Pack in stylish shopping, delicious international cuisine and quirky bar-hopping in North Portland’s Williams neighborhood. Read on for more of our favorite things to do in Williams.
Eat and Drink on Williams
When the craving for dumplings and noodles strikes, check out XLB on North Williams for classic Chinese comfort food and their namesake xiao long bao.
Named “Restaurant of the Year” in 2019 by The Oregonian, Eem’s Thai dishes, such as sweet and sour fried chicken and fried egg-topped soy curl stir fry, are all jammed with flavor. Cocktails arrive in over-the-top, photo-worthy Tiki glasses, but the cuisine crafted at Eem remains its star component.
More notable meals on Williams include handmade pastries and bacon-flecked baguettes by Dos Hermanos Bakery; beautiful, intricately decorated desserts at Jinju Patisserie; and vegan-friendly, authentic Japanese ramen at Kayo’s Ramen. What’s the Scoop? offers small-batch ice creams and sorbets made from scratch.
Migration Brewing on Williams opened in 2021 with a redesigned airy and open interior. Grab a pint from one of their 18 Migration beers on tap and head out to the 2000 square feet (186 m²) dog-friendly patio with both covered and uncovered seating. Another great place to grab a pint on Williams Avenue is AleFire. While you’re there peruse their highly curated list of hot sauces where you can take home a bottle of Hellfire.
Shopping on Williams
Spielwerk sells new children’s toys, but it transports shoppers to a simpler time. Filled with classic playthings crafted from natural materials, the shop’s simple, kid-powered toys like jump ropes, tea sets, dress-up kits and musical instruments promise timeless fun. Offering ethically sourced clothing made by small-batch designers, Monochromatic is a women-owned business committed to providing pronoun inclusive, simple designs.
Reclamation is a woman-of-color-owned boutique offering handmade goods, plants, gifts and terrariums. This inclusive and welcoming space fosters community through special events, classes and collaborations with other local creators. Stop by Workshop Vintage where designing duo Audra Santillo and Nate Moore showcase their love for all things vintage and custom-crafted pieces. This quirky boutique is uniquely modern with a rustic interior, boasting both newly created and nostalgic collectibles.
Questions About North Williams Avenue
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Activities on Williams
Start a stroll down Williams with a visit to The Wishing Tree. Planted in a neighborhood local’s front yard, the humble tree is strung with thousands of handwritten notes, each fastened to strings threaded through the tree’s branches. (Leave your own note by using the pens and paper stashed in mason jars at the base of the tree.)
Across from the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center is a small park with a big history. Dawson Park is a 2 acre (1 hectare) park that functioned as an unofficial town square for the surrounding African American community and was the epicenter of many political and social movements — like civil rights marches. With a restored 120-year-old gazebo and a splash pad, this park is a great place to enjoy the summer while learning about the history of the surrounding neighborhood.
Illustration by Subin Yang
North Portland Neighborhoods
Sometimes called the “Fifth Quadrant,” North Portland encompasses a range of neighborhoods and commercial districts, including St. Johns, Mississippi/Williams and Kenton. Attractions include the St. Johns Bridge, Portland International Raceway, Peninsula Park Rose Garden and Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area.
Enjoy live music, local shops and popular restaurants and bars on this historic North Portland street.
This serene woodland sanctuary in Northeast Portland features 62 acres (25 hectares) of lush botanical gardens. No matter what time of year you visit, the Grotto offers calm, peace and introspection, transcending boundaries.
Lined with street art, galleries, restaurants and bars, this Northeast Portland neighborhood is best known for its colorful monthly street fair.
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