Although the center of the PDX queer community used to be the Stark Street Triangle downtown, the heart of the community can now be found near where the Mississippi and Alberta districts meet: The Q Center.
The Q Center is Portland’s LGBQT Community Center, and it is a great starting point for any queer exploration of Portland. A thriving success, the Q Center has event space, meeting rooms, a library and much, much more. They have even just started a Saturday Farmer’s Market to serve the Mississippi District. No matter what you seek, a friendly face at the Q Center will help you find it.
The Q Center is also home to several LGBQT businesses, including PDXGYP, the Portland Gay and Lesbian Yellow Pages, and Insurance Masters Northwest. The Portland Area Business Association, which serves as a chamber of commerce for queer and queer-friendly business, can be found at the Q Center. PABA is a great place to find the business resources you need!
The Mississippi District is full of great food and shopping. The Rebuilding Center is an inspiring non-profit (with great architecture) to find recycled building materials and ideas for your next home project. Hear that music? It just might be coming from Mississippi Studios, where many of Portland’s great bands record and perform. Watch for the Mississippi’s regular queer music events! Lots of people come to Mississippi for the excellent food carts, like Lucy’s Original or The Big Egg, but don’t miss out on such popular neighborhood spots like Por Que No or the Mississippi Pizza Pub (and its rousing trivia nights).
Just to the east, you will find The Alberta Arts district along both Alberta Avenue and Killingsworth Avenue. The main queer hot spot in this area is the venerable In Other Words, a non-profit women’s bookstore and community center. Men will find wellness and social activities at Manifest, which also offers affordable housing (get on the waiting list!). And, the Common Ground Wellness Center is a relaxing LGBT-friendly bathhouse, with sessions for men-only, women-only and trans nights.
Housing in these two districts is full of vintage character, and many queer families have bought and rehabilitated homes, making them shine with a combination of history and modern conveniences. You will find adorable Victorians and Queen Annes among traditional bungalows. Want something a little less high-maintenance? Several innovative and green condo projects have sprouted up, providing a perfect blend of urban life and neighborhood intimacy.
Let’s not forget nightlife! Local Lounge is newest queer bar on the scene, with a wide variety of music and events (and some really terrific DJs). Looking for the manly men? Stop in at The Eagle, just north of the Mississippi/Alberta area on Lombard. The Eagle is home to Oregon Bears and Portland’s leather community, with regular events, fundraisers and beer busts. And naked billiards. Yes, naked billiards.