Northwest Portland Hostel Blog
Elle magazine recently featured Portland in the Jetsetter section of their November issue.
The article offers great recommendations for the best places to eat, drink, explore and stay while you’re in Portland. We were delightfully surprised to find a few of our favorite NW spots mentioned, including: the heavenly pizza found at the Oven and Shaker and the retail delights on NW 23rd avenue.
The author sums up the article in a great way when she says, Portland is a “place where it’s possible to find artisanal everything, sift through vintage wares for hours, and, with a short car ride just beyond city limits, explore overgrown forests and serene lakes.” We couldn’t agree more!
For more recommendations on things to do and places to see while in Portland, check out our staff recommendations board next to the front desk. Not staying at the hostel just yet? Then check out our online staff bios. They’re filled with our favorite things in the Rose City. See you soon!
After this very hot and dry summer we really deserve a little splash of refreshing water. If you guys think of refreshments right now…you’re wrong! Today we’re talking about what you guys can do when Portland is drowning in the rain.
Our staff has chosen our top 3 rainy day hangouts. These entertaining indoor activities won’t let dreary weather dampen anyone’s spirits.
No trip to Portland would be complete without a trip to Powell’s City of Books. Even if you’re not a big reader, you’ll still have a great time visiting this colorful bookstore that occupies an entire city block. The fact that Powell’s offers maps to navigate the store should tell you something about the size of this place, which includes nine color-coded rooms organized by subject matter. Here is what our staff think:
Sarah: Powell’s!!! Because books are great!
Maggie: Powell’s!!!! No explanation needed!
Mike: Besides my apartment, my favorite rainy day hangout would have to be Powell’s. It’s far too easy to spend a whole day here. They have a small café, but if the hunger really strikes all you have to do is walk across the street and pick up some Sizzle Pie Pizza (My favorite pizza joint). Oh wait, did you also want to maybe see a movie with a nice pint of beer in hand? Just walk across the street again! Now you’re at The Living Room Theatre, where you sit at the bar until it’s time for the movie. How could any rainy day be better?
#2: Brew-and-View theaters
Portland’s beloved “brew ‘n’ view” theaters are serving up all different kinds of brews, food and flicks. Shows at these theaters cost less than $10, and some even run less for as little as $3 per movie. Check out what our staff said:
Julia: There is nothing better than having a beer and eating a slice of pizza while watching a movie for just 3 bucks. The Mission Theater, just one block from the hostel, is by far my favorite rainy day hangout!
Meghan: Portland’s Brew-and-View theaters are perfect places to hang out while it is raining. These places serve beer and food so that you can satisfy your palate while watching a new-release or indy-film, Cinema-21, Living Room Theater, and The Mission Theater are brew and view theaters in NW Portland.
#3: 23RD Avenue shopping, bars and cafés
NW 23rd has something for everyone: coffee, food, chocolate, small shopping boutiques for the ladies, and breweries the guys. Walking this famous Portland street is a great rainy day activity that starts with the best breakfast in town and ends with the best dinner. here is what our staff recommends:
Britta: Vivace Coffee House & Creperie! Housed in an old Victorian building on 23rd Avenue. Vivace offers Portland’s famous Stumptown coffee and the best crepes in town. Savory or sweet, you can’t go wrong! Cozy atmosphere, comfy chairs and free WiFi!
Stay warm and dry out there!
The hostel held its second annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party on October 26th. This year we had 10 hostellers jostling for the prize of ‘best pumpkin’ and the competition was steep! But in the end there was a landslide victory.
Our winning pumpkin is this beauty below. It depicts a unique take on our hostel logo, many scary creatures like ghosts and bats, and a jack o’lantern face smoking a cigar (made out of the pumpkin’s stem). Remember, smoking is scary, kids!
This week our Volunteer Coordinator flew to Chicago to attend HI USA’s first annual Engagement Summit. The Summit was an important step toward our goal of making HI USA a leading hostel provider in the world and a valued source of experiential learning. It also allowed engagement staff from all of the country to come together to discuss how we can better the guest experience through our volunteer and activity programs.
