While the LGBT community is spread throughout the greater PDX area, the historical hot spot was the Stark Street Triangle where Burnside meets Stark Street. While no longer the center of the PDX queer universe, the Downtown area, including the Pearl District and Old Town, are still thriving locations for Portland LGBT residents and visitors.
That Stark Street Triangle is still home to several popular nightspots, like Scandals, Red Cap Garage and Boxxes. Feeling a little worse for wear after a fun night out? Pick yourself up at Roxy, a 24-hour diner right around the corner that welcomes everyone but the closed-minded. And, some of you may remember Silverado for its go-go boys, but, don’t fret, they just moved down the street to SE Third.
Old Town, which sits just north of Burnside between Broadway and the riverfront, is now home to a thriving nightclub scene, anchored by Darcelle XV Showplace for the best drag shows in the Northwest and CC Slaughters for those hot, hot men. Feeling a bit more low-key? Drop into Fox and Hounds, a pub-like spot just around the corner. Hobo’s is a great queer restaurant in the neighborhood, and don’t forget Embers, one of the oldest queer bars in the west.
The Pearl District is known for its upscale shopping, sleek condos, and, of course, Powell’s City of Books. The Pearl has been a draw for the modern gay and lesbian seeking an upscale downtown lifestyle, with fine restaurants and culture all within walking distance.
Other popular spots in the Downtown region include the Farmer’s Market at Portland State University (also great for cruising for a date!), Jeld-Wen Park for Major League Soccer with the Portland Timbers, Voodoo Doughnut, and the riverfront, which is home to Saturday Market and festivals all summer long.
The great thing about being Downtown is how central it is. Want to get away to any of the other Fabulous ‘Hoods of Portland and beyond? Just hop on the Max, grab a ZipCar or even just start walking and you will be there in no time at all.
And, if you really went to delve into the areas queer history, check into the new McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel, which was once the Club Portland bathhouse. Oh, I can only imagine what the renovation crews found during their work!