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Visiting Mississippi Avenue A Newcomer’s Guide

Visiting Mississippi Avenue: A Newcomer’s Guide

If you put in a little extra work researching neighborhoods in Portland, you’ll find this tiny hip area that is Mississippi Avenue. This is a location that no one would ever dream of calling boring since it’s complete with delicious foodie haunts and entertaining shops. 

As soon as you arrive, you will be greeted by an overall ambiance that is typical of Portland’s northeastern parts.

Find out what else you can expect on Mississippi Avenue!

A Brief History of Mississipi Avenue

Many would agree that no other neighborhood represents Portland better than Mississippi Avenue. 

However, this beloved neighborhood was not always the major fun hub that it is today. As a matter of fact, buildings along the street were boarded up just a few years ago.

The gentrification process that started around the turn of the century was a major factor in the recent wave of changes that have occurred in this area. By the middle of the 1990s, a once-thriving community had a significantly reduced land value. 

This was exploited by real estate developers, who started replacing old structures with more lucrative condos and businesses.

The last building owned by an African American was eventually saved by the locals after they took a stand. As a result of their united efforts, the district’s reconstruction got underway. 

Locals saw the potential in the historic storefront, and the area began to thrive again over time. The neighborhood has once again blossomed into what it is today.

The Mississippi Avenue Food Scene

Portland is a serious foodie town, and Mississippi Avenue is one of the best places to eat out, with trendy but delightful restaurants serving up a lot of organic and sustainable food. You can spoil yourself with the exciting cuisine and food culture available there.

1. Restaurants and Cafes

Restaurants and Cafes

The Mississippi Avenue neighborhood of Portland is a culinary treasure trove. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, get to know the best of those within the avenue limits that we listed below. 

There is no shortage of fantastic restaurants and cafes here for all budgets and cravings.

The Best Restaurants and Cafes in Mississippi Avenue

  • Prost Marketplace (4237 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217) – Named after its close proximity to the renowned Prost!, Prost Marketplace is actually a cluster of food trucks. It is also home to some of the best burgers, Indian food, and barbecue in the city, as well as popular Portland franchises like the Korean-Mexican restaurant Koi Fusion.
  • Por Que No Taqueria (3524 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Por Que No Taqueria specializes in tacos, as the name would imply. On their own organic corn tortillas, they serve more than a dozen different types of tacos. The taqueria now serves takeout margaritas, spiked horchata, and daily taco specials, in addition to pre-ordered taco kits with items like beef barbacoa.
  • Lovely’s Fifty Fifty (4039 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – The main dishes at this popular dinner establishment are wood-fired pizzas and rich, homemade ice creams in unusual flavors like fig pistachio and malted milk ball.
  • Bastion Coffee Roasters (4326 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217) – For a great sip of coffee with a variety of selections, try this newly opened cafe in the area. Their best seller so far is their jam latte.

2. Clubs and Bars

Clubs and Bars

Portland is renowned for having some of the world’s best bars and clubs, which contribute to the city’s top-notch nightlife. When you walk down Mississippi Avenue, you will be spoiled for choice if you’re looking for such establishments that serve good beer.

The Best Clubs and Bars in Mississippi Avenue

  • The Rambler (4205 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217) – The Rambler, a 1920s bungalow-turned-bar popular for its outdoor seating, has the atmosphere of a great local bar. On a warm night, the happy hour is a deal, with devoted locals sipping pints and eating swirly-seasoned “tornado potatoes.”
  • Interurban (4057 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Interurban’s covered back patio with fire pit was a particularly nice spot for whiskey on a cool evening, even before patios started sprouting up across the city. Along with a menu that includes sandwiches, fries, salads, and hamburgers, craft beers are also offered.
  • Atlantis Lounge (3552 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227) – Within Mississippi Pizza Pub, there is a cozy club called Atlantis Lounge that is lit by candles. Original fresh fruit cocktails, wine, eight beers on tap, and seasonal Sangria and Margarita specialties are all featured on the drink menu. 
  • Stem Wine Bar PDX (3920 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – For Willamette Valley wines, wines made by women, and take-home tasting flights, Stem has established itself as a destination. Customers enjoy glasses of rosé on the patio as live music is played on the nearby stones.

Shopping in Mississippi Avenue

This is one of Portland’s hippest shopping streets, where the coolest locals flock to shop. It’s a location brimming with independently owned boutiques and vintage clothing shops with a mix of artsy and cozy décor, making your shopping experience even more enjoyable.

1. Local Shopping Markets

Local Shopping Markets

It’s no secret that Mississippi Avenue had a bad reputation a few years ago, but many of the business owners saw potential in the old storefronts. 

The Rebuilding Center on Mississippi provided assistance in renovating many of the storefronts using recycled materials from former Portland structures. Hence, there are many local markets for shopping to explore.

