Driving through the neighborhoods of Northeast Portland, you suddenly stumble upon an oasis of unique restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries. Buildings are decorated with colorful wall murals, a cyclist rides by on a two-story bicycle, and people of all backgrounds are sipping beer, coffee, and kombucha - welcome to the Alberta Arts District!
Where is Alberta Arts District?
East of MLK Jr. Blvd, the Alberta Arts District can be found on NE Alberta St. from 9th all the way to 33rd Street. One of the oldest areas in Portland, it has now become a dynamic and cultural hub. The area has been gradually growing over recent years, so even if you've been here before you are likely to see something new.
If you are in one of our vacation rentals in the area, don't worry about parking, as this area is best explored on foot - take in the smells, the scenery, and interact with the friendly people who live here. Check out some of our Portland vacation rentals here
Activities in Alberta Arts District
The Alberta Rose Theater offers entertainment most nights of the week, with live music, comedy nights, art house films, and more. For a different kind of experience, check out the Know - a grungy music venue featuring up-and-coming punk and metal bands.
On the last Thursday of every month, the Alberta Arts District comes alive with artists, art vendors, musicians, street performers, and anyone looking for a good time. Peruse art galleries, taste delicious food from classic Portland food carts, and dance in the street when a melody strikes you. In the laid-back carnival setting, you are bound to see some interesting people and have an experience you won't forget any time soon.
Restaurants & Bars in Alberta Arts District
Cuisines from all around the world can be found in this small hub, and the smells are tantalizing! Hit up Aviary for inventive small plates of Asian, Middle Eastern, and American fusion, or DOC for fancy, seasonally-inspired Italian food. Autentica features Mexican cuisine made with local ingredients, and Yakuza is an upscale sushi bar. For a unique take on something tried-and-true, visit the Grilled Cheese Grill, operating in a refurbished school bus.
For breakfast, sit at the patio of the Tin Shed Garden Café, or visit Petite Provence, famous for its French breakfast/brunch options. Stop in at Random Order Coffeehouse and Bakery any time and enjoy a selection of fresh-baked pies and a café menu. For dessert, the local favorite is Salt & Straw, an ice cream parlor with unique flavors made with organic, local ingredients.
Any area in Portland would not be complete without a great selection of bars and breweries. Visit McMenamins Kennedy School to enjoy a movie theater, restaurant, outdoor soaking pool, and your choice of five bars. For more micro-brews, check out Great Notion Brewing, Concordia Ale House, and Old Town Brewing Co., a kid-friendly pizza parlor with award-winning beer. For something different, go to Burmese-influenced Expatriate for cocktails, or Zilla Saké House, which offers over 70 varieties of Japanese rice wine.
Or, take advantage of your rental kitchen and visit the Alberta Co-op grocery store for locally-produced food and a good selection of beer.
Shops in Alberta Arts District
There are many boutiques and shops interspersed throughout the street, and the best way to discover them is to pop in and browse if something catches your eye. Tumbleweed features a hip selection of locally-made dresses and slips, while Frocks is an eclectic mix of vintage and local fashions. PedX Shoes is a great place to find bargain shoes, handbags, and jewelry, and Pie Footwear sells only socially responsible brands and used shoes.
There is plenty more here besides clothes: at Close Knit and Collage you will find art supplies for any project you are working on, or visit Modern Domestic for fabric, sewing machines, and sewing classes. Green Bean Books is a great place to bring kids, with their weekly story times and frequent author readings. Kids will love Grasshopper, a store that sells kids clothes, books, and toys, and mothers will love Milagros Boutique, with their selection of recycled products for mothers, babies, and kids.
Art Galleries in Alberta Arts District
Art is held in high regard in this neighborhood, as can be seen by the wall-sized murals on nearly every block. If these draw your attention, be sure to check out these galleries like Monograph Bookmarks, an art gallery that sells books, prints, paintings, and ceramics; Ampersand Vintage, which sells new and used books focusing on visual content and vintage photography; Guardino Gallery, which displays contemporary Northwest art and fine crafts; and Antler, featuring contemporary art and handmade crafts.
Plan a visit to Alberta Arts District on your next trip to Portland to enjoy a feast for the eyes and stomach. The area is rich with culture, and with so many choices for dining and shops, you'll be able to satisfy any craving. Whatever you do here, just explore - you are bound to see something you will be talking about for weeks!
Photo Credit: Tony Webster via Flickr