Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Northwest Portland Hostel Blog

Keeping Portland Weird with the Quirky Portland Tour

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Even before the popular TV show Portlandia aired last year, Portland was a weird place, just a lesser-known one. It’s true, a lot of people have chickens in their backyards and homemade pickling stations in their basements next to the fixed gear bikes and beer brewing equipment. Portlanders can seem snobby about things like reusable grocery bags and braking for pedestrians, but really, we are notoriously friendly for “city folk”. Just this morning, I did the daily crossword puzzle with my policeman friend at (one of) the (many) cafe(s) near the hostel. Halfway through the crossword, the barista brought us free cookies. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The quirkiness is something we love about this place, so why not show it off! Many travelers visit Portland with the goal of seeing the weird and wacky, so with the help of our volunteer, Caroline, we’ve created the “Quirky Portland Walking Tour”. The inaugural tour was last Thursday, and it included the Lovejoy Columns, North Park Blocks, Mary’s (Portland’s oldest strip club—didn’t go in, but pointed it out), Ground Krontrol Barcade, 24 Hour Church of Elvis, Waterfront Park, Made in Oregon sign, Voodoo Donuts, and ended at Portland City Grill for a drink. The next tour will include Mills End Park (the World’s Smallest Park) and the Pecularium. Caroline also discussed history and interesting facts about Old Town and the Pearl District.

I can’t imagine Portland losing it’s weirdness anytime soon, so the material for the Quirky Portland tour will only grown from here on. From the mustache donuts to public statues of Zoobomber bikes, let us show you what keeps Portland weird and lovable!


Nomading Film Festival Winter Recess in Portland

Monday, January 30, 2012


Ten years ago, the idea of filming yourself eating live octopus in Korea and then submitting the footage to a film festival would have sounded absolutely ridiculous. But now, thanks to the smart phone phenomenon, anyone is able to capture anything on film, anywhere in the world, and share it with everyone. This is the premise of the Nomading Film Festival.

NoFF was created with the belief that anyone with a camera, fancy or not, can be a filmmaker. In the words of the NoFF team themselves, “We believe that stories caught on film, while traveling, are some of the most entertaining, educating, beautiful, and authentic. These are stories which should be shared, acknowledged, and awarded”.

Last summer, the Nomading Film Festival had their inaugural event in New York City at Hostelling International-New York. The event was such a success, with over 80 films submitted and 11 chosen as finalists, the NoFF team (Mikey, Bassam, Josh and Andrew) decided to put together a Winter Recess on the west coast. Luckily for us, they chose Portland! The event was held last Saturday, January 28th.

NoFF’s Winter Recess included a day of screening the 11 finalists films from their event in NYC, a raffle, and a question and answer session with three of the filmmakers (Caitlin from Travel Yourself, and Tawny and Chris from Captain and Clark) held at the McMenamins Mission Theater. Over 100 people attended, a great turn out. The collection of  films were entertaining, inspiring and creative, and no two were alike. One of the most astonishing films was of a newborn baby elephant taking its first steps with the help of its mother.

After a break in the afternoon, the festival-goers reconvened at Boothster in NE Portland for the Benefit After Party. Ticket sales went to the various non-profits supported by NoFF: Teen Living,100 Cameras and Matador Youth Scholarship Fund.We danced, drank free Widmer beer, and hung out with travelers and filmmakers from the Northwest. Hostelling International USA even gave away 3 free hostel stays to a couple lucky raffle winners!

All in all, it was a fantastic festival, bringing people together to share the love of travel with the creativity of independent film-making . Plans for NoFF WinterRecess 2013 are already in store. We’ll keep you posted!

Check out the photos, courtesy of Jennifer Harju




500 Facebook Fans!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The HI-Northwest Portland International Hostel reached 500 awesome facebook fans earlier this week, and to celebrate we hosted an all-you-can-eat ice cream sundae social in the main kitchen.

Currently, the hostel is filled with musicians visiting town for Portland’s Old Time Music Festival, and the sound of guitars, banjos and basses fill the hallways and common spaces throughout the afternoon and evening. It definitely livens up the hostel during the winter months!

