Hip and funky meet slick and polished. NW 23rd and 21st are the main retail streets for this very fashionable neighborhood. Both streets start at Burnside ST and run North to about Thurman ST through what we call Alphabet City (Burnside, Couch, Davis, Everett and so on). This neighborhood sits with good company. To the West and Southwest, you will find the West Hills communities of Council Crest, Healey Heights, King’s Heights and Hillside, where some of Portland’s most expensive and spectacular homes can be found. Also to the West, you will find Portland’s Forest Park and the Wildwood (hiking) Trail. To the East and Southeast are the Pearl District and Downtown.
As a retail magnet, NW 23rd pulls patrons not only from its own neighborhood but from all over the city. The downtown streetcar line makes this area easily accessible to visitors from the South Waterfront area, the Pearl District and Downtown. The lively atmosphere, gourmet restaurants and unique shopping draw people all day long just about 7 days a week. It’s a great place to go and hang out.
Both 21st and 23rd are great streets for walking. Find a parking spot and stroll the length of the retail strip for great shopping and people watching. From Burnside to about Thurman, you will find a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, coffee and tea houses. Mixed in is an equally wide variety of salons, clothing boutiques and home furnishing stores. I think that the retail strip is a successful fusion of unique locally owned businesses and polished chain stores. Think William Sonoma and a used book store, or a local clothing designer and Urban Outfitters.
A favorite spot in this area is the Blue Moon pub on the corner of NW 21st and Glisan. Outdoor seating, locally brewed beer and a laid back atmosphere make this pub a favorite for good food and people watching. Across Glisan Street from the Blue Moon is The Brazen Bean (2075 NW Glisan, 503-294-0636), a martini and cigar bar situated in an old Victorian House. They have a great happy hour (M-Sa from 6-8) that offers discounts on their specialty martinis. If you can’t handle the smoke (only allowed in Oregon until January 1st, 2009), try Bartini for a similar fare. It’s located on Glisan a half block due West. For upscale dining, try 23Hoyt (503-445-7400). Located on the corner of 23rd and Hoyt, this stylish gourmet restaurant has a super menu that changes seasonally. Finding parking can be tricky in this area, so take advantage of their free valet parking. The Laurelwood NW Public House and Brewery (2327 NW Kearney, 503-228-5553) is a kid friendly pub with an upstairs play area. The Laurelwood offers their own organically certified beers and ales. For grocery shopping you have your choice of the big Fred Meyer (NW Burnside at 20th Place), Trader Joes (2122 NW Glisan), or Zupan’s, with its great gourmet deli and wine selection (Burnside at 23rd).
The French Quarter