Seasonal Rhythm

There is a kind of seasonal rhythm to nightlife in Portland. In the summer, when it stays light well into the evening, we spend our evenings outdoors—sitting in brewpub gardens, enjoying concerts at the Oregon Zoo or in the park, walking or biking along the Eastbank Esplanade, celebrating the festival du jour at Waterfront Park, or watching the sun slip along the Columbia River and below the horizon. In the winter, we get through the rainy months by amusing ourselves indoors—perhaps we go to dinner and a show. Perhaps we go to Powell’s. Perhaps we just go bowling.

Whatever the season, Portland’s nightlife is rich and varied. In this chapter, we cover fun for grown-ups: music, bars, dancing. Portland’s scene is impossible to pigeonhole—we are not, for example, readily associated with a particular kind of music—but one thing is certain. We love parties. We love First Thursday and Last Thursday (see our Arts chapter); we love our many Waterfront Park festivals; we love those concerts at the zoo. We have a lot to celebrate.

You’ll find nighttime things to do all over town, in every neighborhood—though, ironically, the heart of downtown has less street life and more cultural events in the evening. Throughout the area, however, you’ll find clusters of people sitting at outside tables, happy and convivial, yet also behaving in a pretty civilized way. Look for beacons of nightlife along Southeast Division, Hawthorne, and Belmont; along North Mississippi and Northeast Broadway; along Northwest 23rd and 21st Avenues; and all throughout the Pearl District.

WhereTraveler Staff
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