Northwest District in Portland, Oregon
The Northwest District in Portland infuses classes across the spectrum, offering upscale boutiques with high price tags as well as coffee houses that those with small incomes flock to for cheap coffee and priceless settings. Though some areas of this neighborhood can come off as very uppity, don't be fooled. I had the pleasure of meeting some very laid back employees at local businesses in the Northwest District, as well as some locals who live in the beautifully built homes of the neighborhood. In an attempt to put the Northwest District into a nutshell, I would say the neighborhood is trendy, alive and busy with locals and visitors alike.
The neighborhood is located to the west of the Pearl District and I-405, north of Goose Hollow, east of Hillside and Forest Park and south of the Willamette River. The location is partially why rent is so expensive around here. There is so much to do in the close proximity of downtown, Portland. And though transportation is so convenient in the area, locals have hardly any need to travel because there is so much going on within the neighborhood. The neighborhood is largely residential but NW 23rd and 21st have many boutiques, restaurants, coffee houses and bars that locals and visitors fill daily.
Stella’s on 21st
Walking along NW 21st Avenue past Johnson, Kearney and Lovejoy the shops are somewhat quiet in appearance, and then along
Marshall there is a boutique called Stella’s that has an exterior painted in radiant yellows and purples, and an interior with an even brighter personality. The shop sells fun gifts, and it’s an adventure just walking around looking and reading the quirky items. The store presents the work of local northwest artists, and gives a glimpse into the life of the Northwest District. Robyn has owned Stella’s for ten years and lives in the Pearl District. She said that the area has a very locally friendly vibe, and she is familiar with most of the clientele. Robyn enjoys working on NW 21st, and says it has a little different vibe than NW 23rd that attracts a different group of people.
Sterling Coffee Roasters
Walking along NW Glisan between 21st and 22nd, I found this coffee joint tucked into a corner next to a flower shop. I knew it had to be worth checking out, because of the old-fashioned set up and attire of the kind coffee experts working behind the counter. Malori and Cameron were able to enlighten me with some coffee knowledge, as well as providing a short video interview. Malori talks a little bit about the neighborhood and the people that come to Sterling in the video, while sharing her love for the area. If you are at all interested in deliciously brewed coffee and espresso, wonderful people who know a good cup of coffee from a bad one, and good conversation then go to Sterling Coffee Roasters located at 2120 NW Glisan St.
No lack of parks
Forest Park is a popular destination for visitors and locals who enjoy a good hike. The Park is 5,158 acres… That’s pretty big for within a city, wouldn’t you say? That’s why Portlanders love where they live; the city is half urban half wildlife. There is a 30-mile trail in the park that links to the region’s 40-mile loop system. There is also a popular hike that is five miles round trip, starting in lower Macleay Park through Forest Park and up to Pittock Mansion. At Pittock Mansion there is a great view of Portland in all its glory, with bridges, buildings, breweries and all.
Another popular park in the Northwest District is Couch Park located on NW 19th and Glisan St. The park gives local dogs a place to run free in the park’s off leash area, and there are paths filling the park’s landscape. The neighborhood isn’t all upscale shopping and night life, there are places like Couch Park to relax and play in.
Wallace Park is located on NW 25th and Raleigh St. The park offers fields for soccer and softball, a tennis court, walking paths, a play area, and picnic area.
The schools that children who live in the area attend are Chapman Elementary, Metropolitan Learning Center, West Sylvan Middle and Lincoln High School. The Linfield College Portland campus is also located in the Northwest District.
Northwest District Feel
The neighborhood is known to some as “Nob Hill,” or the Historic Alphabet District as each of the street names are ordered in an alphabetical progression. NW 23rd is usually very busy during the day time, weekends and nights. One of the cons for locals is the sometimes difficult parking, since the area is so populated. But the beautifully crafted homes and the thriving businesses and restaurants are appealing enough, I would say living here is worth an extra couple minutes of finding a place to park.
There are many large, stately, Victorian homes in the area that are home to families, landlords who rent out rooms, and friends who are in a communal living situation. There are a lot of houses, apartment buildings and old hotels in the neighborhood that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of them is The Campbell, an old residential hotel built in 1912 but are now upscale condos, with McMenamin’s Rams Head below. The homes are built on the foundation of Portland history, and it’s evident through the Old Portland architecture.
The Northwest District is a place for families, retired persons, singles and whoever else. There is an option for everyone, despite its intimidating high end retailers and colossal-sized homes. There are plenty of apartment options in the area, and the location determines the price. Happy home hunting!