Tiara Darnell

Tiara Darnell is a creative strategist, writer, and video and audio producer based in Buffalo, New York, and Portland. Read More

Tojo Andrianarivo

Tojo Andrianarivo is a Malagasy-American photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. Read More

South Portland Neighborhood Spotlight

Enjoy diverse eats, great views and river activities in Portland’s newest “quadrant.”

4 min read South Portland

Tiara Darnell

Tiara Darnell is a creative strategist, writer, and video and audio producer based in Buffalo, New York, and Portland. Read More

Tojo Andrianarivo

Tojo Andrianarivo is a Malagasy-American photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. Read More

Created in partnership with Portland in Color

Enjoy diverse eats, great views and river activities in Portland’s newest “quadrant.”

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.

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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.

Owner Bella Chan prepares cinnamon rolls at Finales Fine Cakes and Desserts.
Credit: Tojo Andrianarivo for Portland in Color

Eat

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.

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Dig into these bites from around the world — all of which can be eaten in Portland.

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A baker sprinkles flour over a large sheet of dough
French pastry technique meets classic Filipino recipes at St. Barbra Pinoy Bakery.
Credit: Tojo Andrianarivo for Portland in Color

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.

A man, woman and child stand in front of a coffee shop
Kiosko owners Rogelio and Lindsey Landaverde stand in front of the shop with their child, Pablo.
Credit: Tojo Andrianarivo for Portland in Color

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.

A hand sprinkles rose petals over a scoop of ice cream in a rustic bowl
The rosewater ahogado (an ice cream and espresso pour-over) at Kiosko features local Kate’s plant-based ice cream.
Credit: Tojo Andrianarivo for Portland in Color

Play

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.

A man balances on a slack line connected to a tree in a park
There are many ways to enjoy South Portland’s Willamette Park, which also offer river access.
Credit: Tojo Andrianarivo for Portland in Color

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!

A woman pilots a stand-up paddleboard in a river, with another woman looking on
Stand-up paddleboarding on the Willamette River is a popular activity.
Credit: Tojo Andrianarivo for Portland in Color

Make a Splash in the Willamette River

The river, which bisects the city into east and west sides, is a virtual aquatic playground, with kayakers, fishers and swimmers enjoying the water.

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).

Shop

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 as well as 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.

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