Highlighting Portland – Unique local businesses



Music Millennium – Not just any old record store. Music Millennium has been selected best independent store in the country…multiple times.

Powell’s Books – the largest independent new and used book store in the country. There always seems to be an author there on a book tour. I am waiting to find out the date JR Moehringer will be there promoting his new book. A woman in my office knows him and will take me to meet him. JR is the author of The Tender Bar, his memoir. It was an extremely hysterically funny book but sad at the same time.

Voodoo Donuts – Recently seen on Man Versus Food on the Travel Channel. Also has been spotlighted on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and a Rachel Ray episode on the Food Network. Not only can you get unusual donuts at this unique donut shop but you can get married on the premises.voodoo_doll

The Shanghai Tunnel – Take a tour of the underground tunnel which operated in the late 1800’s to about the mid 1940’s. “A segment of the once-hidden world of shanghaiing. You will venture into the “Portland Underground” to see remnants of this shocking maritime history — unique architecture, underground holding cells, a “deadfall” trapdoor, unearthed artifacts of this terrible, misguided labor practice, and more. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the secret history of shanghaiing.”

McMenamins – Two brothers who have taken the meaning of a brew pub and expanded it to include several hotels and eateries in some very unique restored buildings. Edgefield Manor was once the Multnomah County poor farm. Grand Lodge Built in 1922 as a Masonic & Eastern Star home in McMinneville. Kennedy School an historic elementary school was abandoned and run down when the brothers purchased it. They gave back to the community by donating space in the building for a community police center.

Edgefield where I had my 5oth birthday party

Portland Saturday Market “Operating since 1974 the Portland Saturday Market is the largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market in the nation.” The market opens the last weekend in February and runs through Christmas Eve. The last couple of weeks the market is open everyday not just weekends. There are over 250 local and NW artist who sell their crafts at this market as well as many food stalls. It is a great place to find a unique one of a kind gift for that hard to shop for person.

Once again let me mention the unique fountains in downtown Portland. Drinking fountains  like the one  in this photo are found scattered all over the downtown area. They are known as Benson Bubblers. Read the history of the Benson Bubblers here.

Food Carts I have never seen anything quite like the number of food carts found downtown Portland in any other city that I have visited. Across the street from my office in the parking lot between Oak and Stark on 5th Ave. there are about 18 or so food carts. There are 3 or 4 Mexican, at least 3 Asian (Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese), 2 Polish, a Czech, a couple that make hamburgers, a Philly steak sandwich cart, barbecue pork, vegetarian, homemade soup and salads and more. The prices vary but typically are $3.50 -$6.00 for a decent lunch.

Just Google “Portland Food carts” and you will find a whole bunch of websites, food reviews and blogs that have articles about these food carts. The 2nd largest concentration of food carts is located near Portland State University.

Food cart video interview

There is so much more to do and see in Portland. Take a tour of a day in Portland with the folks over at Keep Portland Weird. Portland is a fantastically unique place. Keeping Portland weird does not have to be about being the biggest, the best, the most outrageous. Keeping Portland weird is about being true to yourself and supporting your community.

Keep Portland Weird was the sponsors or organizers of last Saturdays’s Urban Iditarod.

See my links over to the left for some good Portland travel sites.

Visit Portland to see the sites and help stimulate our local economy. Whenever possible I purchase at locally owned businesses. If I have a choice between McDonald’s and locally owned Mike’s Drive In there is no question which business I patronize. Olive Garden vs DaVinci’s the local restaurant wins. It is not just local restaurants that I try to purchase from rather than chains but they are the first examples that come to mind.

7 Responses

  1. Have you ever done the Shanghai Tunnel tour? I haven’t. Never think about it when people come to visit, but you’ve put it in my head. So this is not only helpful to people who don’t know Portland, but to those natives amoung us. Good job, Jackie!

    • Joyce, No I have not seen the Shanghai Tunnel only several times on TV. I Think it would be interesting the next time I have out of town guest to take the tour.

  2. Such diversity! Living out in the country like I do we miss that! I really enjoy reading about other places that I might visit someday–I’d love to do another cross country trip–maybe when we retire….if that ever can happen!

    • Ann,
      Portland is a great little big city. There really is a lot to see and do without all of the hassle of being a really big city.

  3. You need to work on the Portland Tourism Board. You give great info about Portland and great ideas of things to see and do.

    I at at the Kennedy School quite by accident one time. The GPS just took me there and I thought there is no way this is a restaruant. And sure enough it was. The plan was to eat at some place I could not eat at home, and I achieved that goal.

    • Bennie,
      Glad you stumbled on to the Kennedy School. While most of the McMenamins are just brew pubs the school like Edgefield are very unique.

  4. If you want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for 4/5. Decent info, but I just have to go to that damn msn to find the missed pieces. Thank you, anyway!

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