The perfect day in St. Johns is undoubtedly a Saturday. Rise early and get a freshly made bagel sandwich at Bernstein’s Bagels. The Lox, or the Prosciutto with Mama Lil’s Schmear, made in house, would be a solid choice. Take a stroll north up Lombard, enjoying historic storefronts among other Saturday strollers until you come to the St. Johns Farmer’s market (open May to October). Under the gaze of our iconic St. John’s Bridge, load up on produce and fresh flowers. Shop super local at Shoofly’s stand, home to excellent baked goods, and vegan to boot!
Stroll among the pillars of Cathedral Park, listening to the meditative echo of passerby above. SUPS and kayaks are available for rent through Troll City Boathouse if you feel like venturing onto the scenic river. Or head topside for gorgeous vistas from the St. Johns bridge. If you’re feeling ambitious, keep walking and you’ll hit Forest Park, Portland’s emerald treasure. Miles upon miles of paths await you, submerged in natural beauty.
Work Up an Appetite
When you’ve worked up an appetite, head back into town and beeline to Tienda and Taqueria Santa Cruz #2. I resolutely say that these are the best tacos to be found for miles around. Explore the aisles, load up on house-made conchas or other unbeatable dulces, and order at least four tacos, two tamales and a bowl of menudo. At least. Santa Cruz has been a staple in the St. Johns Community for 18 years and a favorite for just as long.
For those with a sweet tooth, pop over to Affogato for an unconventional dessert. This little spot’s namesake treat is made with freshly ground espresso and housemade gelato. My personal favorite is their vegan staple, the coconut stracciatella. Seriously, if you’ve never had affogato, this is your spot for this Italian classic.
After savoring your treat over some excellent people watching, head next door to our historic St. Johns Twin Cinemas, first opened in 1913! Grab a beer or cider and some popcorn for your cinematic experience and enjoy the roomie seating and kitschy local St. Johns previews.
For those who don’t want to quit, keep the good times rolling at one of St. Johns newer spots, all conveniently located within blocks of Twin Cinemas. Homegrown Smoker has repeatedly been voted among the best vegan restaurants in the country. Sudra offers Indian fusion and taste-bud tingling cocktails. Or head straight to our brand new Stormbreaker Brewery. End the night with friends, or some live music, at one of the following: The Fixin’ To, Leisure, Occidental Brewery and the classic Slims are all staples of the nighttime scene.
Our friends and visitors always comment that a day in the “Great North” feels like a day of respite. Far enough away from the conventional sites and smells to be novel, and with more than enough to make a day memorable. If you find yourself touring St. Johns, let me know what you did and discovered and what your perfect day in St. Johns looked like! Maybe I’ll catch you around!