Spanning 43 blocks, in old storefronts find thrift shopping, cozy bookstores, fine and casual dining, and a perfect espresso as you wander this locally beloved Southeast Portland neighborhood. Read on for our favorite things to do and see in the Hawthorne District.
Where to Eat and Drink on Hawthorne
Start your day with meticulously brewed coffee from Coava Coffee at its second outpost in a small cafe on Hawthorne. Coffee-lovers will find locally roasted single-origin coffee and espresso, plus single-origin mochas made with a custom blend of shaved and powdered Cocanu chocolate. Further east, Albina Press, pouring up rich mochas, cocoas and heavenly cappuccinos also serves as the water-cooler for work-from-home locals.
At this quintessentially hip coffeehouse, Upper Left Roasters you can wake up with a piping hot Ethiopian pour-over or creamy iced mocha at this which also offers a lengthy toast menu featuring toppings like macadamia nut butter and house-made ricotta.
Harlow, one of the few dedicated gluten-free restaurants in Portland, delivers veggie and gluten-free bowls and smoothies that are decadent, yet health-focused. Try the walnut pancakes and the Portland Fog, or the “rawsome” veggie burger and rich smoothies like the Retrospection, loaded with almond butter and cacao.
Portland’s premier juice bar, Kure, is an unassuming tin shed that specializes in heavenly acai bowls, green juices and superfood smoothies.
The Waffle Window is quite possibly Portland’s most playful dining spot. A literal hole in the wall, demarcated by a blue door, the popular snack spot doles out smiles in the form of waffles overflowing with bacon, cheddar and jalapeño — or dipped in peanut butter and chocolate.
Portland brunch stalwart Jam on Hawthorne serves up breakfast staples seven days a week, inviting parents to dig into lemon ricotta pancakes and Grand Marnier French toast as kiddos delight in their own play area.
At the east end of Hawthorne, Apizza Scholls’ reputation for serving some of the best pizza pretty much anywhere was confirmed by a visit from Anthony Bourdain himself. The restaurant’s round beauties feature toppings like cured pork shoulder and goat horn peppers. But arrive early and expect to work up an appetite in the usually long line.
A favorite destination for celebrations and special evenings for nearly two decades, classy Castagna treats diners to up to 20 dishes that merge French cooking with Northwest flair — think chanterelle, antelope heart, foie gras and goat butter. Castagna Café, next door, offers more casual (and affordable) fare.
When you’re undecided on what to eat, make your way to one of the most iconic food cart pods, Cartopia Food Cart Pods where night owls devour bacon-honey-walnut crepes, Latin-style chicken, wood-fired pizzas and even vegan poutine. A few blocks away, Hawthorne Asylum hosts 21 carts in a food court sprawling half a city block in Southeast. From brunch to Ethiopian to Egyptian to BBQ, there is something to try for everybody.
What to Do on Hawthorne
From shopping to movies, an indoor skate park, and a beautiful city park at the top of the strip you’ll have plenty of things to explore. Mount Tabor, one of only a handful of extinct volcanoes within city limits in the U.S., is a 636-foot cinder cone that boasts panoramic views of downtown. On its fir-shaded flanks, explore hiking trails, a playground and an amphitheater for summer-evening concerts.
For more than ten years, overgrown kids have taken part in the Portland Adult Soap Box Derby, hurtling down Mt. Tabor in homemade vehicles, while sunbathing, beer-drinking spectators cheer them on. The big race is held every August.
Every August, the neighborhood rallies for the Hawthorne Street Fair, one of the city’s finest fairs, with music stages spreading throughout the shopping district, sidewalk sales and kids’ activities.
The Bagdad Theater and Pub first opened in 1927 and now a McMenamin’s property, is one of the city’s many view-and-brew-style venues, with surround sound and rocker seats — in addition to craft beer, pizza and pub fare. After the show, play pool behind the screen at the Backstage Bar or visit the adjoining Greater Trumps and Bagdad Pub.
