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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Alternative in Portland

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3. What to Do


Tender Loving Empire stocks a variety of handmade goods (left); the Woods hosts concert and theme nights (right).  

Cycle the city’s extensive network of bike lanes to the best of Portland’s more than 30 coffee roasters on Pedal Bike Tours’ three-hour, early morning ride ($49). Stops include the crooked Victorian building that houses Oblique Coffee Roasters, where proprietor John Chandler mans a vintage cast-iron roaster, and Stumptown Annex, where you’ll evaluate the flavor tones of different brews during one of two daily cuppings (noon and 2 p.m.).

Head to the Pearl District’s iconic Powell’s City of Books to peruse first editions and tomes from past centuries in the Rare Book Room, and then learn how to publish your own work at nearby Reading Frenzy, an indie publishing house offering two-hour workshops ($5 to $45) on everything from e-books to zines. Around the corner is Tender Loving Empire, a retail consignment shop/record label/gallery that embodies DIY spirit with screen-printed T-shirts, handmade jewelry, and CDs from local acts like indie orchestra Typhoon.

Visit the most innovative of the city’s three dozen microbreweries to reach “Beervana,” as local brewhounds like to call Portland. The new Cascade Brewing Barrel House stands out for its sour beers; try the Kriek ($2), a red ale made with Oregon-grown Bing cherries. Or quaff ecofriendly beer at Hopworks Urban Brewery, a carbon-neutral brewpub pouring ten different beers made from organic malts and locally sourced hops. Order the sample tray ($8.50) to taste them all.

Pay your respects to alt-folk acts like Lancaster’s Denison Witmer (May 22; $10) at the Woods, a two-year-old music venue ensconced in a converted funeral parlor dating back to 1929. The candle-lit chapel serves as performance space, while several smaller rooms strewn with brocaded armchairs are made for lounging. Also check out their free Bingo and Bourbon party on Mondays, and monthly karaoke and soul nights.


Published on May 5, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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