Created in partnership with Portland in Color
South Portland is a slim strip of land on the west side of the Willamette River, located south of downtown Portland. Bound by Interstate 5 and the Marquam Bridge to the north and the Sellwood Bridge to the south, South Portland encompasses the South Waterfront and Johns Landing neighborhoods.
In 2018, it joined North, Northwest, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest Portland as the newest of the city’s so-called “quadrants.” (With the official adoption of South Portland in 2020, it might be time to start calling them “sextants.”) Why the addition? The neighborhood’s off-beat oddity, a zero unique to many of its residential and commercial addresses, caused too much confusion for mapping applications, package couriers and emergency first responders.
Zero aside, it’s easy to keep it one hundred in Portland’s sixth sextant; this laidback river community is a perfect 10 if water recreation, low-key urban green spaces and hubs to grub and shop are your things.
Gluttons for gluten, rejoice! Once operating in a smaller kitchen in the same neighborhood and predominately as a wholesaler, Finales Fine Cakes and Desserts owner Bella Chan expanded her business into a brick and mortar bakery and café called Sweet Coco G in late 2019. From bigger-than-your-hand, freshly-baked cinnamon rolls to classic and seasonally-inspired cookies, pies and cakes, there are no wrong choices. (If you’ve never had creamy, brûléed Basque Cheesecake, we recommend starting there.) Looking for something more substantial? In addition to their signature sweets, the bakery also offers homemade soups and sandwiches (including vegan options using ingredients like maple-soy-glazed tofu cutlets).
Lunch or dinner, solo or with a group, book it to Szechuan Chef for typical Chinese American eats like sesame and General Tso’s chicken. For more adventurous eaters, the menu’s Sichuan specialties like hot pot or spicy fried Chongqing chicken with peanuts, chilies and scallions don’t disappoint.
Portland is only an hour away from the Pacific Ocean, so it should come as no surprise that the city’s sushi options are both delicious and expansive.
Chef Carlo Lamagna's Magna explores the wide world of Filipino cuisine.
Every February, Portland celebrates its love for dough-wrapped delights with Dumpling Week. Best of all? Delicious dumplings are available year-round.
Savor the fare of the Philippines, a cuisine heavily influenced by Spain, its former colonizer, at St. Barbra Pinoy Bakery. Owner Bob Ofilla also applies his knowledge of French pastry technique to typical Filipino pastries like cheese or ube-filled ensaymadas, any-time-of-day bites like beef or chicken empanadas and brunch-appropriate plates such as pancit or grilled beef tapsilog, served with rice and egg.
Looking to leisurely sip a warm or iced spectacularly spiced beverage? Look no further than Kiosko. True, this waterfront café is just outside the bounds of South Portland, but hear us out: It’s the only POC-owned cafe in the immediate area and offers a menu emphasizing low-waste and plant-based drink options. The mushroom- and date-derived “horchata de hongo,” an herbaceous, house-made take on the classic Latin American rice and cinnamon-spiced beverage, is a must-try as an add-on to your latte, cup of coffee or on its own. Don’t sleep on the rosewater ahogado (an ice cream and espresso pour-over), featuring local dessert pop-up, Kate’s plant-based ice cream; it’s everything.
Enjoy Willamette Park, a 26-acre (11 hectare) waterfront property. Serve ‘em like Serena on the tennis courts, then “Bend it like Beckham” on the soccer fields. Take to the water and rent single or tandem kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or canoes by the hour from the adjoining Portland Kayak Company.
You’re sure to lose track of time exploring the Willamette River’s unique houseboats, public beaches, bridges and natural beauty. Sightings of bald eagles, osprey and the occasional wayward sea lion await!
Hop on the Portland Aerial Tram for bird’s-eye views of Bridgetown. Operated by Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), the tram runs daily between Marquam Hill and South Waterfront. The trams, Jean on the north side and Walt on the south are named in honor of Jean Richardson, the first female engineering graduate student at Oregon State University, and Walt Reynolds, the first African American to graduate from the University of Oregon Medical School (known today as OHSU).
Established to address customers’ mastectomy, lingerie and compression needs, Just Like a Woman is all about finding the right fit and necessary support — with style. Common and atypical brands and hard-to-find sizes for all ages and cup sizes are easy to procure at this woman-owned shop, which also offers garment fitting, alterations and fixes.
What goes over your undergarments? Find something fashionable and “new to you” at Here We Go Again, a first-rate resale boutique specializing in trendy designer labels for women, including luxury handbags and shoes.
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.
Mid-century furnishings, hardware, kitchsy collectibles and vintage lighting and furniture all await in Portland's carefully curated antiquing scene.
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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