Welcome to North Portland!
Top 10 Things to Do in NoPo.
North Portland (affectionately referred to as NoPo… learn more Portland lingo here and Pilot Speak here) has been University of Portland’s home since our founding in 1901. We love living here and we hope that all our students will also learn to love this wonderful part of Portland.
We had UP senior Adele Kennedy ’17 share her Top 10 things to do in North Portland!
1. SOMA Kombucha Speakeasy
If you’re in the mood for something on the more Portlandia side of things, try out the St. Johns SOMA speakeasy. It’s a shoes-off, floor-cushion type of place with a rotating selection of kombucha varietals on tap. It can be a little intimidating at first — it’s a self-serve, self-pay honor system — but it’s easy to get the hang of it.
2. The Lombard Food Cart Pod
Located around the St. Johns Beer Porch (they serve non-alcoholic, local beverages too!) you’ll find a great selection of food carts. Paiku serves flaky handheld pies that go perfectly with a latte from the Coffee Cart right next door. Grab some cajun fries with mohawk sauce from Che Cafe, or a Farmfood breakfast sandwich and enjoy some of the best people-watching in Portland. Extra points if it’s over the summer when live music starts again.
3. Forest Park
Forest park is one of the largest parks in America. It’s covered with both hiking and bicycle trails that range from challenging to a walk in the… park. :) There’s an easy entrance right off the St. Johns Bridge on Germantown Road — just park and head out on an adventure!
4. Cathedral Park
Located underneath the beautiful St. Johns Bridge, Cathedral Park is a great place to enjoy the beauty of Portland. You can also head down to the small riverside dock and watch the boats go by, preferably with some Burgerville treats just up the hill.
5. Cathedral Coffee
A little closer to campus, Cathedral Coffee is a brisk twenty minute walk down Willamette Blvd. Their award-winning coffee and tasty pastries can cut the chill of Portland winters, and the cafe is studded with alcoves and comfortable chairs — perfect for studying, reading, or just taking some quiet time.
6. Take a walk down Mississippi Ave.
Mississippi Ave. has some of the best restaurants, events, and spaces in North Portland. It’s a quick ride on TriMet to get there, and you can easily spend a day walking, eating, and enjoying the collection of independent shops and great 1920’s architecture.
Brunch is practically a way of life in Portland, pretty much whatever cuisine you’re in the mood for: Swedish, southern, Asian-fusion, there is something that will fit your cravings. Popular brunch spots in North Portland include the John Street Cafe in St. Johns, Tasty n Sons on N. Williams, Gravy on N. Mississippi, and Sweedeedee on N. Albina.
8. St. Johns Pub and Theater
The McMenamin’s St. Johns Pub and Theater is housed in a beautiful dome-shaped building right across from Safeway. Not only can you enjoy a delicious burger and some cajun tater tots, but you can also see a movie! They show first run movies for around $5-$7 bucks, plus you can get Scooby Snacks (delicious mini-corndogs) delivered to your seat. And just a few blocks away is the St. Johns Twin Cinema on Lombard, where you can have a slice of pizza while you watch.
9. Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island feels completely removed from the hustle of Portland. The farms, beaches, lakes and parks that make up Sauvie are just a 15 minute drive from campus. In the fall, you can visit a corn maze or go to the Pumpkin Patch, while summer brings fruit picking (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, pears) and the return of one of the best hot dogs in Portland. There is a public beach with great swimming in the Columbia River accessible year-round.
10. The Bluffs
Not to be confused with UP (aka The Bluff… see more “Pilot Speak” here), the Skidmore Bluffs are located just a few miles from campus, and is one of the best places to be in Portland when the weather is nice. Bring a picnic and enjoy the sunset over the city!