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Streets Dept Travel Guide: 8 Places to Instagram from in Portland, Oregon!

November 30, 2015


Introducing the FIRST in what I hope is a never-ending series of Streets Dept Travel Guides, all of which will focus on the exploration of public spaces and all the beauty and awe (and art!) that they offer… First up: Portland, Oregon!

As you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram, I recently spent (about) a week in Portland. Visiting the city for the very first time, in fact! And as I often do when I travel, I’ve pulled together some of my favorite photos from my trip to share with y’all.

This time, however, I wanted to include some more information about my FAVORITE places to shoot. All of which were in the public space and completely free! So, I’ve included exact addresses to all the spots I highlight, and I’ve pulled together a little list of the 8 must-see (aka must-Instagram) places in PDX, in addition to 5 bonus locations with my favorite murals/public art.

I hope you find this helpful, if you’re ever traveling to Portland. And please feel free to add your favorite places to visit in the ‘Rose City’ in the comments below!



8) Mount Tabor Reservoirs
Address: SE Reservoir Loop Dr, Portland, OR 97215

This may be one of my favorite views of the city, as the view from this particular road between the two reservoirs frames the city with all the lush greenery and trees I’ve always imaged when thinking of Portland.


7) Alberta Street
Address: Alberta, Portland, OR 97211 (NE Alberta St, from about NE 7th Ave to NE 15th Ave)

A street full of coffee shops, restaurants, food trucks, art galleries – and murals on nearly every available wall – I spent a few good hours walking up and down this stretch, rightfully called the Alberta Arts District. Side Note: While Portland, in general, doesn’t have nearly as much non-commissioned (aka illegal) street art/graffiti as many East Coast cities, including Philadelphia, this area is where I found the most stickers, wheatpastes, etc., most of which on one of the few remaining abandoned structures.


6) Pittock Mansion
Address: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210

And by Pittock Mansion, I mean the backyard of Pittock Mansion which offers sweeping views of Portland. On a good day, I’d say this spot would offer a photographer with a decent zoom lens HOURS of fun.


5) SE Water Ave
Address: 123 SE Yamhill St Portland, OR 97214

You know, this is one of those super unassuming spots that I really debated even including on this list, but I really enjoyed myself here and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so here it is. A mere few blocks jammed between an active railroad and a highway, this little area of SE Water Ave has a coffee shop, a bar, a few lofts, and at least one restaurant that I could see. But it was behind all of this, walking up and down the railroad, that I got a few really interesting shots. Might be worth a walk with a coffee for you too, if you have the time!


4) White Stag sign, from the Burnside Bridge
Address: E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209

I suppose this goes without explanation. A bright, fun sign with a pretty interesting history that engenders city pride. It’s a no-brainer!


3) Tilikum Crossing
Address: Tilikum Crossing, Portland, OR

This is one of those bridges that a city like Philadelphia (and all US cities, really) should pay attention to. It’s a car-less bridge. A bridge solely for pedestrians, bikes, and mass-transit streetcars. And, it’s beautiful and thoughtfully designed on top of that! As our cities grow, we need to grow smart. And that means building more infrastructure that encourages faster – and greener – transportation around the city. (And to the car people reading this: I love cars too, I just think that after a near half-century of car-focused city designing, we need a little more room at the table for commuters who walk, bike, and take mass transit.)

2) Mocks Crest (aka Skidmore Bluffs)
Address: Mocks Crest Property, Portland, OR 97217

A tiny little park atop a hill overlooking Portland’s gigantic train yard and Willamette River. I’m pretty sure that this is where I’d spend a sunny afternoon with some friends if I lived in Portland. Which is kinda what I did (with my boyfriend), which is why I didn’t even take my camera and I only have this iPhone shot!


1) St. Johns Bridge, and under it too!
Address: St. Johns Bridge, 8600 NW Bridge Ave, Portland, OR 97203

Whenever I travel, I’m always looking for that Ahhhhh Moment (not to be confused with Oprah’s Ah-Ha Moment). A feeling I get when I know I’m about to take a photo I will treasure for years to come. And, without a doubt, walking over the St. Johns Bridge – and under it too – was my biggest Ahhhhh Moment in Portland. So, damn, beautiful!


As I mentioned above, Portland’s must less of an illegal/non-commissioned “street art” town, than it is a commissioned/curated mural town. (Whereas Philly has a strong mix of both.) Nevertheless, the murals and commissioned work in Portland are, in my opinion, attracting a lot of good work from some very inspired artists! Most of that is due to the Forest For The Trees mural project established in 2013, which describes itself as “a non-profit project dedicated to the creation of contemporary public art in Portland.” And here are a few of my favorites…


5) Josh Keyes
Address: 1326 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214


4) Michael Reeder (Top); Troy Lovegates and Paige Wright (Bottom)
Address: 303 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

3) Faith47
Address: 1114 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 5.07.58 PM

2) Pete Beeman (The only one of these 5 not created with the help of Forest For The Trees, created in 2002, it’s also interactive!)
Address: 1-299 SW 10th Ave Portland, OR 97205


1) Olivia Knapp
Address: SE Stark St & SE 78th Ave, Portland, OR 97215

In the mood to see more from PDX? Fear not! Check out more photos from around ‘Portlandia’ below…



Catch that NoseGo piece?

Be sure to check out photo essays from some of my previous trips…
California (2012)
Chicago (2013)
And, Detroit (2015)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2015 11:00 pm

    Hooray for Mt. Tabor! It’s virtually my back yard and I run there several times a week, thankful to have such easy access to such a beautiful place (and with stunning views). You were right to include Water Street. And St. John’s Bridge can’t be beat – I think it’s the most beautiful of the (many) PDX bridges!


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