Hamlet was not open when the Second Edition of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms was in development, but I'm happy to have a chance to include in the Bp2p series for Girl On The Go PDX.
Banks has been an Alberta Street fixture for over a decade and has the reputation for the friendliest bartenders in town—even on their most bustling nights. To learn more about Binks, pick up a copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland today!
Mill Ends Park is a Portland landmark and a must to visit, no matter if you're a local or visitor.
Acknowledged by The Guinness Book of World Records as the Smallest Park in the World, Mill Ends has a whimsical history and a peculiar location. A spin around the park will only take approximately 1 minute, so just do it!
On the west side of the river nestled between opposing traffic lanes, flanked by two posts on Naito Parkway at Taylor St., is Mill Ends Park. 899 SW Naito Parkway.
Roughly 2 feet in diameter, the smallest park in the world is the quirky and nationally famous park created by newspaperman Dick Fagan, back in 1946. From Fagan's office window at the Oregon Journal newspaper, Fagan had a view of a hole in the street where a lamp post was supposed to be installed. When the lamp post failed to be installed Fagan decided to beautify his office window view. He filled the hole in with dirt and planted flowers.
As a journalist, and an Irishman with a colorful imagination, Fagan began incorporating the park in his column, Mill Ends (rough, irregular pieces of lumber left over at lumber mills). He wrote tales about a village of leprechauns who inhabited the park and announced park events like, snail races! Fagan proclaimed the park the “World’s Smallest Park” and it was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 1948. Officially Mill Ends became a city park on St. Patrick’s Day in 1976. And in 1971 Guinness proclaimed Mill Ends Park the world’s smallest park.
Depending on the season, and the creativity of the people who visit the park, a plethora of foliage, animals ( horses, unicorns, turtles) and design elements (swimming pools, ferris wheels, fences, benches) and even a UFO sighting has been documented at this tiny park. Even ‘big people’ have been seen taking their lives in their hands ( it does sit between two highly trafficked lanes on Naito) catching some rays, reading a book, celebrating during the wee hours of the morning, and one yelper had this to say about the park: “I almost want my boyfriend to propose in this park just to say it happened…”
To this day the park, and the area along Naito Parkway, continues to host one of Portland’s largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations—the Shamrock Run. A plaque that briefly details the history of the park is located on the sidewalk intersection of Taylor St. and Naito Parkway.
Hopworks Bike Bar sits along the main bike commuter route on North Williams Avenue—known to cyclists as “the bike highway.” A staggering 3,000 bike commuters utilize this route on a daily basis. Paying ode to these cyclists and adhering to the eco-consciousness of today’s lifestyles, Bike Bar was created to exemplify both. To learn more about Bike Bar pick up a copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland here!
Last Thursday On Alberta is an epic block party held every, you guessed it, last Thursday of the month! Last Thursday happens year round, but during the peak summer months the street is closed from 6:00-9:30 to all vehicle traffic (May-September) and runs from 15th to 30th Avenues.
What started out 19 years ago as an event to highlight the local galleries has morphed into a celebration of community and all forms of art. Many people have branded Last Thursday as the "fun sister" of the other monthly Thursday festival—First Thursday in The Pearl .
Last Thursday, compared to First Thursday, is full of shenanigans, unpredictable and never dull or boring. If you are a fan of First Thursday in The Pearl, chances are you will also enjoy Last Thursday on Alberta as well. Here's why...
The artists who set up booths to peddle their wares are driven by passion and their desire to create. The end result, one-of-a-kind statement pieces at bargain prices. Musicians are encountered on every corner and with just as much variety. Some belt out awesome cover songs, some play the accordion and make you feel like you're at a street festival in an obscure European village, African drums are played with verve, funk, punk—you name it,you'll hear it on Alberta Street.
Food, mmmmm, we all know Portland has a knack for gourmet street food. It's no different at last Thursday on Alberta. Enticing smells permeate the air, mingling neighborly with the variety of spices and and smells that have converged along this street. The restaurants are crowded, and honestly you can go to eat their any other night of the week, so why not enjoy slowly cruising the street and grabbing a bite from a vendor.
Those are some of the parallels to the "sweeter goody-goody sister," what you gain by hanging out with the more whimsical, fickle sister are experiences that leave vivid footprints across the landscape of your memories. Stilt walkers, fire performers, a girl with a bigillion hula hoops circling her body, adults and children dancing for no other reason than to please themselves, light-hearted humorous folks; a guy was giving away Free Shrugs, another had a sign that read: 'You tell me your story and I'll give you a dollar'.
The scene on Last Thursday on Alberta is definitely a Portland experience. Some of the best hours of people watching you'll ever encounter.
Cash is preferred but most vendors take credit. It's kid friendly but I will warn that the street gets very crowded, so unless you stay on the perimeter or your kid is an admirer of knee caps and shoes, it's better to go early stroll the street before the bulk of Portlanders converge.The summer months are always much busier.
Savor the art, the people, the food and the music! Let loose a little, dance in the street, tell a stranger your story-pet a pig! Have fun, take pictures and enjoy the experience of Last Thursday on Alberta!
