Field Tripping: Four Must-See Spots in the Bridge City
Travel to the City of Roses, aka Portland, OR, aka Bridge City, and you’ll see bumper stickers around town reading, “Fred and Toody, not Fred and Carrie.” It’s a rallying cry for simpler, punker times when we had icons like Fred and Toody Cole from the Portland rock band Dead Moon instead of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia—a show that, some claim, has ruined the city.
Portland’s growing—and what city isn’t? But the reality here, like all reality, is fluid. The town is part punk rock, part ridiculously politically correct. Part fiercely DIY, part flagrant yuppy. Part condo with a fresh coat of paint, part grimy with a heart of gold. My advice? Come here with some perspective and just soak it all in. You’ll love it—the laid back vibe, the volcano views, the food, the coffee, the trees, the rivers, the rain. In a city full of attractions, good food and drink, it can be hard to narrow down a solid itinerary, but here are four solid choices for your next trip to Bridge City. The Pacific Northwest really is the promised land. See you soon?
SEE SEE MOTOR COFFEE CO.
In Portland, it makes sense that your coffee shop would also be a custom motorcycle store. Founded by Thor Drake, who also runs The One Motorcycle Show, See See Motor Coffee is a best of all worlds scenario, with a café selling Stumptown Coffee, plus wine, beer and baked goods, and a retail shop with biker gear—helmets, jackets, parts, and apparel including See See’s own line. There’re also two workshops in back where some magical bikes have been built. The place is a community gathering spot of rad people, rad culture, engine grease, jubilation and caffeination.
1642 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR
Located in one of Portland’s northern-most boroughs, Cathedral Park sits in the shadow of the historic St. Johns suspension bridge. Here, you can recline on a grassy slope worshipping the type of views known only to grand river towns. The bridge—designed by David Steinman of Mackinac Bridge fame and built in 1931—is full of statuesque beauty and gothic melancholy. In other words, you will like it. The Willamette River in this area is a wee bit polluted, so you won’t find many people swimming, but there’s a beach and lots of verdant fields. This waterfront park has so much dog-walking, brownbag-tallboy-sipping, hand-holding, picnic-blanketing, sun-tanning, coffee-drinking-and-journal-scribbling, Morrissey-listening potential, it’s a go in any type of weather. Bonus? You get to cruise around blue-collar St. Johns on your way there.
8676 N Crawford St., Portland, OR
The Sudra is a “Vegan Indian fusion” restaurant in inner Northeast Portland. Basically, it’s all your favorite Indian food, but vegan—and with more fresh produce. Get the Cauliflower Pakora, or the Chickenless Tikka Masala. You order at the bar, then sit in a cozy wallpapered corner until your food comes. They’re open late—Indian food tastes great after drinking—and they play movies some nights, too. In my mind, watching Back To The Future while eating a bowl of black lentil kofta and drinking tap beer could possibly be the perfect way to spend a rainy evening. If you find yourself up North, there’s a second location in downtown St. Johns.
2333 NE Glisan Street, Portland, OR
Located on Division Street amidst star-chef-owned restaurants, the Cat’s Paw is a low-key hole in the wall built in an old shoe repair shop. It’s owned by legendary former pro skater Mickey Reyes—and because skaters are also pro at drinking, the Cat’s Paw has drinking dialed, from Highlife to $9 craft cocktails. Inside, the bar is all low light and wood-grain paneling, with a stuffed cougar keeping watch over the bottles. Outside, there’s a partially covered patio where, if it’s packed, you can find some bigger tables and breathing room. The bar might very well be packed, too, because there isn’t much space in there—but the crowd is often comprised of your friends, and the closer you all have to sit on a rainy night, the cozier it is.
3565 SE Division St, Portland, OR
Not only is Portland home to some must-see destinations, it’s also home to some of our favorite brands. From Growlerwerks and Tanner Goods, to Bridge & Burn and The James Brand, the Rose City is becoming the place for craft-focused maker brands.