Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Northwest Portland Hostel Blog

On the move?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Are you planning a move to Portland? If so, Portland Monthly magazine has put together a series of interactive maps that may help you decide which Portland neighborhood is right for you.

There’s data on people, lifestyle, crime, and real estate trends to help you choose.  Find it all here.

Happy house/apartment/condo/loft/townhouse/bungalow/attic/basement/cave/etc. hunting to you!






Northwest Portland staff have their dessert and drink it too

Saturday, March 22, 2014

This week, some members of our staff got together for a real taste of Beervana – a “dessert” beer tasting extravaganza!

The object of the event was simple.  We wanted to find the best darn dessert beers out there!

Here were the contestants:

beer lineup onebeer lineup twobeer lineup three

From left to right we have:

Base Camp Brewing Company – Portland, OR – S’more Stout: This beer has it all!  “Aromas of chocolate, coffee, fig, and smoke invite you in to a gigantic maltiness that is distinct in its smooth and refined character.”  We loved the intense smoky flavor of this beer, as well as its amazing bottle, that’s covered in a contour map.  We also gave it extra points for being brewed right here in the best city of Portland, Oregon!

Breakside Brewery – Portland, OR – Salted Caramel Stout:  Of all the beers, I think we were all the most excited to try this one.  Salted caramel! Stout! A collaboration with famous Portland ice cream shop, Salt & Straw! Our mouths were watering with anticipation for weeks! After trying it though, I think we all agreed that we liked its rich stout flavor, but couldn’t really taste the caramel or hint of salt we were looking for. However, we gave it extra points for being brewed in Portland.

beer spread

Iron Horse Brewery – Ellensburg, WA – Mocha Death Ale: With a name like “mocha death” there was no way we weren’t picking this one up off the shelf.  This beer is “laced with caramel, chocolate, dark fruit, and a touch of sweetness, with fresh, locally roasted (in Washington) espresso beans and pure cocoa.” Yummy! All in all, we loved its rich coffee flavor and gave it top marks, for a Washington beer 😉

Southern Tier Brewing Company – Lakewood, NY – Creme Brulee Stout:  This beer was the first of the night that wasn’t brewed in the Pacific Northwest, so we were skeptical of it, to say the least.  The brewers over at Southern Tier describe this beer’s flavor as “caramelized sugar, vanilla, custard, nicely sweet and balanced, rich and milky,” and they weren’t kidding! We really enjoyed the deep flavor of this beer and we thought it had a sweetness that some of the other beers didn’t have.  This beer was definitely what we were thinking of when we imagined sipping a “dessert beer.”

Ommegang Brewery – Cooperstown, NY – Chocolate Decadence Stout: Our last beer of the night was Ommegang’s Chocolate Decadence Stout.  This beer had a delicious deep dark chocolate and malty flavor that we really enjoyed, but it didn’t have the sweetness that its fellow New York buddy had.

So which beer was our favorite???

The winner was:

beer favorite

Southern Tier. Sorry Portland, New York took it this time.


Earth Hour: Uniting People to Protect the Planet

Saturday, March 1, 2014

If you’re wondering what more you can do to help the planet, here’s your answer: Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a global movement uniting people to protect the planet by switching off lights for one designated hour.  This minor action will go a long way to helping the world fight global warming.

This year, the NW Portland International Hostel will be asking all of our guests to join the movement by turning off laptops and other electronic devices on March 29th from 8:30-9:30 pm.

The hostel will also be hosting a food and beer tasting event, and, like last year, our lucky tasters will be blindfolded and asked to guess each food they’re given.  Hostelers who guess 8/10 foods correctly will win a special prize!


Last year’s blind taste testers

Let the countdown to Earth Hour begin!

Click here to find out how to get involved in your local community.


Portlandia is alive and well!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Now that the snowpocalypse is behind us, the Rose City is spring-ing forward with two very “Portlandic” events.

First, after a (too) long hiatus Portlandia is back at the Mission Theater on February 27th!

In case you’re one of the few who isn’t watching the show…

Portlandia is an IFC Original Series created, written, and starring the very funny Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein (vocalist/guitarist of Sleater-Kinney).  Each episode is composed of a few mini skits showcasing the antics of silly walking Portland (sometimes all too real) stereotypes.

