The Hawthorne District
The Hawthorne neighborhood in Portland reminds me of a colder, grungier and slightly more eclectic Abbot Kinney. It’s filled with vintage shops, eateries, and various small businesses specializing in everything from books to donuts to jewelry and clothing.
We spent an afternoon out of our quick stay in Portland in this quintessentially hipster area, wandering through the small shops and surrounding snowy neighborhood. There’s a ton to see here, and we only barely scratched the surface. In any case, here’s a mini guide to adventuring in the area…
Grab a gourmet donut from Blue Star
Blue Star Donuts is the ultimate foodie’s answer to everyone’s favorite glazed, fried dough confectionary. With flavors like Blueberry Bourbon Basil and Cointreau Creme Brulee, they’ve been coined the shop with “Donuts for Grown-ups.”
Full disclosure: they were actually closed when we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to try one of these famed donuts. But, they recently opened up a shop near my home in Manhattan Beach and just the other day Mark and I popped in and tried the Valhrona Chocolate and Matcha Latte flavors.
Blue Star Donuts, 3549 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
Catch a movie at Bagdad Theatre
Bagdad Theatre is a breath of fresh air in a world of crowded, lookalike AMCs and Cinemarks. The theatre features one movie at a time, displayed in a…well…theatre — complete with an orchestra section, vintage looking balconies, etc. They even serve food! So grab a bite, sit back, and enjoy the show.
Bagdad Theatre, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
Buy (and sell) a book at Powell’s Books
Powell’s Books is the largest independent bookstore in the world. We had the pleasure of visiting Powell’s Headquarters in downtown Portland on our first day in the city, and I fell in love with the full on nostalgia of floor-to-ceiling bookcases, creaky bindings, and well loved, dog-eared pages.
Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
Load up on even more sugar at Voodoo Donuts
When I mentioned that I would be visiting Portland, people either told me one of two things: “You HAVE to try Blue Star Donuts!!” or “You must, must, must try Voodoo Donuts!” Being an equal opportunity donut lover, I figured we had to try them both. Voodoo Donuts has a few locations in Portland, and this was their Voodoo Donut Too location, east of the Willamette River and just a short car ride from Hawthorne.
The Voodoo donut experience feels like the polar opposite of what you’ll get at Blue Star Donuts. Where Blue Star is gourmet, foodie, and minimalist, Voodoo is kitschy, quirky, and back-to-basics. And both were delicious, so you can’t really go wrong.
Voodoo Donuts, 1501 NE Davis St, Portland, OR 97232
Enjoy fine dining at The Painted Lady
So, I wouldn’t necessarily file this under Portland’s “avant-garde,” but it certainly belongs in Portland’s list of “foodie must dos.” The Painted Lady is a fine dining restaurant that’s consistently rated as one of the best in Oregon. The restaurant is actually about 45 minutes outside of Portland, in the Pacific Northwest wine country. True to the name, the restaurant is housed in a refurbished painted lady – Full House, anyone?!
The dining experience was incredible; an intimate setting with imaginative tasting portions, and some truly fabulous waitstaff. Plus, their bathroom featured a claw-foot bathtub full of plants. Goals!
The Painted Lady, 201 S College St, Newberg, OR 97132
Also, don’t forget to check out Case Study Coffee, and all the other worthwhile small shops that line the streets of downtown Portland!