Very much a part of the heart and soul of NE Portland, the Alberta Arts District brings Portland-weird to a whole new level, in the best way possible.
The mile and a half stretch along Alberta Street is the focal point of the Alberta Arts District and promises to delight and mystify all who walk or bike it. While not officially a neighborhood, Alberta Arts District’s roots go deep and it’s one of the oldest areas of Portland. Portlanders will tell you to start your walk hungry — between the local shops there are a myriad of delicious food stops along the way. You will definitely want to check one of their Last Thursdays, a celebration of art every single month. And their annual street fair in August is something that should be on every Portlander’s calendar.
A few of my favorites stops in the Alberta Arts District are below.
I love this shop first and foremost because it’s woman-owned. Not only will you find the most unique fashions at Frock, you’ll find plenty of quirky wares available as well. They have a distinct ability to find the thing you never knew you needed, but when you see it you know you must have it. It’s like vintage and Burning Man had a baby inside this shop.
For the Kids
Green Bean Books
What other children’s book store has a monthly “read to a dog” event? The moment you step into this cozy little red store, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. Packed wall-to-wall with both new and used books, a magical garden in the backyard, and story time on the weekly, I’m confident that any child can’t help but fall in love.
And after you visit Green Bean Books with your children, you need to swing in Grasshopper. Not only is their selection carefully curated to ooze “whimsical” at every turn, they’re the masters of unique yet comfortable, kid-friendly clothes.
TheTin Shed is a garden café. What more do I have to say? Everything is fresher than fresh, and they compost all leftovers. It’s no surprise they’ve been featured on the Diners, Driveins, and Dives with Guy Fieri and Good Food America, and our own local KGW.
Cycling Community Center
I’m all about green living, so the Cycling Community Center must be on my favorites list. This nonprofit is all about giving everyone access to bikes so everyone can enjoy the amazing benefits cycling offers. They started by repairing bikes for neighborhood kids. These roots soundly in bicycle repair has allowed them to see firsthand what the freedom of two wheels can offer everyone — from kids to the elderly. If this is your cup of tea, consider getting involved by volunteering, financial giving, or bike donation.
If you have a single crafty bone in your body (or wish you did), Collage is for you. Not only do they supply all your art and crafting needs, they also have a gift shop called Collage Annex and an outlet store filled with liquidated items and closeouts. One of the best things they offer, though? Demos. So if you want to learn how to do something new and crafty like bullet journaling or clay creations, pop in for a lesson or two.
Random Order Pie Bar
It’s no secret, I love a good happy hour. But a PIE bar? Sign me up. Random Order Pie Bar is just that — a plethora of made-from-scratch pie. Pair it with some espresso and you have breakfast. Pair it with a cocktail and you have a great start to a fabulous evening. Relish, Forbes, and Food and Wine can’t all be wrong with their stellar reviews.
If you’re looking for an escape to another world, you’ve got to visit Bollywood Theatre. The food and the venue is like taking a step into India. The passion of the owner shines through in every dish, and his bringing of India to Portland is definitely unique. Well-reviewed by PDX Monthly, BonAppetit, and by locals on Yelp, it’s another “can’t miss” restaurant in the Alberta Arts District.
Pine Street Biscuit
Breakfast all day is a winner in my book. While not the lightest fare, Pine Street Biscuit is definitely all about comfort food. A Portland Farmer’s Market gem that turned brick-and-mortar, this restaurant usually has a line out the door and down the street. But it’s worth the wait. Oh yes, it’s definitely worth the wait.
Alberta Rose Theatre
Set soundly on the east end of the Alberta Arts District, Alberta Rose Theatre offers live music, comedy nights, and art house films. The intimate atmosphere and vintage ambience adds to the charm of this entertainment venue.
When you’re done shopping, stop in at the Alberta Cooperative Grocery and get groceries for your next meal at home. Everything is locally sourced. Produce abounds. And their bulk bins are to die for. But if you’re not a cook, they have an excellent grab & go food section as well. Plus beer, wine, household items, and wellness products. (Yes, that’s pretty much everything you need to survive in Portland.)
No matter where you choose to shop, dine, or even just browse, the Alberta Arts District is a great way to spend an evening or weekend respite. I’d love hear about your favorites in this NE Portland escape.