Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or already working on a graduate degree at Portland State University (PSU), there is entertainment for all. Before you get too invested in all that studying, check out some of the great places downtown Portland has to offer that are in fairly close proximity to the PSU campus.
For new students, the most popular places to visit are:
- Portland Saturday Market: an eclectic mix of handmade goods such as tapestries, paintings, and knit apparel. Be sure to pick up some delicious elephant ears and strawberry lemonade from one of the many food carts stationed there!
- Tom McCall Waterfront Park: ride your bike along the esplanade to the Little River Café for some delicious ice cream, or pick a spot on the grass to enjoy a picnic and meet some cool peeps
- Powell’s Bookstore: this four-story wonderland of books is a hotspot on Saturday nights as Portland is home to some serious bookworms, and check out their events calendar for some sweet monthly author visits
- NW 21st shopping district and Pioneer Place Mall: you will no doubt need some new digs for the school year, so check out the boutiques on NW 21st where you can score a hot deal on unique vintage items. If you’re looking for more well-known brands, Pioneer Place boasts retailers like Juicy Couture, and Victoria’s Secret, and is complete with a movie theater.
- Portland Art Museum: walk to the museum from PSU via the park blocks! Right now they are featuring an excellent iconic bicycles exhibit, and with a student budget it helps to visit after 5 pm on the fourth Friday of the month when admission is FREE!
- Jeld-Wen Field: the home of Portland’s one and only Timbers soccer team, where the ferocious spirit of the Timbers army will show you what it means to bleed green
- The Escape: Portland’s only all age gay nightclub, do dress up!
For those over 21:
- The Burnside pub crawl: Matador, Bitter End, Marathon Taverna. Excellent for Timbers games pre-funk or after finals celebrations
- Huber’s Café: if you haven’t yet tried their Spanish coffees, you are doing yourself a disservice
- Crystal Ballroom: catch awesome shows or hit up an 80s themed dance party
- Jake’s Famous Grill: excellent happy hour!
- Nightlife: Berbati’s, XV, the Tube, Crown Room. It’s hard to say just who will show up on any given night, but you can bet it will be entertaining.
- Karaoke: Boiler Room, Voicebox has private rooms and excellent staff, and if you like a dive bar atmosphere with eccentric regulars, Suki’s is the place for you.
Special focus on coffee shops:
- Closest to campus: Chit chat café, Café Velo, Park Avenue Cafe
- How coffee should really taste: Barista, Coffeehouse Northwest, Stumptown Coffee Roasters
- Great for studying: Peet’s, Case Study Coffee, Behind the Museum Cafe
- Yummy pastries: Courier coffee, Cacao, Lauretta Jean’s
- Quirky: Anna Banana’s, Maglia Rosa, Voodoo Doughnut
Some of the best ways to get around downtown are by bike, public transportation (bus, MAX, streetcar), or simply walking! Don’t forget to mention you’re a student and score some student discounts at participating stores.