Our Volunteer Coordinator stayed at HI Chicago while attending the conference. Here’s some photos from her time in the Windy City.
Halloween is almost here!!!
Last week we gave you a peek at what is happening in Portland on Halloween. Now we want to take you closer to the action with a nice trip to the cemetery…
First, I want to say that cemeteries freak me out all year round, but there is something especially spooky about a cemetery around Halloween. It’s the rustling in the undergrowth, the bizarre shadows that the moon casts, and the spirits rising from the dead. O.K. that last one is probably just in my imagine, right?
This year, for your entertainment, I gathered my strength and braved the Davis Graveyard. Located at 8703 SE 43rd Ave in Milwaukie, the Davis Graveyard is really spooky for a scaredy cat like me! Homeowners and Halloween enthusiasts Jeff and Chris Davis created their creepy graveyard with the help of a dedicated crew. It took several years to bring the dead and dying to life, but the dream has become a reality and each year the display gets better and better. They handcrafted the props all summer to produce this intricate and artistic display. They transformed their garage, driveway, front yard and house into a realistic graveyard.
The Davis Graveyard is FREE (donations are welcome) and offers a lights-only version of the display from dusk to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Weekend hours for full effects are dusk to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and dusk to 10 p.m. Sundays through Halloween (Oct. 31).
I recommend going there and checking out their humorous headstones, haunted buildings and monuments, ghosts and mourner statues, a massive mechanical spider, skeletons and skulls (which are all accompanied by high-tech sound effects and a light and fog shows). We will definitely use the Graveyard as our inspiration for the hostel’s Halloween decoration next year!
Here’s some pictures I was able to capture in between scares:
So that you don’t miss out on the spookiest month of the year, we’ve compiled a list of all the ghostly Halloween events in and around the Portland area.
For those scaredy cats out there, we’ve added some special milder events to the list like “Howloween at the Zoo” or the Pumpkin Festival, as well as heaps of farms, where you can pick and carve pumpkins, ride cow trains, get lost in corn mazes, and enjoy tractor-pulled hay rides. And for those of you who love a good scare we’ve included all the haunted happenings for Halloween 2014, including: parties, dances, zombie walks, Michael Jackson’s Thriller flash mob dance, spooky houses and graveyards, and even Halloween themed sporting events and thrilling film festivals.
The hostel will also be leading special Halloween events during October. Please check our activities board or ask at the reception for more information.
Now get out there and get scared!
Halloween Fantasy Trail
Families love the lighted Halloween Fantasy Trail, with its decorated castle, suspension bridge, tunnel, and maze at Wenzel family farm in Oregon City.
19754 S Ridge Rd, Oregon City, OR 97045
Open: Oct 1 – 30, 2014 / Everyday: 12pm – 5pm & 7pm – 10pm
Halloween on a farm
Enjoy pumpkin patches, hayrides, and corn mazes at different farms in and around Portland
Greater Portland area:
Open: Oct 1 – 31, 2014
- Bella Organic – 16205 NW Gillihan Rd, Portland, OR 97231
- Delta Farms / The Pumpkin Patch – 16511 NW Gillihan Road, Portland, OR 97231-151
- Fazio Farm – 8433 NE 13th Avenue, Portland, OR 97211
- Kruger’s Farm Market – 17100 NW Sauvie Island Road, Portland, OR 97231
- Portland Pumpkin Farm – 16205 NW Gillihan Road, Portland, OR 97231
- Sauvie Island Farms – 19818 NW Sauvie Island Rd, Portland, OR 97231
Zombie Paintball – Diamond Hill
This Maze is full of Zombies! You enter the Maze with a Guide and 4 friends. Together you navigate the maze and take out Zombies. Easy? Well you are walking around in the Dark with a Paintball gun that has a light attached, shooting very scary Zombies! Nope the Zombies don’t have Paintball Guns. We would prefer you did not let them have yours!
