A Tech Blog

What to do While you’re at Rails Conf 2007

If you’re attending Rails Conf this year and are from out of town, you might be like me when you’re in another city: I don’t really find much outside of the touristy areas, or what’s immediately around where I’m staying. But you’re in luck! I live here , Oregon and I have a list of places to go and things to do that I think are quintessential.


I’ve tried to pick places that are close to the convention center, but most places will require either taking Tri-Met bus, light rail or street car, or driving. Each listing has a link to directions from the convention center so you can see about how far it is.


Good places to eat lunch or dinner
The immediate area around the convention center is mostly places like Denny’s and Red Robin. I wouldn’t recommend eating there. Here are some places for getting some good food.
  • The Side Door (Directions)
  • Russell Street BBQ (Directions)
  • Produce Row (Directions)
  • Old Town Pizza (Directions)
  • Le Bistro Montage (Directions)
Good places to eat breakfast
One thing know how to do right is make a tasty breakfast. Check out these places if you have time to get up early and eat before the conference starts for the day.
  • Zell’s Cafe Two words: BACON WAFFLE (no…waffles with bacon IN them)
  • The Side Door (Directions)
  • Bridges Cafe (Directions)
Go see a movie, and have a beer
as far as I know, is one of the very few cities that have so many movie theatres that serve beer and food. AND to top it off, most movies are $3-$6 admission. Check out one of these theatres for a magical movie and beer experience.
  • Bagdad Theatre (Directions)
  • Laurelhurst Theater (Directions)
  • Mission Theatre (Directions)
  • Clinton St. Theater (Directions)
Coffee Shops Galore
has no shortage of coffee shops. Try not to go to Starbucks and find one of these local coffee shops.
  • Stumptown Coffee (2 locations: Downtown and Belmont)
  • Tiny’s Coffee (2 locations: MLK and Hawthorne)
Happy Hours
Come 4pm you’ll be wanting you some drinks. There are plenty of happy hours around town, but here are a few recommended.
  • Acme (Happy Hour Info and Directions)
  • Produce Row (Happy Hour Info and Directions)
  • Shanghai Tunnel (Happy Hour Info and Directions)
  • Doug Fir (Happy Hour Info and Directions)

Find more Happy Hours at Unthirsty.com

Powell’s/Powell’s Technical
Powell’s Books is one of the largest book stores in the world, and to make it even better, they have a separate store that only sells technical books (I picked up my Programming Ruby book there, among others).
  • Powell’s Books Main Store (Directions)
  • Powell’s Technical (Directions)
Places to find gifts for your Significant Other
You might get in trouble if you go to a conference out of town and not bring back a gift. Luckily for you there are a couple areas you can check out that have unique gifts.
  • SE Hawthorne Blvd, between 30th and 39th
  • NW 23rd Ave, Between Burnside and Flanders
Relive the golden age of arcade games
The only place that has all the classic arcade games, beer, wine and DJs you can take.
  • Ground Kontrol (Directions)
See a live band
Every night you’ll find tons of bands playing in lots of clubs around. Check out the Mercury before you come, or pick one up while you’re here. You find all the band listings, as well as other stuff to do while you’re here. Listed below are some recommended venues.
  • Wonder Ballroom (Directions)
  • Holocene (Directions)
  • Crystal Ballroom (Directions)
  • Dante’s (Directions)
  • Doug Fir (Directions)

If you know a great place to eat, drink or have fun in Portland, leave a comment below with a suggestion or link to your list. See you at the conference.