If you’re a Portland High Schooler, you probably know the feeling of wanting to go somewhere after school or work, but having lack of funds, absence of transportation, or excess rain in your way. Sometimes you don’t just want to go home and tune out on your phone while it hails outside your window. You may need to be inspired by some outside-the-box, cheap things to do to get out of the rain and wind. So make sure to bring your bus pass, a raincoat and clear up your afternoon, because here are a few things to do in Portland on a rainy day.
Bus to the downtown library. Central Library on SW 10th street is the perfect place to go to get out of the rain and especially nice if you don’t have any cash. All you need is your library card and maybe some homework to catch up on. The downtown library is a huge, beautiful, and peaceful place to wander around for a couple hours and is a nice contrast to the deafening halls of high school. Coffee shops. They can sometimes be overpriced, making it not worth it to sit and use the WiFi for a bit. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right atmosphere and cheap coffee to waste a little of your afternoon. Here are a couple shops that aren’t too overpriced. Five Points Coffee Roasters on SE 35th and Division has the perfect atmosphere, with art covering the walls and window seats for reading or working on your laptop. You also have a perfect view of Division, where you can look out and laugh at all the poor pedestrians who didn’t have the great idea to pop into this ambient coffee shop and escape the rain. They also serve a mean (and cheap) cup of herbal tea. Another somewhat unconventional “coffee shop” would be the New Seasons on SE 45th and Woodstock. Though technically a grocery store, this New Seasons has an indoor and outdoor seating area above the store, complete with a fireplace and a cozy environment. If it happens to not be pouring, you can sit by the outdoor firepit and look down on Woodstock, and sip your coffee you bought from downstairs. With these small hangout spaces, you don’t need to be rich to get away from the loud city noises.
Thrift shopping. Thrift shopping can be a cathartic and relaxing experience, and even more so if you’re not spending $50 for a vintage band tee. It can be difficult to find thrift shops that don’t overcharge for a simple item of clothing. The Goodwill on 52nd and Woodstock has the perfect stress-free setting. Some Goodwills are overpriced and a little too fancy (I don’t recommend the one on Hawthorne), but this Goodwill has a nice array of 50% off deals and chunky sweaters and is perfect for simply browsing around and maybe not even buying anything. No pressure! It’s easy to waste a good couple of hours perusing the $2 records or maybe just going to the back and admiring the obscene amount of stuffed animals and peculiar trinkets they have. Another Portland thrift shop is House of Vintage. Though a little more on the pricey side in terms of clothing, House of Vintage is an awesome place to spend an afternoon. Located on 33rd and Hawthorne, this sprawling building is chock-full of bizarre tee shirts and ripped jeans. Even though this shop is a tad more expensive, it can be fun to get lost in the vast ocean of vintage clothing and spy on the rich hipsters that come in to buy an $80 pair of sneakers with holes in the toes.
Take a walk, the easiest and cheapest thing to do in Portland. Bundle up, bring an umbrella and take a stroll in one of Portland’s many beautiful and scenic neighborhoods or streets: you can go with a friend or alone with your earbuds and a favorite playlist. The first walking location that is easy to bus to is Belmont. Though not as packed full of shops and people as Hawthorne or Division, this street is cute and calm, with a spattering of unique houses and small businesses. Up on 44th and Belmont is Movie Madness, a movie rental store overflowing with movie memorabilia and shelves reaching the ceiling full of undiscovered movies. A neighborhood that’s perfect for walking through is Eastmoreland. Full of charming houses, this cozy neighborhood is long and winding, and covered in trees that block out the rain. The 19 runs right through the middle, making it easy to access. Portland in the dead of winter may not be the ideal city for teenagers who want to get out and do something after school. But with a little perseverance and not being afraid to get a bit wet, there’s plenty of places to go and many sights to see. Just please, please don’t forget your rain jacket.