While it doesn’t boast a showy marquee like the Bagdad, CineMagic Theater has seniority as it opened in 1914. Head here for a good deal on new releases, which share screen time with second-run films and classics.
Do Jump! Extremely Physical Theater blends acrobatics and dance into shows that appeal to family audiences and seasoned theater-goers. And if you’re looking for laughs, catch great stand-up acts most nights at Helium Comedy Club.
Fun & Games
Commonwealth Skate Park offers an indoor skate park featuring a smaller bowl, a mini ramp and a small street course with a rail and a few ledges. They also offer lessons, skate camps, and a shop for all your skating gear and accessories.
If you want to watch the games, instead of playing the games, take your soccer fans to Gol. This soccer bar boasts outdoor seating and several screens to watch the matches, at any hour.
Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard’s indie boutiques and homegrown shops mirror the locals you’ll see on the street: fun, funky and fiercely independent. Antiquing is exciting wherever you make a great find, but hunting on Hawthorne brings it to a new level. So, whether it’s a cookbook, handbag or a handcrafted postcard, you’ll find plenty of only-in-Portland wares here — alongside lots of “Keep Portland Weird” personality.
Books & Music
If downtown Portland’s City of Books is too much, find a sampling at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne with aisles of new and used titles, this local chain is a destination for bookworms. Alternatively, you can explore Backstory Books, a woman-owned bookstore in a small house on Hawthorne, that sells a well-curated selection of used books and recycled yarn.
Part record label, part gift shop, Tender Loving Empire teems with made-in-Portland art, albums, tees and trinkets. Look through the eclectic used vinyl at Tomorrow Records. Jackpot Records bucks the trend of downloadable music with expertise worth its weight in CDs. Thumbing through their well-sorted selection of vinyl is time well spent, especially when you score a fairly priced, forgotten favorite, or take a chance on a disc recommended by their tuned-in staff.
Clothes & Accessories
House of Vintage has 1,300 square feet of vintage clothing, furniture and art. A Portland mainstay, Magpie, has a small curated collection of fantastic vintage clothes and accessories. With one of the largest stockpiles of vintage clothes in Portland, the high-traffic Red Light Clothing Exchange stops bargain-hunting fashionistas in their tracks. And nearby, you’ll find even more resale — with an emphasis on newer brands — at Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Co.
Stocking up on Portland styles comes naturally on Hawthorne. Designer denim and locally stitched sweaters fill the chic boutique Communion. Sloan Boutique offers head-to-toe fashions that are great for every day or a night on the town, and their staff knows how to mix and match to make the perfect look.
Specializing in sizes 12 and up, Savvy Plus keeps fuller figures fashionable and looking fabulous with an array of consigned pieces that are high in quality and low in price. It’s also a kick to dig for deals at Imelda’s and Louie’s Shoes, which stocks more than just boots, sandals and high heels. They also have an array of bags, jewelry and accessories, and shoes for men.
For smaller trinkets and great gifts to bring back to wherever you’re visiting, Presents of Mind, stocks locally designed jewelry and accessories, baby gifts and a great selection of cards. Or discover a signature scent at The Perfume House, which offers an astonishing collection of 1,500 aromas.
Spreading the joy of all things camp vibes with accessories and cozy stuff, Poler has you covered for outdoor and camping needs.
Browse costume jewelry, tailored suits and racks upon racks of dresses at Portland's nearly 50 vintage shopping destinations.
From vintage wax to new European imports, those rare releases you’ve been searching for are surely waiting at one of these rockin’ local vinyl stores.
These companies churn out consistently cool made-in-Portland products, from fashionable swimwear and accessories to leather goods and lighting.
Illustration by Subin Yang
Southeast Portland Neighborhoods
East of the Willamette River and south of Burnside Street, this large quadrant is home to many favorite neighborhoods and business districts, as well as the dormant volcano at Mt. Tabor Park, delectable Asian food in the Jade District and urban nature at Leach Botanical Garden and Powell Butte.
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