With several public parks and settings ranging from riverfront woodlands to fir-shaded glens, this easy-going Southeast Portland neighborhood packs plenty of old school fun.
Park it here
At more than 100 years old, Oaks Amusement Park, a mix of retro amusements and safe, modern rides, is a scene come summertime. Imagine nibbling on some cotton candy after taking a ride on the Scream-N-Eagle, or lacing up your skates to take a spin around the park’s historic skating rink.
Immediately southeast of Oaks Park, you’ll find Sellwood Park. Back in the day, this was the City View Racetrack, but now the 16-acre spot on a bluff overlooking downtown Portland is packed with baseball fields, tennis courts and even horseshoe pits. At the height of summer, the park’s public pool is perhaps its biggest draw.
Just to the west, Sellwood Riverfront Park boasts the best access to the Willamette River on Portland’s east side, as well as paved paths and picnic tables.
On the neighborhood’s east side, 44-acre (18 ha) Westmoreland Park hosts the city’s first permanent nature-based play area, where children can frolic among features made from logs, boulders, sand, plants and water, all flanked by a restored wetland.
Bring binoculars and play a game of spot-the-species at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, where a trail winds through 170 acres of reclaimed marshland that is home to more than 150 species of birds. Keep an eye out for the great blue heron, Portland’s official bird.
The Springwater on the Willamette Trail connects Sellwood Park to Oaks Bottom and scores of other natural wonders. The mostly-paved scenic pathway is a former railway that now lets bikers ride along the Willamette River from just south of the Oregon Science Museum (OMSI).
Tea Chai Te is bit like a secret clubhouse — visitors enter through a red caboose and descend into a spacious lounge and sun-dappled patio. The cozy café boasts a collection of more than 120 handcrafted tea blends, and has been spotlighted by the likes of The New York Times and IFC’s Portlandia.
Inside and out, the Muddy Rudder Public House is a great place to taste the local flavor, especially if you’re into microbrews. This popular neighborhood hangout is a converted bungalow that hosts near-nightly live music and a daily happy hour that explains why they have so many regulars. Pull up a picnic table or a bar stool and lose track of time.
But there’s no better place to cozy up indoors in this area than at the Moreland Theatre. When it opened in 1926, the space featured vaudeville acts and silent films. Today, however, it shows first-run flicks at cut-rate prices in their single screen theater. But one thing remains unchanged since the old days: A cash-only business, they still don’t take plastic.
Students at Vine Gogh Artist Bar get in the creative mood with a little liquid encouragement — in the form of Northwest wine, Oregon craft beer and hard cider — as local artists guide them through the process of painting their own masterpieces.