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Spend a Retro-Modern Weekend in Portland’s Slabtown District

Slabtown isn’t just Northwest Portland’s most up-and-coming neighborhood, it’s a full-on urban destination. Thanks to the perfectly located Inn at Northrup Station, it’s also right at your feet
| Updated: September 10, 2019
 
 
  • The Inn at Northrup Station in Slabtown, a neighborhood in northwest Portland

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Nestled between Portland’s two trendiest Northwest neighborhoods—the Pearl and Nob Hill—Slabtown is roughly 12 city blocks riddled with residential and industrial-chic buildings, local eateries, airy coffee shops, craft distilleries and breweries, indie boutiques, theaters, and galleries. Slabtown is not only the newest arrival to the Northwest Portland scene, but it’s also arguably the most intriguing and makes for an ideal weekend getaway.

Begin your Slabtown adventure at the homey Inn at Northrup Station. Located at the Portland Streetcar’s stop at the intersection of NW 21st Avenue and Northrup Street, the all-suite Inn offers free parking (a huge bonus in this dense neighborhood) and complimentary Streetcar passes so you can easily glide into the Pearl District and downtown, and to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Pioneer Place Mall, Portland Art Museum, and back again. (A simple MAX transfer will also whisk you to and from the Portland airport, if you’d like to make your getaway car-free.) Aside from its pedestrian-friendly perks, the Inn is tucked away on a pretty, tree-lined block in a residential area. The building was originally designed as a condominium, so many of the spacious, colorful suites include a private balcony and a fully equipped kitchen. With in-house activities such as local wine tastings and a “Hoppy Hour,” you may be enticed to stay put at the Inn—but don’t. The city is just outside your door.

Start by heading southeast toward Lovejoy Street. Grab a cup of joe and a house-made biscuit-and-egg sandwich at the locally owned Commissary Cafe, housed in a former film-storage building. The adorable Yo! Store next door offers luxe apothecary picks, and nearby Folly showcases local designers and creates many of its items in-shop. Pop into Athletic Community for a pair of PDX airport carpet-themed socks, and then sit down to Ike’s legendary Vietnamese chicken wings and a drinking-vinegar cocktail at Pok Pok NW (the lauded restaurant’s newest location). Or maybe relish some seasonal pub grub and an award-winning craft beer while basking on the rooftop patio of Breakside Brewery.

Next, wander west toward the armada of boutiques—and treats—that line Nob Hill’s storied 23rd Street. Blue Star Doughnuts, Salt & Straw, and Saint Cupcake represent the best of PDX’s sugary inventions and will give you an afternoon boost. Or try the local whiskey truffles at Moonstruck Chocolate Café before perusing Pacific Northwest art work at the Russo Lee Gallery and Steel Door Art Gallery. No matter where you venture, book a standout signature facial—or a couple’s massage—at KIVA Spa, where both Eastern and Western techniques are implemented to create a wholly serene experience.

For dinner, culinary choices in Slabtown and Nob Hill abound. The Oregon rockfish and clam stew at West is divine, as are the highballs; St. Jack is a modern French bistro serving impeccable plates such as bone-in pork chops with charred cabbage kimchi butter; and Grassa specializes in insanely fresh, handcrafted pasta and spins an impressive vinyl collection, to boot. For those cold Pacific Northwest nights, grab a table by the fire at either Matador, specializing in made-from-scratch Mexican, or Fireside, which serves organic, seasonal fare. Wind down after dinner with the stylish vibe at The Solo Club, or take a tasting flight—and tour—of one of the distilleries within strolling distance, such as Bull Run and Aria Portland Dry Gin. The caramel-tinged bourbon at the women-owned Freeland Spirits is also a must-savor.

After a full day of incredible food, art, and urban browsing, catch a locally produced play in the 99-seat CoHo Productions theater (the annual Summerfest is a can’t-miss), check BodyVox for a spectacular dance performance, or simply slide into a seat at the artsy Cinema 21 movie theater. Later, walk back to Inn at Northrup Station and reflect on your Northwest Portland adventures. After a good night’s sleep in your spacious suite on the Inn’s impossibly comfortable, Oregon-crafted mattress, walk a couple blocks to brunch at the iconic Besaws, and then put the Inn’s complimentary Streetcar passes to use and take the short rail ride into the Pearl or downtown. Once again—and thanks to Inn at Northrup Station—the best of the city is mere moments away.

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