Multnomah Village – Hidden Gem In the Heart of Portland

Multnomah Village by Rochelle CarrA hidden gem, nestled smack dab in the heart of SW Portland Oregon! Historic Multnomah Village, alive and kicking since the 1910’s, boasts its own down home darling restaurants, secret shopping hot spots, a thirty five year old book store, and the best toy store in the Pacific Northwest! “It takes a village to raise a child.” A familiar saying, a derivative from many an African proverb, and a Hilary Clinton book. In Kijita (Wajita) there is an old proverb which says ‘Omwana ni wa bhone,’ meaning regardless of a child’s biological parent(s) its upbringing belongs to the community.

In my opinion, Multnomah Village is an old school, throwback, “Portland-heartfelt-connected,” community. It will speak to any age group – it’s just delightful! Any way your family blends – it’s perfect here! Multnomah Village has something for everyone!

Drive a car, buy a house, take a bus, get out, and walk your sweet self around this wonderful village. Share the village love. I did, and I’m still returning year after year, for more village fun.

I grew up here, a few miles away, and would spend (almost every weekend) eating pancakes (and bacon) at Fat City Cafe(click here). My mother would take us after breakfast to buy “one good book” at Annie Bloom’s Books for a special treat. If, we we were “well behaved,” that is. Truth be told, I often walked away without my special book treat.

If, we were ULTRA LUCKY, (and of course well behaved), we would end up down the street at my favorite toy store on the planet – THINKER TOYS. See their link below under the heading: “Must Play.”

Multnomah Village by Rochelle CarrLast week, I wandered back to Multnomah Village (click here for village history) on a mission to purchase a gift of my favorite (spicy grand apple candles), at Peggy Sundays – a wonderful “European feeling” shopping feast for the eyes! Peggy has a gift for shelving beautiful, wonderful, house treasures, and adorable holiday or birthday gifts! As I was there, I had the urge to write another “Urban Backpacker (UBP) Mini Guide” about the wonderful community of Multnomah Village.


A hidden gem treasure in the heart of SW Portland! Don’t miss the “Holiday Gala Tree Lighting Event” the first Friday and Saturday every December. “Quaint. Charming. A bit off-center, andquintessentially Portland.”


A New and Improved Multnomah Village


Must Buy:

Buy a house here. The real estate in The Village never really loses its value. The good homes are snapped up faster than you can say – HEY! I sold a home here (not even on the market), back when I was in the Real Estate business, to a special family friend. The houses are quaintly wonderful, the schools are fantastic, and the sense of community support in this tiny town shines all the way to Mt. Hood! Click here for a Real Estate office in Multnomah Village. No, I’ve never worked here, nor is there any affiliation (paid or otherwise), to this business, or any other business I write about in my travel blog.


Annie Bloom's Books by Rochelle Carr

Must Learn:

Multnomah Arts Center (click here for more information) is (a program within Portland Parks and Rec) and sits right here in the village. The (MAC) provides excellent arts education in the visual and performing arts at an affordable cost to students of all ages. They offer programs in dance, theater, music, drawing, painting, ceramics, textiles, printmaking, jewelry, metal-smithing, photography, literary arts and more. Programs run year-round, and scholarships are available. Annie Bloom’s Books (click here) remains standing thirty plus years, with a devoted community following, even after the online book ordering craze with Kindles and iPads. The staff here are extremely helpful, and the kids area is fantastic. Peruse the Cd’s, Gift Cards, Magazines, and Puppets. Sign up for the rewards program!


Must Shop:

Multnomah Village has amazing shopping choices. For the home, that special gift, or the self buying variety, I would steer you towards my favorite “Euro feeling” Peggy Sundays (click here) for the apple spice candles, and various other home enhancing luxuries to inspire the ooohhhhhs and awwwwes in you. “A perfectly delightful shopping experience!”

Topanien(click here), a global, family run, gift mecca “must visit once in your lifetime since 1989 – kind of shop.” This village gem, adorns the shelves with brightly colored fair trade, and lovely handmade gifts. The holiday ornaments are family favorites, and the pet pottery is darling. The angels, bangles and Buddha’s will make you smile.

Move across the street to Switch(click here) for unique, hip Israeli shoes, clothes, hats and accessories. Jen, her high school sweetheart, and her amazing team of special folks, make this chic boutique shine.

Jacquelines Multnomah Village by Rochelle CarrMy newly found Multnomah Village hidden gem, equipped with its own backyard “secret garden,” is: Jacqueline’s Found and Fabulous(click here)! Oh EM GEE, is all I can say! It’s so delightful here! “The holiday deco is divine, the fancy fowl – so sublime!” Wander through this “artfully arranged” darling 1910 Multnomah Village bungalow, and do not miss the trip out back to an Enchanted Garden, precisely fit for gilded fairies and sparkle queens. In the princess shed out back, hangs a sign that says, “YOU COMPLETE ME.” Enough said! Jaqueline’s FaceBook page – click here for more pictures.

And be sure not to miss the teeny, tiny boutique packed floor to ceiling with apparel, art, designer clothes, and spectacular jewelry… Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery(click here), right in the heart of Multnomah Village, next to Fat City Cafe. Named two years in a row as the BEST Boutique in SW Portland by the Portland Fashion & Style Awards, this boutique offers something special, and just a little out of the ordinary.



Village Bead Multnomah Village by Rochelle Carr

Must Create:

Knitters Unite – at this petite knitting pearl of a place. Northwest Wools wanna-go click here. Take classes, buy beautiful yarn, and join a knitters group to learn from some of the best in the knitting biz. It’s up some narrow stairs from the main drag of Multnomah Village. I asked for help on my second baby blanket at NW Wools while I was waiting for a grand baby to be born.

