Elaborate costumes. Thoughtfully designed sets. Powerful performances. An immersive story that transports audiences to another time, place or world. It’s easy to see why a night spent at the theater is a memorable affair.
Some of the best places in Oregon for a dramatic evening are the theaters of Washington County. Just west of Portland, the region enjoys a booming performing arts scene. Exceptional restaurants, eateries and bars set the scene for an unforgettable date night. Here are four ways to plan for an evening of cultural immersion.
Global Acts and International Flavors in Beaverton
As the newest addition to the Washington County theater scene, the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Hillsboro is making a splash with an inaugural season that showcases international talent. The 2022-23 lineup brings diversity to the stage in a big way, with performers coming from as far away as Ukraine, Afghanistan and Morocco. Highlights include Gina Chavez, a Latin Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter, and “Cenicienta: A Bilingual Cinderella Story,” a kid-friendly show for those ages 5+.
Just down the road is Beaverton’s Restaurant Row, where theatergoers can continue the evening’s multicultural theme with culinary options that span the globe. You can choose from authentic Japanese ramen at Afuri Izakaya, tasty gyros and falafel from UR Mediterranean Restaurant, or classic Korean dishes from Nak Won.
Hopeful Musicals and Hoppy Brews in Tualatin
Optimism is in the air at Broadway Rose Theatre Company, which has earned national recognition while bringing memorable musicals to Tigard for 32 years. Its 2023 season includes six stories of hope and perseverance, featuring characters like a wrongly imprisoned dreamer and a legendary jazz musician.
Before or after the show, grab a pint and a bite at some of the region’s tastiest craft brewpubs. Tigard Taphouse has 26 rotating taps and delicious sticky-pork lettuce wraps. Or try the schnitzel sandwich from Cooper Mountain Ale Works, and check out its steady lineup of live music.
Deep Stories Over a Storied Meal in Hillsboro
The stories brought to life by Bag&Baggage Productions in Hillsboro are specifically chosen for their deep, transformative quality. These character-driven productions invite the audience to explore our shared humanity, unpack the stories we carry with us and leave the theater with a different perspective. For example, in March theatergoers can grapple with the story of an inmate on death row and the family being left behind in “Apples in Winter.”
You’re sure to have a lot to talk about after the show, so head over to Amelia’s Rustic Mexican Restaurant for a margarita and some tacos. Through its rustic recipes and flavorful dishes, the restaurant tells the story of Mexico’s Mayans’ roots. Traditional dishes include cochinita pibil, pork slow-roasted using Mayan spices; and bistec arriero, a flat-iron steak with pasilla peppers and chile relleno.
See — and Taste — Something New in Beaverton
If you’re up for something a bit different, check out what’s on deck at Beaverton-based Experience Theatre Project, a performing company known for breaking the fourth wall and inviting ticket holders into the fun. A performance might, for example, ask the audience to take a seat at a bar in 1904 Paris where the show takes place around you. In early 2023, theatergoers can experience a “murder-mystery comedy thriller” in “Clue: Onstage.” While the theater company doesn’t have a permanent venue, many shows have been held at the Beaverton Masonic Lodge.
Find pre-dinner eats or a post-dinner late-night snack at BG Food Cartel, where you can play into the evening’s unique vibes with an inventive cocktail at the Speakeasy Bar. Choose from a wide variety of food offerings from more than 30 local food trucks, such as vegan dishes from The Mocking Bird, seafood from Kracked Crab and Cajun favorites from Le Bistro Montage Ala Cart. There’s ample indoor and outdoor seating year-round.
If You Go:
While many of these theaters are accessible via the MAX blue and red lines, consider extending your date with a stay at the region’s exceptional lodging options. The stunning Hyatt House in downtown Beaverton offers ample amenities and easy access to trendy dining and shopping options — plus, their dog-friendly rooms mean you can bring your fur family along.
Pack your swimsuit for your stay at the AC Hotel, a Beaverton hotel with a chic, modern feel designed to elevate your getaway. Next door, sustainability and healthful amenities are the focus of Element, which features on-site workout facilities, in-room kitchens and complimentary healthy breakfast. Even better? Each hotel puts you in a prime location to spend the following day exploring Oregon’s exceptional wineries.