When it rains…
It’s painful to work at a hostel and see people sit in our dining room staring at their computer, especially on a sunny day, but at least as staff, it’s acceptable to walk up to them and say, “Get outside while it’s sunny ‘cuz you don’t know how long it will last!”
Now that it’s officially Fall with rain for the foreseeable future, it’s actually time to hunker down…OR is it? A friend said it best when I first moved here:
If you don’t get out in the rain, you won’t go out for months and become depressed.
I was honestly spellbound with summer, the Indian Summer, and the frenzy of events it creates in the city. I forgot how dreary it can get until now. That statement has come back to me in full force. It’s time for a mental shift.
So what’s there to do? Here’s a list of ideas to get you going and out of the rut:
Of course there are coffee shops and book stores galore.
1. Powell’s–the largest bookstore in the States. You can literally spend days there. There’s also a mini-Powell’s just blocks from the hostel on Hawthorne.
Powell’s downtown: 1005 W Burnside St; 9am-11pm
Powell’s on Hawthorne: 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd; 9am-10pm
There are also smaller shops like Hawthorne Blvd of Books just two blocks down the road. They tout that they have rare find books, but what is even rarer is their open hours. If you are fortunate to find them open, it might be worth spending a couple of hours. Closed on Mondays. 3129 SE Hawthorne Blvd
On Division is Longfellow’s Books and Periodicals. It’s been open since the 1980’s so there’s gotta be something in there worth checking out. M-Sa 1-5pm . 1401 Southeast Division Street
2. Of course you can go to Starbucks or Peet’s just a few blocks down, but you may be snubbed by onlookers as Portland is a coffee mecca. So try:
The Hazel Room has not only coffee and tea, but booze and food! What more could you want?! Known for it’s quaint, cozy atmosphere, and good food (with vegetarian options), it’s getting good reviews on Yelp. The downside? It’s only open Tu-Su 8am-4pm. 3279 SE Hawthorne. http://thehazelroom.com/
Need some 24 hour cozy action?! The only 24 hour coffeeshop in the city–WHAT? is the right response–Southeast Grind further south on Powell is just the answer. Coffee and wholesome food are served in a college student lounge kind of vibe. So worth the trip. 1223 Se Powell Blvd. http://portlandgrind.com/southeastgrind/
If tea is your scene, Tea Chai Te just a few blocks down, is chock full of it. Everything from Rooibos to Kombucha and Chai is available, and the people who work there are legit. It’s small compared to the one in the NW neighborhood, but is cozy and has some good art. AND it’s open til 10pm. Beat that Starbucks! 9am-10pm. 3403 Se Hawthorne. http://www.teachaite.com/category_s/163.htm
3. Or take part in some indoor poetry readings/music/trivia nights.
ThreeFriends Coffee on SE 12th has poetry readings every Monday night at 7pm followed by an open mic at 8pm. With good coffee and food to boot, this might be a cozy way to spend an otherwise drowsy Monday. SE 12th and Ash. http://showandtellgallery.org/
A wine bar in inner SE, Vie de Boheme is known for its nightly music. Salsa on Tuesdays. Swing era music every other Thursday with a lesson and other eclectic acts thrown in for good measure, you’re sure to find something you can dig and dance to if artsy culture is your scene. Tu/W/Th 4pm-12am, F 4pm – 2am, Sa 2pm – 2am, Su 4-9pm. 1530 SE 7th Ave. (7th & Clay) http://www.viedebohemepdx.com/
The Funhouse is another place to check out. Voted Portland’s weirdest bar by the local paper and home of the Unscriptables, the best improv theater group, there’s something for everyone with Open Mic nights trivia, karaoke, live music, and burlesque every night of the week except Mondays and Tuesdays. Come for libations and entertainment. W/Th 6pm-1am or later, F/Sa 5pm-1am or later, Su 5pm-11pm or later. 2432 SE 11th Ave. http://funhouselounge.com/
4. The Park Boulevards downtown is known as the cultural district with museums–including the art and historical–lining both sides of the street.
But if you are wanting to let the inner child out, check out:
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a good bet with something for everyone: science pub nights weekly, food luminary dinners where they explain the science behind the full course meal you’re eating, a planetarium and awesome exhibits like the Sherlock Holmes exhibit open til January 2014. If you time it right, they offer $2 admission the first Sunday of every month. Tu-F, Su 9:30am-5:30pm, Sa 9am-9pm. 1945 SE Water Ave. https://www.omsi.edu/home
Learn about what makes Portland and the NW so special at the World Forestry Center: trees. They also have some pretty cool special events like their annual Coffee Fair and Mommy and Me Mondays during the winter. They offer $3 discount admission the first Wednesday of every month. Easy to get to by the MAX. 10am-5pm. 4033 SW Canyon Rd. http://www.worldforestry.org/
5. One of the features that attracted me to Portland: discount theaters. They abound here more than any other metropolitan city I’ve gone to, so movie dates aren’t an arm and a leg as per usual, and the best part: no need to get dinner elsewhere. You can get GOOD food right at the theater!
Laurelhurst is the most well-known showing month old movies for $4 and has a pretty good food and microbrew selection. Movies after 5:30pm are 21+. 2735 East Burnside Street. http://laurelhursttheater.com/
If you want your date to be more impressed, the Living Room downtown is a better bet for a little bit more money. It’s known for its more upscale menu and eating experience–eat in the dining area or have the food brought to you in the theater–along with indie film selections. 341 SW Tenth Avenue. http://pdx.livingroomtheaters.com/
6. Ground Control is a gamer’s dream, a full vintage arcade–including old school games like Pac Man and Street Fighter– with a bar and events like live electronic music, comedy and karaoke and dance nights. They even have $5 free play days on the second Thursdays and last Wednesdays of the month from 5pm on. 12pm-2:30am. 21+ after 5pm. 511 NW Couch St. Portland http://groundkontrol.com/
7. For the more active. Check out:
The Lumberyard, an indoor bike park which includes jump lines, pump tracks, skill sections and technical trail riding for beginners to experts. Also has full food and bar menu. Something for all ages. 9am-10pm. 2700 NE 82nd Ave. http://www.lumberyardmtb.com/pages/pricinghours
If you are more vertically inclined, the Portland Rock Gym might be a better bet. Not only are there 150 to 180 boulder problems and up to 120 routes, there is also a weight room, cardio machines and yoga and pilates classes offered. M/ W/F 11 am – 11 pm, Tu/Th 7 am – 11 pm, Sa 9 am – 9 pm, Sun: 9 am – 6 pm. 21 NE 12th Ave. http://www.portlandrockgym.com
There’s also bowling at the Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge, 808 Se Morrison Ave, and Miniature Golf at Glowing Greens Mini Golf, 509 SW Taylor St.