A Culture of Eclectic Shopping, Liberal Foods, and Artistic Entertainment - Hawthorne District in Portland


Portland has a reputation for its liberal environmentalism, opinionated yet friendly citizens, and passionate love for the arts, and nowhere is this culture more thickly represented than in the avant-garde Hawthorne District. This is one of the most unique and popular places in the Southeast Portland area. While the restaurants and shops give a funky feel to it, the neighborhood is also full of restored old and historical homes, mostly of the bungalow style, that are surrounded by tall trees that line the sidewalks.

Visitors can find trendy clothing shops, cafes, antique stores, boutiques, used-clothing stores, and locally-owned restaurants. It's also a fantastic place to get a cold one, as the area is full of fun pubs and breweries. For night-time entertainment, pubs with sidewalk seating offer a pleasurable nightlife.

The district is between 17th and 43rd Avenues, across the Willamette River from Downtown. It covers a three-mile stretch. It's not recognized as a single neighborhood, but instead is made up of the Mt. Tabor, Sunnyside, Hosford-Abernathy, Ladd's Addition, and Buckman neighborhoods.

There you can find the Hawthorne Bridge, which is the oldest vertical lift bridge that is still in operation in the United States. Another popular landmark is a Portland relic that has been restored by the popular local McMenamins chain, The Bagdad Theater and Pub. McMenamins commonly restores old and historical buildings in Portland, including schools, retirement homes, and theaters, and turns them into a funky gala of art and alchohol. The Bagdad Theater and Pub show second-run movies that visitors can view while sipping McMenamins' famous craft beer. It was put on the National register of Historic Places. Powell's Books, the world-famous city of books that claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore, has one of its seven locations in the Hawthorne District.

Some other popular attractions include the Daily Grind, an incredible bakery and natural foods store, Pastaworks, an Italian grocery store featuring fresh pastas and sauces, Ink and Bread, a northwest-influenced bistro famous for its luscious desserts and Yiddish brunches, and the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub, serving hand-crafted ales and inviting patrons' dogs to stay in the back patio. There are many other restaurants and pubs ranging from thin-curst pizza, to Italian, to sushi. Some of the best places for shopping include the well-known Red Light, full of 70's style used clothing and accessories, Presents of Mind, Imelda's and Louie's Shoes, and Greg's.

Visitors and reviewers comment on the laid-back atmosphere of the area and commonly refer to it as "Portland's version of Haight Street.'' The fun and vibrant culture of the Hawthorn District is incredibly important to the locals living there. Only a few years ago, residents of the neighborhood and surrounding area organized to keep McDonalds from setting up a franchise in the area. They were successful, and the space is now a set of condos and retail shops. Hopefully the district will always be a unique and eclectic place for culture and enjoyment.

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