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McMenamins Kennedy School

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to peek into the Detention Bar, a hidden gem within McMenamins Kennedy School where you can savor a pint in what used to be an actual detention room; it's usually quieter than the main bars, perfect for a more intimate experience. Also, check the school's event schedule ahead of time—locals know that its unique movie nights and live music events are not to be missed and tend to sell out quickly!"

What is McMenamins Kennedy School?

Nestled in the heart of Northeast Portland, McMenamins Kennedy School is an oasis of leisure and history combined into one. It’s not your everyday attraction; this is a historic elementary school transformed into a hotel with a twist. Can you imagine sleeping in a classroom? Here, it's not only possible, it's part of the charm! It's a place where corridors once filled with the sounds of children reciting their ABCs now echo with the laughter of guests enjoying locally crafted beers.

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The establishment includes a restaurant, multiple bars, a brewery, and even soaking pools. Speaking of soaking pools, it's a gem on its own—imagine a beautifully tiled pool within the secluded, once grassy courtyard where kids played during recess. And if you’re wondering about detention, that’s a thing of the past. In its place, we've got a movie theater showing both new and classic films—a far cheerier prospect than spending an hour after school staring at the blackboard!

History of McMenamins Kennedy School

Kennedy School has a legacy as rich as Portland's own history. Built in 1915, this school was named after John Daniel Kennedy, a stern but beloved school superintendent. Did you know that it was designed by famed architect Norman F. Marsh using Italian Renaissance architecture as an inspiration? It served as an elementary school for decades, educating many of Portland’s youth before closing its doors in 1975 due to declining enrollment. It stood empty, a silent witness to bygone years, until the McMenamin brothers saw its potential in 1997 and worked their magic to repurpose it respectfully while keeping its soul intact.

They've injected new life into the old schoolrooms, hallways, and even the cafeteria without erasing the heritage. The murals, ceramic work, and original artwork of the building have been preserved and are showcased throughout, creating a veritable gallery of local art and history. Each room tells a story from the past, sometimes literally—with plaques detailing the history of the room or tributes to former teachers and staff.

Why is McMenamins Kennedy School Important?

McMenamins Kennedy School holds a special place in the heart of Portland for several reasons. First and foremost, it's a prime example of community-based historic preservation. The transformation of the school into a hotel and entertainment venue was a labor of love that honored its past while ensuring its future. It’s a place that marries education and fun, and that's no small feat. Would you have ever thought that an old school could become a cultural hub?

It has also become a cornerstone for local gatherings and celebrations. Whether it's a romantic getaway, a family trip, or a space for local artists to display their work, the Kennedy School serves as a meeting ground between history, community, and the arts. It's quite literally a school transformed into an ever-evolving lesson in creativity and adaptive reuse.

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Things to Do & See at McMenamins Kennedy School

You won't run out of things to do and see at this unique Portland gem. From the art in the hallways to the cozy guestrooms, the building is soaked in history and whimsy. Let's begin with the guestrooms: each one is unique, decorated with a blend of modern comforts and historical artifacts, some are even named after the school's most memorable teachers and staff.

Step into the Boiler Room Bar, once the school’s boiler room, now a multilevel bar with original artwork and pipes that remind you of its previous life. Feel like attending class? You can—but it's not what you think. You can sit in the old auditorium, now a theater, and watch a movie with a pint of McMenamins' own craft beer in hand.

  • Detention Bar: Picture a bar where 'detention' entails sipping on custom cocktails and mingling with locals and fellow travelers alike.
  • Soaking Pool: Tucked away in a beautiful garden courtyard, the soaking pool is exclusively for overnight guests—a relaxing escape reminiscent of the school's original playground.
  • The Restaurants: You'll find several dining options right on campus. The Courtyard Restaurant, for instance, offers upscale pub fare that incorporates seasonal, local ingredients.
  • Regular Events: From live music to special brew releases, there's always something happening. And with various private event spaces, the Kennedy School is an ideal spot for weddings, reunions, and other celebrations.

Every corner of Kennedy School is designed to surprise and delight. Got a curious mind? Then dive into the history plaques dotting the walls, and if art is your love, simply roam the halls—every nook is filled with original pieces, from intricate tile work to quirky sculptures. Don't leave without visiting the gardens, a green haven where you can reflect on the truly unique experience this place offers.

Frequently asked questions

What is McMenamins Kennedy School?

McMenamins Kennedy School is a unique hotel located in Portland that was once an elementary school and has been transformed into a lodging establishment with a restaurant, bars, and a movie theater.

Can you dine at McMenamins Kennedy School?

Yes, McMenamins Kennedy School offers several dining options, including a restaurant that serves pub fare, as well as bars and a brewery that offer a selection of drinks and snacks.

Is there entertainment available at McMenamins Kennedy School?

Yes, guests can enjoy a movie theater on-site, live music events, and soaking in a heated saltwater pool, among other entertainment options.

What types of rooms are available at McMenamins Kennedy School?

McMenamins Kennedy School offers a range of rooms and suites, many of which are uniquely themed to reflect the building's history as a school, with modern amenities for a comfortable stay.

How can I book a room at McMenamins Kennedy School?

Rooms at McMenamins Kennedy School can be booked through their official website, over the phone, or through various hotel booking platforms.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps