North Mississippi Avenue is a bustling commercial district compressed into a seven-block promenade. Once the heart of a redline district, 20 years of gentrification transformed this strip into a Portlandia playground, much to the chagrin of some longtime residents. Today, Mississippi hosts food-cart pods, music venues, breweries, coffee shops, brunch and local art. Spend the day hopping from local, eco-friendly boutiques and snacking on globally inspired, locally sourced cuisine. Just don't put a bird on it. Sami Gaston
Radar, 3951 N Mississippi Ave.
Interurban, 4057 N Mississippi Ave.
Black Book, 3624 N Mississippi Ave.
Mississippi Studios & Bar Bar, 3939 N Mississippi Ave.
The ReBuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave., 503-331-9291, rebuildingcenter.org.
The historic Mississippi District has endured rounds of renovations, construction, deconstruction and displacement. And all the evidence of that history sits at the ReBuilding Center: a warehouse-sized nonprofit dedicated to providing low-cost, eco-friendly, reused and salvaged building materials to the community. Stocked like a Tim Burton Home Depot, this DIY mecca is where the doorknobs, latches, sinks and claw-foot tubs of the past go to await resurrection.
3957 N Mississippi Ave., 503-287-8800, eatatgravy.com. Breakfast and lunch daily.
We're pretty sure the only person who has ever finished one of Gravy's plate-spanning omelets—served with about a pound of home fries—in one sitting is a Labrador retriever. $.
Lovely's Fifty Fifty
4039 N Mississippi Ave., 503-281-4060, lovelysfiftyfifty.com. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
For pizza purists like us, toppings are inconsequential so long as the crust and sauce are perfect. This pizzeria and ice-cream shop makes the opposite argument, and rather convincingly. $-$$.
4233 N Mississippi Ave., 503-358-7873, missmarketplace.com. Hours vary.
Home to 10 food carts, ample seating and a sophisticated website that lets you order ahead, Mississippi Marketplace is the spot for everything from vegan barbecue to burgers to espresso. Order your Albina bowl or Seoul sliders and pair them with a Weihenstephaner Pilsner from nearby Prost. $-$$.
Olympia Oyster Bar
4214 N Mississippi Ave., 503-841-6316, olympiaoysterbar.com. Dinner Tuesday Thursday, lunch and dinner Friday-Saturday, brunch Sunday.
An oyster bar whose menu is inspired by the Pacific, Olympia serves its oysters on the half shell baja style, with pickled serranos, lime and tapatio. The daily selection of bivalves rotates, but expect to find regional favorites such as Chelsea Gems, Hama Hamas and Sea Cows. $$-$$$.
3951 N Mississippi Ave., 503-841-6948, radarpdx.com. Dinner nightly, brunch Saturday-Sunday.
Don't let the unassuming exterior mislead you. Radar—by husband-and-wife duo Jonathan Berube and Lily Tollefsen—is an intimate oasis. The joint has a shotgun layout and open kitchen and offers small plates (escargot), snacks (cauliflower fritters), entrees (daily fish) and playfully sophisticated cocktails. It's the best spot in the neighborhood for date night. $$-$$$.
5202 N Albina Ave., 503-946-8087, sweedeedee.com. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Saturday-Sunday.
The early-aughts Instagram portrait of Portland may have been paved over by condos in inner Southeast, but it's still alive and well at North Portland's Sweedeedee, served alongside the requisite breakfast burrito and a side of (rightly) much-hyped salted honey pie. $.
Wolf & Bear's
3925 N Mississippi Ave., 503-453-5044; eatwolfandbears.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Wolf and Bear's unbridled masterpiece, the olea, pairs a pungent kalamata tapenade with caramelized walnuts and Gorgonzola for a can't-miss condiment atop eggplant and red pepper. It is hellishly good even before you throw a couple of those consistently perfect falafel balls into the fluffy pita. Then it is heavenly. $.
4057 N Mississippi Ave., 503-284-6669, interurbanpdx.com.
A great bartender is more than an automated alcohol measurement system attached to a stirbot. No, a great bartender does all that perfectly while greeting you with a brief commentary on the sports team represented by your attire, while helpfully settling debates between you and your buddy.
4237 N Mississippi Ave., 503-954-2674, prostportland.com.
It's a little bro-y, sure. It's also the closest thing the area has to a German biergarten, because all the bier comes from the old country and because the malt-fueled vibe is happy and loud.
