If you look at a map of the neighborhood before exploring, you'll discover the reason for the Alphabet District moniker: the streets' names progress alphabetically as you walk north. You can walk from Burnside to Couch, Davis to Everett, until you reach Wilson—the end of the line.
You can easily explore the Alphabet District on a ""best of"" sightseeing tour, since most cover the Pearl District and downtown area, or visit independently and let your feet lead the way. It's easy to pair a visit with a jaunt through the Pearl District and stop at famed Portland establishments like Voodoo Donut and Powell's City of Books.
Things to know before you go
- Cinephiles can see a screening at Cinema 21, the oldest movie theater in Portland.
- This is a great jumping-off point for a hike in Forest Park, a wooded area stretching into the hills west of the Alphabet District.
- Fit in by embracing the local lingo: Couch Street is pronounced “cooch.”
How to get there
Despite the tempting offer of free street parking, it's best to take public transit, as parking spots are hard to come by. You can hop on the Portland Streetcar along Northrop and Lovejoy Streets and arrive directly from Downtown Portland. You can also take MAX Light Rail service, which stops nearby at SW 18th Street and Morrison.
When to get there
There's really no bad time to visit but you’ll get the best weather in June, July, and August—an ideal choice if you want to hike in Forest Park, visit the nearby International Rose Test Garden, or book a photo shoot. If you visit in September you can watch scores of birds descend on Chapman Elementary School, on 26th Avenue, when the Vaux’s swifts arrive from Canada.
Where to Sip the Best Beer in Portland
Ask around and you'll get wildly different answers about where to find the best beer in Portland. Fortunately, it's a worthwhile undertaking, and there are several standout breweries near the Alphabet District. Kells Brewery offers an Irish pub setting, Breakside is a good choice for industrial-chic, and Deschutes offers a more family-friendly vibe. When in doubt, book a brewery tour and have a local beer fanatic show you around.
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