Have you been to The Pearl District lately? This now lively, artistic, and famous part of downtown Portland wasn’t always so engaging. Its beginning as a rundown area of abandoned warehouses and rail yards was built and re-envisioned again and again over the years. Revitalized in the 1990s and a family-favorite area for years, it might just be time to rediscover the “pearl” of downtown Portland. Read on to find places to shop, eat, and things to do in The Pearl District.
Approximate Travel Time to the Pearl District
The Pearl District can be reached within minutes from downtown Portland and can be reached by public transit or by car. The Portland Street Car runs through the Pearl district to make it easier to get from one attraction to another. Get to this area of downtown Portland from many of the Portland-area suburbs in under 30 minutes.
Where to shop in the Pearl
Find interesting boutique stores to popular brands throughout the streets of The Pearl district. Get lost in the stacks of Powell’s City of Books. Find the best in furniture options from City Home, West Elm, or Room and Board. Shop clothing boutiques such as Altitude or shop from popular styles of Anthropologie.
Discover more shopping options on the Explore the Pearl website.
Pro Tip: Visiting on a Sunday? Grab a 45 minute guided tour of the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s City of Books.
Restaurants to Try in the Pearl
There are no shortage of amazing food and beverage options in The Pearl District to satiate most any craving. Take our below suggestions, or visit the Explore the Pearl website to explore all of the available options.
Breakfast: Lovejoy Bakers
The full selection of breads, pastries, and cafe sandwiches there is plenty to choose from for a light or more hearty breakfast. Try a snack of Avocado Toast or enjoy starting your day with a Lovejoy Deluxe with a fried egg, Oregon bleu cheese, bacon, frisbee and tarragon on ciabatta roll!
939 NW 10th Ave.
Hours: Daily from 6 AM to 6 PM
Lunch: Hot Lips Pizza
Sometimes you just want a good slice of pizza. Portland is filled with great pizza options that would be a whole different post on its own, but Hot Lips Pizza has been a consistent Portland staple for good reason. Grab a slice of whatever their current special pie and don’t forget to grab a bottle of Hot Lips real fruit soda.
725 Northwest 10th Ave.
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11 AM to 10 PM, Fri-Sat: 11 AM to 11 PM
Dinner: Andina Restaurant
For a flavorful Peruvian meal that is as bright and varied as the dishes that they serve, Andina has been serving Portland diners since 2003. Explore several different dishes with tapas dishes or dine on a filling entree topped off by a traditional Peruvian dessert. Try the Lomo Saltado with Cascade natural beef tenders wok-fried with onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, garlic and ahi amarillo served with Yukon Gold papas fritas and garlic rice and finish with Alfajores, the classic Peruvian cookie! If you enjoy a spicy and sweet cocktail then don’t miss the Sacsayhuaman cocktail with purred passionfruit and cane sugar to balance the spicy habanero pepper liquor.
1314 NW Glisan
Hours: Lunch: 11:30 to 2:30 | Dinner: Sun-Thurs, 5 PM to 9:30 PM, Fri-Sat, 5 PM to 10:30 PM
Grab a Brew: The Brewery Blocks
Things to do in the Pearl
There is no lack of things to do in the Pearl District. Find shopping, art, entertainment, and more that would make for a great afternoon with the family or a romantic date night.
Jamison Square Tidal Pool: During the summer months you’ll find children and families splashing around. The famous fountain is modeled after a shallow tidal pool where water cascades from stone into low pools. During the cooler months you’ll find visitors enjoying picnic meals at the park. Finish off a fun-filled visit to Jamison Square across the street at Cool Moon ice cream for handmade ice ice creams in a variety of unique (and some classic) flavors.
NW 11th Ave. and Johnson St.
Cool Moon Ice Cream
1105 NW Johnson St.
First Thursday Artwalk: For over 20 years The Pearl has hosted First Thursday Artwalk. The Artwalk is a district-wide celebration that occurs on the first Thursday of each month throughout the year. Art galleries, businesses, and restaurants in The Pearl participate each month. Many art galleries host free receptions from 6 PM to 9 PM or 10 PM. When the weather is good the party finds its way outdoors as well with artists selling their creations and musicians. Download a First Thursday Artwalk map on the Explore the Pearl website.
Portland Center Stage at The Armory: The largest theater company in Portland is located in The Pearl! Find everything from dramatic plays to thrilling musicals. Find season shows on the Portland Center Stage website.
Portland Center Stage at the Amory
128 NW 11th Ave
How to Dress
Anything goes in The Pearl district due to its span of high end restaurants and shops to more comfortable venues. Usually a night in the Pearl will include some walking from Happy Hour to dinner to drinks. Comfortable walking shoes and layers are good ideas for making your visit more comfortable. Don't forget your umbrella or rain jacket for wet Portland days!
Cost of Trip
Keep things inexpensive by hitting some of the best Happy Hours in town or make a night of it by dining on meals crafted by famous Portland chefs. Enjoy The Pearl on a variety of budgets.
Parking can be tricky in The Pearl District depending on what events are going on in the area. Park in the Brewery Blocks Underground Parking on NW 11th or 13th between Couch and Davis. Pick up some of your weekly groceries at Whole Foods and receive two-hour parking validation.
Brewery Blocks Underground Parking
122 NW 12th Avenue
What is your favorite place to visit when you go to the Pearl District? Comment below!
— Jenni Bost