweet little rooms with four-poster beds and garden views, and drop-dead killer breakfasts where you eat family style at a long dining room table.

Walk out the front door and you can ogle your way around Irvington’s period houses, or there’s the NE Broadway business district two blocks away. We were lucky enough to stumble into Thai Pod for some really good, fresh Thai food.

Just east of Irvington is nineteen-acre Grant Park, famous for two things: memorializing Ulysses S. Grant’s three visits to Portland and the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, featuring bronze statues of characters of children’s author (and Portland native) Beverly Cleary. The life-size Ramona is very cool, in a way that says, “Hey, maybe sixth grade wasn’t so bad.”

Which is pretty much the whole point behind McMenamin’s Kennedy School. A quirky hotel set in a former elementary school, this is one of the most fascinating and fun places we’ve ever stayed. Local artists have covered almost every wall with murals that evoke both fantasy and historical Kennedy School photos.

The rooms aren’t renowned for comfy beds, but instead for details like chalkboards and closet cubbies. There’s a mosaic-tiled pool (if it’s ever warm enough in Portland to swim), and in the school’s former cafeteria, a cafe that serves almost everything you could want (we wanted hummus and Greek salads, and lo, there they were on the menu).

In the former auditorium, you can watch second-run movies on cozy couches while drinking Oregonian wine and eating food from the cafe. You can come to the Kennedy School’s theater even if you’re not a hotel guest, it just costs a little more.  In our (2006) case, we rolled right from our room in comfy pants to stretch out and see a double feature of Thank You for Not Smoking and The Break-Up.

Not far from the Kennedy School, the Alberta Arts District is pulling itself up from working class grit towards a corrugated steel charm. This isn’t the loveliest part of town (*understatement alert*) but there’s beauty to be found in galleries like Talisman and Guardino. If you can wrangle it in your travel schedule, known that the District has an open house every last Thursday of the month from 5:30-9pm.

While you’re over here, have breakfast or lunch at The Tin Shed (which has really friendly service) or Vita Cafe (which has beautiful vegetarian food).

If you’re up early on a Saturday, wander over to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market (east of Grant Park on NE Hancock between NE 44th & 45th Avenues) to live like a Portland locavore.

The Hollywood District has two other cool things to visit: the 1926 Hollywood Theatre, which serves as both an screening space and film education center, and even more fun for any Angeleno, Hollywood Bowl. The latter never hosts The Who in concert but always has…bowling.

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See related posts
Portland’s Westside, Part 1 – The Pearl District
Portland’s Westside, Part 2 – Downtown
Portland’s Westside, Part 3 – Chinatown & Old Town
Portland’s Westside, Part 4 – Northwest & Nob Hill
Portland’s Westside, Part 5 – Washington Park
Portland’s Southeast Side
Portland On Our Minds
Falling Into the North Willamette Valley
By the Seaside…Oregon
TWT Travel Binder: Oregon

Comments

  1. Makes me want to visit Portland again!

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  1. […] related posts Portland’s Northeast Side Portland’s Westside, Part 1 – The Pearl District Portland’s Westside, Part 2 […]

  2. […] Part 4 – Northwest & Nob Hill Portland’s Westside, Part 5 – Washington Park Portland’s Northeast Side Portland’s Southeast Side Portland On Our Minds Falling Into the North Willamette Valley […]

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