portland, oregon, alberta arts district, post-gayborhoods
portland, oregon, alberta arts district, post-gayborhoods

Post-Gayborhoods: Portland’s Alberta Arts District Is Sweet And Arty

post-gayborhoods, gayborhoods, travel, gay travelOver the past decade, the gayborhood has morphed into what’s often termed a “post-gay” neighborhood. At many LGBT-owned businesses, you’re apt to bump into plenty of straight folks as well — and vice versa. And it’s a good bet that the formerly explicitly gay neighborhoods will continue to become steadily more diverse — including the influx of the dreaded “hipster”. But if you can get beyond the sometimes precious conceits of these trendy urban districts, you’ll discover some of the best businesses and restaurants in the country.

Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a dozen of the most dynamic and interesting post-gay neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. These aren’t necessarily the biggest or the most popular — just a good sampling of especially notable ones. 

To see all the articles in this series, click here.

Alberta Arts District in Portland, Oregon

Alberta Arts District, Portland, Oregon, Post-Gayborhood
The Alberta Arts District (Photo: Andrew Collins)

The leafy, laid-back, and food-and-drink-obsessed city of Portland has one of the more integrated LGBTQ scenes in the country. Numerous neighborhoods around town have decidedly mixed scenes with significantly queer followings, including several across the Willamette River on the East Side.

Hawthorne, the Central Eastside Industrial District, Division Street, Burnside & 28th, and the Mississippi Arts District are all hotbeds of hipsterdom, but the once-forlorn and now very lively Alberta Arts District (which extends 25 short blocks from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to 33rd Avenue) particularly fun for strolling amid divey bars, hip vegetarian restaurants, and distinctive galleries and design shops.

Sweet-tooths shouldn’t miss the original location of nationally famous Salt & Straw ice cream shop, which is known for its wildly inventive flavors. Next door, Bollywood Theater is a delicious choice for Indian street food. There’s great meat-free noshing in Alberta at the casual Bye and Bye and the sophisticated yet unpretentious Natural Selection, which serves exquisite four-course vegetarian and vegan dinners — both places specialize in creative cocktails, too.

Caravan Tiny House Hotel, Alberta Arts District, Portland, Oregon, Post Gayborhood
The Caravan Tiny House Hotel (Photo: Andrew Collins)

The modern Case Study Coffee and old-school Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery are inviting places to mingle with locals or perhaps sit down for a date with that hottie you met on Hornet. Alberta has its own super-cool lodging option, too: Caravan – the Tiny House Hotel, consisting of several itty-bitty self-contained suites on wheels. The neighborhood’s monthly Last Thursday art walks are an especially enjoyable time to walk along this colorful street.

This article is one in a series about post-gayborhoods.

(Featured image via Glenn Scofield Williams/Flickr)