The Best Local Shopping Markets in Mississippi Avenue

  • Pistil’s Nursery (3811 N Mississippi Ave #200, Portland, OR 97227) – This place is a plant lover’s paradise. They sell a wide range of plants and gardening supplies. In addition, the storefront features lovely ceramic planters, hanging planters, and a terrarium building section. 
  • pedX North Shoes (3806 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – The store is owned by two friends who wanted to expand Portland’s local shoe store options. Additionally, they offer products made by independent designers. Ped X has a variety of cute styles of shoes that tourists easily fall in love with.
  • Worn Path (4007 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Another fun place to shop for outdoor enthusiasts is Worn Path on Mississippi. The store has a wide selection of items for sale, including books, clothing, and locally made products. They also market cutting-edge outdoor accessories like skateboard decks, knives, and clothing.
  • Sunlan Lighting Inc (3901 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Sunlan Lighting is a light bulb retailer, but it’s not your typical light bulb shop. The dozens of unusual light bulbs they sell can be seen if you take a quick look around their store. They already have a very attractive window display, especially at night when the lights really steal the show.
  • Paxton Gate (4204 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217) – Paxton Gate Curiosities is one of Portland’s most outlandish shops. When you first look around at the taxidermy and skulls, you might think you’ve walked into a natural history museum. This is, however, a retail store where everything is for sale. Everything is here, including a real coyote skull, a bat skeleton, and a human tibia. The vast variety of gems and crystals at surprisingly low prices will astound you.

2. Boutiques and High-End Stores

Boutiques and High-End Stores

Aside from local shopping markets, Mississippi Avenue in Portland is also packed with high-end stores and boutiques. And we’ve compiled a list of the best of them for you to consider.

The Best Boutiques and High-End Stores in Mississippi Avenue

  • Sloan Boutique (3824 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – You’re sure to find something you love in this cute and stylish boutique. At Sloan, most of the brands are well-known on a national level. For instance, their racks feature trendy brands like Franco Sarto, BCBG, and Free People. Sloan’s prices seem reasonable, and you can trust that you’re buying high-quality goods. 
  • Jennyfer’s Boutique (4018 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Jennyfer’s Boutique sells women’s clothing. If you’re in the mood to buy the latest styles, jewelry, shoes, hats, and other accessories, this boutique is a great place to go. They constantly change their inventory to account for Portland’s diverse weather patterns, and they bring new styles from all over the world to Portland.
  • The Meadow (3731 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – The Meadow in Portland carries a fantastic and unique selection of craft chocolates, bitters, and other gourmet kitchen and bar items. The locals and tourists find it easy to satisfy their shopping needs in this store since they seek out the finest selection of hand-touched goods from around the world, such as Bitterman’s Fleur de Sel, Bitterman’s Salt & Pepper, etc.

Leisure and Recreation in Mississippi Avenue

If you’re looking for something exciting to do on Mississippi Avenue, whether it’s an outdoor or indoor activity, you may have a few options. Consider the activities we’ve compiled for you to do on your next visit to this eclectic and thriving neighborhood.

1. Outdoor Adventure

Outdoor Adventure

North Mississippi Avenue is an effortlessly cool street filled with hip bars, quirky shops, and eclectic restaurants. 

However, believe it or not, it’s home to one of Portland’s largest street fairs, which is a popular year-round destination for both tourists and locals. You’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The Best Outdoor Activities to Do in Mississippi Avenue

  • Mississippi Street Fair – Don’t miss their own Mississippi Street Fair, which is ideal for outgoing people. It is, by the way, one of the city’s largest street fairs, attracting 30,000+ visitors to the narrow North Portland street. There is always live entertainment on each stage, which promises to keep the laid-back vibes going all day. And with over 200 vendors, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
  • Art Walk – In Portland, there is always a monthly art walk. There’s Last Thursday on Northeast Alberta Street, First Friday hosted by galleries on the Central Eastside, and First Thursday in the Pearl District and downtown. But if you’re on Mississippi Avenue, it’s every second Thursday of the month. Their art walk, like any other art walk, showcases the neighborhood’s crafts and art pieces.

2. Indoor Fun

Indoor Fun

If you don’t feel like going outside, there are a couple of art galleries here. It only makes sense given how prevalent art is in Portland. 

Aside from galleries, you should be aware of other popular indoor activities in the neighborhood that will provide you with lots of entertainment.

The Best Indoor Activities to Do in Mississippi Avenue

  • Mississippi Studios (3939 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – If you like live music shows, head to Mississippi Studios. Many consider this historic building to be the best place in town for it since it is small, has an intimate space, and has clear sound. Because the audience is so close to the performers, a concert can become a collaborative, shared experience. Furthermore, this is an excellent venue for both big-name and indie-band concerts.
  • Land Gallery (3925 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – New, original artwork is available at Land Gallery if you are interested in seeing artwork from independent and emerging artists. The location acts as a gathering place for talented artists from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Every year, they host about a dozen outstanding art exhibitions in their upstairs gallery. 
  • The PDXchange Gallery (3916 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Another art gallery to feast your eyes on. The PDXchange gallery is a dressing room that features perfect-sized installations by local artists on a monthly basis. Once you’ve had your fill of the visual arts, visit their gift shop. They sell interesting home furnishings and décor, as well as jewelry, accessories, original art, hand-crafted fabrics, and clothing.
  • Rose City Comics (3725 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227) – Consider visiting Rose City Comics if you’re a comic book fan. Formerly known as Bridge City Comics, they have the most recent collected editions of your favorite series, classic graphic novels, and indie gems in stock. There is also a good selection of role-playing game books, dice, Funko Pops, Magic the Gathering, and comic storage supplies.
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