Portland for Lesbians

Portland Pride Festival Bike Rider

Kathy Belge

Portland is said to have one of the largest concentrations of lesbians on the West Coast. So, where do the lesbians hang out and how can you find them?

In Portland, the saying, “We are everywhere” really does apply. We live in the city and in the ‘burbs, but you’re likely to find the highest concentrations of lesbians in Southeast and Northeast Portland. Take a walk down Hawthorne Blvd and you’re likely to see two women holding hands, perhaps pushing a baby carriage. On Alberta, the women are more likely to have tattoos and bicycles than baby bottles and Subarus. Here’s a sample of places to look for your Sapphic sisters.

Lesbian Bars

If wine, martinis, and vegetarian finger foods are more your style, then step into Crush. The ladies like to visit on Fridays at happy hour, but this mixed bar is welcoming any day of the week.

The newest club for party people of all genders is Holocene. The second Sunday of the month from 4-9pm is dedicated to women-loving women.

Also check out Hot Flash, women-only dance parties.

Coffee Shops

Besides lesbians, Portland is known for coffee and books. Some coffee shops where you’re likely to see lesbians:

Haven serves the best coffee in town (Stumptown) has live music and a great atmosphere.

Three Friends (12 & SE Stark) is a big comfy place with chairs couches and excellent chai tea.

Lesbian-owned Blend, 2327 E. Burnside, is the perfect place to take a date you don’t want to be seen with yet. The basement-like atmosphere offers plenty of privacy.

Gay-owned Broadway Coffee Trader has computers for surfing the net and a great selection of teas.


Portland is home to KBOO, one of the most progressive, diverse public radio stations in the country. Listen to 90.7 FM on the first Tuesday of the month at 6pm for Transpositive PDX, a show for trans and gender queer communities and on the second and fifth Tuesday each month at 6pm for Preference, a show for the LGBTQA community in Portland.

Groups and Organizations

For the young at heart, there’s SMYRC, where you can play pool, ping-pong, perform a play, prepare delicious snacks, pick up a basketball or pretend you’re studying. SMYRC is a drop-in recreation center for queer and questioning youth age 23 and under.

If music is your thing the Portland Lesbian Choir, Bridges Vocal Ensemble (bridgesvocalensemble@yahoo.com) or the Rose City Gay Freedom Band might be just what you’re looking for.

For support around coming out, check out the Lesbian Community Project, for LGBT headed families there’s Love Makes a Family.

For the politically minded, Basic Rights Oregon is fighting the good fight for LGBT rights.

If you’re deaf or simply want to learn sign language, Deaf and Hearing Outreach is attempting to build community between deaf and hearing queers.

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