Right along the Willamette River, Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District used to be full of warehouses and trains. It's still a little gritty (and you don't want to get stuck behind the trains that still cross it, which can strand you for more than 10 minutes on either side), but it's recently grown into a hip, creative young incubator for new restaurants and local businesses, and it's accessible by streetcar. The neighborhood’s moniker is a mouthful, but it's new enough that maybe it could still be rebranded by the people who brought us DUMBO in Brooklyn. Here's what to hit in the 'hood.
Food and Drink
The most influential dining spot is Kachka, a highly stylized new Russian restaurant that offers dumplings, vodka flights (including a dozen house-infused varieties, including early gray tea or horseradish); it's already been nominated for a James Beard Award. Opening in August is Broth Bar, serving trendy superfoods like bone broth and whole-leaf kombucha.
Pair your glass of Oregon pinot noir or Syrah with a meat or cheese board at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery. For the hard stuff, do a tasting at one of the seven distilleries on Distillery Row for vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, and aquavit. Beer lovers can opt to sit by the fire pit on the patio at Base Camp Brewing Company; the S'mores Stout comes with a toasted marshmallow. Try one of the unique sour beers that’s trending at Cascade Brewing Barrel House, where they focus on the style. Gluten-free brewery Ground Breaker uses chestnuts and organic lentils in place of barley, wheat, and rye to create its brews.
Things to See and Do
Tour the planetarium—and a retired Navy fast-attack submarine, the USS Blueback—at OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which also hosts cool exhibits on topics like animation and renewable energy. Take a jog or ride your bike on the Eastbank Esplanade, a paved 1.5-mile path with awesome downtown views. It runs along the river and links up to the 20-mile Springwater Corridor trail, if you want to go farther.
At White Owl Social Club, you can bring your dog to the patio, have a cocktail, take snaps in the photo booth, and roast s'mores at your table at this motorcycle-friendly hipster bar. If crowds aren't your thing, but you have aspirations of becoming one of the Decemberists (the indie band hails from Portland), rent a private room with friends and sing your hearts out at Voicebox Karaoke.
Sarah Z. Wexler is on the Oregon beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in Portland, you can follow her on Twitter at @SarahZWexler.