On She Goes

Good, Clean Fun: Sober, Under 21 Nightlife in Portland

Good, clean fun without the booze.

Jagger Blaec
Jagger Blaec
November 28, 2017
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Portland can sometimes seem like a never-ending party. With dispensaries and craft breweries on nearly every block, Portland’s sober or under 21 nightlife options aren’t always immediately apparent. But the city does have options for those who are living the #soberlife. While PDX makes it possible to drink beer in almost any context, these places also offer good, clean fun — without the booze.

Oaks Park Roller Rink
7805 SE Oaks Park Way

If two wheels isn’t enough for you, strap four wheels onto each foot and head over to Oaks Park’s roller rink. Check their schedule for Adult Late Skate (currently every Tuesday from 9:30–11:30 p.m.) and rock your fave retro skates and vintage tees from the heyday of roller skating. In the summer, the accompanying amusement park is open, and you can plan a whole day at the Oaks Park complex with carnival rides all day and roller skating into the night.

Planet Granite
1405 NW 14th Ave
The Circuit Bouldering Gym
410 NE 17th Ave

If it seems like not drinking is driving you up a wall, maybe you should let it. Instead of losing your mind, try gaining clarity and concentration by heading to a rock-climbing gym. Planet Granite and the Circuit Bouldering Gym both offer drop-in attendance or memberships for people who are looking to reach new heights for entertainment. Both of these gyms stay open as late as 11 p.m., so you can spend time with friends on a wall instead of in a bar. You can rent any equipment you need at affordable rates. Plus, the rush of adrenaline once you get to the top is pretty intoxicating.

A night at the Roxy.
photo by Nash Co Photo

The Roxy
1121 SW Stark St

This diner is an institution within the city, but it’s also one of the few places you can go after hours that doesn’t even bother serving drinks or alcohol. It’s a self-described “old school full service diner with a myriad of naughty foods to choose from, and a TON of personality!” Be sure to check out the giant crucifix that greets you upon arrival. The diner is especially dope because it’s a refuge where you can still get your fix of the nightlife without being a “basic” club rat. In the later hours, you can people-watch as all of the bargoers who stroll in and behave in the messy fashion that you’ve avoided by staying sober.

Midnight Mystery Ride
Location varies

People in Portland get DOWN on a bike ride, so obvi it makes sense for you to hop on some wheels and ride around the city. There’s bike sharing and plenty of bike shops with rentals. Don’t be scared to head out on a midnight ride with strangers who could become new friends. Bicyclists gather at a surprise location that’s announced the day of the ride, then a designated rider leads everyone around the city with no idea where the journey will take them. Make sure you bring bike lights and that you are game for a new way to see Portland. Note: The rides generally start at meeting spots that serve alcohol, but drinking is, of course, optional.

Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Ave

Here’s a place that has really dope concerts and old-school architecture. The McMenamins brewing empire that operates Kennedy School is popular in town for their Cajun tots and happy hour, but the secret gem at this place is the spa-style soaking pool in back. Open to the public and hotel residents, it’s perfect for when you want to sneak away to an alcohol-free activity. There’s nothing like enjoying a root beer float from the restaurant before or after an actual float as a nice treat. Also, depending on the night, you can catch a quality concert at this same venue.