Haunted Davis Graveyard
Visit Davis Graveyard in Milwaukie any day, or after dusk to see the lights, or wait for special effects Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.
Open: Oct 1 – 31, 2014
See pumpkins shot from a cannon, take a hayride, navigate a corn maze (haunted some evenings), try archery & paintball, and choose a pumpkin during Pumpkin Fest at Wooden Shoe Farm in Woodburn.
33814 S. Meridian Rd. Woodburn, OR 97071
Open: Sept 27 through Nov 2, 2014; 10am – 6pm daily
Werechickens and evil clowns and mutant sea monkeys – OH MY! You might think you’ve seen it all but no other haunted house on the planet could possibly prepare you for the cacophonous cornucopia of creepies and crawlies that inhabit BARON VON GOOLO’S MUSEUM OF HORRORS! Get three scary attractions for one price at Fright Town, under Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Rose Quarter. See schedule. Discount tickets certain days.
Rose Quarter, 1 N Center Ct St, Portland, OR 97227
Open: Oct 3 – 5, 8 – 12, 15 – 19, 22 – 26, 29 and 30, Halloween
and a special Saturday Nov 1 opening for Dia De Los Muertos!
13th Door Haunted House
Open: Oct 3 – Nov 2, 2014
The Haunted Ghost Town at Rossi Farms has an Old West theme. Take a horrifying adventure through the old haunted west that has been overrun by the morbid characters of “Clydes Hell On Wheels” traveling show.
Zompire: The Undead Film Festival
Every minute of Zompire will be filled with great independent films that you’ve never seen, and may not see again. Buy a ticket for the whole weekend by clicking the link below, and plan to be there for our Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night showings… each block contains different films, and each will be a mix of things that go bump in the night. See 30 independent horror movies about spirits, vampires, voodoo, and zombies at Zompire: The Undead Film Festival at Clinton Street Theater.
Clinton St. Theater, 2522 SE Clinton Street, Portland, OR 97202
Open: Oct 11 – 12, 2014
Zombie Walk and Thriller Dance
Join us for our annual Thriller dance, on Saturday October 25th, at 3pm. Afterwards the Portland Zombie Walk will invade the city, which begins at Hollywood Vintage this year.
Hollywood Vintage, 2757 NE Pacific St, Portland, OR 97232
Open: Oct 25, 2014, 4pm – 8pm
Run Like Hell!
Run Like Hell, a Halloween-themed race that sees participants dress out in full costume for a run through the streets of Portland. Wear a costume for the Run Like Hell! Half marathon, 10K, and 5K, which all begin and end at Pioneer Courthouse Square and include an after-party.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Open: Oct 26, 2014
Howloween at the Zoo
The zoo provides a fun and safe setting for this Halloween tradition, where costumed trick-or-treaters learn about wildlife in a fun scavenger hunt throughout the zoo. Enjoy scavenger hunts, goody bags, and activities like watching animals eat pumpkins during Howloween at the Oregon Zoo.
Portland Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221
Open: Oct 26, 2014, 10am – 3pm
Halloween ’80s Video Dance Attack
Our annual 80s Video Dance Attack Halloween Party returns to haunt the Crystal Ballroom on Friday, October 31st! Held at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom AND Lola’s Room, this spooky 80s extravaganza is the perfect way to celebrate the scariest holiday of the year! Big music videos, colorful lights, and pounding music will await you.
Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
Open: Oct 31, 2014, 8pm – 2:30am
Today, the hostel took a group of guests and volunteers to Okto14 – Base Camp Brewery’s Oktoberfest. Everyone had a good time and we enjoyed family based games like hammerschlagen (hammer striking), cornhole and Toss-The-Ring. One of the highlights of the day was the Human Fussball Tournament, which was set up like a Weltmeisterschaft (World Cup). But even more fun than watching the teams compete with each other, was to watch the currywurst eating competition. Talk about some prime Kodak moments! We were really lucky to have such a great weather (80 degrees!) and everyone enjoyed their wonderful Base Camp beers in the hot and bright afternoon sun. Definitely an event you should check out if you land in Portland next October!
