Northwest Portland, the city’s most densely populated area, is comprised of the Pearl District, the Northwest District and the majority of Old Town Chinatown, in addition to both industrial and residential neighborhoods. Many of the lofts and establishments that make up the Pearl District—which was once a thriving industrial area—were converted from former warehouses. Most of Portland’s West Hills make up the land immediately west of the quadrant, and Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban parks, can be found at the northernmost point.
221 N.W. 10th Ave.
If you’re a fan of jazz or have even the slightest appreciation for the genre, you owe it to yourself to check out Jimmy Mak’s. Widely considered to be the most happening jazz club in Portland, Jimmy Mak’s provides all the essentials—good food, good drinks and good music. The venue is frequented by talented ensembles and a shifting roster of renowned jazz musicians, such as local jazz guitarist Eddie Martinez and celebrated drummer Mel Brown. If you’re looking for a distinct and memorable jazz experience, look no further than Jimmy Mak’s.
1314 N.W. Glisan St.
Andina is a Peruvian venue with an expressive and celebratory flair. Featuring live jazz and jazz-fusion of distinctly Latin influence, Andina exudes both class and a definitive sense of cultural pride and heritage. Andina is known for its wines and cocktails, all of which are tailored to coincide beautifully with the many available Peruvian dishes. If you find yourself itching for a dash of the exotic and a touch of elegance, Andina is certainly worth looking into.
8 N.W. 6th Ave.
Offering a wide range of live performances spanning multiple genres, the Roseland Theater is one Portland’s most prominent showcase venues. The theater offers a capacity upward of 1,400 people, while the restaurant and bar area, Peter’s Room, has space for 400. The actual theater is host to larger concert showings and performances, while Peter’s Room is geared toward more intimate stage performances. Notable musicians, such as John Mayer, came to widespread attention through performing at Peter’s Room. The diversity of performances and the ever-changing lineup keeps the Roseland Theater at the forefront of Portland’s live music scene, and that doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon.
Featuring a slew of diverse neighborhoods and home to Portland’s historic Hollywood District, the Northeast quadrant of town is one of the city’s hottest destinations for shopping, drinking and eating. This is the heart of Portland’s sporting and expo scenes; here you’ll find the Rose Quarter, Moda Center, Memorial Coliseum and the Oregon Convention Center. There’s simply no shortage of activities to be found in Northeast Portland.
THE SECRET SOCIETY
116 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212
You’ve never seen a venue quite like this. Originally established in 1907, The Secret Society bleeds with Victorian-era style and features an exotic, inimitable atmosphere that demands appreciation. With a superb lineup of live performances, a designated lounge area, ballroom and even a recording studio, there’s no shortage of things to do and see within the walls of The Secret Society. The low-lit ambiance of the lounge area takes you right back to the ’20s, and the Society’s selection of absinthe is sure to quench your thirst.
2026 NE Alberta, Portland, OR
With a lineup of live performances that tend to gravitate heavily toward the punk side of the musical spectrum, The Know is one of the more stylish and in-your-face venues to be found in Portland. The relatively small size of the venue gives the establishment a more personal flair, and you can never go wrong with 16 ounce PBRs for a mere two dollars. It’s also worth noting that there’s no cover charge if you have no interest in actually seeing the band play; a closed curtain separates the bar from the stage, and you can opt to stay in the bar area if you’d prefer to stick to drinking.
3100 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
The Tonic Lounge is a hot-spot for up-and-coming talent that won’t break the bank or leave you feeling cheated out of a good time. It’s divided into three sections: a comfortable lounge area, a spacious outdoor patio and the bar/stage area where you’ll likely spend most of your time enjoying any one of the great drinks served by the Lounge. Friendly, reasonably-priced and always entertaining, the Tonic Lounge boasts a compelling allure that strikes the perfect chord somewhere between the comfort of a small venue and the frenetic energy and excitement of a much larger establishment. With frequent performances by local bands and performers and a seriously delicious Bloody Mary, you won’t be disappointed.
128 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212
Relatively straightforward in the scope of Portland’s diverse collection of venues, the Wonder Ballroom offers up a solid, enjoyable, affordable and surprisingly intimate experience. With three levels and a build akin to a high school gym, the Wonder Ballroom features killer sound design and impressive acoustical properties that bring live performances to the next level. It may not come with the bells and whistles that constitute the design of many contemporary venues, but that doesn’t have to stop you from having a good time!