Holidays at the Hostel

Friday, December 30, 2011

Traveling during the holidays can be hard for some, being away from close friends and family. You might not celebrate in the same tradition as if you were at home, but, as hostellers know, being away from home for the holidays opens the door for new opportunities to create new traditions with new friends from around the world.
Here at our HI-Northwest Portland Hostel, we have a few ways of bringing together the travel community during the holidays. Locals and hostellers alike are welcome to our events, connecting our many international guests to travel enthused Portlanders.
This year, we hosted a gingerbread house decorating party, our 9th Annual Holiday Glühwein Party (see previous post), and a potluck Christmas dinner. Each event was a huge success, and it is safe to saw we made one of the most beautiful and creative gingerbread houses in hostel history!
Check out some of the photos from the gingerbread house party and Christmas dinner below.
Wishing you happy holidays, safe travels, and much adventure in the new year!


Gingerbread House Decorating Party


Potluck Christmas Dinner

9th Annual Glühwein Holiday Party

Friday, December 30, 2011

Check out the photos from our 9th Annual Holiday Party! Glühwein, spiced cider, bratwurst and cookies around a warm fire in the Secret Garden. December 21st, 2011

Jim getting served a delicious bratwurst

Murphy, Tanya and baby Milo

Tracy and Mays

Party-goers in the Secret Garden

Adam, Simone and Clare around the fire

Tessah, Libby and Simone enjoy their wine and food

Martin and Steffen from German, Walter from Brazil

Martin, Steffen and Libby



Why Buy New? Our Guide to Thrifty Shopping

Monday, December 5, 2011

There are multiple arguments for buying clothes second hand. 1.  It’s cheaper. 2. The clothes are pre-washed, thus guaranteed to still fit after you take them home. 3. You aren’t contributing to more “stuff” filling the world, just re-using what’s already out there, and 4. Fashion recycles itself, right? So technically  nothing ever goes completely out of style.

Luckily, Portland has over 50 second-hand shops for your thrifty shopping needs. Whether you’ve just arrived in Portland and need to pick up a plaid flannel (staple pdx garb) or are heading to a Big Lebowski-themed birthday party and are missing an oversize bathrobe or bowling team uniform, a thrift store is bound to be just around the corner.

photo by Matt Houlemard

For your convenience, the shops are organized by location. Let’s start near the hostel in the Northwest neighborhood.


William Temple House Thrift Store NW 22nd and Glisan Street

This is closest second-hand shop to the hostel and also happens to be one of the best. It’s nothing glamorous, but generally has amazing deals, as well as a great selection of jewelry and miscellaneous household items. Best of all, sales go to support William Temple House’s mental health counseling and emergency social services to individuals and families in need.

What’s Upstairs? NW 23rd and Johnson

Definitely more high-end merchandise than William Temple house, with a large collection of designer clothes, bags and accessories. Even with the barely used couture goods, the prices are fair.

Pop-Up Shoppe NW 23rd and Lovejoy

It’s easy to walk by this shop a hundred times without noticing it, but once you do, it is impossible to get in and out in under an hour. This basement space is crammed with antiques, vintage apparel and accessories, classic old toys, trinkets you’d expect to find in your Grandparents’ house, jewelry, and much much more. It seems unorganized and cluttered, but digging around is part of the fun.

Goodwill NW 22nd and Burnside

Most people are familiar with this thrift store chain. Nothing fancy, but you can always find something good!



Buffalo Exchange SW 10th and Burnside

Conveniently located just across Burnside street from Powell’s Bookstore, this shop has a great selection of the newest trends and styles for men and women. It isn’t necessarily cheap, but you can get great deals on things like designer jeans, shoes, and jackets.

Magpie SW 9th and Washington

Huge selection of vintage clothes, jewelry, purses, shoes, sunglasses, and costumes. Everything from Grace Kelly gowns to wild west cowboy boots, and it’s all in great condition.



Buffalo Exchange SE 37th and Hawthorne

Larger version of the shop on 10th and Burnside in downtown.

Crossroads Trading Co.  SE 37th and Hawthorne

Similar feel to Buffalo Exchange, with trendy, hip clothes, but with better. Friendly, helpful staff, laid back atmosphere, and a great selection of men’s and women’s clothing. One of the best consignment shops in Portland.

