Portland Essentials

See the best Portland has to offer in food, drink, entertainment and more.
Eyes on Red Potatoes

Eyes on Red Potatoes

Find organic fruit and veggies at Portland's People's Co-Op.

Photo by: James F. Mattil

James F. Mattil

Find organic fruit and veggies at Portland's People's Co-Op.
By: Ryan Ritchie
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Food and Drink Essentials: Best Places to...


Food Fight! 
1217 S.E. Stark St. 
This vegan market has a freezer with faux meat TV dinners, soy jerky, organic produce and cookbooks. There are even dairy-free nachos. Bottom line: If it’s vegan, they’ve got it.

Zupan’s Markets 
Four locations 
Cross a mainstream grocery store with a Whole Foods and you’ve got Zupan’s. They sell locally grown produce here as well as Pop Tarts, soy milk and Captain Crunch, providing one-stop shopping for people who want a little mainstream food with their organic stuff.


People’s Co-Op 
3029 SE 21st Ave. 
This community-owned co-op has been serving up organic produce since 1970.


3240 N. Williams Ave. 
Two slices and you’re full at Portland’s best neighborhood pizzeria. Customers choose from toppings like pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage and herbed chicken breast. Since meat-free is big in this town, you can also get a cheesy vegetarian slice or a veggie-filled vegan slice. Get adventurous and make your own with ingredients such as chipotle tomato sauce, goat cheese, minced garlic and roasted pumpkin seeds.


3957 N. Mississippi Ave. 
Ridiculously large portions, a friendly and attractive staff and a long wait are the rule at this highly popular breakfast stop. The organic, Southern-style breakfast food is worth the wait.


Vita Cafe 
3024 NE Alberta St. 
Tattooed hipsters and shaggy-haired artists serve the best faux meat dishes in town. Nearly every meal is prepared vegan/vegetarian and/or gluten free. Skeptical carnivores melt at the first bite of the seitan cheesesteak.

Paradox Cafe 
3439 SE Belmont St. 
Carnivores and herbivores find common ground in this modern take on a 1950s-style diner. The entire menu is served all day, which means you can have vegan French toast for dinner.


Newman’s Fish Market 
735 NW 21st Ave. 
Buy your clams, lobsters and oysters live, right out of the tank. It doesn’t get fresher than that.


Gartner’s Country Meats 
7450 NE Killingsworth St. 
Gartner’s is a throwback to the days of neighborhood butchers, where you can buy homemade sausage crafted by master sausage makers who trained in Germany.


Stumptown Coffee Roasters 
Seven locations 
Officially, there are seven Stumptown coffee shops in Portland. Unofficially, this locally brewed java is served at so many restaurants you’d have to search far and wide for a spot pouring anything else.


The Matador 
1967 W. Burnside St. 
Bullfighting is the motif in this red-and-black bar whose legendary Macho Nachos -- a plate heaped with black beans, grated Cheddar cheese, black olives, jalapenos, tomatoes and onions -- will send you to bed with a full stomach.


Salty’s on the Columbia River 
3839 NE Marine Dr. 
Get a breathtaking view of the Columbia River while you dine from buffet tables filled with all-you-can-eat crab, salmon lox, fresh oysters, blackened salmon, Belgian waffles and made-from-scratch desserts.


Dots Cafe 
2521 SE Clinton St. 
Dots is the best watering hole for night owls to grab a cold one while shooting pool in a dimly lit room with velvet paintings on the wall.


BridgePort Brewery 
1313 NW Marshall St. 
BridgePort offers a selection of made-on-the-premises beer that includes India Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Black Strap Stout and the heralded Blue Heron. This is the place for drinkers with a sophisticated palette and off-the-clock laborers looking to unwind.


The Alibi 
4024 N. Interstate Ave. 
Sip fruity drinks with paper umbrellas at this hip tiki bar that features karaoke nightly.

Entertainment Essentials: Best Places to...


Avalon Theatre and Wunderland Nickel Arcade 
3451 SE Belmont St. 
Arcade games that cost a quarter to play and second-run movies make this a great spot for adults and kids to run amok.

Oaks Amusement Park 
7805 SE Oaks Park Way 
Roller coasters of varying degrees of fright give riders a thrill during the summer, and in thewinter, skating on a wood floor becomes the main attraction. Regardless of the season, there’s plenty to see and do at this 103-year-old fun zone.


Last Thursday Alberta Art Walk 
NE Alberta Street between 12th and 30th avenues 
Since 1997, businesses on this uber-hip street open in the evening while street vendors hawk homemade books, paintings and jewelry. The neighborhood is overrun with pedestrians for at least a mile and the cops don’t seem to mind.

Portland Saturday Market 
Southwest 1st Avenue and Burnside Street 
The largest outdoor market in the country, held weekly under the Burnside Bridge, features vendors who sell tie-dye shirts, glass pipes and hemp clothing while a blues band plays in the background. There are also loads of falafel, tamales and Chinese food for sale.


Sauvie Island 
Open mid-April through September, SI offers hiking, bird-watching, hunting, fishing, a 12-mile bicycle trail, fields of pumpkins, flowers and berries and the restored 1850s Bybee-Howell House. There’s also a clothing-optional beach.

Forest Park 
Northwest 29th Avenue and Upshur Street to Newberry Road 
With more than 5,000 acres of fir, hemlock and cedar trees, Forest Park is the largest urban forest reserve in the nation. Visitors can hike, bike, walk dogs and teach the kids about nature.


Chimney Park 
9360 N. Columbia Blvd. 
Your four-legged pal can run freely on more than five acres of grassy fields in this dog park on the north side of town. There are plenty of trees for shade and poop bags on hand.

Other Essentials: Best Places to...


Cat’s Meow 
3538 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 
If it has a cat on it, you can probably buy it at Cat’s Meow. Socks, T-shirts, calendars and picture frames are just a sample of the feline frenzy at this shop.

Lounge Lizard 
1310 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 
If you swing like Sinatra, this is the home store for you. Their selection of new and vintage mid-century mod furniture can transform your house into a pad, baby.

The Recyclery 
1417 SE 9th Ave. and Madison St. 
This is a cycling town. Find two-wheel bargains here, where you can buy used bikes and bike parts, along with new rides.


Powell’s Books on Hawthorne 
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 
There’s a more famous location of this famous Portland store downtown, but locals hit the Powell’s on Hawthorne for their book needs. It’s a large store where you can spend an afternoon browsing.


Independent Publishing Resource Center 
917 SW Oak St. Suite #218 
Zines are a big deal in Portland. For $5 an hour (or $45-$100 a year), you can use computer workstations with high-speed Internet access, copiers, printers and a mimeograph to create zines and hand-bound books at the IPRC. If you’re more reader than publisher, there’s a library of more than 5,000 self-published works and daily workshops on topics ranging from flyer creation to writing a press release.


Jackpot Records 
3574 SE Hawthorne Blvd. and 203 SW 9th Ave. 
This small store has a big selection of new and used vinyl and CDs covering all genres: indie, jazz, punk, blues and avant-garde.

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