Get to Know: Alberta
The Alberta Arts District is just one of Northeast Portland’s vibrant neighborhoods. The NE quadrant is home to a number of vastly different neighborhoods — every mile, the city dynamic changes. PDX locals head to Alberta for the legendary, unique shops and artwork, but they stay for the food! Check out our hand-picked list of Alberta’s best shops, restaurants, and events!
Alberta has a rich history of small, family-owned businesses. Most city-dwellers in the early 1900s lived in second-story apartments, above the family establishments. In the early 1950s, the Alberta neighborhood became home to a large percentage of Portland’s Black population and working-class families who were displaced by the Vanport flood and construction of the Memorial Coliseum and Emanuel Hospital.
Activist Roslyn Hill led a second boom of local businesses to the area, transforming a foreclosed business into Roslyn’s Garden Coffee House, adorned with a community garden in the back. Following her lead, locals began opening small shops and bringing people and profits back into the Alberta community. From here the Alberta Arts District was born, with the first Alberta Art Walk in May 1997!
Roslyn Hill, “Queen of Alberta”
Our Alberta Favorites
For unique date nights and treat-yourself lunch spots, Alberta is packed with activities and eateries. Check out a few of our favorites:
Snacks and Sips
The classic Alberta Street Pub is a beautifully designed spot for comfort food. It was renovated and redesigned in 2013, from a dark pub atmosphere, to a bright, open community space. There is live music most nights, making the pub a perfect stop on a night out. Check out the full event calendar here!
Gumba is home to Portland’s best fried chicken sandwich. While the food card serves Italian-inspired dishes Thursday-Monday, on Wednesdays they pause the pasta and serve only chicken. It’s such a treat, the food cart often has a line on Wednesdays, just for their famous sandwich! Because their ingredients are locally sourced, the menu changes day-to-day. Every trip to Gumba is unique!
Proud Mary is great for brunch and Australian style coffee. You can’t find a creamier nitro brew than Proud Mary’s “Snap Chill”. It’s delicious but be careful… a full glass and you’ll be bouncing off the walls!
Mama Dút is coming to Alberta! The Alberta location isn’t open yet, but we are anxiously waiting. Chef Thuy Pham is a bright new star in Portland’s culinary scene, known for her innovative vegan Vietnamese food. As a businesswoman and a member of the community, she is an active advocate for BIPOC/AAPI communities. We’re looking forward to supporting Chef Pham soon at the Alberta Mama Dút!
After you’ve eaten your fill, head to Bye and Bye for a handcrafted cocktail. Try the Lefty’s Prayer — a fresh take on a traditional margarita with beet-infused tequila, lime, rosemary syrup, and a salt rim.
Shops and Activities
The Alberta Arts District is best known for its ongoing art events. Every last Thursday of the month, 15 blocks of Alberta street close to host the Alberta Art Walk from 6:00-9:00 pm. The street is lined with performers, art booths, and live music.
When visiting Alberta, you’ll notice a lack of chain stores and restaurants. A beautiful aspect of the neighborhood is the abundance of small businesses! Check out a few of our top stops!
- The Community Cycling Center — A non-profit business aiming to keep Portland clean and healthy. Swing by, and you’ll find locals making quick repairs to their bikes and chatting with the friendly employees. Plus, the shop supports underserved communities with access to bikes and resources!
- Eco Vibe — This shop embodies the Alberta culture! It’s a locally-owned plant and decor shop, focused on environmental impact and giving back to the community through workshops and profit donations. Liven up your home with handmade planters, macramé, and wall art!
- Trade Up Music — Another amazing small business with loads to offer. They have great deals on used instruments, music gear, and instrument repairs. The staff is sweet and excited to help, the second you walk through the door.
- Sugar Mountain Vintage — This second-hand store has Portland written all over it. The owners scour the city for unique vintage clothing and accessories to stock the shop.
- Modern Domestic — Feel crafty? Modern Domestic offers sewing classes, virtually and in-person, for every skill level. Being cooped up at home has inspired us to take on new hobbies…now we can make Popo and Archer puppy sweaters!
- Electric Lettuce — A Black-owned cannabis shop working to make a more equitable industry in Oregon and repair harms caused by the war on drugs.
As you venture into the surrounding neighborhoods, you’ll find colorful craftsman and bungalow-style homes. The current average listing price sits around $595,000 — a dramatic 14% increase from last year. The area has good access to transit options, and one of Portland’s highest bike scores! Bus stops are accessible, but not as heavily concentrated as other neighborhoods.
Ditch your normal grocery chains… The Alberta Co-op Grocery has produce and meat delivered daily from local farmers! Shopping at the co-op is an amazing way to support Portland’s vitality and take home the freshest ingredients in town. Check out their buying guidelines — they ensure all products are organic, sustainable, locally sourced, affordable, and ethically produced.
Popo & Archer Take Alberta
Our dads treated us today! We visited Alberta Park where we got to play off-leash in our own, special area! After a long game of fetch and chasing a few squirrels, we took on the paved path around the park. There were so many plants and animals we normally don’t see at home… so many smells!
Afterwards, we drove a few minutes to Fernhill Park for another garden walk. Even though we get a little smelly when wet, our dads let us play in the splash pad — a big sprinkler system, with fall-protection pads and ADA accessibility!
Whether you’re interested in a fun day in the city or looking for a new place to call home, Alberta is waiting for you! Alberta’s diverse culture and hub of locally owned businesses makes for a welcoming neighborhood for all.
Check Out Other Northeast Neighborhoods!
Alameda — Beautiful, quiet, and well-established neighborhood with grand homes. Every pub and coffee shop hosts regular patrons, with a strong communal vibe.
Beaumont Wilshire — A perfect blend of residential and commercial. Residents of Beaumont Wilshire fall in love with the neighborhood for its small-town feel in the midst of the city.
Cully — Culturally diverse with a tight-knit community. Everything a Cully resident needs is accessible with little travel including restaurants, groceries, gyms, car and bike repair, and the famous Rigler community garden.
Sabin — Welcoming to all! Sabin is the smallest neighborhood in NE Portland and packed with communal pride.
Vernon — Neighbors to Alberta, with a similar “new wave” vibe. Vernon is bustling with unique local businesses and modern housing developments.
Woodland — One of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods — when the railroad was built in 1888, it became travelers’ first introduction to the city. Now, the neighborhood beautifully blends modern and historical elements of Portland.
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Food & Drinks:
Eager to continue exploring Portland? Thinking about moving to our beautiful city? Head over to our Youtube channel where we explore different Portland neighborhoods!