Although only a 20-ish minute drive from downtown Portland, the cities of eastern Multnomah County are often overlooked by “best of” lists. But look closer—there’s more here that you might imagine when driving through on your way to Mount Hood and points east.
Any day out in Gresham properly begins with a visit to the historic Old Town city center. Home to the Gresham Farmers Market from May to October, the market hosts local artisan and food vendors from around the area. Buy from the Native fish vendors selling fresh caught Columbia River salmon or pick up some hot pulled pork sandwiches from Chapman’s BBQ. The market also features local produce grown in nearby farming communities.
Stop in at a local favorite, art-filled Café Delirium, where locals swear by the vanilla caramel mocha, aka the Milky Way. Or swing by Jazzy Bagels, which makes its bagels fresh daily in-house, and boasts an in-house grand piano to boot. Finish up with a stop at ICandy, a modern take on the penny candy shoppe. Pro tip: Don’t sleep on their homemade caramel corn.
Treasure-hunters will like Foxtrot Vintage, an antique shop with curated finds from vintage clothes to classic Star Wars collectibles. If you happen to be more of the reading type, don’t miss Books Around the Corner, an independent book shop with both new and used books. The store is run by a one-time librarian, and during non-COVID times, boasts a jam-packed schedule with readings and author visits.
Only a few miles away, Troutdale is home to 101-acre Blue Lake Regional Park, where you can go fishing, play disc golf, shoot hoops, and on days reaching 70 degrees—muck about in a paddle boat. (Kids under the age of 5 aren’t allowed to swim in the lake, but will love the tricked-out splash pad.)
If you’re more of a hiker, head out to Oxbow Regional Park, a 1,000-acre space with hiking trails, campsites, and wildlife—split by the gorgeous Sandy River, which begs for an inner tube on a hot summer day.
After some time outdoors, consider heading to the sprawling McMenamin’s Edgefield and knocking back a few drinks at the Power Station Pub, an actual former source for power (and laundry!) for the now defunct Multnomah County Poor Farm, an early homeless shelter prototype.
Historic downtown Troutdale, which marks the start of the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway, is lined with old-timey western storefronts. There’s a concentration of art galleries and spaces, including Red Trillium Art Gallery, known for featuring work by locals, ALSO Arts, an art gallery which supports the creativity of folks with disabilities and hosts classes and exhibitions, and the Troutdale Art Center, a studio-focused center for artists.
If there’s any place better to eat in Troutdale, please let us know—but until then, we’ll be happily eating at the Sugarpine Drive-In. The restaurant, which was once an old tackle shop, sits above the Sandy River on the edge of Glen Otto Park. Hot tip: don’t miss the soft-serve, and always, always ask for sprinkles.