Make some fantastic jewelry here at Village Beads! (click here). Rows of tiny shine and twinkle, line the walls of this open beadery boutique. Take the popular wire working classes, a resin pendant class, metal clay classes, and classes to make that specific bracelet or necklace you have had your eye on for weeks, and just did not know how to bead it together! Take a group of friends for a beading birthday party and create something wonderful.

Off the beaten path, you will find another wonderful place for inspiring imagination and creativity in Multnomah Village. The Craft Factory(click here), is a newly-opened drop-in craft studio where adults and children use their imagination to make crafts and have fun. Located next to Annie Bloom’s Books and upstairs from Topanien Gifts, they offer weekly story-times, monthly discounts, BYOB adult craft nights, home-school discount days, and birthday party packages. Each crafter chooses one craft base for $12, unlimited embellishments, and can craft for an unlimited amount of time while The Craft Factory is open. They are open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 to 2, Thursday and Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturday from 10 to 4. As The Craft Factory was inspired by making art from materials cleaned up from the beach, a percentage of their sales is donated towards beach clean-up.



Marcos Cafe Multnomah Vilage by Rochelle CarrMust Eat:

I have been eating damn good food at Marcos Cafe and Espresso Bar (click here), was originally built as the Thomas Bungalow Grocery in 1913, this historic complex included the first Multnomah Vilage Post Office and was also used as a Masonic Lodge and dance hall. With an architectural style classified as “streetcar era commercial,” the Thomas building housed an appliance store, a junk store, plant shop, resale shop and several bakeries from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. since I was a younger brace face gal. The cafe serves up fabulous breakfast and lunch (all day) every day. Best eatery in the Village. Crayons for the kiddies. O’ Connors Pub (click here) is a place “where Montana people meet the rest of the world.” Made it’s debut in downtown Portland as a “service to men only” kind of place, then reemerged in the village for twenty years. O’ Connors still boasts a good 77 years of history, along with an upside down bat clock that will be sure to taunt the tipsy folks. New outside deck with heaters all year round. Good bites, good people, good music, good village fun. Grand Central Bakery (click here) is either a fast bread pick up, sandwich pick up, coffee drink pick up, pastry and breakky pick up or just a simple meet up. Love the sticky buns, and I don’t love the long lines in this favorite village bakery situated perfectly (on the way) towards the I-5 freeway entrance headed north. Be patient, it’s well worth the wait!



Journeys Pub Multnomah VillageMust Sip:

Ended my perfect day in the village at Journeys (beer, wine and bites click here). Met fabulous folks Doug, T.J. and Michelle while tasting my very first Chocolate Porter, accompanied with perfect bites of grilled cheese with a little bacon, and wicked good super duper dipping sauce. It truly is “Southwest Portland’s Friendliest Neighborhood Pub.” Outdoor tables, and fire pit for the summer! Sip some beer and eat some pizza at this verrrry laid back (old masonic temple) restaurant. Oh wait – this is what their website says: “We are not a restaurant, nor are we a tavern. The Lucky Labrador consists of pubs where people can come together, converse, and drink our great beer in an unpretentious atmosphere that is truly a Portland experience.  Many people just don’t get us.  If you are looking for a sit down restaurant with table service and quick turnover, we are not for you.” Go sit for a long while, look at those cute doggy faces on the wall, eat some pizza, and drink some beer –Lucky Lab (click here). Sip some wine at Sip D’ Vine (click here), a darling wine bar in Multnomah Village. Showcasing local wines every month. A delightfully casual adult sipping spot!


Nectar Frozen Yogurt Multnomah Village by Rochelle Carr

Must Enjoy:

Want some hip and cool frozen yogurt bliss? I know you do! Go to Nectar Frozen Yogurt Lounge(click here)! This sweet eatery is open till 10 pm Mon-Thursdays and 11pm on the weekends. Enjoy the free wifi, magazines, games, and comfort while you slurp down a perfect FroYo topped with your favorite sweet crumble goodies. If you check in on your mobile app – you receive a dollar off your gurt! LOVE LOVE this place. Will return with little people soon. You must enjoy the new kid on the block: Medley Tea House Cafe (click here). Breakfast all day, over 55 tea choices served up hot or cold, vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food options. Outdoor tables when Portland not busy “misting” on you. Afternoon tea and tasty morsels to delight from 2-5pm. Try this hidden gem darling after a morning of village shopping!


Thinker Toys Multnomah Village 2 by Rochelle Carr

Must Play:

I saved the best post title for for last – MUST PLAY. I am a big kid. I run around, chasing my grand baby’s, and will never stop teaching them to live silly, make faces, and laugh out loud. My children say I need to be a tad bit “quieter.” Pshaw! It’s not what grandparents are supposed to do! I buy learning toys, and brightly colored sparkly things to inspire PLAY and imagination. Come get your “inner kid joy” on at Thinker Toys in Multnomah Village(click here), “Portland’s most hands on toy store!” Grandparents save 10% every first Tuesday of each month at Thinker Toys! Photo ID with grandchildren required. OK, they are kidding. Just go in and save 10% on your purchase! This place will rock your kid world. Go, Play, Fun, Happy! Everyone is a winner at my favorite toy store in Portland! Thank you Thinker Toys!


Dear Multnomah Village:

“It takes a village to raise a child,” and you helped raise ME. Thank you! For a wonderful list of “Best Restaurants Portland” – click here. For small bites restaurants and favorite Portland Tapas – click here.



Definition of Urban Backpacker:

1. Of, relating to, or located in a city.

2. Backpacker redefined: Artful reviews that lead you from hidden budget gems to five-star destinations helping you find palate pleasing adventure, enjoyment, and story collection.

3. Pack bag. Travel there. See city. Eat food. Respect culture. Take picture. Share story. Be thankful. Repeat.