Another northeastern business district on the rise since the early aughts, NE Alberta Street has transformed over the last decade with artists, boutiques, bars, businesses and restaurants now filling once-shuttered storefronts. Most recognized (sometimes notoriously) for its monthly street party, Last Thursday is "an amorphous celebration of art in all its forms" that peaks during the summer months when the streets close to traffic—whether or not that’s the city’s intention—and overflow with vendors, wanders, live music makers, spectators and shoppers. (In essence, it’s a massive, loosely organized street fair every month that attracts tens of thousands.) On a normal day, it’s a walkable strip where you can enjoy a hot drink at a bakery, teahouse or cafe; begrudgingly wait in one of those famous hours-long Portland brunch lines; shop indie retail stores and art galleries; polish off a wonderful meal at a diverse array of eateries; and then catch live music at several venues, or find your own nook in a number of bars where you can sip on speciality cocktails and local beers.

See and Do

  • Shift Vacation Rentals

    1421 NE Alberta St.
    Portland OR 97211

    Are you graduating from university or getting hitched and need a nice place in town to put up your folks or relatives? Michelle Ruber and her husband, Klaas de Jonge, have just the accommodations for you. For years, the couple have been redesigning home kitchens and bathrooms, but now they've luxuriously redone a whole pad—two units, in fact—which they're renting out to travelers and visitors. Ruber says the couple's combined seven-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath space is not only ideal for visiting families attending Stumptown weddings or reunions, it's also a great place for out-of-town software developers and DIY entrepreneurs to set up shop as they launch their businesses. 

  • Caravan: The Tiny House Hotel

    5009 NE 11th Ave.
    Portland OR 97211

    The Alberta Arts District may now have its first hotel right off the commercial strip, but those staying at Deb Delman and Kol Peterson's hotel should expect the unexpected. Yes, the usual amenities are there: bed, bathroom, hot shower, Wi-Fi—even board games are included. But the rooms aren't so much rooms as they are 100- to 200-square-foot homes. At present, three tiny houses can be reserved nightly, although Peterson expects that he and Delman will build out another three. The hotel also has a common area, giving it the feel of a campground, where guests can gather around a fire pit and lounge about under the shade of Caravan's sun sails. While guests can cook for themselves—each house is equipped with a kitchenette and the common area has a grill—Peterson points out that there are lots of food and drink options within walking distance, and adds that the staff of the neighboring Radio Room will provide room service.

Eat and Drink

  • Back to Eden Bakery Boutique

    2217 NE Alberta Street
    Portland OR 97211

    This spot is the hungry vegan's paradise, with a rotating selection of home-baked, animal-ingredient-free cakes, cookies, muffins, scones, pies, and tarts (oh my!). There's also vegan soft serve, three flavors of Coconut Bliss, and a boutique stocked with cruelty-free and local snacks, gifts, and cooking supplies. 

  • Barista Alberta

    1725 NE Alberta St.
    Portland OR 97211

    Even before his Pearl District Barista became a coffee cult favorite, Billy Wilson was a celeb in the coffee world (he is, after all, the Northwest Regional Barista Champion). He has now expanded his empire to Vernon, with a second, and larger, café in a new multi-use building. It is, of course, a destination for fine coffee, but with a custom wood bar, leather booths, wallpaper, and near-surround sound speakers, it’s a cozy, classical, self-proclaimed speakeasy-style hangout—and yes, word is they will eventually serve beer in the evenings. 

  • Bollywood Theater

    2039 NE Alberta St.
    Portland OR 97211

    Troy MacLarty says he wanted to open a spot that serves Indian cuisine because, quite simply, that's what he wanted to eat. After a three-week tasting tour of the subcontinent took him through Mumbai, Calcutta and Goa, MacLarty returned to the States and, within just a few months, built out what's now the Bollywood Theater. Specializing in Indian-style street cuisine, Bollywood serves up pork vindaloo, sides of beets, okra and dal, as well as pav bhaji (potatoes, tomatoes, vegetables and spices), which the menu calls a favorite of Indian mill workers, all of which you can wash down with an Indian Kingfisher beer, a PBR, or one of three housemade specialty cocktails. And, as its name may imply, Bollywood also has an entire wall dedicated to images of India's most beloved actors, some of whom are also enshrined on-screen courtesy of an overhead projector. 

