The city’s oldest neighborhood is filled with surprises. From authentic Chinese restaurants, tea houses and a city-block-sized traditional garden, Portland’s original downtown is a bustling entertainment district and streetwear shopping hub. Read on for our favorite things to do and see in Portland’s historic Old Town Chinatown.
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Where to Stay in Old Town Chinatown
Portland’s original downtown and historic Chinatown is today a bustling entertainment district and streetwear shopping hub. This central-city neighborhood puts you in the heart of the action, situated along the westside of the Willamette River with easy access to the Pearl District, downtown and Northwest Portland.
Where To Eat and Drink in Old Town Chinatown
You can also pair your visit to Old Town Chinatown with a traditional Chinese tea service at Red Robe Tea House, which features premium loose-leaf blends served alongside classic Cantonese dishes.
Deadstock Coffee & Gallery is helmed by a former Nike shoe designer and decorated with vintage Michael Jordan memorabilia. This one-of-a-kind coffeehouse doubles as a gathering place for “sneakerheads” and local footwear employees from Adidas, Under Armour and Columbia (to name just a few).
A walk down Ankeny Alley, where you can get in line for Voodoo Doughnut, will bring you to Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, which opened in 1907, serving classic chowders and oysters. Wander the alley to find other old-salt Portland bars, or over to Pine Street Market where you’ll find Pine Street Taproom and Pleasure Burger. Just down the street from Voodoo and other eatery joints is the perfect pit stop for a cup of coffee at Stumptown Coffee, a sustainably sourced and locally roasted caffeine fix at the ready.
Things To Do in Old Town Chinatown
A place to begin to learn about the Chinese American Community in the Rose City is Portland Chinatown Museum, which showcases the Chinese immigrant experience, and features Chinese American art, history and culture.
In 1999, a team of experts traveled to Portland from our sister city in Suzhou, China, to build an authentic, 40,000-square-foot (3716 sq m) Ming Dynasty-style garden. Today, visitors to Lan Su Chinese Garden escape the bustle of the surrounding city to admire tranquil pools and seasonal foliage while wandering the grounds.
This district was also once home to a vibrant Japantown. The Japanese American Museum of Oregon offers poignant and informative exhibits exploring the history of Japanese Americans in Portland and beyond.
Explore local history at the Portland Chinatown Museum before visiting other neighborhood mainstays.
Learn more about the Rose City's Chinese American history and strong legacy.
Japanese Americans have been a critical part of Portland's past and present.
Crawl into Portland’s catacombs — aka the Shanghai Tunnels — to learn the lore of the early days in this port town.
Open Saturdays and Sundays, Portland Saturday Market, outdoor arts and crafts fair, runs from March to Christmas every year. The bustle of this river-side bazaar nestled between Old Town’s Archways and the Westside of the Burnside Bridge is a beloved weekend tradition since 1974. The Portland Saturday Market features over 250 vendors of arts, crafts, wares, and freshly made food to fill the senses
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.
Shopping in Old Town Chinatown
With boutique clothing, comics, shoes, and skateboards, Old Town Chinatown packs storefronts of local makers in some of the oldest buildings in Portland.
Floating World Comics, frequently named one of the best comic book shops in America, also stocks zines, graphic novels, international art magazines and even new and used vinyl. This hip comic headquarters also serve as an indie publisher and art gallery.
Operated by and for skaters since 1976, Cal Skate Skateboards hyperbolically bills itself as “the oldest skateboard shop on the planet.” Exaggeration aside, the store’s selection of nearly 500 unique decks and skateboards truly can’t be beaten.
Pick out a pair of sneakers at Index PDX, Portland’s premier sneaker consignment store, where shrink-wrapped Yeezys and mint-condition Air Jordans sell for thousands of dollars.
End your evening with glitz, glamour and a bit of risqué humor brought to you by an all-star cast of female impersonators (including Darcelle, the country’s oldest performing drag queen) at the West Coast’s longest-running drag show, Darcelle XV.
Portland's Central City
There's a lot more to Portland's urban core than Downtown, a center for retail, restaurants and cultural attractions. Goose Hollow is home to Providence Park soccer stadium, while the Pearl District is famous for upscale bars, boutiques and galleries. Old Town Chinatown offers streetwear shops, Saturday Market and Lan Su Chinese Garden and Northwest/Nob Hill boasts shopping, dining and access to Forest Park and the historic Pittock Mansion. East of the Willamette River, the Central Eastside offers family-friendly attractions, shopping and nightlife, while Lloyd is home to the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Trail Blazers.
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