From salsa and line dancing to Lindy hop and blues, dance enthusiasts could spend months grooving their way through Portland without visiting the same spot twice. Follow our weeklong itinerary to discover several of the city’s favorite venues and popular weekly dance events.
Monday — Bushwhackers
It doesn’t get more honky-tonk than Bushwhackers, the premier spot for bass-thumping, foot-stomping country dance. Show off your two-step, boogie with the line dancers or waltz around the perimeter of the Texas-sized dance floor at this venue in Tualatin, 20 minutes south of downtown Portland. Belt buckles and cowboy boots aren’t required, but you might want to make room in your luggage, just in case.
Monday: Open dancing; Tuesday–Saturday lesson at 7:30 p.m. followed by open dancing
Cost: Free Monday–Thursday; $3 Friday and Saturday
Tuesday — Tuesday Blues at Bossanova Ballroom
On Tuesday nights, the Bossanova Ballroom takes things down a notch by offering soulful, sultry blues music. Stop by before the dance for a free introductory lesson hosted by the Portland Blues and Jazz Dance Society. There’s no partner required, which is perfect if you’re flying solo. If not, enjoy cuddling up to your sweetie in a close embrace and swaying the night away.
Tuesdays at 9 p.m.; beginner lesson at 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday — West Coast Swing Wednesdays at Norse Hall
Grab a partner, claim your slot and prepare to strut your stuff during West Coast Swing Wednesdays at the historic Norse Hall. A free introductory lesson before the social dance teaches beginners basics of this fun, fast-paced swing dance, and the buttery-smooth dance floor will have you spinning and sugar-pushing with ease.
Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.; lesson at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday — Shadowplay at Lovecraft Bar
A horror-themed bar complete with a child-sized coffin as decoration? Yep, Portland has that. Get your goth on at Lovecraft Bar where Thursday is the darkest night of the week, thanks to DJ Carrion’s steady stream of industrial and darkwave.
Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.
Friday — ‘80s Video Dance Attack at Lola’s Room at Crystal Ballroom
Located on the second floor of the iconic McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, Lola’s Room plays host to Portland’s favorite dance party, ‘80s Video Dance Attack. Every Friday night, break out your scrunchies and lace up your high-top Chucks to relive MTV’s heyday and bop your head to your favorite throwbacks. Classic music videos are projected across giant screens, so it’s a lot like when you used to dance along with Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted Slave” in your living room (but with less carpet burn). Prefer songs and styles from the following decade? Dance to hits by Nirvana and Snoop Dog at “Comes As You Are: 90s Dance Flashback” on Saturday nights.
Every Friday at 9 p.m.
Saturday — Saturday Milonga at Tango Berretin
Portland has one of the largest Argentine tango communities in North America, with studios offering lessons, practicas and milongas (social dances) almost every night of the week. At the heart of the scene is the Tango Berretin. Owned by world-renowned tango instructor Alex Krebs, this intimate dance hall injects the old-world charm of dimly lit Spanish salons and a tango’s overt sensuality. The popular Saturday night milonga is prefaced with a beginner lesson, and frequently hosts live music.
Saturdays at 9 p.m., lesson at 8 p.m.
Sunday — Salsa Sunday at Trio Club
The Trio Club is a neon beacon that beckons night owls hungry for a slice of Miami’s nightclub vibe. It looks a bit out of place in Portland, but for fans of salsa, it feels like home. With three different dance floors and DJs spinning everything from traditional mambo to Latin EDM, the Trio Club’s Salsa Sunday is sure to keep you shimmying into the wee hours of Monday morning. (The party goes ‘til 4 a.m.!)
Sundays at 10 p.m.
Cost: $10–15; ladies get in free before 10:30 p.m.
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