Northwest Portland, especially the neighborhoods radiating from NW 23rd Avenue—aka Nob Hill—may not appear very fabulous at first glance. There are no major LGBT-specific destinations, but there is so much to do and love. Shopping, dining, nature and more awaits the LGBTer over in NW Portland.

NW 23rd Avenue is definitely the center of gravity in NW Portland. With its boutique destinations and fine dining, people flock to the street from all of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, it is also a great spot for celebrity sightings in Portland, amidst names from A (Woody Allen) to Z (Mark Zuckerberg) sighted on the street this past year. With restaurants like 23Hoyt and Papa Haydn and shops like Brooklyn Industries and Kiehl’s, you could kill a whole day (and a whole paycheck!) enjoying the street.

Just two blocks east is—surprise!—NW 21st Avenue, which also has a lot to offer. Great dining and shopping as well, but a little more under the radar. We especially love Cinema 21, an independent cinema that shows a lot of queer films. In fact, it is the home to the annual Portland Gay and Lesbian Film Festival each September. And, there is always plenty of cruising, err, grocery shopping, going on at the neighborhood Trader Joe’s!

One particularly wonderful LGBT landmark in the gayborhood is the Gay & Grey program at Friendly House, a social services community center. The Gay & Grey program holds an annual expo and many social events throughout the year to bring services and attention to the LGBT senior citizens in the PDX metro area.

When you are in NW Portland, you can escape pretty quickly if you are looking for something (or someone) new. Of course, you can easily head downtown. But, you can also head up the hill into Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States. It boasts miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, and is an inspiration to the city’s arts scene (check out Colin Meloy’s book Wildwood and the NBC series Grimm). From Forest Park, you have many choices. Go check out the Pittock Mansion, or maybe the Oregon Zoo, or maybe the romantic International Rose Test Garden, or maybe the World Forestry Center, or maybe the Hoyt Arboretuem, or maybe the Japanese Garden.

Or, maybe it is time to come back down to NW 23rd and grab a cocktail at Jo Bar!