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Schoolhouse Wanders: Portland City Guide

Schoolhouse Wanders: Portland City Guide

The best experiences often come from seeing the world as more than an itinerary. To that end, we're starting a new series to connect with communities old and new. Each month, we'll ask various creatives near and far to give us the local scoop on the best places to eat, adventure, and imbibe in their city. 

Last month we ventured to the sunny Central Coast of California and this month we're bringing it back to our home city of Portland, Oregon. Below, we asked the Schoolhouse Team to share their favorite spots to eat, shop, and adventure around town. 

 

The Schoolhouse showroom in Portland, Oregon.

Shop

From small shops to larger retail experiences, the sheer volume of inspiring businesses in Portland is staggering. Whether you're a long-time resident or just passing through, we hope you'll discover new favorites to wander. 

 

Furniture on display shelves in the Schoolhouse showroom.

 

The Schoolhouse Showroom + Factory

Hands-down my favorite retail experience in all of Portland, and I like to think that working three floors above it has no influence on that. Electrica, our in-house cafe, blends Japanese and Mexican influences in their drinks and pastries. Potted in Portland, our in-house plant shop, carries a great selection of plant + pottery options. The Schoolhouse store itself is stunningly beautiful and very well-designed. 

 

"Whether you're a homeowner, interior designer, or looking for a plug-in lamp for your apartment—there's something for everyone and it all adds up to be a dreamy experience."

 

The lighting design lab in Schoolhouse's showroom.

Nationale

Owned by May Barruel and located in northeast Portland, this gallery is both sweet and sweeping in its offerings. Showcasing world class art, community events, and performances, along with thought provoking books. There is always something fresh to check out so go give it a look! 

 

"Keep an eye out for any upcoming events. May, the owner often hosts intimate and compelling workshops and exhibitions."

 Nationale Portland gallery and book shop.

Books on a shelf at Nationale gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Merci Milo

Just the cutest little one-stop shop for all things kids. Caroline, the owner, has such a keen eye for well-designed and one-of-a-kind toys. It's impossible to leave empty handed. It’s one of my favorite shops to visit when I need a mood-boost—gifts, inspiration, nostalgic treasures (you'll find it all here). 

 

"Some of my absolute favorite toys have been from Merci Milo. I stop by for these hand-carved wooden animals every year as a cake topper for my son. My hope is that he'll appreciate them when he's older and it will be a cherished heirloom." 

 The Merci Milo shop in Portland, Oregon.

The Luna Pendants in the Merci Milo Portland shop.

Eat + Drink 

It's hard to pick favorites in a city well-known for its many dining options. Below, we listed some of our go-to places that marry delicious dishes and an airy interior atmosphere. 

 

Negociant wine bar in Portland, Oregon.  

Négociant  

Lunch hour? Happy hour? First date? Fancy grocery trip? Take your pick because Négociant can satisfy each of these needs. Their wine selection alone is enough to bring you in just to peruse the gorgeous labels and perfect curation of every kind of wine you could want. Their bistro seating and small plates menu lends a charm that almost has you believing you're in Europe.

 

"Négociant is a brick and mortar version of a perfect picnic that you'll want to visit over and over again. Peruse their wine selection or stop by for a quick lunch bite."

 

The Shelby Mod Pendant in Negociant.

Good Coffee

Good Coffee in Slabtown is a modern gem and a must-visit if you find yourself in NW Portland. Its open-air windows and immense seating options make it a great place to take meetings, read a book, or stop by with your furry friend. Not to mention the coffee is better than good.

 

"Nothing beats a slow morning sitting in the sunshine, eating a fresh pastry with a cup of coffee in hand."

 Good Coffee baristas pouring lattes.

Good Coffee drinks and pastries.

Tanaka

Tanaka not only serves up some of the tastiest katsu sandwiches on the fluffiest milk bread you can find, but has such a lovely bright and airy environment that you'll find yourself coming back again and again. From their beautifully presented yuzu house salad, to their light and crispy fries paired with curry aioli (seriously, don't skip the curry aioli), Tanaka is the perfect spot for a quick lunch bite, or a Saturday morning brunch date.

 

"Don't skip their crispy fries with curry aioli. They also serve delicious coffee and freshly baked treats."

 The Penn Chandelier in Tanaka Portland.

Tanaka in Portland, Oregon.

Rest 

Whether you're looking for a luxurious city stay or a charming forest getaway, these are our top picks for a restful yet adventure-filled weekend. 

 

Luna pendants in the Hotel Grand Stark.  

Hotel Grand Stark

Hotel Grand Stark is a beautiful retreat located in the Central Eastside of Portland, close to downtown and within walking distance of the Willamette River and tons of restaurants and bars (their website offers an extensive neighborhood guide!). All the rooms are bright, pet-friendly, and feature my very favorite Schoolhouse coverlet. A must-stay if you're in Portland!

 

"The lobby feels like a carefully curated art gallery—a perfect spot to sit down with a book and a coffee/cocktail."

 

The Hotel Grand Stark in Portland, Oregon.

The rooms in the Hotel Grand Stark.

Suttle Lodge

If you’re looking for a mini adventure, Suttle Lodge is your spot. Nestled in the trees and close enough to Sisters, Oregon—the area offers forest-filled views and lots of opportunities to wander. The main lounge looks out at the lake, which makes for a very dreamy setting—listen to the crackle of the fire while drinking craft cocktails and dining on some delicious seasonal fare. 

 

"One of my favorite places to stay when I'm looking to wander and relax. Visit in the summer for a swim in the lake or plan a wintry escape and hit the slopes at Hoodoo."

 A lake near Suttle Lodge.

Suttle Lodge boathouse with a pendant over a dining table.

The Suttle Lodge King room.

Adventure 

When wandering, I often abide by the John Muir quote "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." 

 

Sugarpine Drive-In in Portland, Oregon.  

Sugarpine Drive-In

Soft-serve and snacks? What more could you ask for? Located right off of the historic Columbia River Highway, it's the perfect place to stop for lunch or a snack on your way to a hike in the Columbia River Gorge. They also have a wide range of vegan ice-cream options! 

 

"One of our favorite weekend activities for when we're feeling wanderlust, but not wanting to drive too far is to go on a mid-morning hike in the Columbia Gorge and stop for lunch at Sugarpine on the way back home." 

 A wide array of seasonal dishes on a bench at Sugarpine Drive-In.

Burgers at Sugarpine Drive-In.

Sauvie Island 

A true Portland treasure. No matter the season, the island offers plenty of things to do from U-Pick Farms (berries, peaches, flowers, pumpkin patches, Christmas trees) to a quiet afternoon picnic or swim along the Willamette River. 

 

"Head over in the morning for some berry-picking or farm animal fun and stop by Sauvie Island's many beaches for a low-key, sandy adventure." 

 Sauvie island in bloom.

Peach picking on Sauvie Island in Portland, Oregon.

Sauvie Island beach with a cooler at the top of the entrance steps.  

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