Mississippi Avenue

Mississippi Ave
Photo by Mike Lemmon/Flickr

Mississippi Avenue has quickly emerged as the city’s next trendy neighborhood, but that hasn’t changed the pace of life in this relaxed community tucked up in North Portland. This six-block stretch (give or take) is home to boutique shopping, farm-to-fork eateries and acclaimed microbreweries — making it a pleasant spot to spend a lazy day. But home to venue Mississippi Studios and one of the city’s largest annual street fairs, Mississippi also ranks as a toe-tappin’ good spot when the sun goes down.

Boutique Browsing

Paxton Gate
Oddities in Paxton Gate, a boutique shop on Mississippi Avenue. Photo by Bonnie Willimott/Flickr.

Mississippi’s eclectic shopping is best experienced by strolling down the street, browsing funky window displays and entering any boutique that piques your curiosity.

At the north end of the stretch, wander in Animal Traffic (4000 N. Mississippi Avenue) to peruse Pendleton shirts, vintage-style backpacks and weatherproof leather shoes. You might recall the knot shop in a “Portlandia” episode. Fan? The nearby Land Gallery (3925 N. Mississippi Ave.) is where Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein famously “put a bird on it.” Keep shopping, and you’ll also discover the only Paxton Gate (4204 N. Mississippi Ave.) outside of San Francisco, gourmet salt store The Meadow (3731 N. Mississippi Ave.) and designer styles at Manifesto Shoes (3806 N. Mississippi Ave.).

If you’ve got a green thumb, Pistils Nursery (3811 N. Mississippi Ave.) specializes in native plants and succulents and even has chickens roaming the garden outside the shop. The ReBuilding Center (3625 N. Mississippi Ave.) is a green resource for gently used building materials, and even if you’re not looking for home goods, it’s fun to poke your head in and see the everything from old windows to claw-foot bathtubs housed in a funky open-air building.

Musical Pursuits

Control Voltage2
Control Voltage features tons of synthesizers you can try out. Photo by Cory Doctorow/Flickr

Portland’s indie-minded music scene is one of the most vibrant in the country. That’s why it’s no surprise to find a handful of shops dedicated to musical instruments, electronics and vinyl records tucked in among the neighborhood’s boutiques. Keyboardists flock to Control Voltage (3742 N Mississippi Ave.), a virtual playground where you can plug in headphones and toy with dozens of synthesizers. Nearby, guitar geeks browse Black Book Guitars (3624 N. Mississippi Ave.), a high-end string shop specializing in vintage, rare and bizarre guitars. Underground record label Beacon Sound (3636 N. Mississippi Ave.) even operates a small storefront here, which is filled with wooden racks of used, new and rare vinyl records.

Eat and Drink

Small plates and craft cocktails off of Interurban's happy hour menu. Photo courtesy of Interurban. 

All of this shopping have you hungry? Well, you’re in luck. Mississippi features a number of notable restaurants, including acclaimed pizzeria Lovely’s Fifty Fifty (4039 N. Mississippi Ave.) and modern saloon Interurban (4057 N. Mississippi Ave.).

But if you seek something a bit more low-key, try Por Que No? (3534 N. Mississippi Ave.). Their delicious tacos and rice bowls (the Brian Bowl is a clear favorite) won’t disappoint, but note that this local taqueria tends to draw big crowds for dinner, so expect to wait in line.

Just need to recharge your batteries? Well, dip into one of the funky cafes that line the street, most notably Albina Press (4637 N. Albina Ave.) and The Fresh Pot (4001 N. Mississippi Ave.). Both cafés serve espresso from acclaimed Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Remember, Portland is more than just a coffee town, and you can steep yourself in the city’s other brew scene at tasting rooms operated by two top tea companies: Townshend’s Tea Company (3917 N. Mississippi Ave.) and Stash Tea (3972 N. Mississippi Ave.).


Mississippi Studios
A touring band plays at Mississippi Studios. Photo by darklenzes/Flickr.

When the sun sets, Mississippi’s residents come out to experience live music at local bars and music venues. If you want to see a show, stop in at Mississippi Studios (3939 N. Mississippi Ave.) to check show times. Or, if you’re just looking for a quick drink, head to the south end of the street where you’ll find Ecliptic Brewing (825 N. Cook St.), a microbrewery serving local ales and featuring an extensive menu of pub food for late-night grub. In summer, you won’t want to miss the all-day street fair that features stages for local bands to perform into the evening hours.

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