A Sellwood Summer

Mallory Ensing


If Stars Hollow, the fictional town from the early 2000s TV show “Gilmore Girls” had a Portland equivalent, it would certainly be Sellwood. 

For high school students, staying busy, saving money, and getting outside remain the three most important criteria for summer activities. Sellwood, an area of Southeast Portland with countless options for shopping, eating, and enjoying nature, sets a lively summer scene for young communities in the metro area. 

“I love going to Sellwood because there are so many different stores and options,” said Avery Ensing, a former Lakeridge High School student. “There’s really good restaurants, cute vintage stores, and thrift shops and there’s lots to do outside.”

A 15-minute drive from Lake Oswego, Sellwood is a nearby and accessible location for high school students living in LO. 

“Before I had my driver’s license in high school, it was always a struggle to find rides from place to place,” said Ensing. “Sellwood was close enough to home that a parent could easily drop me off to meet friends there.”

As long as you have a way to make it to Sellwood, there are plenty of ways to spend the day there. First, you can shop around the quaint shops and admire the vintage goods. Some of the most notable options are Sellwood Union and Unique Antique. 

If interested in the cheapest option for shopping, the Goodwill “bins” are a very affordable thrifting location and are just a 5-minute drive from central Sellwood. 

“It’s fun to look at all the weird and funky pieces at the bins with friends,” said Stephanie Cartwright, a Lakeridge freshman. “You can save a lot of money there because it’s cheap, while still finding good clothes.”

Cartwright said that thrifting can often be time-consuming and tiring. A suitable place to go after this activity would be one of the many restaurants Sellwood has to offer. 

“For affordability, I would definitely recommend eating at Grand Central bakery,” said Avery Ensing. “Their peanut butter and jelly is amazing and under $5.00.”

There are also slightly more expensive options for eating in Sellwood, like Pizzeria Stellina, Papa Hadyn, and the popular Jade Bistro. 

“Jade has great outdoor seating, which makes it such a nice location, especially in the summer,” said Kate Birdsall, freshman. 

Sellwood also has multiple picnic-worthy parks, all within walking distance from these restaurants. Sellwood Park has a view of the Portland skyline, and Sellwood Riverfront Park rests along the Willamette. 

“We like to take our food to Sellwood Park,” said Ensing. “It’s near Oaks park and overlooks the city.”

After a slow day of shopping and outdoor dining, you can take a short walk to Oaks Amusement Park and enjoy a classic summer setting. The park sells tickets for its rides, though high schoolers would find the $10.00 roller skating rink tickets to be more doable on a tight budget. 

“I’ve been there a lot for roller skating,” said Cartwright. “It was really fun when I was younger, and I think it would be now too.” 

With each day that summer becomes closer, Sellwood transforms more and more into a location worthy of being a movie set. This year, high schoolers in Lake Oswego can enjoy a day in Sellwood like those seen on the screen.