Portland’s Southeast Side

View of Mt. Hood from Mt. Tabor Park

Portland’s Eastside is residentially entrenched but commercially emerging, making it seem on the surface less than tourist-friendly…but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out.  We’ve had a lot of great Eastside adventures, and some of Portland’s best experiences can be found in the southeast. To get to the Eastside, you have to cross the Willamette (will-AM-met) River at the Burnside Bridge on the edge of Old Town.  For more details, take a look at this map of the Portland metro area. Once across, it’s hard to tell if the funk and shabbiness of Old Town has trickled across the river, or if it’s the other way around.  

There are in fact some lovely, tree-lined historic Eastside neighborhoods, very cool places to stay, and wonderful restaurants, but the greater impression is of gray buildings, scruffy grass, and poorly-tended commercial monotony. You have to look for the gold here — and it’s very good gold —  so let me help you out.

The neighborhood closest to the river, Buckman, has always been railroad/warehouse central and has only started to bloom in the past few years.

Snarky cards at Grendel's Coffee House

Buckman’s main commercial area, on and around Burnside between NE Grand and NE 12th, is called the Central Eastside Arts District. The first Friday of every month, the artist studios and galleries here stay open late, as do the vintage shops and one of the greatest art-jewelry-accessories stores ever, Redux. (The resident mascot is a rescued greyhound named Max, who tugged at my heart; while I snuggled the dog, Adam picked up cufflinks made from old typewriter keys.)

Whether you’re here for First Fridays or not, pop into Grendel’s Coffee House for a spicy Mexican cocoa and a shuffle through the snarky handmade greeting cards for sale.

Buckman is Portland’s version of LA’s Silverlake, so expect to see lots of quirkily-attired late twenty-somethings on the verge of affluence.  If you’re keen to surround yourself with these hipsters day and night, book a room at the Jetson’s-meets-irony Jupiter Hotel or at the very least hear an indie show (by an artist you didn’t know existed) in its restaurant/club Doug Fir.

If you’re hungry, know that we’ve found some great locally-sourced restaurants here:

The dining room at clarklewis

The surprisingly warm and glowing clarklewis, where we had dinner our first night in town last weekend. A former warehouse this close to the river, it could easily have been rambling and cold, but a friendly stack of cut firewood by the front door says otherwise. Hands down, this place has the best salads we’ve ever had – fig and arugula with walnut oil, as well as roasted beets with honeycrisp apples and blue cheese — and a fantastic collection of Oregonian wines.

Noble Rot, where in 2006, we celebrated our 7th anniversary.  Every now and then I think of holding Adam’s hands across the cozy candlelit table in this refurbished wine cellar, feeding each other a delicious onion tart, and sharing possibly the best-ever exploitation of sugar, an entire flight of dessert wines.

At the newer and more esoteric Le Pigeon, a read-through of the menu didn’t float our boats — it’s heavy on pork, lamb, and eel, none of which we eat — but Food & Wine called the chef, Gabriel Rucker, one of the country’s best in 2007.  Go figure.

While in the southeast (click on the Inner SE portion of the map to see each neighborhood), it’s also fun to:

Take a spin through Ladd’s Addition, just south of the Buckman area between Hawthorne and Division, to see some of Portland’s oldest homes and most elegant gardens

Visit Laurelhurst, north of Burnside and east of SE 33rd Avenue, to see cute 19-0-something Craftsman houses and shady trees

Head to the Hawthorne area (south of Hawthorne at SE 39th Avenue) to see a second-run movie and have a pub meal at the historic Bagdad Theater, yet another notch in (local powerhouse) McMenamin’s belt

Continue south to SE 28th Avenue & Woodstock to visit Eastmoreland and see the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens; the thousands of rhododendrons and azaleas here are in their fullest bloom between April and June

Head east to the woodsy Mt. Tabor neighborhood and its namesake, Mt. Tabor Park, at SE 60th & Salmon Street, for forested walking paths and incredible hillside views of Mt. Hood 

______________________________________________________________

See related posts
Portland’s Northeast Side
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 On Our Minds
Falling Into the North Willamette Valley
By the Seaside…Oregon
TWT Travel Binder: Oregon

Comments

  1. thanks for finding some interesting places to explore in this part of Portland!

  2. Portland is a great place. Going on 10 years now for me.

Trackbacks

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

  2. […] Westside, Part 1 – The Pearl District Portland’s Westside, Part 2 – Downtown Portland’s Southeast Side Portland’s Northeast Side Portland On Our Minds Falling Into the North Willamette Valley […]

  3. […] 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 […]

Speak Your Mind

*