Art lovers should not miss going to the Alberta Arts District whenever you visit Portland. Northeast Alberta is mostly a residential area until you reach Northeast 14th Ave which is what we know as the Alberta Arts District.
The area is not considered a neighborhood but is has a unique area that art lovers should see. Being there exposes you to a place where earth tones and motifs abound reflecting Asian, Latino and African American culture.
It has a history of being one of the oldest sections of Portland. The street and the nearby areas have transformed over the years from being a poor area populated by immigrants and other low-class citizens to what is now a burgeoning haven for creative artists and business owners who work and live there.
A street festival called Last Thursday is celebrated every last Thursday of the month and it showcases their art, food, and community which is open to visitors from all walks of life.
Exploring the District is best done with a bike or with comfortable shoes for those who prefer walking. Driving through takes away from seeing what the area has to offer both visually and relationally.
Why not start on an empty stomach and go on a food crawl, there are many diverse choices that wait for you like the Tin Shed which is a popular garden cafe that is a perfect place for you to have breakfast or brunch to start off your Alberta Arts District Adventure.
Local food, beer, and wine are available at the Alberta Co-Op Grocery which supports the local suppliers and economy.
There is a mural that you can’t miss because it covers the entire west face of the Community Cycling Center. The place has been one of the reasons to visit the district and it has been there since 1994. The center is known for providing programs and outreaches for both adults and young people who advocate cycling. There are many volunteer opportunities where you can help fix or build a bike. There are refurbished bikes and frames available and repair facilities that carry new parts and accessories.
The Alberta Rose Theater is a historic movie house that was built in 1927 but was closed in 1978. It was renovated and opened again as an entertainment venue where guests can wine and dine and watch local and foreign musicians.
Coffee lovers won’t experience a shortage of coffee shops lining the Alberta street because there seems to be one representing each culture present. You won’t find a Starbucks though because it doesn’t seem to fit the individuality of the district.
You would also notice that nearly every business establishment on the street functions as an art gallery with a rotating roster of local artists which makes one understand how much the community is devoted to art.
There are several parks that are nearby, like the sixteen-acre Alberta Park which has a basketball court, picnic tables, dog area, playground, tennis court, softball field, and water feature.
Once you arrive at the District, you will immediately feel a different vibe which is what sets it apart from other Portland communities. People from the district are fun, artsy, funky and quirky. They have a multi-cultural diversity that shows a perfect mix. There is a strong community feel which can be seen among business owners who look out for one another and has respect for one another’s business.
It would be a good idea to drop by the Alberta Arts District during their Last Thursday celebration, this is for visitors who don’t mind the swarming crowd that attends the event. Discounts on local art pieces are given during the event, a great chance for art collectors to take advantage of.