With reasonably priced residential and commercial rent, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Portland’s southeast quadrant. As such, many fledgling businessmen and women choose to bring their ambitions to life here, and the resulting creativity and sense of adventure is heavily prevalent throughout Southeast, particularly along Belmont Street and Hawthorne Boulevard, where you’ll find all manner of unique cafes, boutiques and more.
1001 S.E. Morrison St.
If you’re looking for an eclectic fusion of the arts, techno, locally-grown talent and pulsing dance parties, Holocene might just be your perfect cocktail. With superb sound design and room for upward of 300 people, Holocene’s energy is nearly unparalleled in the Portland club scene. If you want to just go nuts, you can’t go wrong with Holocene. The venue prides itself in its diverse selection, and while the establishment is much more oriented toward dancing than drinking, there’s a very reasonable happy hour on Fridays from 5–8 p.m.
3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave.
The Aladdin Theater is classic, and it’s well-loved for a reason. A staple of Portland’s music and performance scene, you can bet that at any given time, there’s something worth your attention happening at the Aladdin Theater. One of the most popular spots for both visiting and local acts to perform, the Aladdin Theater features excellent acoustics, a consistently diverse lineup and a timeless, historic design. Located right next to the theater is The Lamp, where you can swing by for an entirely affordable meal and choose from a great selection of beers on tap.
1507 S.E. 39th Ave.
The Hawthorne Theatre is in no way wanting for diversity. Though the venue is most well-known for heavy metal, there are live performances spanning rock, punk, reggae, country, indie, performance arts and more. The Hawthorne Theatre is perfect for those with a broad appreciation for music and performance in general. With a designated bar and separate seating for minors, performances can be enjoyed regardless of age, and the intimate layout ensures you’ll have a good shot of the action.
4811 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
The recently renovated Alhambra Theatre features a varied lineup of live music performances and DJ sets, ample room for dancing, an outdoor patio/designated smoking area and a full bar. Formerly known as the Mt. Tabor Theater (and originally established in 1913 under the current name), Alhambra presents a unique and charming blend of the classical and endearing aesthetics of vaudeville with the sensibility of modern design. The Alhambra Theatre is a memorable venue with a unique atmosphere that you simply won’t find elsewhere.
Arguably the beating heart of Portland, the southwest quadrant is home to the city center and our very own Portland State. You’ll find just about anything you’re looking for here, from the zoo, Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Japanese Garden and much, much more. As it’s the seat of local government and boasts the most thriving civic life, there’s no shortage of entertainment to be found in Southwest Portland.
222 S.W. Clay St.
One of Portland’s premiere venues, any visit to the Keller Auditorium (established in 1917 and originally known as the Civic Auditorium) imparts an undeniable sense of prestige and quality. Featuring performances of varying natures, the auditorium’s reputation as a quality venue that showcases a wide array of content is rightly deserved. From orchestral concerts both classical and contemporary, to plays, stand-up and more, the Keller Auditorium is one of Portland’s go-to hot spots for artistic expression.
8585 S.W. Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy.
The Tillicum is a stylish venue that’s friendly, fun and oozing with charm. Featuring a varied roster of live performances, great service and an ample and tantalizing selection of reasonably priced food and drink, it’s hard not to wind up having a good time. After the previous owners nearly ran the establishment into the ground, The Tillicum was taken under new management who have explicitly stated their commitment to providing a fun and charismatic atmosphere. That commitment shows, and it makes any night spent at The Tillicum a treat.
232 S.W. Ankeny St.
Valentine’s is a cozy little venue in Old Town with a truly indie aesthetic. The bar feels very “hipster lounge” and frequently has live music, DJs, poetry and other forms of entertainment. Whether your’re gulping down a PBR or sipping on a cocktail, this venue has a consistenly laid-back vibe.
ARLENE SCHNITZER CONCERT HALL
1037 S.W. Broadway Ave.
Any list of notable venues found in Portland would be woefully incomplete without mention of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Home of the Oregon Symphony and affectionately referred to as “the Schnitz” by many locals, the concert hall is the only remaining theater building on Broadway. The large Portland marquis that marks its entrance is iconic, and the earlier 20th century vibe makes for an intricate and admirably beautiful design.