  • The Sugar Cube

    3039 NE Alberta St.
    Portland OR 97211

    Fans of Kir Jensen's fresh baked sweets can now breathe a collective sigh of relief—her shuttered food cart now has permanent digs. Devotees of Jensen's sweets can now enter her 25-seat spot, peruse the baked goods in her pastry case, and relax with a Ristretto Roasters drip or French press coffee. The "buttery deliciousness" found in the cupcakes, cookies, pies, cakes and tarts for which she is known remains, but she's added a few breakfast items too, like brioche toast plates (cinnamon with caramelized bacon, Bee Local honey with sea salt) and a savory goat and cheddar cheese strata. You can also, with enough notice, have her bake you whole pies and cakes to take home.

Shop

  • Amelia

    2230 NE Alberta St.
    Portland OR 97211

    Amelia Blakeman has a degree in psychology and was a clinical researcher before she realized that cubicles and computer screens weren't her thing. She'd been making her own clothes for years and, in 2011, decided to start making them for others too, selling what she'd sewn wholesale and on consignment to boutique retailers like Radish Underground and Union Rose. Now, she's has her own women's clothier and is returning the favor to other local designers, as well as some favored national ones, by selling their lines in her new space. Everything in the store is manufactured in the U.S., she says, and a majority of it is designed by people right here in Portland. But, what she really finds fascinating about clothes are the stories they tell through their disparate fabrics and the handmade techniques employed by the people who make them. When we know the stories of our clothes, as well as their makers, we're not only closer to what we wear, but whom we wear. 

  • Modern Domestic

    1408 NE Alberta Street
    Portland OR 97211

    Alberta Street has a sparkly jewel in its DIY crown—Modern Domestic sewing studio. The airy King neighborhood space features classrooms, seating area, and plenty of open collaborative space. With machine sales and repair and a wide, ever-changing variety of classes, it’s the perfect place for newbies to learn and devoted seamstresses to find new inspiration. 

Insider's Tips

  • Breakfast/Brunch at Helser's

    There are lots of reasons why breakfasters from all over Portland have been filling the seats at Alex Helser’s cafe for the last 10 years. There’s the Dutch Baby, and the Scotch eggs, and the pigs in a blanket—four maple sausages bundled up in four thick buttermilk pancakes. But, perhaps the shiniest jewel in Helser’s breakfast crown might be his fluffy, creamy and savory-sweet pear and havarti custard pie, which comes with fresh fruit and a homemade crumpet. As is, that should be enough to get you jazzed, but if you add a little dollop of crème fraiche to each bite, you’ll essentially change the pie’s texture—and its temperature. Put all that together and this pie will leapfrog all your past favorites. Breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Happy Hour at Ciao Vito

    There are several reasons why you need try (if you haven't already) Vito DiLullo's pork belly à la plancha: First, it's generously portioned. Second, it's paired with what may be the tastiest—and thinnest—house-cut potato chips in town. Third, it's sweetened, but only sparingly, with a rhubarb lacquer. And, like all pork bellies should be, it's cooked to a melty tenderness. But, the best thing about it may be the pool of drippings that remain on the plate long after the meat's been eaten—if only that could be bottled. Pair your pork belly with a spiced island breeze cocktail, a peculiar, yet refreshing concoction made with muddled cucumber, lime juice and vodka that's been infused with both black pepper and caraway seeds. And while Ciao Vito’s happy hour may have an idiosyncratic run time—4:30 to 7:15 p.m.—it’s still almost three hours and runs daily.

  • Happy Hour at Random Order

    Let's face it. You're coming for the pie, and that pie is well worth the trip. But, did you know you can come for the drinks too? If you weren't already hip to it, Random Order has a happy hour, during which the staff knocks a couple quarters off the beers and a dollar off the signature mixed drinks. If you're looking for something refreshingly bright, ask for a lemon whiskey (both the lemonade and the bourbon have been infused with ginger). But if you're looking for something a little duskier, then you're going to want the whipped cream-topped coffee nudge (brandy, French pressed Water Avenue coffee, coffee liqueur and crème de cacao). Not only is it nice and hot, but there's probably nothing that pairs with it—and satisfies your inner Agent Cooper—better than a slice of latticed cherry pie, made with Oregon cherries that are tart... but not too tart. Happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. But keep in mind, select drinks are $2 off on Wednesdays, and Bloody Marys and Irish coffees are $1 off all day long every Saturday and Sunday.

Important Links

Alberta Main Street