Portland's Best Neon Signs

While Las Vegas may be the world's capitol for bright and over the top neon wonders, Portland certainly has its fair share of glorious signage worthy of excellence. I've always had a soft spot for big and bold neon signs. There is just nothing subtle about it and it doesn't hide its intention of grabbing your business by any means necessary. 

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Palms Motor Hotel

PalmsMotorHotel

I don't think there is a single person living in Portland who is not familiar with the neon sign for the Palms Motor Hotel. This photograph does not do justice to its massive scale along Interstate Avenue. 

This sign has it all. Giant glowing arrow pointing travelings into the hotel parking lot. Check! Green palm trees rising up into the starry night. Got it! A subtle reminder of the free television that awaits you in your room. Of Course!  Oh, and naturally a neon monkey just for good measure. Does it get any better?

Portland Outdoor Store

Portland Outdoor Store

This is one of those neon signs that I am shocked still exists. It's located in the heart of downtown Portland and rises nearly three stories above a local store carrying outdoor clothing, camping gear, etc. My favorite aspect of this sign is the rodeo cowboy riding horse back up in the corner. Whenever I see it I feel like I've been transported to the south west of the United States. Arizona here I come!! 

Laurelhurst Theater

Laurelhurst Theater

If you are a movie buff like I am living in the Rose City then the Laurelhurst Theater is probably your home away from home. This is not one of those movie theaters where you are going to find reclining seats or massive IMAX screens. No, this is a softer and more pure movie going experience (with a much lower ticket price to match). 

The massive neon marque is an instant throwback to this theater's more humble roots. For less than ten bucks patrons can experience a great film along with a popcorn and even a pint of beer. Just ignore the rips in the seats. I mean, once the lights go down and the movie starts does it really matter all that much?

Avalon Arcade

Avalon Arcade

In Portland, everything retro is still as cool as the day it was introduced. Nothing is more true than this old school arcade where high scores are still king. The lights of the giant Avalon neon sign tend to give the streets below along Belmont Avenue a slight purple tinge, hinting at the futuristic world that awaits you within. 

The Alibi Tiki Lounge 

The Alibi Tiki Lounge

Tiki bars may have lost a little bit of their luster in recent years, but if you hang out at the Alibi on any given night you'd never know it. I mean, I personally can't think of anywhere in town where one can buy drinks quite as outlandish and sing karaoke quite as loudly as you can at the Alibi.  

This has got to be one of the most active neon signs of all time. It's tough to tell on a static image but just about every aspect of this sign blinks, flashes, and shifts through a variety of colors and imagery.  

Andrew Kaiser

My name is Andrew Kaiser, welcome to my site! I have a passion for making images wherever and whenever I can. I seek to capture humanity and the world around me with a focus on the figure. Film, digital, pinhole, and instant photography are all fair game for me.


I grew up in the California Bay Area and started taking photography seriously in High School. I was one of the lucky few who had a chance to go to a high school with a working darkroom and a teacher who understood that making images was an art form – care and patience was a necessity in the image making process from start to finish.


Later in life I attended the University of California in Santa Cruz where I received a Bachelors Degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture. After having my fill of the California sunshine I packed up my life and moved to the Pacific Northwest. I quickly found the overcast skies, lush forests, cooler temperatures, and creative communities to be a perfect match for my work.


Over the years I have exhibited my photographs in several galleries and art shows including the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and Cascade AIDS Project. I’ve published a few books and taught workshops up and down the west coast of the United States. Through this site I’m hoping to share my work and perhaps inspire others along the way.