Long before the Pearl District became a thing, the historic Alphabet District, specifically Northwest 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 Medical Center. Roughly bound by Northwest 25th 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 more than 80 miles of trails and forest roads for hiking, biking and running. Couch Park on Northwest Glisan Street and Wallace Park on Northwest 25th Avenue and Raleigh Street (next to Chapman Elementary) 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.
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 [and] walkability for parks, restaurants, and even the doctor and dentist.” The one neighborhood con, she says: parking.
$568,000 Median home value
$2,796 Average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
Sources: realtor.com and Zillow
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