Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Northwest Portland Hostel Blog

What are you doing for others?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MLK Day is Monday, January 19th. Make it a day on. Not a day off! Volunteer for MLK Day and start the year off right – by giving back to your community.

There are many benefits of volunteering. Here are just a few:

Making important contacts
Learn important skills
Enhance your resume
Build your self confidence
Improve your health
Meet new people
Make a difference in someone’s life

And finding service projects is really easy!

You can find the right project for you through sites like or

And if you’re in the Portland area you can also check out for special MLK Day projects near you.

Some of the service projects being offered in Portland are:

Pulling ivy in Forest Park
Socializing cats and dogs
Sprucing up local playgrounds
Refurbishing books for local schools
Serving meals to the homeless
Planting Trees

At the hostel we’re encouraging guests to volunteer by offering the chance to win a $20 gift certificate. We’re also hosting an all American themed dinner on January 19th in honor of MLK where we will share some lesser known facts about the great man himself.  Hope to see you there!





Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hostel New Year 2

2014 was a wonderful year for HI Northwest Portland International Hostel and Guesthouse. Here’s a look back at our year in pictures. Happy 2015, everyone!

Star-studded night on NW 21st

Monday, December 15, 2014

On the night of Monday, December 8th, NW 21st avenue became a veritable little Hollywood as the stars of the movie ‘Wild’ arrived for its premiere at Cinema 21. Cinema 21 is usually a sleepy little independently owned theater between Hoyt and Irving streets. On any other day you’d almost forget the theater is there, being sandwiched between all the bars and late night eateries that usually take you to NW 21st.

On this night a great crowd gathered near the now defunct Gypsy’s as the stars of the movie arrived: author and women of the moment Cheryl Strayed, film maker Brian Lindstrom, stars Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon, and even mayor Charlie Hales made an appearance.

The question that everyone in the crowd wanted to know is “how did those guys get tickets?!” Well, Portland Monthly Mag shared that the movie’s attendees were cast and crew, friends and relatives of Strayed, or part of the company that installed Cinema 21’s new seats. Lucky ducks!

The rest of us can now catch ‘Wild’ at Cinema 21 until January 8th.

Reese Witherspoon with Cheryl Strayed


*Event photography by Arthur Hitchcock for Portland Monthly Mag

Monday, December 8, 2014
12th Annual Glühwein Holiday Party
~ Thursday, December 18, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm ~
Our 12th Annual Glühwein Holiday Party is set for Thursday, December 18, 2014 from 6pm – 9pm in the Secret Garden.  Our traditional Glühwein (German hot spiced red wine) and spiced cider will keep you warm around the open fire while you meet travelers from around the world, nibble on cookies, and enjoy the holiday festivities.  Hope you can join us!
Christmas at the Hostel
Thursday, December 25th  2:00pm – 5:30pm
Join guests, staff, and locals for our annual Christmas Potluck Dinner on Thursday, December 25th from 2:00pm – 5:30pm in the main hostel kitchen. Bring a side or dessert to share!  ~ Please RVSP to our Activities Coordinator. 
Are you looking for a way to give back to the community this holiday season?

The Portland Burrito Project is a group of friends that feeds the hungry and homeless in Portland by making and distributing burritos.  You can join them in the fight to end hunger in the Rose City! See our events calendar for future dates. 

Searching for the perfect holiday gift that supports local artists? Then, look no further than Andy Goncalves’ first solo album, Fire Inside. Andy has been volunteering for the hostel for four years now as the Master of Ceremonies at our Summer Music Concert Series.  For more information about his breakout album, check out his Kickstarter campaign here.

Portland featured in Elle Magazine’s November Issue

Friday, November 28, 2014

Elle magazine recently featured Portland in the Jetsetter section of their November issue.

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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!


Our top #3 rainy day hangouts

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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.


#1: Powell’s

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!

Hostel Halloween

Monday, October 27, 2014


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!

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Happy Halloween! IMG_7325





A Trip to the Windy City

Saturday, October 25, 2014

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.


Interactive public art in Grant Park


The shiny Chicago Theater


Carnival Rides at Navy Pier


Trump Hotel and the Chicago River


The beautiful Buckingham Fountain


HI engagement staff gathered for our Sleep for Peace awards ceremony


HI Chicago’s dining room and a passing CTA blue line train


Cool recycling sign in HI Chicago’s dining room

A Trip to the Cemetery

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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:

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Halloween Events in Portland

Friday, October 10, 2014

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 – 5pm7pm – 10pm
Price: $5.00


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!

1070 South 6th Street, Harrisburg, Oregon
Open: Call for dates, 7pm – 11pm


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.

8703 SE 43rd Ave, Milwaukie, OR 97222
Open: Oct 1 – 31, 2014
Price: free


Pumpkin Festival

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
Price: $7


Fright Town
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!
Price: $22


13th Door Haunted House

At the 13th Door Haunted House of Oregon (the Original), you will experience Portland’s Best Haunted Attraction! With our highly detailed sets you will become part of the horror as you journey amongst our animated creatures and theatrical actors.
3855 SW Murray Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97006
Open: Oct 3 – Nov 2, 2014
Price: $15


Haunted Ghost Town
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.
Rossi Farms, 3839 NE 122nd Avenue Portland, OR
Open: Oct 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26 & 31, 2014, Friday & Saturday: 7pm – 10pmSunday: 7pm – 9:30pm
Price: $15


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
Price: $15


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
Price: $11.50


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