A Local's Neighborhood Guide to NW 23rd in Portland, Oregon

The best part about living in and traveling to Portland is the city's kaleidoscope of personalities. Whether it's the polished and chic shops of the Pearl District, the food lover's haven that is SE Division, the diamond-in-the-rough sprawl of the Central Eastside Industrial District, or the charming stretch of NW 23rd, each neighborhood offers a little bit of something for everyone. 

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NW 23rd is a charmingly eclectic yet upscale street with its own cohesive mix of local boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops all tucked away in the Alphabet District's colorfully restored Victorian homes and classic brick storefronts. There are so many options on this popular, walkable street, that it truly is a choose-your-own Portland adventure. 

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DRINK

 

Fuel up for a day of window shopping at one of Portland's essential coffee shops, Barista. The sleek coffee shop doesn't offer wi-fi based on the old fashioned notion that maybe people should just grab a cup of coffee and talk face-to-face. 

The Rose City may be known for its world class coffee, but the tea scene in Portland is brewed just right. For an extensive listing of over 120 top tier organic teas, look no further than Tea Chai Té.  Once you find the tea pot emblazoned door at 734 NW 23rd, make your way upstairs to the shop. You'll find creative company among Portland State University students and local freelancers reading and writing from this cozy space.

 

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Eat

 

Brunch at Besaw's is something of a Portland tradition... A 111-year-old tradition. Plan to arrive at the historic neighborhood joint early on the weekends for the best seating and prepare to dish on American comfort food classics prepared with fresh ingredients from the garden. 

Located on the corner of NW 23rd and Johnson in what used to be the historic Music Millenium record shop, The Fireside is a Portland locals' spot to unwind with a cocktail and happy hour bite to eat. The crowd can be diverse from the large draw that NW 23rd brings in, and yet The Fireside remains both modern and understated. 

Ataula is arguably the best restaurant in town for tapas. In addition to Ataula and Chef Jose Chesa's acclaim of Portland Monthly's Chef of the Year 2014,  Portland Monthly's Best New Restaurant 2014, and a national nod as one of GQ's 25 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015, Ataula remains a charismatic and down-to-earth neighborhood favorite. If I could only have one drink for the rest of my Portlandia days, I would pick the seasonal La Familia Sangria from master of the bar, Angel Teta. It's sangria in its best form, articulated with a carefully crafted bold flavors as a result of sous viding the brandy with a myriad of seasonal fruits and spices. Between the warm, Barcelona-style hospitality, the sangria, and the inventive yet authentic (and delicious) modern Catalan tapas, it's clear why Ataula is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. 

But then, of course, there's Salt & Straw. No visit to Portland would be complete without visiting the iconic ice cream shop. Each month Salt & Straw unveils a new theme for their quirky flavors such as April's Stop, Guac & Roll, made with avocados, vanilla, cinnamon, and fried tortilla chips. As for finding Salt & Straw, it's easily spotted with the eager crowd curling around NW 23rd and Kearney, and the sweet scent of waffle cones wafting through the air. 

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Shop

 

Sloan Boutique is a locally owned and operated shop with unique clothing, shoes, and accessories. Matching top quality items with reasonable prices are of the essence, and the casual cocktail dress selection makes Sloan a go-to stop before a fun night out. 

Based out of Eugene, Oregon, Will Leather Goods crafts gorgeous (you guessed it) leather goods. The handsome messenger bags, in particular, are seriously lust worthy and you may not be able to part Portland without one.

stay


In addition to having the softest tees of all time, Marine Layer's Portland outpost is clothing store by day and doubles as an [AirBnB loft] by night with its own private entrance, access to the Marine Layer backyard, and local artisan extras. The location is right in the heart of on NW 23rd, making the Marine Layer Loft a premium choice to stay for a NW 23rd getaway.