4835 N Albina Ave., victoriapdx.com.
North Portland's new 5,000-square-foot Victoria Bar has successfully merged the aesthetic of its owners' freeway-off-ramp nightclubs (Jackknife, Dig a Pony) and vegan whiskey patio bars (Bye and Bye, Sweet Hereafter) into a plausible template for citywide, upper-middlebrow dominion.
Animal Traffic & the Annex
4018 N Mississippi Ave., 503-493-7363, theannexpdx.com.
Red Wings, White's and Intentionally Blank, oh my! Animal Traffic and its adjacent shoe boutique the Annex are one of Portland's leaders in the space where outdoor wear and streetwear meet, a top spot for fashion-forward leather footwear, vintage Pendleton and Levi's, and other nice things that look and smell great.
3624 N Mississippi Ave., 503-236-2274, blackbookguitars.com. Open Thursday-Saturday.
While this gem of a guitar shop specializing in vintage instruments is only open three days a week, it's a must-visit for any musician on the hunt for a unique and timeless piece. Black Book focuses on rare birds—the kind of Telecaster the Boss would proudly pound away on, or a no-name '60s guitar kooky enough for the late David Bowie.
3742 N Mississippi Ave., 503-265-8494, controlvoltage.net.
Control Voltage is a one-stop shop for electronic music. Just footsteps off Mississippi in Tupelo Alley, this shop boasts an amplifying selection of new, used and vintage synthesizers, controllers, sequencers and drum machines. Nerd out and sample the models on the showroom floor—headphones provided.
3920 N Mississippi Ave., 503-281-0815, halfpintpdx.com.
While the name of this shop and its unassuming street presence suggest something diminutive, it's bigger on the inside. Half Pint's huge selection of used and vintage leather goods could outfit a John Ford movie. Score fabulously faded Frye boots, tooled Western belts or vintage leather totes from abroad.
3713 N Mississippi Ave., 503-719-4508, paxtongatepdx.com.
One of Portland's weirdest shops, Paxton Gate has a macabre dedication to turning the mortal remains of animals into works of art. It's as if a 29-year-old Dr. Frankenstein had decided to follow his dreams of opening a 19th-century museum gift shop, bringing snake vertebrae and ibex skulls to the masses.
3806 N Mississippi Ave., 503-546-0910, pedxshoes.com.
Stroll in and saunter out with a stylish pair of Campers, Clarks, Bed Stus or Swedish Hasbeens. This local accessory boutique with two locations in town is a must-stop for the love of oxfords, wedges, booties, clogs, mules, slip-ons, lace-ups and peep-toes.
3811 N Mississippi Ave., 503-288-4889, pistilsnursery.com.
An urban nursery named after the female organ of a flower, Pistils is a flourishing resource to help you outfit your garden with picture-perfect peonies or assist you in the construction of your own terrarium to bring the outside in.
4007 N Mississippi Ave., 503-208-6156, worn-path.com. Closed Wednesdays.
Part lost boy, part Wes Anderson, this Portland camp store will sell you books, incense, skate decks, lanterns, backpacks and knives. Take your recent purchase into nature and mark your trail #goodvibes.
3925 N Mississippi Ave., 503-451-0689, landpdx.com.
Retail on the first floor and a gallery on the second floor, this two-part indie emporium sells and displays work from emerging local artists alongside pieces from vested independent artists. Pick up an art print by Jenny Tiffany or an enamel emoji pin from Popglory.
Mississippi Studios & Bar Bar
3939 N Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895, mississippistudios.com.
This 13-year-old music venue is owned and operated by musicians and is the cultural anchor to the district. While the roots of this lively venue are local, the headliners are anything but. The attached restaurant, Bar Bar, serves burgers and cocktails, with a large covered patio for those long summer nights.
Renzo Gracie Academy Portland
833 N Shaver St., 503-890-9395, renzogracieportland.com. Classes daily.
Ever look at Guy Ritchie or Ashton Kutcher and wonder how they keep their girlish figures? Their secret: Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Train under Aaron Milam at, arguably, the top Brazilian jiu-jitsu facility in Portland.
Spin Laundry Lounge
750 N Fremont St., 503-477-5382, spinlaundrylounge.com.
Tumble dry your underthings, separate your delicates, sheets and sweaters, eat a panini and surf the internet all under one roof. And if multitasking isn't your jam, take advantage of the wash-and-fold service and pick up your cleaned duds the same day.
In multiple locations:
Nectar, 4125 N Mississippi Ave.
¿Por Qué No?, 3524 N Mississippi Ave.
Ruby Jewel, 3713 N Mississippi Ave.
She Bop, 909 N Beech St.
Townshend's Teahouse, 3917 N Mississippi Ave.
Verde Cocina, 3746 N Mississippi Ave.