While you may not be a tourist per se, with High-Proof PDX in hand you’re well prepared for an adventure to new places. There’s always time for roadside attractions along the way and naps in parks—especially in the Northside of Portland—where the green spaces and the unconventional finds still exist and thrive. If you’re hitting up Industrial Row Distillery, here are my recommendations for Northside attractions.
Kenton Neighborhood’s 31-Foot Paul Bunyan
N Interstate Avenue at N Denver Avenue
Keep heading north down Interstate Avenue until you reach the southwest corner of N Denver Avenue and N Interstate Avenue for a good look at the concrete and metal giant statue of famed lumberjack Paul Bunyan standing solo without his blue ox Babe. Built in 1959, it commemorated the centennial of Oregon becoming a state for the Centennial Exposition and International Trade Fair that was held in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland that year.
N Fremont Street at N Interstate Avenue
Consider this your mini-guide to napping in public, post-distillery tour. If someone wrote a complete guidebook to the best parks to nap in while visiting Portland, I’d support that author whole-heartedly. Located right off of the Yellow MAX line, Overlook Park has a similar view to what you’d get at Skidmore Bluffs (see below). With views of the city, this ten-acre park is the perfect spot for an urban picnic or a spectacular nap.
Palms Motel Neon Sign
3801 N Interstate Avenue, (503) 287-5788,
“There is much to do in The Palms Motel,” according to the North Interstate Avenue motel’s website. Palms Motel is a true roadside attraction and worth a peek if you’re already headed north on Interstate Avenue, especially at night when the massive two-story, Technicolor sign competes with the nearby Alibi Lounge (p. 187) signage. It’s everything you’d expect from a hotel built in 1980.
2206 N Skidmore Terrace
In the summer months, this stretch of land in North Portland that runs along the Willamette River near the University of Portland is mobbed with young twenty- and thirty-somethings who make this park area their hangout. Armed with lounge chairs or picnic blankets, people swarm this area to catch expansive views of the city, slow moving barges on the river, and some of the best sunsets in all of Portland. Come here to watch people watch other people, sip box wine, and chat about how sweet life is.