The Oktoberfest, also called Wiesn, is the largest beer festival in the world. The original Oktoberfest took place in Munich, Germany in 1810. The beer festival is visited every year by over six million people and happens from September 20th to October 5th. The first Oktoberfest was held in honor of the wedding of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The celebrations began on October 12th and ended on October 17th, hence the name Oktoberfest. In the following years, the festival was extended and brought forward in time in order to take advantage of the summer.
At the Oktoberfest you can only drink beer from Munich’s breweries like Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu. Breweries offer 14 large and 15 small beer tents in which you can get beer and traditional Bavarian food. Each tent offers also a different style of entertainment, which go from boxing to political speeches, and a different type of music, which go from traditional Bavarian marching bands to live acts of the current pop culture. For the Oktoberfest Munich’s breweries brew a special beer, which must have original wort of at least 13.5% and hence contains higher alcohol percentage than regular beer. Besides beer tents, food carts and crafts vendors there are also heaps of rides like roller coasters and haunted houses.
But even far away from Munich the Oktoberfest is celebrated. Around 2,000 Bavarian style Oktoberfests are organized all over the globe. Bigger ones are in Blumenau/Brazil and in Kitchener/Canada with around one million visitors, followed by Frankenmuth/Michigan with about 350,000 visitors. Here you can see what is happening in Portland:
Oktoberfest at Widmer
September 13, 2014
The Widmer Brothers Brewery, 929 N Russell Street, Portland, OR 97227
Enjoy Munich-style ales, and German food & music at Widmer Oktoberfest at Widmer Brothers Brewing. 2PM-11PM
Oktoberfest at Oaks Park
September 19 – 21, 2014
Oaks Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202
Oktoberfest features live German music, dancing, art, contests, food, drinks, playground for kids, and Saturday dachshund races at Oaks Amusement Park. 11AM-midnight
Bike and Beerfest
September 27 – 28, 2014
Hopworks Urban Brewery, 2944 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97202
Oregon Handmade Bike and Beer Festival combines Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show and Biketobeerfest, to bring you bikes, beer and live music at Hopworks.
Oktoberfest at McMenamins
September 27 – 28, 2014
McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey Street, Troutdale, OR 97060
Enjoy beer, food, singing to live music, and face painting at Oktoberfest at Edgefield on Sunday. All ages. No cover.
October 3 – 4, 2014
Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR
Portland Fresh Hops Fest features hoppy beer for adults, plus root beer and lemonade for kids at Oaks Amusement Park. Free! Noon-8PM
Base Camp Oktoberfest
October 4, 2014
Base Camp Brewing Company, 930 SE Oak St, Portland, Oregon 97214
Expect dirndls and lederhosen, deutschküche and festbier as well as live-musik. Base Camp Oktoberfest will also be bringing the HEAT this year with some extra-special festivities like a human fussball tourney! 11 AM – 10 PM
Every fall Vaux’s Swifts, a small bird breed native to North and South America, prepare to migrate to their wintering sites in South and Central America. On their way down south the birds use our neighbor, Chapman Elementary School’s chimney as an evening roost.
Vaux’s Swifts spend almost all of their daylight hours in the air foraging for insects. Shortly after the sunset, thousands of them gather in the sky, forming a dark cloud, and hover above the Chapman’s School like a tornado until they suddenly begin their descent into the chimney.
The “Chapman Swifts” are North America’s largest concentration of Vaux’s Swifts. They have used the school’s chimney on their migration route as a stopover since the 1980s and can be seen every evening from mid-August to mid-October.
This is one of Portland’s most spectacular natural events and every night up to 2000 spectators gather around the Chapman School in Wallace Park. If you like to witness this incredible phenomenon get directions from our front desk staff.