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10 Things to Do in Downtown Portland

March 31, 2017

One of the best parts about going to school at Lewis & Clark is the Pioneer Express. Also known as “the Pio,” this free shuttle gives students a ride down the hill to downtown Portland.

A perk of life at L&C is being able to enjoy the beautifully serene quality of a removed campus, while still remaining quite close to all the lively offerings of the City of Roses. So grab some friends, board the Pio, and make a day of it!— Story and photos by Rena Wang ’17

PSU Farmers Market

If you are headed downtown over the weekend, the Pio drops you off by the entrance to the largest Portland Farmers Market! The Portland State University market is open year-round on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and is chock-full of fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, hot food, and artisan condiment stands. Pro tip: bring a reusable shopping bag and some cash, especially small bills.

Portland Art Museum

Right next to the PSU Farmers Market, the Portland Art Museum is home to a variety of art collections, and consistently hosts new exhibitions. Plus, students gain entry at a discounted rate with their student ID, and on the first Thursday of every month admission is free from 5–8 p.m. Not a bad place to dodge the rain for a few hours!

Portland Galleria Target

If you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for in the aisles of the nearby Fred Meyer, this Target has your back. There is also a Starbucks downstairs with a fair amount of seating if you need a place to chill out and take a quick break.

Coffee Shops

As a college student, you are more often than not going to have some assignment to work on over the weekend. If you don’t feel like spending all your time in Watzek library, there are numerous study spots to choose from downtown. Case Study, Heart, and Stumptown all have the two necessities to keep you going: caffeine and fast wifi.

Powell’s Books

Behind all the tourist hubbub surrounding the “World’s Largest Independent Bookstore,” the truth is, Powell’s is actually pretty awesome. Take your time perusing the shelves in this color-coded, multi-story bookworm heaven. Can’t wait to read your newest title? Hunker down at the cute little café in the back.

Food Carts

One of Portland’s many notable quirks is the food cart scene. Downtown contains several food cart “pods,” like the ones on SW 4th and Hall, SW 10th and Alder, and SW 3rd and Washington. My personal favorite carts are Nong’s Khao Man Gai (Thai food, sadly closed on the weekends!) and Donut Byte Labs (mini doughnuts!)

The Portland sign at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert HallConcert Venues

Known for its Instagram-worthy neon Portland sign, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall hosts a variety of concerts and shows. Another option is the Crystal Ballroom, home to our annual Fall Ball dance. Buy tickets to shows early even if you think your favorite band is obscure, both of these venues sell out quickly!

Movie Theaters

Ditch your laptop and get out to see what’s new on the silver screen. There are Regal Cinema locations at both Pioneer Place and Fox Tower.

Saturday Market

Open March through December 24, Saturday Market is an open-air weekend arts and crafts market at the north end of Waterfront Park and Ankeny Plaza. Take a relaxing stroll on the waterfront before wandering through stalls lined with handmade treasures.

Head Elsewhere

If downtown isn’t your scene, the rest of Portland is just a bus or Max ride away. Other parts of Portland that are fun to check out are SE Hawthorne/Belmont, NE Alberta, the Pearl District, and the Alphabet District.

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