If you’re looking for delicious food, art, a creative vibe, cool boutique shops, and awesome murals, take a stroll along with the Alberta Arts District. This district in Portland, Oregon, has a distinctively independent feel with vibrant murals and wood-framed and historic shopfronts.
There may be low-rise and modern apartment buildings here and there. However, it has kept its distinct character, with a food scene that typically rivals other major cities. The restaurant scene is relaxed and friendly. Here there are understated bars that serve comfort food in gourmet style, with cocktails and beers. The scene is about excellent food in comfortable spaces so expect trendy fire pits, outdoor patios, pinball machines, and fun board games.
What’s the history of the Alberta Arts District?
The Alberta Arts District exudes earth tones which are relatively distinct from other places in the city. It reflects Asian, African-American, and Latino sensibilities. This fact is no longer surprising, given the district’s history as one of the oldest corners of Portland. The streets and surroundings in the neighborhood also had their fair share of growing pains.
What once was an area populated by disenfranchised citizens and immigrants has morphed into a dynamic and thriving haven for business owners and creative artisans working and living in the district. Furthermore, Alberta today has a stable and welcoming environment for visitors and residents alike.
Where is Alberta Arts District?
Northeast Alberta Street is generally a residential area until you cross Northeast 14th Avenue, where the Alberta Arts District lies. The district is not typically considered a neighborhood. However, its dynamic and unique vibe are qualities that attract visitors from all over the city. The district sits in the neighborhoods of Vernon, Concordia, and King.
Additionally, when passing through Alberta Arts District, almost all bars, restaurants, and dress shops function as galleries with several artists represented on every wall. These depict the district’s devotion to art.
Things to do in Alberta Arts District
It is best to roam around on foot or ride bicycles rather than drive to perfectly explore the district. Also, it can be a good idea to visit with an empty stomach to appreciate the diverse and delicious food options along the way.
The atmosphere in the district is very welcoming, and each proprietor is a patron of another’s businesses and recommends one another. Here’s how you can maximize your visit to Alberta Arts District.
Regardless if you are a carnivore or a vegan, restaurants, and bars in Alberta Arts District always have in store for you.
Spanish flavors with a mix of modern interpretations are what Urdaneta’s food is all about. The restaurant’s casual environment allows visitors to bring back the world fund of libations and tapas. In essence, it combines bold and big Spanish flavors. Furthermore, Urdaneta’s open bar and kitchen offer a sense of communal and intimate dining, providing guests front row seats to all things as they happen.
This is the latest venture of Naomi Pomeroy, the owner of the famous Beast Restaurant. Expatriate has a diverse range of Burmese-inspired and culture-bridging fare. As you enjoy cocktails and Chinese-sausage corn dog snacks, vintage films and vinyl beats will set the mood for you.
- Bollywood Theater
No. It does not refer to India’s film scene. Instead, you can taste some of India’s authentic famous street food. You can grab a seat at Bollywood Theater and taste some authentic Indian food, including flatbread Kati rolls, usually filled with meat or cheese, pickled onion, egg, and green chutney.
- Pine State Biscuits
Experience home-cooked and comfort food servings as you visit Pine State Biscuits. Get yourself some delicious food, from steaming biscuits, tender buttermilk breaded chicken, and mouthwatering sausage gravy. With its popularity, you might need some patience as there could be long lines when you visit. However, you can skip the waiting game by visiting the store on Friday and Saturday evenings during its extended hours.
- Salt & Straw
Nothing beats a good scoop of handmade and inventive ice cream as you stroll along the alleys of the Alberta Arts District. There are several ice cream stores in the area, including the famous Salt & Straw.
The food scene in the district is as diverse and rich as its shops. Galleries, boutiques, and indie shops are ideal for visitors who opt to stroll along the streets of Alberta Arts District to shop and score some great finds.
