Road Trip: Lake Oswego

November 19, 2014 (Updated December 3, 2014)

The town of Lake Oswego (pop. 37,000), incorporated in 1910, is nestled on the banks of a 405-acre lake just eight miles from downtown Portland. Industry heads once hoped to make the community a steel town to rival Pittsburgh. Instead, early 20th-century developers turned to residential building, creating some of the era’s most attractive homes with a distinctly English feel. Today, located just 45 miles north of Salem, and a stone’s throw from the Coast, Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, Lake Oswego is in the heart of Northwest Oregon’s best places. Here are some things to see and do around town.

Big Breakfasts: With home cooking inspired by owner Joe Buck’s grandmother, Babica Hen Café is the go-to spot for breakfast and lunch. Farm-fresh eggs, pasture-raised pork and homemade baked goods set the tone for a breakfast menu served all day. There’s a to-die-for waffle menu and a wonderful list of sandwiches and salads on the “Not Breakfast” menu. For a delightful taste of France, stop in at St. Honoré Boulangerie for buttery brioche, pan au chocolate and croissants as well as a host of traditional French breads.  For gluten-free goodies and café fare, check out Kyra’s Bake Shop, three time-winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

Asian Fusion: Flying a flag of “Farm Fresh-Asian Roots,” Aji Tram restaurant and bar offers an American take on a mix of Asian culinary traditions. Kung Pao Calimari, Bahn Mi Sliders and Aji Ramen are signature offerings. Check out lunch, dinner and happy hour menus at the website.

Outside Art: The city features 30 rotating sculptures and 30 permanent pieces in the Gallery Without Walls. This outdoor public art program recently installed a new collection that will be on display through the summer of 2016. Works include whimsical creations like Ron Simmer’s “What Does the Nose Know?” and the abstract “Wy’east (Mt. Hood) Glacial” from Lin McJunkin.

Go for Organic: Gardening enthusiasts and aspirants alike will love Luscher Farm, owned and operated by the city of Lake Oswego. This demonstration farm provides education and information about organic and sustainable gardening and is home to a children’s garden (with year-round classes in gardening, art and cooking), a CSA, community garden and the Rogerson Clematis Collection — one of the largest in the Western hemisphere.

Main Stage: With its roots in a 1950s theater company, the Lakewood Center for the Arts offers an entertaining annual season of live musicals, dramas and comedies in an intimate 220-seat auditorium. Check the website for a list of upcoming shows, including beloved classics and world premiers.

Time for Tee: Lake Oswego has one of those mild winter climates that year-round duffers love. Check out the Lake Oswego Public Golf Course for a challenging 18-hole par-three course. The rolling course offers scenic views of northern peaks Mount St. Helens and Mt. Adams. (Birthday bonus: If you join the course’s eClub on the website, you get a free round of golf on your birthday.)

Fine Wine: With a West Linn address but a Lake Oswego name, Oswego Hills Vineyard and Winery can be found about four miles south of downtown. Located on land that has been farmed since the 1850s, Oswego Hills has been growing grapes since 1997 and has 20 acres in production, which translates into about 2,000 cases of wine per year. The tasting room is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Extend your stay: Book a room at the Lakeshore Inn — the only hotel on the peaceful lake and surrounded by city parks. Check the website for special offers and details about pet-friendly lodging.

About The

Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.