You won’t need to dust off that old street map to verify you reached the heart of Hollywood– just look for the eye-catching Hollywood Theatre sign. I’m not talking about the glitz and glam of Los Angeles. This charming pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is found in Oregon’s largest city. Park and prepare yourself for day exploring Northeast Portland’s Hollywood District in search of art, antiques, great meals and independent cinema.
Start your day visiting the outside of the theatre which opened in the Roaring Twenties when the theatre featured both vaudeville and motion pictures. Several decades later, Cinerama appeared with a movie screen that seemed to wrap completely around the audience. Today, the theatre is home to world-wide independent films as well as other productions. And if you are wondering– the Hollywood District is named after the theatre, not the other way around.
Next, visit The Celtic Corner, located next to the theatre. You will think you are in Ireland as you make your way through this charming, yet tiny store. Jewelry, glassware, perfumes and candy can be found. Discover special gift ideas from Scotland and Wales as well.
Before resuming your shopping, take a short walk to the Hollywood Burger Bar. Join the lunch crowd– sit at the counter– and order an original burger. Other treats include the patty melt and the Hollywood ultimate double burger. Make sure to check out their extensive Betty Boop collection.
If you are in the market for a collectible visit Hollywood Antiques where lamps, furniture and memorabilia are all for sale. Notice the wide selection of 1950’s items such as the display case featuring vintage restored radios and try to remember what life was like before e-mail and the internet.
Don’t worry if you get stuck in a famous Portland rain shower. Simply make a run for the 42nd Street Station, an enjoyable two-level shopping experience. On the top floor, try a treat at Aunt Tillie’s Delicatessen or buy a present for yourself or a loved one at Himalayan Gifts and Candies. Antique Alley is downstairs, featuring kids toys, books and old pantry items.
Magazine collectors will find themselves in paradise at Hollywood Reruns, next to the 42nd Street Station. Downstairs is an unbelievable assortment of used magazines. If you grew up on Mad Magazine, plan on investing some time browsing back issues and reconnecting with your youth. Check out a huge assortment of National Geographic magazines, many from the 1920s. Hollywood Reruns also features vintage and retro furniture.
A beautiful collection of local art is on display at Quirks of Art, located in a quaint, purple-colored house on 40th Avenue. Metal sculpture, ceramic sculpture, mixed media, watercolor, oil on linen and oil on wood are among the creations by Portland-area artists.
For those of you with teenagers, a visit to the Old Library Studio on Hancock Street will open your eyes. Drop by and ask how teens can compose and record music in a professional studio, using digital equipment.
When you need a break, sip on a latte at the 42nd Street Coffee House. Order a grilled panini or ask for the soup of the day.
For the book lover, Second Glance Books features a healthy variety of hardcover and softcover selections. There are plenty of westerns and a superb Sci-Fi/Fantasy section. Contemporary romance, series romance and historical romance books are also available.
Next, tour the Hollywood Library on N.E. Tillamook Street. You’ll find a stone wall map of Beverly Cleary’s Neighborhood. The display honors the Oregon native who produced a series of children’s books with such memorable characters as Henry Huggins and Ribsy.
Railroad lovers will enjoy a visit to The Hobby Smith. This fun shop sells numerous Model Railroad accessories, such as a small town grain elevator and a water tower. You will also find railroad tee shirts, books, magazines and mugs.
If you are in the mood for a movie, wrap up your perfect day at your starting point, the Hollywood Theatre. Purchased in 1997 by Film Action Oregon, the one-time silent movie house helps support Oregon film makers.
What & Where
Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd; 503-493-1128)
The Celtic Corner (4142 NE Sandy Blvd; 503-287-3009)
Hollywood Burger Bar (4211 NE Sandy Blvd; 503-288-8965)
Hollywood Antiques (1969 NE 42nd Ave; 503-288-1051)
42nd Street Station (2000 NE 42nd Ave)
Hollywood Reruns (1928 NE 42nd Ave; 503-234-6003)
Quirks Of Art (1602 NE 40th Ave; 503-282-4429)
Old Library Studio (3924 NE Hancock St; 503-528-2828)
42nd Street Coffee House (1925 NE 42nd Ave; 503-249-0686)
Second Glance Books (4500 NE Sandy Blvd; 503-249-0344)
The Hobby Smith (1809 NE 39th Ave; 503-284-1912)
Hollywood Library (4040 NE Tillamook St; 503-988-5391)
Useful Information: Depending on the time of year, this sparkling neighborhood offers activities for young and old. Beginning in May and concluding in November, the Hollywood Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays. Over 50 vendors make it possible to enjoy colorful, crisp produce. The Hollywood District is home to the Junior Rose Parade, featuring bands, dance teams and flower-covered bicycles. The parade route stretches along Sandy Boulevard. A Veteran’s Day parade honors the men and women who have served our country.