You’ve got the house all decked out for those Halloween Night frights, but what about a few seriously spooky scares? Portland’s unique history makes for some real life spine-tingling spots that will give you the shivers. Read on if you dare, and schedule a family trip to some of these interesting locations with a peculiarly haunted reputation.
photo: Old Town Pizza by Bijan B via Yelp
Old Town Pizza
Come for a slice of the delicious pizza, but stay for the ghosts. Rumored to be haunted by the spirit of a woman named Nina, this hip downtown pizza joint situated above the Shanghai Tunnels has a reputation for paranormal happenings. Get the House Special Pizza (pepperoni, salami, mushroom, black olive, bell pepper and sausage), the Green Ghost cocktail, and wait to catch a glimpse of Nina’s spirit in her black dress. Feeling brave? Grab a seat in the back booth and former elevator shaft, where Nina is said to have carved her name into a brick in the wall.
226 NW Davis St.
Sun.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. 11:30 a.m.-midnight
photo: Hollywood Theatre by Bradford D. via Yelp
This eye-catching theater on Sandy Boulevard was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and is a well-loved and iconic Portland landmark. Is it haunted? Some movie-goers describe a ghostly man who roams the upstairs lobby and a phantom woman who occasionally sits in the back row. Test your courage and take your family to catch a flick at this Northeast theater with just enough scare factor. Grab a slice of Atomic Pizza, a beer from the rotating selection on tap and see if any supernatural guests join you for the show.
4122 NE Sandy Blvd.
photo: Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery by Aleksandra E. via Yelp
Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery
As one of Portland’s largest cemeteries with thousands of unmarked graves, Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery has just enough eeriness to set the Halloween mood. Families will enjoy recognizing the names of some of the graveyard’s more famous residents, such as Portland founder Asa Lovejoy. As Portland’s second-largest arboretum, the enormous graveyard leaves plenty of potential for a shadowy ghost sighting. Have enough courage to visit at night? Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery’s Tour of Untimely Departures is a heart-pounding candlelit tour through the cemetery on Halloween. This informative tour about Lone Fir’s history welcomes youngsters, but some stories contain mature content. Know your little history lover’s temperament.
SE 26th Avenue & Stark Street
The Abandoned Portland Gas & Coke Building
This one will have to be a drive-by viewing, as no one is allowed on the property of this shudder-inducing 1913 building deteriorating on Highway 30. The factory, which shut down in the mid-50’s and has remained vacant since 1958, has all of the makings of a spectacularly eerie ghost story. The building is scheduled to be demolished, so add it to your spooky Portland bucket list and catch a glimpse while it still stands. Drive by on your way to one of Sauvie Island’s pumpkin patches, and see who can come up with the most bone-chilling tale of what goes on inside!
7900 NW St. Helens Rd.
photo: Rimsky-Korsakoffee House by Shashima N. via Yelp
This quirky and creepily whimsical spot in Southeast is one of Portland’s hidden gems. There’s no signage on this delightfully strange Victorian house, but head on inside anyway. You’re in the right place. Look for the hidden faces in the wallpaper while you peruse the menu. You’ll find sweet in-house made desserts, mismatched tableware and live piano music on Fridays and Saturdays. The underwater bathroom upstairs is not for the faint of heart and your little adventurers might want a buddy to come along. Check out the legs dangling from the ceiling, hands sticking out of the wall and the cafe’s infamous bathroom mannequin. First-timer to Rimsky-Korsakoffee House? We can’t spill all of the surprises, but make sure to ask the host or hostess to seat you at one of the “haunted” tables. (You can thank us later.) Rimsky’s is cash only (there’s an ATM in the Plaid Pantry next door) and serves only coffee, tea and desserts. For those in the know, this spot fills up fast. To avoid a long wait with small kids, plan to arrive right when they open at 7 p.m. to grab a great table.
707 SE 12th Ave.
Sun.–Thurs. 7 p.m.–midnight
Fri. & Sat. 7 p.m.–1 a.m.
What’s your favorite spooky spot in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!