Nearly Two Years After the Main Street Fire, Downtown Hillsboro Has Risen From The Ashes As a Bustling Destination for Food, Fun, and Art
Two years have passed since the fire that ravaged Main Street in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Deemed to be an arson attack, the Weil Arcade building, a complex of stores and offices was turned into a burning husk in January of 2022, an event that closed down Main Street for weeks. Many denizens of Hillsboro still remember the incident like it was yesterday.
If you haven’t been in downtown Hillsboro since then, you may find yourself asking how the area is after a year and ten months. Believe it or not, Main Street has not only recovered, but seems to be doing better than ever. It’s become a bustling area full of food, fun, and the arts, and for the first time in years, there are no vacancies. You can’t quite help but be impressed at how well the place is doing after such a devastating attack, but you’ll find that the Oregonians around those parts are strong and determined to show off their own definition of a good time in spite of tragedy.
So, what does downtown Hillsboro have to offer nowadays? Well, I’ll give you a rundown on just a few pieces of heaven that Hillsboro has to offer.
We can be pretty picky eaters, and while places may be fun and the arts might be amazing, it’s only as great as the food vendors around it, am I right? So, what does Hillsboro have to offer us?
Quite a bit, as it turns out!
Downtown Hillsboro is alive with all kinds of foods for you to try, with both new and older places for you to please your taste buds. Though, “downtown Hillsboro” is a bit vague, so if I were to give you my recommendation, it would be Hillsboro Downtown Station.
Hillsboro Downtown Station is a food cart pod and a spacious indoor/outdoor venue to meet all your dining needs. It sees anywhere from 300 to 600 people a day, and is known as one of the best open space venues to simply meet with other people, hang out, and get a bite to eat. It’s casual and spacious, yet very successful, has large TV screens for watching the game, a bar, a dessert shop, live music on Fridays, and is large enough to seat up to 300. It has around 30 different vendors offering their own unique cuisine, so if you’re looking for a place with plenty of options, you know where to go!
Another place I would certainly recommend is Main Street Commons. It has a wide variety of vendors, all with their own delicious foods for you to try out and enjoy, and are even planning on opening a rooftop brewpub, because what’s Oregon without one of those?
You also can’t leave out Friday Night Bites, an event that runs on the last Friday of each month from April to August. It features food trucks galore, live music, and outdoor games, and with no admission fee!
They’re actually opening a new food court next summer. Where, you may ask? In the Weil Arcade building, the same building that was set on fire in early 2022. Now, I can probably go on with a sentiment about “renewal” and “second chances”, but I’m just wondering who the vendors will be, because I’ve been looking for more places to eat.
Entertainment and Events
So, we know there’s food, but what is there to really do? A whole lot, as it turns out, as downtown Hillsboro is an absolute hotspot for the arts. In fact, the arts are quite an important part of the Main Street story ever since the fire.
After the January fire took place, several artists and musicians came together to stage a benefit for downtown. This, in turn, inspired several Hillsboro businesses to join in.
Ever since, parties, celebrations, and the arts have played a pivotal role in bringing Main Street back to its full glory and even beyond. While the arts have always been an important part in keeping downtown Hillsboro a cultural landmark in Oregon, it was this event that really set it in stone.
When asking about what there is to see for entertainment, you’re going to be pointed over to HART, or the Hillsboro Artists Regional Theatre. They provide high-quality entertainment in the form of theatre productions that range from classics to adaptations to all new original pieces.
You also can’t leave out the events. You’ve already heard me gush about Friday Night Bites, which offers games and live music with no admission fee, but I also have to mention Tuesday Night Marketplace. It’s a weekly summer festival that is free to attend and includes music, events, shopping, and dining. Anyone can register to become a vendor, so you’re bound to see plenty of unique independent businesses for you to peruse!
You can’t forget about some of the other celebrations; Halloween and Christmas tend to attract thousands of visitors, but that’s not all. There’s the annual La Strada dei Pastelli chalk art festival, which helps you get a glimpse at how talented the people of Oregon really are. There’s also the Art Walk, which is an event held on the first Tuesday of every month and encourages you to explore local galleries and art spaces, providing you with live music, food, shopping, and many engaging activities.
You also can’t miss the murals that are plastered all over downtown. Each piece is unique and beautiful, with each block being painted with something different.
The arts in Hillsboro are honestly something you need to see to believe.
Are you looking for something unique that you might need to buy? Strolling down Main Street and realize you need to pick up something? Just want to browse? Downtown Hillsboro has you covered on that front.
Some of the retail you’ll see are pretty standard, such as a shoe store or a pharmacy. You have places for farming supplies, tea shops, wine bars, grocery stores, and other things such as that. You’ll see a good chunk are mom and pop shops, but unfortunately, not all of them are doing so hot. Why? Covid 19, of course.
While the arts are heavily prioritized by the city, many of the stores have yet to receive their Covid relief fund, which can be vital to keep them from going under. Hopefully the retail side of downtown Hillsboro can get the revival it needs, just like the rest of the place, but people are still unsure as to how their livelihoods will turn out. If you’re ever in the area, why not support a local business?
While I did cover quite a bit, there is still much, much more that downtown Hillsboro has to offer. There are still more food vendors to try tasty treats from, more events and attractions that will have you coming back for more, and plenty of art that will really immerse you in one of the best scenes Oregon has to offer.
If you’re curious, why not check it out for yourself? The place is always ready to welcome you with its unique blend of culture and entertainment.