Portland is an awesome city with a lot of cool neighborhoods, but perhaps my favorite is the Hawthorne District. It’s a collection of funky shops, thrift stores, restaurants and attractions that is my favorite place to visit in the PDX. “Bohemian” might be a good word to describe the area, but nobody really uses that word anymore since it’s slightly vague and kind of old-fashioned.
The first time I visited the city, I stayed at the Portland Hostel, which remains one of the coolest hostels I have seen to date. It offers dirt-cheap lodging in a walkable neighborhood. I stayed there without a car and was fine getting around by foot and bus.
Hawthorne is home to the Bagdad Theater and Pub, which I’ve already mentioned as one of my three favorite places in Portland.
There’s also a small branch of Powell’s Books, another of my favorite things about Portland. This one isn’t nearly as big as the original, but if you’re too lazy to go all the way to the Pearl District, the smaller branch may suffice.
I love all the independent stores. During my last visit, in between quality meals at Mexican and vegetarian restaurants, I made some sweet thrift store finds at the Buffalo Exchange. A lot of the storefronts were eye-popping, like this place, which reminded me of an indie Hot Topic.
I hear the Cup & Saucer Cafe is good for breakfast but I didn’t get a chance to stop in.
The neighborhood also has music. I saw the Ditty Bops in concert on my last trip to the city. The Hawthorne Theatre has a busy schedule of upcoming shows. Right now the calendar shows the Gaslight Anthem, Leighton Meester, Kevin Devine, David Allan Coe and Killer Mike.
And the Hawthorne District even offers a nature escape, because that’s where you’ll find Mount Tabor, the extinct volcano in Portland that has hiking trails, tennis and basketball courts, a dog park and a view of downtown.
I would highly suggest that any visit to Portland include time to check out the Hawthorne District.