Shop anything vintage from Amelia. It is a haven for women who love vintage clothes and accessories. You can find skirts, blouses, and dresses here. Also, its jewelry came from US artisans, designers, and small production houses. Whatever your questions are about any piece on display, they can tell you everything about it. The store can also offer on-site tailoring and produce in-house small-scale clothing lines.
See in person owner Ivy Chuang craft hand-made and all-natural skincare inside Blendily. They use fresh flowers and plants for self-care products from head to toe.
They grow and harvest flora from their garden and around the wild Pacific Northwest landscapes and forests. You sure get freshly made skincare products as they make them right before your eyes.
In the heart of Alberta Arts District lies Tumbleweed, a boutique and a premier spot for carefully chosen Portland fashion. Its comfortable and casual spaces house dresses, sweaters, jeans, jumpsuits, clogs, and tops that go beautifully and perfectly together.
- Green Bean Books
If you are shopping with kids or want to buy books for children, stop by the Green Bean Books. The store has plush couches, colorful walls, frequent author readings, and weekly storytimes. It’s a whimsical and wild independent, community-based bookstore for children.
As it continuously promotes coziness and color, families will indeed have a great time spending some readings inside the bookstore.
Here you can find all cute and nice things for kids – from books, toys, puzzles, arts & music, games, and baby essentials.
Art Gallery Hopping
Of course, there is so much to see regarding the art and creative scene in Portland, especially in Alberta Arts District. You never leave the area without visiting even one of its many art galleries.
- Alberta Street Gallery
There is always art in every life. This is what Alberta Street gallery wants to showcase through its professional and vibrant cooperative artists. The gallery features high-quality works across various mediums.
Moreover, the pieces include sculptures, ceramics, photography, jewelry, glass, metalwork, and fiber.
- Antler Gallery
Susannah Kelly and Neil Perry co-own Antler Gallery. It usually showcases works from artists the two both love. As you explore the gallery, you will see that it has an extensive focus on nature.
Furthermore, there is a benefit exhibition every January together with the Audubon Society of Portland. It is an event raising aid and awareness in protecting endangered species.
- Blind Insect Gallery
How about multi-cultural art pieces inside one gallery? This is Blind Insect Gallery’s aim – to provide a platform for emerging artists from different countries to exhibit their works.
Various creatives and artists from places like Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, California, Portland, Boise, and Seattle gather here. Apart from seeing multiple art pieces, you can also affordably buy artworks.
- Guardino Gallery
Fulfil your artistic needs inside Guardino Gallery. You can experience the visual simulation of various changing exhibitions and shops from fine collections of contemporary crafts.
The area has its main gallery, window gallery, feature area, and gift, which you can fondly explore inside.
- Redbird Studio
Everything is handmade in this shop – from unique art prints, baby items, accessories, stationery, etc. The owners themselves designed and made these crafts. If you wish to shop for some artsy and handmade gifts, you can drop them here. The studio is also inside the Alberta Arts District.
Alberta’s Last Thursday
More than two decades since it started, Alberta’s Last Thursday still holds one of the iconic monthly events in the district. It gathers people showcasing diverse art pieces, cultures, and communities. Nonprofits and small businesses also participate every last Thursday of every month.
It is said that nobody owns, controls, and produces Last Thursdays. It is a grassroots event where everyone is welcome to promote and participate. Alberta’s Last Thursday turns the outdoors into a lively scene with craft vendors, local arts, music, performers, events, and more by late spring through September. It usually starts from 4 PM until 9 PM.
The murals in this district are bold and bright; it can be impossible not to notice them. Additionally, the Alberta Arts District will not be called such without the beautiful murals. Snap some photos in front of these vast masterpieces as you stroll along the district.
You can pick up a walking map which you can find in galleries or boutiques. Also, you can strike up conversations with the locals and shop owners. They are warm and friendly, and will most like talking about their products.
What are the usual trading hours in the Alberta Neighborhood?
Shops are mostly open the whole week. However, some galleries close on Mondays. Moreover, Galleries and shops generally close late Last Thursday.
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Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele.