Let's be honest: The best part about school is cutting class. (Unless you're somehow assigned to detention on a Saturday morning and end up making a bunch of friends and sharing your life story or whatever.) With that in mind, the Portland Mercury is your number one guide for finding cool ways to avoid class, work, or visiting your dying grandmother. (All of those activities are pointless and depressing, but the Mercury knows what's fun.) Thus we present out our annual--and severely truncated--list of some of Portland's indispensable places and ways to play as you enjoy avoiding your stupid obligations.


wBackspace Videogames, coffee, art. What else do you need? 115 NW 5th, 248-2900

wOld Town Arcade Pool, pinball, virtual reality games. And pop-a-shot! 1 NW Couch St, 224-3456

wGround Kontrol Play and/or buy vintage video games. As fancy as an Xbox? No. Just as fun? Yes. 610 SW 12th, 796-9364 (Moving to 511 NW Couch on October 7)

wOaks Amusement Park Vintage roller coasters, roller-skating, and other activities not to engage in after eating. Where SE Spokane meets the river, under the Sellwood Bridge, 236-5722

wWunderland at The Avalon A nickel arcade with nice mix of old, new, domestic, and foreign games--including Dance Dance Revolution! 3451 SE Belmont, 238-1617


wSolid State Into hardcore, metal, punk, ear bleeds? Meet your new favorite club. 215 SE 9th, 971-404-5755

wCrystal Ballroom Huge, classic Portland club. Its three floors boast other, smaller rooms that you'll eventually get old enough to hang out in! 1332 W Burnside, 225-5555 x8810

wDisjecta A homey, arty space that also features dance, visual arts, theatre, film, and all manner of multimedia curiosties. 116 NE Russell, 335-6979

wMeow Meow Whole lotta rock, punk, hiphop, and indie! 320 SE 2nd, 230-2111

wNocturnal Also has a bar downstairs for the big kids and offers b-boy, salsa, and swing dancing classes! 1800 E Burnside, 239-5900


wCinema 21 A lot of arty, sophisticated films in a gorgeous old building. 616 NW 21st, 223-4515

wClinton St. Theater Oldest independent theater in town. Has awesome personality and offbeat, underground selections. 2522 SE Clinton, 238-8899

wThe Guild Theatre Ground zero for international and documentary films. 1219 SW Park, 221-1156

wHollywood Theatre Classic architecture and non-profit that occasionally has music, theatrical, and dance performances as well. 4122 NE Sandy, 281-4215

wLaurelhurst Theater Another one of PDX's beloved cheap film & beer stalwarts. 2735 E Burnside, 232-5511

wMission Theater A 21+ pub theater, with rock bottom admission, beer, wine, and pizza. 1624 NW Glisan, 225-5555 x8830


wAmerican Family Video Independently owned, this store has one of the best selections in town. And worry not--despite what their name implies, they don't cut out nudity. Phew. SE 20th & Burnside, 231-0714

wClinton St. Video Bright little joint with a great selection of foreign films arranged by country. 2501 SE Clinton, 236-9030

wMovie Madness An amazing place with a huge collection crammed into a tiny building. Don't be afraid to ask for help; it's a labyrinth! 4320 SE Belmont, 234-4363

wTrilogy A strong selection and very helpful staff catering to Pearl patrons and beyond. 2484 NW Thurman, 229-1884

wVideo-Rama Nice people who take their films very seriously. 2940 NE Alberta, 288-4067; 7522 N Lombard, 247-3433; 1990 SE Ladd, 231-1181; 1136 NW Lovejoy, 796-2825; 2310 N Lombard, 289-8408

wVideo Verite Only DVDs--and why not? They're the wave of the future! 3956 N Mississippi, 445-9902

wWatch This! Look no further for hard-to-find DVDs. 916 W Burnside, 223-1791


wCity Market NW Lots of foreign condiments and the best-looking produce in town. 735 NW 21st, 221-3007

wFood Fight! All-vegan grocery store! 4179 SE Division, 233-3910

wPeople's Food Store Co-op Hippie treats! 3029 SE 21st, 232-9051

wSheridan Fruit Company Two words: Bulk. Bins. 408 SE 3rd, 236-2113


wTube A small, minty-colored bar with a killer staff, regular DJs, and the most addictive vegan ham sandwiches in the world. 18 NW 3rd, 241-8823

wVegetarian House All the Asian cuisine you've been depriving yourself of--made with fake meat! Try the yummy lunch buffet. 22 NW 4th, 274-0160


wAcropolis The greatest combination ever: a steakhouse/strip joint! 8325 SE McLoughlin, 231-9611

wPoor Richard's Great two-for-one steaks. 3907 NE Broadway, 288-5285

wRingside Steakhouse Meat n' potatoes. 2165 W Burnside, 223-1513


wMontage Extremely attractive wait staff, famously satisfying mac 'n' cheese, and they wrap your leftovers into tinfoil sculptures. 301 SE Morrison, 234-1324

wThe Doug Fir Opening on October 4, this is the new spot for late night munchies. It'll be open from 7am-4am, and have a bar area for those who qualify. 800 E Burnside


wLaurelhurst Women's Clinic 5050 NE Hoyt, Suite 255, 231-0407

wPlanned Parenthood 3231 SE 50th, 775-0861 & NE 15th & Fremont, Wild Oat's upstairs, 288-8826

wWestover Heights Clinic 2330 NW Flanders, Suite 207, 226-6678


wIt's A Beautiful Pizza Vegan and hippie friendly. 3342 SE Belmont, 233-5444

wPizza Oasis They'll substitute soy cheese for no extra charge!! 2241 W Burnside, 228-5260

wPizza A-Go-Go PizzaÉ retro style! 3240 N Williams, 335-0300

wBella Faccia Great salads, too. 2934 NE Alberta, 282-0600

wKustom Pizza Toppings Galore. 2727 NE Glisan, 239-4444


wGenie's Café, Great Bloody Mary's, organic eggs, and hollandaise that's so delicious you'll want to marry it. 1101 SE Division, 445-9777

wJam Tofu wraps, creative scrambles, great coffee, incredible jam. What more can you ask for? 2239 SE Hawthorne, 234-4790

wZell's A fancier breakfast option. Always reliable and incredibly delicious. Try the bacon waffle or one of their scrambles made with gourmet ingredients like asparagus, asiago, and proscuitto. 1300 SE Morrison, 239-0196


wAlpha Plasma Centers Ask them about the "Plasma Wheel Of Fortune"! 11 NW 5th, 224-1227

w"Booze, Pot & Sex Studies" Yippee! 206-781-5660 or hit www.confidentialreport.com


wThree Sisters Penises generously wagged right in your face. 1125 SW Stark, 228-0486

wUnion Jack's Multiple stages, and hot women--many of whom come decorated with sexy tattoos and piercings. 938 E Burnside, 236-1125


wLutz Tavern Great barrels of Pabst! 4639 SE Woodstock

wPortland Brewing Co. Local brews. 2730 NW 31st, 226-7623

wWidmer Brothers Muy delicioso seasonal brews. 929 N Russell, 281-2437


wBetsy's Adorable little shop, with both men's and women's clothing, especially good if you're scouting out for '60s gear. 1115 SE Division, 236-5544

wGoodwill The mother ship. 1943 SE 6th, 238-6165, 2215 W Burnside, 224-3084, 8300 SE McLoughlin (outlet), 230-2076

wRay's Ragtime Convenient location, and conveniently stocked with a mess of radical duds. 1001 SW Morrison, 226-2616

wRetrospect In addition to nifty thrifty clothes, check their eclectic selection of house wares and handmade trinkets. 1534 NE Alberta, 284-9799

wRed Light Check their bargain bins, yo! 3590 SE Hawthorne, 963-8888

wRetread Threads New stuff and old stuffÉ together at last! 931 SW Oak, 916-0000


wCounter Media This shop is packed with whatever's cutting edge and racy. 927 SW Oak, 226-8141

wIn Other Words A bookstore all about and for women, from novels to art books, to sociological treatises. 3734 SE Hawthone, 232-6003

wPowell's Books "The largest independently owned bookstore west of the Mississippi." 1005 W Burnside & 3723 SE Hawthorne (mainly), 228-4651 to contact entire empire.

wReading Frenzy Zine central. Also check out the adjacent Independent Publishing Resource Center's classes and workshops! 921 SW Oak, 274-1449


w2nd Avenue Records Comprehensive selection, and a good place to sell those CDs you're over. 400 SW 2nd, 222-3783

w360 Vinyl Good selection of hiphop. 214 NW Couch, 224-3688

wEveryday Music They're really nice about letting you listen to CDs without buying anything! 1313 W Burnside, 274-0961; 1931 NE Sandy, 239-7610

wJackpot Records Vinyl, CDs, and they always have albums you never knew existed but can't live without. 3736 SE Hawthorne, 239-7561 & 203 SW 9th, 222-0990

wMusic Millennium Albums, music DVDs, and in-store performances. 3158 E Burnside, 238-2020; 801 NW 23rd, 248-0163.

wOzone UK and Ozone Phase 3 Helpful staff and great selection. Plus, "ozone" is a fun word to say. UK: 2 NW 10th, 227-1981; Phase 3: 701 E Burnside, 227-1975


wAmtrak How European! 800 NW 6th, 800-872-7245

wBroadway Cab Inc. 227-1234 (You're on your own with this toughie.)

wCouncil Travel Travel agency for students! 1430 SW Park, 228-1900

wGreyhound Bus Lines 800-231-2222 (You know you love it.)

wRadio Cab Co. 227-1212 (If you can't manage to memorize this, it's conveniently printed on every pad of paper in every bar in town.)

wTri-Met 238-RIDE, www.tri-met.org (Yes, that would be the bus.)