My guide to Portland’s Alberta Arts District

Portland, Oregon, always treats me well. It’s developed a reputation for being a hipster haven—the rental market has been totally saturated because of all the refugee Californians and creative Midwesterners flocking to the city. (Moving to Portland might just beat out going to grad school as the preferred adulthood escape route for my generation.)

One of my favorite areas to explore is the Alberta Arts District, which stretches out over 15-20 blocks of NE Alberta Street. Amid the plentiful clothing boutiques and taquerías are a lot of great galleries and stores that feature a lot of local work. Here are a few of my faves:


I visited Redbird Studio last year and loved it immediately. This year, I happened to stop by on the studio’s second birthday, which meant free cupcakes!

Owners Paul Evans and Melissa Rau make a lot of the stuff for sale in the shop, which includes lots of stationery and cards, handmade accessories and screenprinted T-shirts and baby things.

I really loved the large-scale portraits by Kevin Noonan of political figures that were on display in the back of the store, which is a whole other gallery called Haiku. Melissa told me Kevin intentionally puts very affordable prices on his paintings. They were so low I seriously considered buying one and toting it home on the plane with me.

And if you’re in the neighborhood, right next door are HiiH Gallery, which sells beautiful handmade paper lanterns, and Guardino Gallery, which displays contemporary art and crafts.

Redbird Studio, 2927 NE Alberta St., 503/593-0833


Together Gallery popped up since my last trip to Portland. I arrived just in time to see “The Color of Nature,” an exhibit featuring work from local artists Seth Neefus, Amy Ruppel, and Jill Bliss. Together also has a healthy offering of zines and small press publications, which I’m a big fan of.

Together Gallery, 2314 NE Alberta St., 503/288-8879


Anybody who loves industrial-strength work supplies has a one-way ticket to heaven at OFFICE. The décor and the goods are heavy on the Americana, with a hearty dose of Japanese utility.

I got to check out Jill Bliss and Brittany Kate Powell’s kooky “Califoregon” collection while I was there. And, like I always do, I spent too much money on letterpressed cards.

OFFICE PDX, 2204 NE Alberta St., 888/355-7467

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