This November, I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks adventuring out west and visiting Tyler Grant in Portland, Oregon. As a child, I once visited portland, during a rather magical summer vacation... and certain elements of the city have haunted my imagination ever since.
It was great to return, to see Portland as an adult, and to spend Thanksgiving with my little brother's dear friends. I also had a few weeks to explore. Here are my very favorite finds:
COURIER COFFEE- This is pretty much the only coffee place you need in Portland. Seriously. It is small, peaceful, fun, and does not have a twitter account. Do you need anything else? Oh, and they have amazing coffee. I spent an entire day there writing. Between the simple decor, folk records, and the witty banter of the baristas, I was sold. More than a coffee shop, I definitely felt that I stumbled on a hilarious secret community.
BOLLYWOOD THEATRE- Not a theatre, although they do play a fantastic loop of vintage bollywood films. B.T. Is a great indian resturaunt, serving street food in a grungy / eclectic setting. I would eat here every day if I could.
CARGO- Off the beaten path, in the Pearl District- Cargo offers foreign goods you have been craving but did not realize: Those golden cats that wave at you in chinese resturaunts, English-language copies of Mao's little red book, Brass bells from Ghana, and everything in-between. It is magical. I will return every time I visit Portland.
MACHUS- This store! omg! Clothes that I want to wear! This shop is not to everyone's taste, but as a stylist, I crave simple black pieces that are a touch extreme. Does that make sense? I thought I was crazy until I visited Machus. I am craving a few of their chic tunics.
TANNER GOODS- No trip to Portland would be complete without a visit to this iconic maker. Tanner Goods, is a portland-based leather company specializing in quality pieces that will last for generations. Their shop is staffed by super-friendly fellows, and is filled with great finds.
STEVEN ALLEN- It is probably the most perfect shop in Portland. The perfect light balance, the perfect flow, the perfect selection of clothing and home-goods. Delightful.
POWELL'S BOOKS- This shop is every bit as magical as the rumors suggest. Although their selection of fashion magazines is a little lacking- they do have an entire section dedicated to T.E. Lawrence... so no complaints here.
ANGEL'S REST- It is my little brother's favorite hiking place, so please don't bombard it. This spot is a peaceful climb- beautiful views of the columbia river, lush ferns, and not too challenging. The summit is its own little ecosystem, perfect for a picnic. or hideout.
HIPPO HARDWARE- You might think it odd to include a hardware store in a city guide... but then, I did not promise an ordinary guide. Hippo is a three-story labyrinth of vintage fixtures. And Magic. And the most hilarious / eccentric shopkeepers you have ever met.
Photos courtesy of Michael Newsted
Jonathan Randall Grant