If you’re looking for a quaint neighborhood experience just minutes from a bustling city, look no further than the Sellwood-Moreland district in SE Portland, Oregon. This little community has so much to offer if you enjoy low-key wanderings in picturesque, historic locales. Located along the Willamette River and just over the Sellwood Bridge, Portland’s most southern bridge, the Sellwood area has a lot to offer its guests. Boasting a unique array of restaurants, antique shops, boutiques, and the like, there is something for everyone.
Do you enjoy a good cup of coffee? Look no further than Blue Kangaroo CoffeeRoasters on SE 13th Ave where the beans are roasted on-site, the pastries are all made locally, the WiFi is free, and the atmosphere is relaxed and unpretentious. I recommend the Cubano Latte. If you are into something with a little more kick, then cross the street and hit up The Portland Bottle Shop. Specializing in a wide range of fine wines and specialty beers, this place can’t be beat. Sit on the outside patio, weather permitting, and enjoy a glass of your preference along with some antipasto while you people watch. The staff is approachable and knowledgeable about their products, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you are a whiz in the kitchen, head a block down to the Savory Spice Shop where you will find a plethora of spices for your every need. The smell when you walk in is phenomenal and they are always concocting different samples for you to try. I recommend anything…really. Hungry? Try one of the many food carts along 13th or pop in to one of the various restaurants in the area. There’s everything from Italian to Thai and Gastro-pub to Mexican. Everyone will be satisfied. Some standouts include Jade Teahouse and Patisserie, Saburo’s Sushi House, Gino’s Restaurant & Bar, and Opa Pizzeria.
To satisfy those who enjoy shopping, Sellwood has a wide range of antique shops with constantly changing inventory. I recommend Farmhouse Antiques because they carry quality items at fairly friendly prices. You’re not going to find the random junk that seems to be popping up lately in antique stores, so that’s a positive. There is also a ColumbiaSportswear store just on the corner of 13th and Tacoma St that can be worth hitting up when they have sales or if you’re looking for some nice outdoor gear. But my favorite boutique has to be Tilde on 13th. While it is a little pricey, the products they carry are high quality and unique. All of their products are crafted by local artists or small design companies and range from accessories to home décor and clothing. It’s a wonderful little treasure. A couple blocks over from 13th, on Milwaukie Ave, you will find one of the best hidden gems if you’re a book reader. Wallace Books is located in an historic house along one of the main roads and offers something for every reader. Word to the wise; be prepared to spend a long time in the house wandering from room to room perusing the crowded shelves and milk crates along the floors. Each area has a designated genre and is packed to the rafters.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there is Oaks Amusement Park, the oldest continually operating amusement park in the US, located along the Willamette River just a few blocks from 13th. The park offers everything from river access to amusement rides and arcade games. The kid in you will love it…or your kids will, at least. In addition to traditional amusement park venues, there is an old-school skating rink that can be rented out for private parties or enjoyed when open to the public. Surrounded by tall oak trees, this is a great family getaway. In addition to this, there is the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge where visitors can wander the trails looking for various birds and other local wildlife. You can also enjoy the bike trail connecting Sellwood to downtown Portland.
Perhaps one of the best times to venture to this area would be during the Sellwood-Westmoreland Passport Day; a day full of live music, food, sidewalk sales, and prizes. Generally set for the first Saturday in August, visitors to the area can pick up a passport at any of the participating businesses and visit the specified locations, collecting stamps along the way, to be entered in to win a variety of high end prizes ranging from a $25 gift card up a $900 prize pack. It’s a great way to see this area and allows for a lot of interaction between visitors and locals alike. Parking can be an issue on this day.
Whatever you are into, and if you happen to be in the Portland area, venture over to the Sellwood-Moreland district and sample some of the local flavors. I promise that you won’t be disappointed!