Long before the Pearl District became a thing, the Historic Alphabet District, specifically NW 23rd Avenue and its adjacent streets, was the city’s go-to upscale shopping and dining destination. And it still shines on those fronts. Locals also praise the area’s gorgeous vintage buildings, prime walkability, and easy MAX and bus access. The neighborhood, also called the Northwest District, offers great parks, schools, grocery stores, and other amenities, including Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital. Roughly bound by NW 25th Avenue and 16th Avenues and West Burnside Street, the Alphabet District is adjacent to the Pearl District to the east, downtown to the southeast, and the vast, wooded playground that is Forest Park to the west, putting residents in the heart of what makes Portland tick.
The Alphabet District is just a few blocks from the base of 5,200-acre Forest Park, the country’s largest urban forest, which boasts over 80 miles of trails and forest roads for hiking, biking and running. Couch Park on NW Glisan Street and Wallace Park on NW 25th Avenue and NW Raleigh Street (next to Chapman School), both offer playgrounds, sport courts and fields, and dog parks.
The Alphabet District offers everything from the upscale Ringside, a steakhouse with impeccable onion rings and killer filet mignon, to the quintessential pizza joint for ready-to-eat slices, Escape From New York Pizza. Other favorites include Kornblatt’s Deli for bagels and sandwiches and Santa Fe Taqueria for burritos and tacos, where kids eat free every Wednesday from 5 pm-6 pm.
Parents in the Alphabet District love being close to the library, parks, stores, downtown, and restaurants. Sophie Fauveau, originally from France, has lived in the area since 2000 and is the mom of two 10-year-olds and an 8-year-old. She loves that her kids can play right on the sidewalk among the bustling life of the city: “I like the European feel of the neighborhood and that walking to the store and lugging back our groceries is normal for my kids.” Another perk: “We almost never use our car.” Anna Dvortcsak, a mother of twin 10-year-olds, also praises the neighborhood’s vibe: “We love the proximity to school, walkability for parks, restaurants, and even the doctor and dentist.” The one neighborhood con, she says: parking.
$480,000 Median price of homes sold
$568,000 Median home value
$3,000-ish Median rent
The MAX, bus and walking are all easy here, while great bike lanes and flat streets make biking a breeze. The trip into downtown proper via bus or MAX from NW Marshall Street and NW 23rd Avenue takes about 26 minutes.
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