The sketch comedy show Portlandia skewers (and fabricates) some hilarious Portland personalities and experiences. But how do too-funny-to-be-true sketches stack up against the real deal? Find out for yourself by visiting the sites where some favorite Portlandia Season 1 scenes were filmed.
Season 1, episode 1
The Dream of the ‘90s
The dream of the ‘90s is alive in Portland — at least that’s what a crew of bearded and flannelled, pierced and tattooed singers in Portlandia’s first-ever sketch would have you believe.
Filmed at the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade in Southeast Portland. If you want to stroll along the waterfront with your clown posse, make your way over to the floating walkway, which offers some of the best views of Portland’s downtown skyline.
Hide and Seek
Portland’s Adult Hide-And-Seek League takes cover among the stacks of a library. This isn’t dodgeball, kickball or any of that nonsense — there’s strategy to this!
Filmed at the Portland Community College – Cascade Campus in Northeast Portland. A small, urban college, hide-and-seek (by adults or children) isn’t exactly encouraged here, but you can find an excellent art gallery and lovely pieces of public art spread all over campus.
Toni and Candace welcome the likes of Steve Buscemi (in this episode’s “Customers Only”), Heather Graham and Aubrey Plaza as customers at Women and Women First Bookstore.
Filmed at In Other Words (now closed), a volunteer-run, nonprofit, feminist community center and bookstore, on Northeast Killingsworth Street. Their packed event calendar has everything from poetry slams to yoga sessions for women.
Season 1, Episode 2
The sketch – Watch it
Bicycle rights! Hipster Spike pedals all over the streets of Portland, showing vehicles who’s the boss.
Filmed outside Powell’s City of Books on West Burnside Street and all around the Pearl District. Lock up your ride at the bike racks in front of Powell’s and stroll (don’t roll) through the world’s largest independent bookstore.
The sketch – Watch it
Who would tie a dog up!? Kathy and Dave get to the bottom of this outrageous act of neglect — or simply dog ownership — at an outdoor restaurant.
Filmed at the Firehouse Restaurant in Northeast Portland. Standing for more than 100 years, this former working firehouse serves up rich and fare that’s big on flavor, like their array of mozzarella-smothered pizzas, and their wood-grilled steaks and fish main courses.
Put A Bird On It
In this sketch that gave both “Portlandia” and Portland an enduring tagline, a pair of over-eager artists go nuts adorning items with birds, until things get a little too real.
At Land on North Mississippi Avenue, you’ll find clothes, cards and gifts adorned with Portland-centric motifs like bridges, bikes, beer and – yes – birds. Upstairs, a small gallery features monthly shows from local artists.
Fun fact: Land is the brick-and-mortar incarnation of buyolympia.com, which was founded in Olympia, Wash., where Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein attended college and started her band, Sleater-Kinney.
Season 1, Episode 4
Did You Read?
Coffee shop patrons try to one-up each other with media and literary references, until their passion for consuming print takes over.
Filmed at James John Cafe in St. Johns. With house-cured meats, perfectly poached eggs and Water Avenue Coffee on the menu, you won’t even think of eating their magazines.
Season 1, Episode 5
Festival fever takes over Portlandia, with events all over town. From concerts to post-movie question and answer sessions with the director, every stage seems to be filled in this episode (and in Portland, come summertime).
Filmed at Hollywood Theatre, a restored movie house from the golden age of the silver screen, where you’ll find everything from B-movies to best picture contenders.
The Deuce Hotel
With turntables, vintage typewriters, real books and so-bad-they’re-good records for loan, this hipster haven would be the perfect overnight in Portlandia — if you could get into your room.
Filmed at the Sentinel and Hotel deLuxe (exteriors), this sketch spoofs on the Ace Hotel, which loans out bikes (or rents out even swankier handmade two-wheelers, for a price), serves Stumptown coffee from a French press, and is dog-friendly because, well, dogs are cool. So, it’s not that different than the Deuce.
Bonus: At the Ace, you could conceivably run into Portland musicians like James Mercer or Colin Meloy, who had cameos in this skit.