Mississippi Ave – Portland, Oregon
When I first moved to Portland Mississippi Ave was not a place one went. It was mostly boarded up houses, trash everywhere, crime was sky high and there really was nothing to actually do there. But over time money was brought into the area and then it seemed almost overnight it was THE place to be. Since then more neighborhoods have been fixed up and those have become the place to be, but Mississippi Ave remains one of my favorite parts of Portland.
It is very easy to spend a day in the area, the hand full of blocks are full of shops, restaurants, and cafe’s, the houses in the area are also very nice so if strolling neighborhoods is your thing this area is a very pleasant place for a little peep.
It is Portland after all so there is no shortage of coffee shops but the one rarity I find is there are no Starbucks. No offense to Starbucks, I like them plenty but I enjoy supporting small local business when I have the time to do so. My favorite is Fresh Pot, when I lived in the city I became addicted to their not too sweet mochas, and always treat myself to one when I run across the Portland chain.
The store on Mississippi is a lovely, mellow and a little bit moody. Perfect for our weather and sitting down for a book or quiet computer work. Their bathroom on the other hand is fully of graffiti, in the most artistic way and the ever growing Post No Bills addition always makes me chuckle.
If you are looking for coffee and doughnuts Blue Star down the street is really nice (also locally owned) and if you are more of a tea drinker Townshend Tea is really lovely.
Shopping For The Home
If you are interested in shopping for the home I would highly recommend Pistils Nursery. It is a sweet little place that has really grown over the years in a tall shot gun style building it houses everything from indoor plants, unique rocks and crystals, candles, cook books and of course a really fantastic selection of outdoor plants. They used to have chickens in the outdoor section but I didn’t see them the last time I was there. But it was raining so maybe they were just roosting.
Shopping for Comics
Probably not a ton of people out there that are specifically shopping for comic books. But if you find yourself in the area I highly suggest having a look around Bridge City Comics. The story carries collector items, kids comics, graphic novels, zines and tons of local artists. It is a great way to get lost in discovering new things or just revisiting your childhood hunkered down in the Archie section (like I always do).
Shopping for Gifts
There is no shortage of places to shop for gifts in this area but my personal favorite is Flutter. A small boutique with an ever rotating collection of unique items, from locally made vintage inspired dresses, to curated collections for estate sale finds and high end perfumes the shop is always a pleasure to browse. I always manage to find something I don’t need but can’t seem to leave without, the last time I was there it was a deck of gorgeous tarot cards, a reprinting of the first Smith-Waite deck.
Shopping for the Macabre
Another of my favorites is not for the faint of heart, Paxon Gate offers up all things a little bit spooky from books on ghosts, to taxidermy, natural history and gothic locally made jewelry. I could and have spent hours in the store, but it isn’t for everyone.
Eating and Drinking
There is never any shortage of places to eat and drink in Portland. Second only to drinking coffee, it seems to be a city wide past time, and I have not had a single bad meal on Mississippi Ave. My personal favorites are Interurban (pictured below), Por Que No (if you love tacos), Mississippi Pizza (for pizza), Miss Delta (for southern food) and Ruby Jewel (for ice cream). Truthfully you cannot go more than three store fronts without running into another amazing place to eat.
This is obviously a very brief run down of what this area of town offers. Truthfully if you are new to the are I would suggest just spending a day wandering around and going into what ever place suits your fancy. You cannot go wrong and you are guaranteed to enjoy a pleasant quiet day on Mississippi Ave.