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.
Where to Stay in Old Town Chinatown
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. Choose from boutique hotels, modern hostels, and more with Northwest Portland hotels.
Where To Eat and Drink in Old Town Chinatown
One of Chinatown’s relatively few Chinese restaurants is Chen’s Good Taste Restaurant, a small Cantonese eatery near the Chinatown Gateway renowned for noodles and barbecued pork.
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 the ‘lost Japanese American community’ virtually through a collaboration between the Japanese American Museum of Oregon and the Architectural Heritage Center with a web-based storytelling map and tour.
Chinese Attractions in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown
Explore local history at the Portland Chinatown Museum before visiting other neighborhood mainstays.
Chinese American History
Learn more about the Rose City's Chinese American history and strong legacy.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
This year-round wonder houses an authentic Ming Dynasty-style garden built by Suzhou artisans, offering a peaceful escape in Portland's historic Chinatown.
Japanese American History
Japanese Americans have been a critical part of Portland's past and present.
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
In times of social upheaval and political uncertainty, museums like OJMCHE are more relevant than ever. Explore the rich history and ongoing resiliency of Oregon’s diverse Jewish community with interactive exhibits and experiences for all ages.
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 has been 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
Circle the block at the Everett Station Lofts to check out more than a dozen different mini-galleries.
Shopping in Old Town Chinatown
With boutique clothing, shoes, and skateboards, Old Town Chinatown packs storefronts of local makers in some of the oldest buildings in Portland.
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 (always inspired by the venue’s namesake, Darcelle, who was until recently the country’s oldest performing drag queen) at the West Coast’s longest-running drag show, Darcelle XV.
Bouncing between horror and humor, Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s seminal novel is a thrilling play that questions who the true monsters are. Fierce, feminist, and frightening, Dracula is a revenge fantasy worth sinking your teeth into. The Wall Street Journal called this play “a fresh, theatrically potent spin on the novel … Hamill…
Don’t miss this exhilarating parade of musical and comical fireworks. Local favorites David Saffert and Jillian Snow have dazzled audiences from New York to Portland. Get ready for nonstop glamor and glitz as they take the stage as Liberace and Liza Minnelli. Featuring rousing musical numbers, enchanting costumes, and unforgettable laughs, this cheeky and delightful…
The Japanese American Museum of Oregon presents A Sense of Place: The Art of George Tsutakawa, a career-spanning exhibition of the influential Seattle artist’s paintings, sculptures, and fountain designs. Inspired by his life in the Pacific Northwest and his Japanese heritage, Tsutakawa (1910-1997) was fascinated with the natural forms and aesthetics he encountered in both…
A purveyor of lucid sounds, French producer Chloé Herry is a worldly and rhythmic figure in the electronic music atmosphere. CloZee has made a name for herself by skewing the usual curves of bass music and evoking a spiritual and evolutionary sound. She recently announced her next album, Microworlds, will be coming out Summer of…
Darcelle XV and Company have been entertaining audiences from all walks of life for over 50 years with Las Vegas-style cabaret revues of Glitz, Glamour and Comedy. Stop by when you are in Portland and you will be glad that you did! We have traveled the United States presenting a show that you have to…
Don't miss this one. Linda Lee Michelet and John Gilmore put the sparkle back in the season with a collection of bright new arrangements of your holiday jazz favorites backed by a glorious big band of Portland's jazz all-stars. This is the sixth show in Wilf's Third Thursday concert series and will be a benefit…
Filled with humor and history, this Pulitzer Prize finalist asks what the U.S. Constitution truly means. As a 15-year-old, Heidi Schreck won debate competitions defending the Constitution nationwide. As an adult, she resurrects her teenage self to investigate its profound effect on four generations of women in her family. This exhilarating show culminates in a…
The Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies and the MFA in Applied Craft+Design proudly present Dee Clements of Studio Herron as she discusses her design practice. Studio Herron is a design studio that focuses on textiles, furniture and objects that combine an artistic process and traditional craft methodologies with the utilitarian and the aesthetic. Studio…
The story of Don Quixote comes alive with a modern twist. In the fictional town of La Plancha, Texas, a brilliant professor battling dementia imagines himself as Cervantes’ titular hero. Enlisting his own Sancho, he embarks on a journey for his long-lost love — tilting at border patrol drones rather than windmills. Featuring vibrant, Spanish-infused…
Louis Cole is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Celebrated as one of the world’s most future-sonic-funk drummers and co-founder of KNOWER, his mission is “to create deep feelings through music.” Cole has proudly been DIY to date, amassing millions of views with his viral videos like ‘Bank Account’, and arrives with his third…
The Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies and the MFA/MA in Collaborative Design + Design Systems are proud to present a lecture by Michael Brenner, Head Designer for DATA4CHANGE. Michael Brenner is Head of Design at Data4Change, a nonprofit organization that defends human rights with data. Data4Change works with a wide array of civil society…
From Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour (creator of the Off-Broadway smash hit White Rabbit, Red Rabbit) comes an audacious new theatrical experiment. Each night, a new, unrehearsed local performer joins the playwright on stage while the script waits, unseen, in a sealed box… Touchingly autobiographical yet powerfully universal, NASSIM is a striking theatrical demonstration of how…
Famine threatens Rome and hunger fuels the tensions between the country’s elite and the deprived masses. As civil unrest stirs political upheaval, the war hero Coriolanus is driven to defend and destroy his own country. Shakespeare’s rare and unique tragedy will be fueled by a dynamic female and non-binary ensemble and a muscular, movement-focused staging….
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage serves up this delicious comedy that centers laughs, redemption, and restorative justice. The formerly incarcerated kitchen staff at Clyde’s are navigating their new lives on the outside and their tough-as-nails boss — all while on a quest to create the perfect sandwich. The menu features loveable characters, big dreams, and…
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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