courtesy of Jody Purdy
Realtor® specializing in
McMinnville real estate.
Oregon’s Favorite Main Street
M McMinnville’s historic downtown area offers something for everyone: boutique shopping, gourmet fine and casual dining, cafes, wine bars, art galleries, professional offices, flats, and more.
My first visit to McMinnville was to move here. As a freshman in college, home for the summer, I clearly remember driving into town with my mom and a car full of cleaning supplies for our new house. The town felt like home immediately and I hadn’t even seen the historic downtown area, which is one of the biggest reasons why, over twenty years later, my family and I are still here today.
My husband and I chose to raise our family in this Oregon community largely due to the fact that McMinnville boasted a self-sufficiency we hadn’t seen in suburbs closer to Portland. I loved that as my kids were growing up they could safely walk around downtown with their friends. They could shop, get ice cream or a smoothie, go to lunch, and then walk across the street to the city park, swim at the aquatic center, or visit the library. When they were out of money or ready to come home they could check in with their dad (who works downtown) and catch a ride home.
From one end of 3rd St. you can easily access the McMinnville Public Library, the McMinnville Aquatic Center, the upper city park for picnicking and playing at the Recreation Station, and the lower city park with trails, tennis courts, and covered shelters. Click on the links above for more information, a schedule of classes, and hours.
From the other end of 3rd St. it’s a short walk to Joe Dancer Park, located adjacent to the Yamhill River, and home to several baseball and soccer fields, walking trails, the Drew Gary Ottley Memorial Skate Park, picnicking, and play equipment. Sandwiched in between the two ends of 3rd St. are a variety of specialty shops, restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, professional offices, flats, art galleries, salons, wine bars, and more.
The retail business owners in downtown McMinnville are not only community members, they are my neighbors, my friends, my colleagues, and supporting them is a mutual venture. I can buy a last minute gift at one of the several retail shops, pick up a prescription, get groceries, grab a coffee, choose from several fantastic restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or relax with a friend at one of the local wine bars. I know that when I walk into one of the many shops I patronize on 3rd St. on a regular basis, I will likely see the owner standing behind the counter and that I will also be greeted by my first name. To me, that’s the kind of business that I want to patronize. Visit www.buylocalmac.com
Retail Shops in downtown McMinnville ~ a few of Jody’s favorites
- Accessory Appeal….fun jewelry, clothing, handbags, and shoes make this a must when you visit. Holly Ann, the owner, keeps a wish list for her customers so that when their spouses come in they know exactly what to buy for them.
- Mes Amies…Beautiful clothing, jewelry, handbags, lingerie, and more can be purchased here. The owners are quick to offer an espresso or tea while you shop and Naomi gives her honest opinion when you are ‘trying on’ clothing.
- Found Objects…eclectic yard art, wind chimes, signs, jewelry, and wine accessories make this another necessary stop when you are visiting. I’ve purchased several wonderful cd’s because the owner was playing them while I was shopping.
- Red Berry…features hip clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. Catering to women and men, the shop also sells a line of quirky t-shirts for guys. Stephanie offers gift certificates if you aren’t quite sure what do buy for that special someone—they make great gifts for the younger crowd.
- La Bella Casa…the main floor of this former 1893 building is home to an array of gorgeous home décor, jewelry, baby items, candles, and much more. If you only have a couple hours to spend in McMinnville, this should definitely be your first stop. This store was such a success, the owner opened a shop in the Pearl District in downtown Portland. Jennifer, Andrea, or Stacy will help you find that perfect gift and then wrap it beautifully for you. Your next step is to then head upstairs for lunch at The Sage.
- Third St. Books…this friendly bookstore caters to readers of every age. The books are arranged so that you can easily find what you are searching for and if they happen to be out of stock or not carry your favorite author’s works, they will happily order it for you in a timely manner and call you at home as soon as it arrives.
- McGrill Kitchen Shop…a great stop for the chefs, whether you are a novice or an expert. This shop carries candy and baking accessories, cookie cutters in all shapes and styles, pans, dishes, platters, measuring devices of all kinds, and much more. If I need anything for my kitchen, this is my first (and usually last) stop. In addition to all the culinary items they offer, they also teach cooking classes. For a schedule of classes please call 503-474-1075.
