Even though the public transportation is said to be one of the best in the whole of US, getting a bus from our place in Southeast Portland to Northeast took quite a while. After unusually slow 1,5 hours of one way travelling (versus 20 minutes by car) we were adamant on seeing the area during one day.
We mapped out our route on a map and set out. For reference here is the route we walked:
We started our journey from McMenamins Kennedy School. It is a huge space with a hotel, restaurants, brewery, cigar room, gift shop, movie theatre and a small pool. All this in an old school building from 1915, which they have re-purposed. The decorative style seems quite typical for McMenamins buildings and it feels like they have tried to keep as much of the original as possible.
Even the movie theatre is just set into the old auditorium, where a variety of sofas serve as seating on a flat floor. We went to the Kennedy School belly full of breakfast and too early for the brewery to be open, so we just walked around. It is worth a visit whenever in Northeast Portland.
Next stop was NE Alberta St, the older and more rough version of SE Division. Although it is also a home to many art boutiques, which creates an interesting contrast with the plentiful street art along Alberta.
Cool shops, good coffee and nice feel to the street. It turned out to be one of Matte’s favourite streets in Portland.
By this time the breakfast was starting be only a memory, so we – of course – stopped for some waffles.
Quite a bit of Alberta is just residential area, but we felt silly to hop on a bus just because of twenty or thirty minutes, so continued walking.
We turned left from Alberta to Williams and after a stroll down the street we found more great food and shops. We had a taste of some wines and then bought some silly gifts from a quirky shop down the street.
Williams St is more like Division, with a brand-new, more polished look to it. The commercial area is not too long, but we were nevertheless pleased to have visited. It also looks they are still constructing the area, so who knows what kind of hip street it might become to.
Our last stop was Mississippi Avenue, which is as cool and hip as Alberta, although a bit less edgy. I had fond memories of this street from my previous visit, although I did not visit it quite as often as I could have.
I also have a memory of frantically spending 3,5 hours on the bus back and forth, trying to locate my phone after long night of farewell drinks and finally finding it from a (cool) pub on Alberta.
The only problem with us visiting Mississippi this time was our timing. We were there at 6 pm and surprised to find out that most of the shops had closed or were closing then. It feels like such a silly time on a weekday to close, but in the end window shopping works well for us too.
If you would do our little walking route, like shown in the map, I would say to do it the other way around. Start from Mississippi and end up in Kennedy School later in the day, when more things will be open as well. That way you can get the best out of your Northeast Portland experience.