Pearl District
Image by Ian Poellet under Creative Commons License.

Oregon, Portland Guide (A): Pearl District

Formerly an industrial area, the Pearl District is an urban renewal neighborhood project that began in the late 1990’s. Today, the district is the toast of the town, and home to an array of upscale restaurants, shops and galleries. The Pearl District has become one of the most desirable places to live in the city, with a number of high-end condos built on an ongoing basis.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Pearl District
Guide Location: USA » Portland
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 4.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Pearl Bakery   Yoga Pearl   Gerding Theater   In Good Taste   Ecotrust Building   Saint Cupcake   Mission Theater & Pub  
Author: Jim Reynoldson
Author Bio: Jim Reynoldson is an avid traveler and writer who grew up on Oregon. He enjoys hiking, camping and sightseeing throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
1
Pearl Bakery

1) Pearl Bakery

Founded in 1997, Pearl Bakery has grown very popular for its baked goods. The bakery’s bread is served at a number of the best restaurants in the city, and Pearl has received accolades in publications such as Gourmet, Martha Stewart Living, and Bon Appetit magazines. A commitment to sustainability, Pearl Bakery is powered by Pacific Power’s Blue Sky wind power program, uses organic and local food, and uses biodegradable and recyclable products. Open for lunch, Pearl Bakery serves a variety of fresh sandwiches, loaves of traditional breads from France, Germany, and Italy, and an astonishing assortment of cookies, cakes, tarts, and other pastries.
2
Yoga Pearl

2) Yoga Pearl

Yoga Pearl offers a wide array of classes running from early morning to late evening for either drop-in or memberships. Drop-in rates are very reasonable, starting at just $8 for a one hour class. In addition to yoga classes at the facility, a number of remote retreats are offered – many of which are hosted at Breitenbush Hot Springs near Mt. Hood. Workshops are conducted for kids and adults, guest teachers, and teacher training for those wishing to run their own classes. Other services offered include acupuncture therapy, naturopathy, and a holistic mind-body medicine called Ayurveda. An onsite café called Prasad offers healthy, organic food and drinks.
3
Gerding Theater

3) Gerding Theater

The Gerding Theater at the Armory hosts the Portland Center Stage theater company. The armory building dates back to 1891, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The 55,000 square foot building was renovated, with work completed in 2006, and achieved a platinum-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Portland Center Stage theater company took up residence shortly thereafter. Itself founded in 1994, the PCS attracts about 120,000 theater-goers per year. With a renovation cost of about $33 million, the main Gerding Theater holds about 600 people, as well as a 200-person capacity in a smaller black-box theater.
Image by Portland Center Stage under Creative Commons License.
4
In Good Taste

4) In Good Taste

In Good Taste is a unique hybrid – a kitchen store, cooking school and wine shop all in one. Bringing to mind any number of television cooking shows, a kitchen set is surrounded by place settings for an up-close view of the culinary arts. Some of the themes threaded throughout the lessons are sustainability and Pacific Northwest Indian tradition, and a range of classes from beginner to advanced are available. With locations both in Portland’s Pearl District and in Lake Oswego, In Good Taste sells a wide assortment of wines and kitchen products for taking the lessons learned to practice at home, as well.
5
Ecotrust Building

5) Ecotrust Building

While the building itself dates back to 1895, it was renovated by the non-profit Ecotrust conservation group with a strong focus on green design and opened to the public in its current form in 2001. The $12.4 million project was the first of its kind in the U.S. to achieve gold-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council – which recognizes high-level sustainability practices in demolition, building and energy consumption. The 70,000 square foot building houses a number of tenants who are committed to sustainable business practices – including Patagonia Sportswear and the delicious Hot Lips Pizza. Located in the upscale Pearl District, this structure embodies the region’s passion for environmental stewardship.
Image by Sam Beebe under Creative Commons License.
6
Saint Cupcake

6) Saint Cupcake

Opened in 2005, this charming and friendly cupcake bakery is owned and operated by Jami and Matthew Curl. Based on recipes from Jami’s Grandma Dot, the cupcakes come in small “Dot” sized and full sized both. A wide assortment of cupcake varieties are baked and appear in a schedule – with different kinds available on different days of the week. Five varieties of vegan cupcakes are also available. All-natural ingredients are used, and Saint Cupcake offers an array of packages for birthday parties, showers, and other cupcake-appropriate events. This small, independent business does things right and is beloved among locals. On top of that, the cupcakes are fantastic – with a not-too-sweet frosting that is undeniably stellar.
Image by star athena under Creative Commons License.
7
Mission Theater & Pub

7) Mission Theater & Pub

The Mission Theater was dedicated in 1912 as the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church of Portland, before the congregation left for a new location in 1954. After that, the building served as home to a local longshoreman meeting hall, and then home to the Hart Theater Company. In 1987, the building was opened as McMenamins Mission Theater and Pub – keeping the historic feel of the space alive. Primarily a pub showing second-run movies (as well as Monday Night Football on the theater screen – which is fantastic!), the Mission also hosts a number of concert and literary events – as well as once again housing Sunday religious services by a local church. To end this tour, walk two blocks south to Everett Street, then two blocks east to catch the Tri-Met #17 bus into downtown.
Image by Another Believer under Creative Commons License.