At first glance, the shops lining Portland's Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard conjure up many a Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sketch from 'Portlandia': Independent, eclectic, and proud of it. The reality, however, is less polarizing. While still emanating PDX's easily lampooned eclecticism, Hawthorne (as the greater neighborhood around the boulevard is called) is inviting and appropriately whimsical – not the elitist hipster breeding ground portrayed in the media. In spots, the neighborhood overflows with unique stores, mostly of the vintage variety. Scouring them all would take days, but these five – plus a historic theater and a can't-miss barbershop – embody the diversity and good taste at the heart of the neighborhood.
Bagdad Theater & Pub
Built in 1927 by Universal Pictures, the Bagdad is Hawthorne's geographic, aesthetic, and cultural centerpiece ('Good Will Hunting' director Gus Van Sant screened his latest film here). The expansive, Mediterranean design, relatively unchanged since its creation, feels surreal, like something from an Indiana Jones movie. The sights, combined with the accommodations – seats and couches with tables for food and drink – make for an unforgettable book reading or concert experience.
Credit: Leah Nash