Just five minutes southwest of downtown, you can discover a neighborhood with a mix of galleries, eateries, and specialty shops.
From being a stop on Portland's electric railway line in the early 1900s, Multnomah Village has grown to a lively mix of galleries, eateries, and specialty shops selling everything from windup frogs to Belgian beers. Centered on three blocks of SW Capitol Highway, the enclave is just five minutes southwest of downtown but remains a largely undiscovered treasure. Here are some highlights. Area code is 503.
Multnomah Days, an annual neighborhood street fair, takes place this year on August 19. In the morning, an endearingly corny procession features marching bands, classic cars, clowns, and the hugely popular Tail's End Pooch Parade, a pack of pet dogs dressed as cowboys, ballerinas, firefighters, and what have you. 869-1632.
The pooches are plush, stuffed, and ready for snuggling at Thinker Toys, home also to remote–control helicopters, build–a–skeleton kits, 200–plus games, and other high–quality toys that are both educational and fun. 7784 SW Capitol Hwy., 245-3936, www.thinkertoysoregon.com.
John's Marketplace stocks hard-to-find Oregon vintages (such as Boedecker Cellars pinot noirs) and the West Coast's largest selection of Belgian beers—more than 100. If you're getting together with a few friends, a six–liter bottle of smooth Val–Dieu Belgian Abbey Ale should fit the bill. 3535 SW Multnomah Blvd., 244-2617.
Looking for aromatic olive oil soaps from Lebanon, France, or Greece? Pillows embroidered in traditional Palestinian motifs? Vibrantly colored bed linens from Syria? You'll find them all at Indigo Traders, a serene bazaar full of handmade gifts and home decor from the Mediterranean and Middle East. 7881 SW Capitol Hwy., 780-2422, www.indigotraders.com.
Step through the door at Le Meitour Gallery and you'll swear you've entered the grand, chandelier–lit hall of a French château, complete with exquisite paintings, carpets, and furniture that can be had for prices from $500 up to seven figures. 7814 SW Capitol Hwy., 246-3631.
From hazelnut crème brûlée to breakfast–all–day specialties such as roast beef hash with eggs, the sophisticated, delicious dishes at Marco's Café are made from scratch with local ingredients. 7910 SW 35th Ave., 245-0199, www.marcoscafe.com.
Photography by Indigo Traders
This article was first published in July 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.