Bastas Trattoria has been a Portland favorite for over 20 years. Owner and chef, Marco Frattaroli grew up both in Italy and the United States and regards his family and heritage as his greatest influence for his delicious cuisine. To read more about the this local favorite pick up your copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland here!
A native Portlander, Ursula Barton captures two of Portland’s most iconic descriptors, bridges and rainy days in her watercolor series entitled: Rainy City. Barton, the artist and her work represent the moxie of Portland, the boldness and courage to create a livelihood doing what you love.
A joint venture with a photographer took Barton to all 50 states and solidified her notion that travel, observing people, painting and using art as a language was how she wanted to spend the rest of her days.
An artist's residence took Barton to New York City and supplied her with beautiful new bridges and cityscapes to paint. She captures each city’s architectural landscape with beauty and vibrancy.
People of Interest is a category on her website comprised of a collection of mixed media caricature portraits of people in the public eye.
Her greeting card line, postcards and prints are available in boutiques throughout the city and through her Etsy shop. If you’re in Portland, Ursula’s murals can be seen throughout the city on public walls and various businesses like the Daily Cafe in the The Pearl, The Rose Lounge in Old Town and inside The Goldsmith Building, visible from Couch St between 5th & 6th Ave.
A big thank you goes out to Barton for allowing me to use her cityscape entitled: Fremont Bridge as a part of my Girl On The Go PDX logo. The Fremont Bridge holds a sweet spot for me, I could see this beauty from the roof of my first apartment in Portland.
PRIMA is an eco-friendly salon in one of Portland’s leading energy efficient buildings, The Indigo Building. To Learn more about the PRIMA pick up copy of the book: The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland here!
Portlandia was built in Washington D.C., in sections and then shipped to Portland by ship. She was then reassembled, measuring 34 feet,10 inches ( if standing upright she would measure 50 feet tall) and floated on a barge up the Willamette River. On October 6, 1985 she was installed in her cozy alcove on the 3rd floor of the Portland Building like the world’s largest tchotchke.
The statue design is based on the Portland seal. She is dressed in classical clothes, holding a trident in her left hand symbolizing the abundance of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Her right hand is reaching down to greet visitors. She is massive, yet she is easily walked past without the slightest glance upward.
People have questioned why not move her to a more prominent location? The answer given, she was built for that particular building space and will not be moved. The sculpture is a product of Portland’s Public Art Program.
Next time you’re downtown, look her “up” - otherwise you’ll walk right past her.
For the extensive history of Portlandia click here.
Leo Rivera had a vision to take this universal, albeit uneventful experience of getting a haircut and turn it into an experience by submerging it within a bar-like setting. To learn more about Bishops Barbershop pick up your copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky And Fabulous Bathrooms Of Portland her!
The bar built from a vision, 30K, and an invaluable army of skilled friends. To read more about B-Side Tavern pick up your copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky And Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland here!
Steve Prefontaine: Legendary Long Distance Runner
Kelly’s Olympian was established in 1902 and is the third oldest consistently run bar in Portland. The name is a combination of one of the original owners, “Kelly” and Olympic Brewing Company.
During its inaugural years it was a favorite hangout for visiting timbermen, sailors, ship workers and locals. Story has it that there used to be several entrances to Portland’s infamous Shanghai Tunnels from inside Kelly's Olympian. Tales have been told that Kelly’s once housed one of the most well-known card rooms in Portland and during Prohibition in the 1930’s a speakeasy. As with many of Portland’s historic buildings, supernatural sightings and experiences has also been documented here.
Located in downtown Portland, Kelly’s Olympian houses a collection of vintage motorcycles— and at least one is suspended from the ceiling—neon signs, motorcycle accessories and antique gas pumps, giving the bar a definite biker theme.
People of all walks of life come to Kelly’s. Check out their website for the listing of live local bands. The vibe is casual and friendly and the drinks are inexpensive and stiff.
Kelly'S Olympian 426 SW Washington St, Portland, OR (503) 228-3669
Enjoy Oregon's Willamette Valley from the ground up! A helicopter tour over the vineyards is beautiful and more affordable than you might think with Konect Aviation. Last week while attending the wine club picnic at Stoller Vineyards, which incidentally is one of my favorite wineries in the Willamette Valley, Konect Aviation was on site offering helicopter tours of the surrounding vineyards.
Without having to be asked twice, we immediately said “yes” and boarded the 4 seater helicopter. We clicked our seatbelts and adjusted our headsets, then took a half dozen pictures of each other wearing those headsets. There’s just something about wearing those headsets and talking through the microphone that are seems so adventurous!
It felt effortless reaching our soaring height, high above the vineyards. We did experience some wind and that was a little nerve racking. The helicopter is so light, it can get carried along a little with the wind current—but that was minor and the views were major, so our nerves settled as quickly as the wind did.
Our pilot pointed out all the wineries and was able to label the surrounding regions as we flew past. When it was time to land, it was precise and the descent was gentle with a touchdown that was so soft.
Konect Aviation is based out of McMinnville and offers an array of flight tour destinations and lengths. Flights start at $138 for 2 people and can be customized to include a destination of your choice.