Rich history, lively small businesses, and local artwork around every turn. Welcome, friends to Portland’s Alberta Arts District. Following the 1948 flood
, Alberta saw a severe decline in business growth, employment, and community engagement. Seeing the need for revitalization, the Portland community banded together and focused their energy on the creation of Portland’s official Arts District.
Walk the streets of Alberta and you’ll come face first with striking murals, innovative architecture, and vibrant design. Join me on a tour of the eclectic, Alberta Arts District.
What to Do: Last Thursday Art Walk
As of October 2021, many live events are canceled until further notice or announcing events with short notice, to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. Some venues require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Please visit the attached links for specifics on the status of these events.
The Last Thursday Art Walk
was originally created in response to the NW Portland First Thursday event. Now, the Alberta Last Thursday Art Walk is one of Portland’s best known art events, hands down. The event features artists, performers, craftsmen, and musicians, in a lively curbside event. Following the 2020 lockdown, Last Thursday still hosts online viewing for those who prefer the extra distance.
Where to Eat & Drink: Favorite Restaurants
1. Proud Mary
2012 NE Alberta St. Portland
is one of my
favorite stops for coffee and avocado toast, stacked with smashed avocado, cotija, veggies, and tiny seeds. Plus, they offer 6 varieties of Australian-grown coffee (by the glass or bag), espresso drinks, and nitro cold brew.
3033 NE Alberta St, Portland
serves single-bite tapas with a burst
of authentic Spanish flavors. The tapas house is perfect for large groups or small, intimate dinners where everyone can try bites from various dishes. When Urdaneta reopened after the lockdown, they introduced a brunch menu on Sundays, featuring pastries and brunch-inspired plates.
3. The Hilt
1934 NE Alberta St, Portland
Self-proclaimed as Portland’s first Greek souvlaki
lounge and bar, The Hilt prides themselves in having a simple formula for a relaxing experience. During the summer, I suggest lounging on their patio, soaking in the sun, and sharing a bottle of wine with a friend. When you visit for the first time, you must try their classic souvlaki with lamb or vegetables.
4. Tin Shed
Tin Shed, 1438 NE Alberta St, Portland
Homestyle, comfort food made with love — that’s what you will find at the Tin Shed. Christie Griffin and Janette Kaden opened the Time Shed Garden Cafe 10 years ago, without any staff. Since then, the Portland community has resonated with their passion and their business has grown into a full-scale restaurant.
Located outside Tin Shed Garden Cafe
sits a “stacked” bench system, sprouting greenery. The piece is titled “Log Dam” and was designed by architects Dan Petrescu & Nick Byers. It won the Portland Street Seats
competition in 2014 — a program intended to enhance the beauty of Portland’s city streets and support local businesses. Architects of JANKE Architecture
have designed custom modern homes across Portland, each project focused on indoor-outdoor living and historic preservation. The Log Dam project is one of their few non-residential projects!
What to See: Street Art and Murals
1. A Voice to be Thankful For — Merhan Heard (Eatcho) & Jeremy Nichols
2828 NE Alberta St, Portland
Embellishing the Black United Fund
building, this mural features women of color who’ve made their mark on history. Of these iconic women include Coretta Soctt King, Ruby Bridges, Ruby Dee, Angela Davis, and Maya Angelou.
The artist duo, Heard and Nichols, intended
the mural to appeal to all ages, for decades to come. They hope their work would spark conversation around the impact women of color have made in Portland and across the nation.
2. Giant Rabbit — Mateu Velasco
1801 NE Alberta St, Portland
Painted in 2014 for Portland’s Forest for the Trees
event by LA-based artist, Mateu Velasco
. The mural depicts a white rabbit, in a bed of teal shrubbery. Resting on the back of the rabbits a tiny “house on a hill”. There is not very much information on this piece — leave your interpretation in the comments!
The well-known Pablo Garcia
has a broad portfolio of street murals, interior murals, and even painted the exterior of notable food carts across Portland. One of his creations features a gargantuan elephant, wading through the water and reaching for a “Rose-city Rose”. Garcia does not offer explanations of his artwork, but I’d like to think the elephant represents Portland’s beloved Packy
, taking a swim at the Oregon Zoo!
The Alberta Arts district has evolved into a hub of ingenuity for the Portland community. Nothing describes Portland better than outward expression of creativity and innovation, don’t you think?
Interested in more Portland neighborhood features? Comment below with the neighborhood you would like to see featured next!