If you spent your elementary school years dreaming about skipping class so that you could spend your days drinking milkshakes and lounging in a toasty swimming pool, a visit to Portland’s McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel is an absolute must. In 1997, Portland’s McMenamin brothers renovated a derelict elementary school building which was originally built in 1915 and converted it into one of the hippest hotels in the United States.
The Kennedy School Hotel features original artwork, multiple bars which serve craft beer and cocktails, and an outstanding restaurant which is located in the Kennedy School’s former cafeteria. Though certain aspects of the architecture of the converted school cafeteria may bring back memories of dry, square slices of pizza and rubbery nachos—the perfectly prepared pub food will remind you that you’re not in 6th grade anymore.
Guests of the Kennedy School Hotel are encouraged to load up on whiskey at the Detention Bar and stumble over to the well-heated pool in the former teacher’s lounge. The Kennedy School features 57 guest rooms—many of which feature artifacts from former classrooms, including several chalkboards. The Kennedy School also features a theater which hosts themed events, such as an 80s prom night where revealers can tease their hair, wear flashy neon, and dance the night away like it’s 1982.
Spending the weekend wandering the halls of the Kennedy School Hotel is oddly comforting. An ultrahip converted elementary school hotel is the ideal place to live out all of your most seemingly far-fetched childhood dreams—such as drinking adult beverages in your school’s boiler room—without getting sent to the principal’s office. There’s even a brewery in the former girl’s bathroom.
Every corner of the Kennedy School Hotel features a nostalgic nook adorned with something quirky, curious, and exciting. You’ll leave wishing that your elementary school was as cool.