covering our community

Curb Appeal: local business hubs

Hidden throughout the city, a handful of streets have become crossroads for local living. Here are just a few

by Enid Spitz

Some of Portland's local business hotspots

Some of Portland’s local business hotspots


Where: NE Fremont St. between NE 14th to Rose City Cemetery

Cafes, bottle shops, hardware stores, and the quaint Beaumont Market. Less known than its nearby Alberta neighbor, this stretch doesn’t draw crowds but not for lack of shops. Tucked in a small NE neighborhood it feels a bit more family-oriented and residential.

Check out: Jim & Patty’s Coffee, a study spot with giant breakfast sandwiches and “inappropriate chocolate banana” coffeecake.



Where: NE Alberta St. between ~NE 15th Ave. and NE 30th Ave.

Scene of the now-notorious Last Thursdays, where the entire street turns into a pedestrian zone lined with vendor booths and boasts impromptu dance parties or carnival shows. On an average day Alberta’s tea shops, award-winning Random Order pie shop, and co-op are still busy.

Check out: Post Central & Copy, so much better than a real post office. When did you last see bacon-shaped bandages sold by the USPS?



Where: The whole things really, especially between SE 31st Ave. and SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., all the way to SE 50th Ave. for the die-hards fleeing touristy crowds.

Vintage and thrift galore, plenty of Thai restaurants, and it even has its own mini-Powell’s–Hawthorne is a mecca of local shops and resto/bars. Sometimes it verges on commercial, but spots like Red Light vintage that keep the Portland weirdness alive.


carrotVegan Row

Where: SE Stark St. & SE 12th Ave.

Though a small stretch, “Vegan Row” has become famous for its dedication to tofu, non-violence, and the gluten free. Sweet Pea Baking Co. is yet another cute Portland café, but its neighboring Food Fight vegan grocery remains unrivaled.



Where: N. Skidmore St. to N. Fremont St.

Centered around one of Portland’s small music gems, Mississippi Studios, this stretch really starts at Prost (try: their Weissbeer that tastes like banana) and ends with a Flavor Spot food cart. In between: bikes, Little Big Burger, vintage, and Mississippi Pizza gives away cheap slices at closing every night.


RingNob Hill

Where: NW 23rd “Trendy-third” Ave. from NW Vaughn St. to W Burnside St., W Thurman St. in particular for a respite from the bustle.

Nob Hill borders one of Portland’s most affluent neighborhoods, and it shows. Boutique shops, gift stores and local designers alternate with bigger boxes like Kitchen Kaboodle and Urban Outfitters. It’s a token tourist stop, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.

Check out: The Dragonfly Coffee House, for Oregon Chai and velvet couches on rainy days or for weekend waffles. Set just far enough away from the traffic on 23rd


2 Responses to “Curb Appeal: local business hubs”

  1. Jamie Opra

    Love the graphics you incorporated here. Was excepting some pictures of the actual curb appeal of these businesses so we could see some of great examples of Portland curb appeal.

    • enidspitz

      You’re totally right, Jamie! I’m hoping to do follow-up blogs that highlight one street in particular, like a spotlight on a specific hub that has a lot of photos and talks about the specific businesses


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