One of my all time favorite skits was when Carrie and Fred leave Portland and head to Southern California where they quite literally face the wrath of the sun!

Being from Southern California myself, but having lived in Portland for the past three years, this is a reality that I am sadly all too familiar with….seasonal defective disorder anyone?

Make sure not to miss Portlandia at the beautiful Mission Theater (only a block and a half away from the hostel!) on Thursday nights at 7:00 and 10:00 pm.

And for a complete schedule of Mission Theater events click here.


Second, “Portraitlandia” is on display at the Newspace Center for Photography until March 2nd.  “Portraitlandia” is the amazing work of photographer Kirk Crippens.  Crippens is an internationally renowned artist whose photos have been on display all over the United States, China, and in Europe at the National Portrait Galleries in London and Edinburgh.

His “Portraitlandia” series is a personal favorite that we featured in our January post, “How to dress like a Portlander.”

The photographs are like the IFC series, in that they capture the quirky residents of Portland, but this time in a more serious and contemplative tone.

We hope to see you there!!



Happy 100th Birthday!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Pittock Mansion turns 100 years old this month! And to celebrate the occasion the Bureau of Parks and Recreation is offering free admission for the first 10 days of February!

So put on your walking shoes, because this is your chance to wander both upstairs and downstairs of this French Renaissance style “chateau” built in 1909.

With that, here is a peak inside the house:

Early rain style shower?

Beautiful main staircase. Said to be haunted…

You can learn a lot about someone by looking in their medicine cabinet

View from the grounds

Hope to see you up there!


Portland Hostels Host A Day of Service In Honor of MLK Day

Sunday, January 5, 2014

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” MLK

On Sunday, January 19th, the NW Portland Hostel and Portland’s Hawthorne Hostel are joining together for a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and we want YOU to join us!
From 10am – 1pm we’ll be giving back to Portland by helping the Lan Su Chinese Garden prepare for the Chinese New Year.
Volunteers who participate may choose an indoor or outdoor project (up to 10 volunteers in each crew) at the gardens. Those working indoors will make lanterns that will be used to light up the garden during Chinese New Year festivities. Those working outdoors will be helping with the culturally required cleaning that must occur in preparation for the Chinese New Year (everything must be clean and tidy to welcome a prosperous New Year).
All volunteers who help out will receive FREE admission to the garden, in addition to 10% off in the gift shop on the day of service. A public tour by a trained docent will also be available for those interested. The tour will occur at 1pm, directly following the service work. Volunteers may also choose to enjoy authentic Chinese music in the garden’s tea house until 3pm.
After the service project, from 4- 5pm,  the NW Portland Hostel will host a stir fry dinner and a discussion about the day, Martin Luther King Jr., and the value of giving back to our community through volunteering and stewardship. All volunteers and hostel guests are invited to dinner.

chinese new year, lanterns, portland classical chinese garden, lan su garden,

Lan Su Chinese Gardens via Portland Monthly Magazine

To join us:

NW Portland Hostel guests – Meet at the Hostel front desk at 9:30 am.

Hawthorne Hostel guests – Meet in the Hostel lobby at 9:15am, Depart at 9:30am

Community Members – Meet at the Garden Entrance at 10am

RSVP is required to Catherine ( by Sat, Jan 18th

How to dress like a Portlander

Thursday, January 2, 2014


The only thing that’s not unique about Portland is its name. Which is why it’s so weird that to fit in in Portland one seemingly has to embrace a singular “Portlandic” style.
Recently, there have been a number of T.V. shows (we’re talking about you Portlandia) and blogs (here and here) that have tried to capture the essence of Portland’s street style.  Travel Portland even jumped on the band wagon (or in this case probably a vintage Radio Flyer wagon) with their “Look Local” article that suggests tips on how to dress like a Portlander.  However, we feel it offered too many expensive options that don’t seem appropriate for a hosteler.  So what essentials should a traveler have to fit in with the locals without breaking the bank?

Here’s our two cents:

For the Ladies

1. Give your hair that just rolled out of bed look at the Aveda Institute where hair cuts start at only $10. The best part is you don’t have to roll that far out of bed to get there.

