Rediscover Faith and Artistry at Portland’s Historic Church Gem

The Old Church

In a city like Portland that’s saturated with concert and event venues, you need to do something special to stand out from the crowd—cue the Old Church Concert Hall.

live performance
Live music, The Old Church Concert Hall Google Local

In downtown Portland, on the corner of SW 11th and Clay sits a Carpenter Gothic style church built in 1882. It‘s one of the older structures in town, but in 1965 was put up for sale as it was no longer being used for religious services. For three years it sat vacant and was actually set to be demolished when a non-profit called The Old Church group raised enough money to purchase it in 1969 for $95,000. Led by local actress, Lannie Hurst, the group envisioned the church as becoming a space for a broad array of artistic and cultural performances for the community, and it has truly lived up to that vision! The church was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, further ensuring its longevity for years to come.

stained glass
stained glass, Chris Nanoski Google Local

Now, 54 years later, The Old Church (often referred to as TOC) has become a sought-after venue for both national and international acts ranging from folk, classical, gospel, world, jazz, to alternative, as well as showcasing films, storytellers, and lecture series. You can also rent the venue for private events like weddings or fundraisers. 

outdoor concert
outdoor show, The Old Church Concert Hall Google Local

In addition to hosting touring acts, TOC hosts regular events like their free lunchtime classical concerts offered the third Wednesday of each month, their Moon Series that occur on the full and new moons that merge visuals, sounds, and rituals for intentional healing, and the We Can Listen events that explore social, political, and environmental topics of the day. In recent years they’ve also begun recording and simulcasting these shows so you can watch from the comfort of your own home, and they put out a Spotify and Tidal playlist so you can check out the past and future performers that grace the stage.

candlelit concert
candlelit show, Ellen Kruger Google Local

The church still uses church pews for the audience and can comfortably seat 300 people. Patrons say there’s not a bad seat in the house, and the intimacy of the space really lets you connect with the performers in a way larger venues just can’t do. As a church, it goes without saying that there are incredible acoustics; plus, it’s recently been renovated to include a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. There’s also a pipe organ dating back to 1883 (a Hook and Hastings tracker action pipe organ, for those organ nerds out there) that you can still hear played live as it fills the entire building with a heavenly, reverberating sound. 

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wedding, Stunning Portrait Photography Google Local

Before each performance you can hit up their small cafe that sells coffee, snacks, beer and wine before the show starts (concert goers often get a kick out of having a beer in church!). And, if you have a wedding or event here, you also get access to their beautiful reception space and vintage parlor. 

reception area
reception area, The Old Church Concert Hall Google Local

You’d be hard pressed to find a more unique or intimate venue in town, and with easy access to downtown by bus, MAX, or streetcar there’s no reason not to check out a show here!

Address: 1422 SW 11TH Ave. Portland

Phone: (503) 222-2031

Email: [email protected]