Red Light Clothing Exchange  SE 36th and Hawthorne

Huge store with a huge selection of recycled clothing, both modern and retro, plus fun extras like vintage bathing suits, top hats, scarves, and a whole sections of funky vests. Give yourself time to get through it all!



Rock n Rose 6th and E. Burnside

A vintage consignment shop with both new and used clothing for men and women. Great shoes and boots, sunglasses, and sweaters, plus a selection of locally-made jewelry, greeting cards, and graphic tees. Make sure to check out the sale rack out front for extra good deals.

Modo Boutique 7th and E. Burnside

A very small store that isn’t overwhelming like many other second-hand shops. Even thought the selection is limited, it is all high quality. Definitely a spot worth checking out!



Rerun 707 NE Fremont St.

Amazing selection of clothing, household goods, furniture and much, much, MUCH more. It’s nearly impossible to leave without buying something, especially because the prices are great and it’s just too fun to keep looking around. Everyone’s favorite (not-so-secret) best kept secret in Portland.





Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It was another successful Thanksgiving feast at the Northwest Portland Hostel and Guesthouse! Thanks to dedicated staff and volunteer helpers, as well as many of our dinner guests, we enjoyed quite the spread. Two turkeys, stuffed with homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, cornbread muffins, brussel sprouts and green beans, salad, two types of gravy, PLUS guacamole and chips, fresh fruit, and a whole smorgasbord of desserts—needless to say we all walked away stuffed.

Whether it’s on Thanksgiving or any other day, it’s nice to sit down with others (friends, family, coworkers, travel buddies, or random bunkmates) and share what you are thankful for. Tonight, many hostellers expressed their love of travel and how thankful they are to have this opportunity to see the world, explore new cultures, and meet so many interesting people. Not everyone has the chance to have international adventures, so it is definitely something to be thankful for.

From all of us at the Northwest Portland Hostel and Guesthouse, thank you to all you hostellers, travelers and adventurers out there! Keep exploring!

Winter Warmers- the Best of the Northwest Holiday Beers

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Halloween decorations and zombie costumes are back in the garage, and it isn’t quite time to start cooking the Thanksgiving turkeys, but true Portland beer enthusiasts know exactly how to celebrate this time of year: holiday brews!

These dark, malty beers are perfect for the change in season, often with more alcohol content to keep you warm and added flavors like fruit and spices to pair with the holiday season. Whether you’re sipping yours in front of the fire or in a crowded bar with friends, these hearty brews will keep you toasty all winter long.


Recently released Portland beers:

Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale- Laurelwood Brewing

Snow Day, American Black Ale, 6.2%- Concordia Ale House

2011 Abyss Imperial Stout- Deschutes Brewing

Abominable Winter Ale- Hopworks Brewing

Strong NW Saison (aka ‘Saison de Roxana’)- Breakside Brewing

C-Sons Greetings- Lompoc Brewing


All-time favorites:

Sleigh’r- Ninkasi Brewery (Eugene, OR)

Jubelale- Deschutes Brewery

Vinter Varmer- Laurelwood Brewing

Brrr- Widmer Bros. Brewing Co.

Ebenezer Ale- Bridgeport Brewing Co.

Santa’s Little Helper- Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.


Try them for yourself!


Portland’s 2011 Holiday Ale Festival will be held Wednesday, November 30th through Sunday, December 4th at Pioneer Courthouse Square. With over 40 breweries sampling their special selection of handcrafted stouts, porters and barelywines, you will be sure to stay warm and toasty while you enjoy the holiday festivities.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the special 2011 Holiday Ale Festival beers:

Deschutes: Super Jubel

Bridgeport: Vintage Old Knucklehead

Hopworks Urban Brewery: Kentucky Christmas

Laurelwood Brewing: Bonaparts Retreat

Lompoc Brewing: Cherry Christmas

Lucky Labrador Brewing: Candied Scottish Holiday

Rogue Ales: Rogue Creamery 75th

Widmer Brewing: Peppermint Paddy Porter