North Mississippi Avenue features a long stretch of vibrant shops, unique bars, music venues and restaurants (and is only a half-mile away from even more acclaimed eateries and bars on up-and-coming North Williams Avenue). Read on for our favorite things to do and see in Mississippi.
Dining on Mississippi
Fried egg sandwiches and fluffy biscuits headline at Gravy. The signature gravy, served veggie or “country-style” loaded with sausage crumbles, is almost a meal on its own. At the south end of Mississippi, Ecliptic Brewing offers celestial-themed brews from legendary brew-master John Harris together with upscale fare.
Prost Marketplace provides a delicious introduction to Portland’s vaunted food cart scene, with mobile vendors serving inventive cuisine. You can enjoy your grub with a pint at on-site German pub Prost.
Meat reigns supreme at The People’s Pig, where perfectly smoked pork shoulder and fried chicken sandwiches have barbecue-lovers in hog heaven. Another local barbecue favorite, Miss Delta runs a hefty smoker behind their restaurant, smoking meats for hours before it gets served.
Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty serves some of the city’s best wood-fired pizzas and homemade ice cream — the salted caramel is addictive. Blue Star Donuts, a Portland mainstay uses a traditional French brioche recipe as the base for classy pastries in creative flavors like blueberry bourbon basil and Cointreau crème brulee.
One of the district’s oldest businesses, Mississippi Pizza, serves its slices with generous sides of karaoke, trivia, bingo and live music — much of it geared toward kids. Fans of Mee-Sen Thai can’t get enough of the Asian-market-in-a-warehouse vibe or the khao pad poo, a pungent combination of fried rice and sweet crabmeat.
Things to Do in Mississippi
Urban gardeners love wandering through verdant Pistils Nursery , where they can find plants, terrarium supplies, glassware, pottery and apothecary goods, gardening books and more. The nursery’s hosts “Living Art Workshops” on activities like staghorn fern mounting, terrarium building and houseplant care.
A great first stop for lesbian, gay and transgender (LGBTQ+) visitors is Mississippi’s Q Center, a community gathering place and resource center that hosts regular events.
At the homey Mississippi Studios, you’ll feel like you’re getting a private show — from major acts that could easily pack much larger venues. The attached BarBar rounds out the evening with a solid draft list and airy patio dining.
Sunlan Lighting the oldest business on bustling Mississippi Avenue, is a quirky specialty shop carrying light bulbs of all colors, shapes and sizes. Owner Kay Newell is also happy to share local lore and scrapbooks of vintage photographs and clippings with curious visitors.
Learn the basics of insect pinning at Paxton Gate, which includes materials and hands-on instruction on how to hydrate, preserve and display your own beetle, grasshopper or butterfly. You can also shop for exotic plants, taxidermy, crystals, animal skulls, curios and mounted insects.
Shopping on Mississippi
Gourmet chocolate, wine, flowers — The Meadow stocks everything you need for a romantic picnic, along with specialty salts from around the world. Worn Path equips wilderness wanderers with sleeping bags, beanies, slingshots and other woodsy essentials.
The analog era is alive and well at Mississippi Records, which specializes in international, blues and soul recordings. The shop has turntables, listening stations and even its own line of releases on vinyl and cassette. The wide selection of comics and graphic novels at Bridge City Comics attests to the number of comic book publishers and professionals in Portland — thought to be second only to that in New York City.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new door or bathtub, stop into the 40,000-square-foot ReBuilding Center to marvel at the array of recycled home materials, as well as the impressive tree sculpture surrounding the front entrance.
Online sensation Sock Dreams has its world headquarters on North Mississippi Avenue. So instead of ordering online, hoof it into their store for socks of all stripes: sexy, silly and, of course, soft. And for the discriminating toddler, there’s Black Wagon, a boutique that stocks high-end clothes and gifts for babies and kids.
Chock-full of locally crafted wall prints, tees and vintage-themed jewelry, Land makes it easy to curate a Portland aesthetic. (You may also recognize it as the place where over-zealous crafters “put a bird on it” in the first season of Portlandia.) Meanwhile, Flutter offers a “delightful disarray” of home décor, jewelry and fragrances.
Illustration by Subin Yang
North Portland Neighborhoods
Sometimes called the “Fifth Quadrant,” North Portland encompasses a range of neighborhoods and commercial districts, including St. Johns, Mississippi/Williams and Kenton. Attractions include the St. Johns Bridge, Portland International Raceway, Peninsula Park Rose Garden and Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area.
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