Get to Know: Forest Grove
Posted by Thomas Shapiro on Monday, March 27, 2023 at 9:00 AM By Thomas Shapiro / March 27, 2023 Comment
Today we’re heading out of Portland proper with a short drive to the lovely community of Forest Grove. Forest Grove is brimming with peaceful landscapes, friendly people, and great dining options. The community of Forest Grove is known for its charming downtown area with antique shops, wine tasting and a farmers market. PLUS, arguably the best McMenamins location of all — the Grand Lodge!
A Little History…
Forest Grove’s first rail was established in 1869 which caused the area around the train stop to grow. A year after the rail was established, the population grew to 396 people and had a mixture of farmers, merchants, professionals, and craftsman working in the area.
An interesting fact is that electric power came to Forest Grove in 1892. A city ordinance required that all buildings in the downtown core be constructed of brick in order to reduce the risk of a massive fire. You can still see many of those buildings today!
Fast-forward to today, and Forest Grove has grown to a population of over 26,000 people. Food and beverage processing and manufacturing lead the local economy, but health care, education, and the high-tech industries also bring jobs to the area.
Join us on a tour of fantastic Forest Grove!
Our Forest Grove Favorites
As we tour the area in and around Forest Grove, you’ll notice plenty of local wineries – the area has some of the oldest wineries in Willamette Valley!
Snacks and Sips
For a cute, casual dinner out with friends, head over to Bites. This spot serves up Asian-inspired dishes with their own flare. Dishes like the Kalbi tacos, Kimchi burger, and Miso Scampi are sure to leave you full and happy.
Urban Decanter is the place to go if you’re looking for a date night spot with fantastic dishes and an atmosphere to match. What really sets this bistro apart is the wine club. Depending on the wine club option you choose, you can have access to local or international wines as well as complimentary wine tasting events. If you’re looking for a place with a pub vibe with exceptional dishes head over to Black Dog . Their food is locally sourced and delicious. They also have a catering and special event room for larger gatherings.
If you’re in the mood for some Thai food, check out Pac Thai. It’s a cozy Thai restaurant that changes its menu according to Oregon’s growing season. That means everything is ALWAYS fresh and delicious. For an epic Mexican food experience, head over to Taqueria Corona on Main St. It has a lively atmosphere and a great happy hour. $5 margaritas, anyone? We also love the street tacos!
If you’re from the area, you’ve probably driven through a Dutch Bros coffee. We are shouting out this location for its notably AMAZING staff. Cheeriest bunch you’ll ever meet and great coffee too!
Patrik’s Vegan Corner
Bamen Ramen — Forest Grove has a lot of restaurants with great vegan options, but we’re highlighting the vegan ramen at Bamen…it is fantastic! They strive to deliver authentic ramen and we say they do a great job. Plus, we love a food truck!
Pssst… Sorry patrik… I had to feature this pic of their classic ramen with the jammy eggs because I was DROOLING. Forgive me!
Forest Grove is known for their wineries and one of the best in the area is David Hill Winery. The beautiful scenery is enough to make this worth a stop, but if you like dessert wines, you will be in heaven. They have events throughout the year and winery tours by appointment.
We love a good Farmer's Market and Forest Grove’s does not disappoint. Held Wednesdays from May to October, 4-8 PM, this family-friendly market has something for everyone. Local florists, artisans, and live music make this a fun event – bonus points for the live musicians that make this mid-week event something to look forward to.
North of Forest Grove is Tree 2 Tree Adventure Park. This is a fun day trip where you can zip line through the forest or take on an obstacle course. The obstacle courses feature tight ropes, balance beams and ladders – it is not for the faint of heart! They also have team-building activities so it makes for a great spot to take the whole crew.
Forest Grove provides easy access to HWY 47 and 26 as well as Interstate 5. If you need to go into Portland, you can drive there in under 45 minutes. Wanting to get away to the Coast? It will only take you about an hour!
You’ll find that daily needs are easy to access. Grocery stores like Safeway and the Plaid Pantry are easily accessible and contain everything you need to stock up. Forest Grove has a walk score of 41, so you will probably want a vehicle to get around town, but it does have some solid public transportation and bike routes available as well.
Forest Grove has ten schools with “exceptional” ratings. Forest Grove High School is the only high school in the city and is known for a great academics and athletics (the women’s wrestling team took the state championship in 2022!) and is also home to Pacific University which has highly-regarded liberal arts and professional health programs.
Popo & Archer Take Forest Grove
There’s so much to do in Forest Grove! We spent the day at Fernhill Wetlands Park. It’s main purpose is to improve water quality by removing nutrients, cooling, and naturalizing water that then flows into the Tualatin River, but it doubles as a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. We likes smelling the wildflowers and trying to chase after the birds – this is one of the best birdwatching spots in all of Oregon!
Next we went to Hagg Lake which is really close to the downtown area. If you like boating or fishing you will love this spot; we just like splashing in the water – we aren’t very good at catching fish. We had to be careful because the lake has elk, deer, and coyotes and we didn’t want to get eaten up!
Forest Grove! The ideal place for those looking for the slower pace of a small town with the conveniences of a big city.
…Are you a wine enthusiast?
…The outdoorsy type?
…Looking for an affordable community to call home?
…All of the above?
Well, then we found your perfect Portland neighborhood!
Don’t hesitate to reach out – let’s get you settled into Forest Grove and off to find your next adventure!
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