Dining in downtown McMinnville ~ a few of Jody’s favorites
- The Sage…located on the second floor of the historic 1893 building, I have been lunching here for twenty years and rarely change my order. The large green salad with Swiss garlic dressing and a cup of the creamy broccoli soup with a side of their homemade bread is perfect to me. When I tried, without success, to locate a cookbook the restaurant had published years earlier, the owner Don stopped in the middle of a busy afternoon to write down his famous bread recipe for me. This is without a doubt, my favorite place to lunch.
- Thistle…the delicious aromas wafting from this restaurant caused my husband and I to stop more than once to see if they had a table available. To our dismay, they were booked both nights. Reservations are highly recommended. Over 75% of the ingredients used in the preparation of meals are local. This restaurant has been so successful the owner saw a need to open a second restaurant called Community Plate, which recently opened its doors. I am looking forward to trying both soon.
- Thai Country…Dine in or take out. This restaurant has fantastic tofu pad thai. Everything we have tried (and we eat there often) has been both fresh tasting and delicious.
- McMenamins…the rooftop bar is a must stop for summer and early fall lunches, dinners, and drinks as the view is incredible. The Cellar Bar and Mattie’s Room offer live music on select weekends.
- Kame…Delicious sushi and Japanese food abound in a quiet, upscale restaurant. This is a great date night spot or place to meet with the family.
- 3rd St. Pizza and Moonlight Theater…This is a favorite way for my family to spend the occasional Friday night. The pizza is fresh and delicious, there are several local beers on tap, and the movies are always first rate.
- Nick’s…Nick’s Italian Café has been a critically acclaimed restaurant for longer than I’ve lived here. My husband and I had dinner there for our 10th anniversary and the crab lasagna with pine nuts is still a wonderful memory.
Every third Saturday, the McMinnville Downtown Association hosts an Art and Wine Walk. In October, the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County also hosts the Art Harvest Studio Tour which covers all the cities in Yamhill County and includes several of the galleries on 3rd St. Currents Gallery is a cooperative art gallery owned and operated by several local artists. Featuring over 50 artists, their focus is on the promotion of art and education in Yamhill County. Hidden Treasures is a custom frame shop, art gallery, and giclee printing shop. My personal favorite is Pacific Frame and Gallery. The owners, Noel and Leigh Ann, have spent many hours over the years helping me matte and frame the art in my home. They’ll even suggest that I look in their pre-made frames before custom framing an item for me, a suggestion that has saved me money more than once.
Specialty Shops in downtown McMinnville
- The Wooden Needle…when my daughter was in the 3rd grade she took a sewing class and made her own dress and bag from the fabric she selected. This business offers sewing classes, alterations, and more.
- Boersma’s and The Knitting Basket…these owners offer a vacuum repair shop, quilting and fabric store, and across the street have a fantastic yarn shop complete with knitting classes. I took a class from a Master Knitter who had been knitting from the age of 7.
- McMinnville Prescription Shop… I have always had my prescriptions sent here straight from the doctor. I can pick them up, and then add extra purchases such as over the counter medicine, birthday cards, or even home décor.
- Harvest Fresh Produce…An absolutely wonderful local supermarket located in the heart of downtown McMinnville. This market boasts a deli, a meat counter, coffee counter, and full supermarket featuring fresh produce, local wine, organic and bulk foods, and much more.
Events in downtown McMinnville
- January through December Third Saturday Art and Wine Walk in Historic Downtown (3rd Saturday each month 2pm to 8pm)
- February Downtown Superbowl Sunday Sales
- April Downtown Spring Fling, Mom’s Shopping Spree
- May UFO Festival and Alien Costume Parade
- May through October McMinnville Farmer’s Market (Thursdays 1:30pm to 6:00pm)
- June through August Brown Bag Summer Concerts at the US Bank Plaza (Thursdays 12:00pm to 1:30pm)
- July McMinnville Cruise-In at Turkey Rama 2011
- August Oregon Brews and BBQ’s (a benefit for Mac Habitat for Humanity)
- September Who’s on 3rd? Celebrating Oregon’s Favorite Main St.
- October Safe and Sane Halloween for Trick-or-Treaters
- November Black Friday Shopping in Mac, Santa’s Parade, Caroling, and Tree Lighting Ceremony
- December Late Night Holiday Shopping (Fridays until 8pm), Holiday Open House
There are several well-deserving galleries, shops, businesses, and restaurants that weren’t mentioned in this article. I sincerely hope you take the time to visit 3rd Street in downtown McMinnville and draw your own conclusions on what your favorite stops and shops are. The McMinnville Downtown Association boasts that downtown McMinnville is Oregon’s favorite Main Street TM. I know it’s mine.