The area where Portland started is just as vital today, housing some of the city’s most beloved attractions, nightlife options and art galleries.
Constructed of materials shipped directly from Suzhou, China, Lan Su Chinese Garden is considered one of the most authentic Chinese gardens in the country. A two-story teahouse pavilion overlooks a tranquil pond and meticulously tended foliage and the garden’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations are a community tradition.
And no Portland to-do list is complete without a visit to Voodoo Doughnut. Oddball delights like the maple bacon bar draw crowds to this kitschy-cool institution, open 24 hours a day.
The monthly First Thursday art event includes free shows and refreshments at dozens of galleries and stores throughout Old Town Chinatown, downtown and the Pearl District.
Circle the block at the Everett Station Lofts to check out more than a dozen different mini-galleries. Flashback street fashions, Japanese gadgets and prints by local artists line the walls at Compound Gallery, while Upper Playground’s Fifty24PDX gallery features collectible toys and comic-style prints. More art in a similar vein is on offer at Floating World Comics.
Retro fun abounds at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, with two floors of old-school, quarter-operated video games such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Tetris. There’s a full bar and DJs spin tunes in the evenings.
The female impersonation revue at Darcelle XV Showplace has been a local entertainment legend since 1967. Held nightly Wednesdays through Saturdays, the glitzy extravaganzas are still emceed by the grande dame herself, Darcelle XV, who turned 80 in 2010.
More restrained evening entertainment comes at Wilfs, a retro supper club in historic Union Station that features live jazz nightly, Wednesday through Saturday, and a modern, sustainable twist on the classic American menu.
Old Town is a hot spot for live comedy. Check out national headliners and local talent at Harvey’s Comedy Club, an institution of laughs since the early 90s.