Having lived very happily in Lake Oswego for 25 years, I can point you in some fun directions for an enjoyable visit to this pretty little city. I say start your day off with a steaming cup of Illy coffee, accompanied by a sweet treat, at my favorite coffee shop, Chuck’s Place. I appreciate the comfortable atmosphere there, thanks to the friendly hands-on service from the owners Chuck and Lisa Shaw Ryan. You can sense how much they care about their community. (Lisa is even running for city council!) They moved recently to a larger space at 2nd and B Avenue after building up a devoted clientele in their small shop for 10 years across from Safeway. I have luxuriated many times this past summer under the warm sun at one of their new outdoor patio tables.
After your morning coffee, move on to Grahams’ bookstore, half a block away, for some high quality shopping. This landmark business has been around for 57 years! Paul Graham, the owner, says “people in this town are really concerned about the health of the local stores, restaurants and services. They like having a wonderful, diverse community center.” I’ve bought many beautiful gifts, interesting cards and all our gorgeous photo albums there. In a pinch I’ll zoom into the office supply section in the back for an emergency print cartridge or file folder. Check out their bookstore selection upstairs.
You’ll find lots of other shops in Lake Oswego to wander through, too numerous to mention here. Afterwards, head to St Honore Boulangerie, a rustic French bakery where I love to meet friends or clients for lunch. You’ll get to sit at a sweet little marble table, feeling the old-world charm that will transport you to France for awhile. I love their Jambon Parisien, an exquisite Black Forest ham sandwich on a baguette with the perfect crunchy crust and chewy innards. All of their breads are uniquely baked in their custom-built clay fire brick ovens using traditional techniques. There are lots of creative sandwiches, salads and quiches to choose from. Any size sweet tooth you might have can be satisfied with their delectable and artistically designed desserts.
If you’re not ready for a nap after lunch you might like to take in a movie within walking distance at the renowned Lake Twin Theatre, which has been around for 23 years. It was renovated in 1996 after being damaged from flooding along State Street. Relax in the historic seats saved from the old Fox Theatre in downtown Portland. I love the cozy smallness of the theatre, friendly help and delicious popcorn. There are rarely long lines and the movies are current. I love hanging out with friends in the art deco living room lounge. Parking across the street in the shopping center lot takes away any hassle. I’d rather go there any day over the crowded experience of Bridgeport or downtown Portland!
After your entertaining film, I would suggest walking back to Manzana’s for Happy Hour, especially if they’re serving their yummy crab cakes or calamari. You can’t go wrong with their cheap and tasty bar food items. I have appreciated the beautiful lake view and bustling bar scene many times!
I encourage you to save some appetite, though, for an exceptionally fine dinner, a few blocks up A Avenue, at Tucci’s, a lovely Italian Ristorante. I love dining there for the flavorful Italian style foods served in a warm, sophisticated atmosphere that conjures up a feeling of being in a tucked away restaurant in the heart of Italy. Ingredients come fresh from the Pacific Northwest to the open air kitchen. It’s interesting to note that “Grandma Tucci”, the restaurant’s namesake, worked for the Lido di Venezia restaurant for over 50 years. She embodied the tradition of family dining, as a celebration of family, food and friends. You feel that in Tucci’s! It’s wonderful for special occasions.
When you’re ready to call it a night, you can consider taking it easy and staying at the Lakeshore Inn that’s situated between the Lake Twin Theatre, where you saw that great movie, and Manzana’s where you enjoyed Happy Hour. I’ve actually never stayed there, but many of my friends have, for the novelty or when the power went out. It’s right on the lake and has its own swimming pool. Family owned since 1976, it’s the only hotel on the lake. Dogs are allowed in some of the rooms and amenities include wi-fi in every room, along with flat screen TV’s, DVD players and HBO.
Guaranteed, you’ll enjoy waking up to flowers in the morning, as Lake Oswego abounds in them. It’s a beautiful little city with charm and character, worth visiting!!
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Jane Lee is a Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty in Lake Oswego, Oregon