2. A Portland gal needs to look her best without looking like she’s tried too hard. Thankfully, there’s Buffalo Exchange where you can find that hipster outfit or shoe you’ve been searching for.

3. No outfit is complete without the perfect accessory.  Try Frances May. They have some seriously awesome winter stockings to keep your stems warm this season.


And the Gentlemen

1. Find the right beanie or hat to top off your look at Brooklyn Industries.

2. Check please. Plaid shirts are a Portland staple.  Find the right plaid for you at Crossroads Trading Company.

3. Grab a microbrew! There is no better Portland accessory than a cold microbrew in hand, and with over 50 breweries in the city, this accessory is the easiest to find and the most fun to share. Check out our brewpub map here.


via Portraitlandia

HI’s Big Blog Exchange up for World Tourism Award

Monday, December 23, 2013


Do you believe that local knowledge can generate global understanding?
In 2013 Hostelling International’s Big Blog Exchange believed and proved that you can make change in the world using the power of blogs.

The Idea:
The Big Blog Exchange was a global blogging contest whose goal was to use the power of travel and social media to break down cultural barriers.  Hostelling International sifted through over 1,000 entrants from all over the globe to pick 16 lucky finalists who would swap blogs and lives for 10 days.

The Result:
The finalists learned some amazing lessons on their trips that you can read through here, but we’ve gathered a few common lessons from their journeys below.

Eight common threads:
Traveling alone is possible and fun!
We are all alike
Traveling will smash your preconceptions
Travel gets you out of your comfort zone
Traveling lets you reinvent yourself or get to know yourself
Travel will shake up your routine
Jet lag will always get you know matter what you do!
Get to know the locals, they are the best way to get to know a place.

We at HI are proud to announce that the Big Blog Exchange is nominated as a finalist in the 2013 World Tourism Organization Awards for the Ulysses Award for Innovation in the Non-Governmental Organizations category.

The winners will be unveiled on January 22nd during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony in Spain.

Mikael Hansson, chief executive of Hostelling International said, “We are thrilled to have been nominated by UNWTO for one of the most prestigious international award in tourism. The Big Blog Exchange is not just about innovation but also finding new ways to promote greater understanding of cultures through travel. We truly believe that the power of education can help change the world.”

Good luck HI! Keep blogging everyone!


Hostelling International Great Hostel Give Back 2014

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Great Hostel Give Back is back for its 4th year! Throughout January and February 2014 groups of 10 or more can stay for free at HI Northwest Portland if they volunteer at least 2 hours in the City of Roses for each night they plan to stay at the hostel for free.

To qualify, groups must:

* Volunteer at least 2 hours in the local community during their trip for each night they plan to stay at the hostel for free.
* Host an activity at the hostel to benefit other guests, such as a community meal or a presentation about their service experience.
* Share their experiences at the hostel and in the community with HI-USA after their stay.
* Have at least 10 members.
* Complete the online application form.

hostel_Great Hostel Give Back

For more information contact Amanda Dwyer, National Sales Manager, at

Turkey Day Remembered

Sunday, December 1, 2013

There was plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving this year!  As always, HI Northwest Portland Hostel hosted a Thanksgiving feast for hostelers, staff, and locals.  This year we had all the essentials – turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and everyone’s favorite, stuffing! Plus, there were many other special treats provided by our wonderful community of guests.

One of our favorite moments from this year’s meal is the story of Joe, Yuki, and a tofurky.  The story goes…

DSCN0572Joe and Yuki participated in the Tofurky Trot, a 5k run in Portland on Thanksgiving morning.  The run is a spin-off of the Turkey Trot that takes place in other areas of the U.S., but of course, here in Portland we do it vegetarian style.  Well, Yuki won second place in the race (way to go!) and as a prize received a delicious tofurky which he shared with our hostel Thanksgiving!  While Joe, met a celebrity! The founder of tofurky himself, Mr. Seth Tibbott.

Portland. Just keeping it weird.

tofurky trot

Here’s some more photos from the day.  Thanks to all who celebrated with us this year!

DSCN0557DSCN0563 DSCN0569DSCN0564DSCN0567