Neighborhood We Love: Hollywood

Image courtesy Hollywood Theatre

Did you know that this Northeast neighborhood was originally called Hollyrood? Named after Holyrood, an area in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hollywood permanently changed its name in 1926, which was the same year the ornately facaded Hollywood Theatre opened. Today, Hollywood is one of Portland’s smallest neighborhoods, clocking in at .18 square-mile. But while it’s compact, Hollywood still retains the classic character and charm of historic Portland, but with modern-day conveniences. It’s also that perfect mix of residential and commercial, making it a great place for families to live, play, shop and eat. Housing is likewise diverse, from shiny new apartment complexes and low-rise walk-ups to quintessential bungalows and immaculate Craftsman homes. 

What Neighbors Say

Image courtesy Jason Lesh

Being in a small neighborhood has its benefits, says longtime resident Jason Lesh, who has lived there with his wife and two teen sons since 2010. “It’s a front-porch neighborhood,” he says. “On our block we have families that have moved here from all over, so it’s nice to have different perspectives and backgrounds. But we all value the same thing: good relationships.” And while Hollywood has grown over the years, Lesh says it still offers everything they need. The Leshs can easily walk to the Hollywood Farmers Market, which runs year-round. They also frequent the Hollywood Library. Sometimes those comforts come with a price, though. Lesh says in the decade-plus his family has lived there, home prices in the neighborhood (like much of Portland) have tripled. And traffic on Sandy Boulevard, one of Hollywood’s main thoroughfares, has increased. “It’s like a highway and not a through street.”

Eat Here

If you’re looking for Northern Chinese cuisine, Hollywood boasts not one, but two, such restaurants. Chin’s Kitchen is one of Portland’s oldest Chinese restaurants and is renowned for its house made dumplings and freshly pulled noodles. Shandong serves up traditional dishes, standout soups and also has vegan options. Introduce the kids to tasty Indonesian dishes at Gado Gado. They’ll love the flaky roti paratha! For artisan breads and pastries, visit Fleur De Lis Bakery & Cafe. This French-inspired bakery serves all your baked favorites as well as breakfast and lunch sandwiches, omelettes and quiches. Satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth with a trip to Doe Donuts (pictured above). This women-owned shop is known for its colorful, inventive vegan doughnuts — plus, ice cream. The Birthday Cake with cotton candy sprinkles is a hit with kids, but don’t be afraid to try Doe’s creative rotating monthly flavors; they are all winners. 

Play Here

Photo courtesy Wedgehead

While Hollywood residents can enjoy the sprawling greenery of the adjacent Grant Park, sometimes playtime adventures require indoor spaces. (Hello rainy days!) Don’t miss the aptly named The Wiggle Room. Jessica and Chris Wade opened the 2,000 square-foot space for kids to play and socialize — now even more important in our COVID world. The Wiggle Room features a — regularly-cleaned — padded floor and a 16-foot by 20-foot play structure. Another bonus: The Wiggle Room offers snacks for the littles and coffee, beer and wine for the grown-ups. For older kids and budding gamers, Wedgehead has all your arcade needs. For $10, play unlimited pinball at 25 machines of all different genres, including super heroes, aliens, villains and more. Plus, the arcade serves up a solid menu of delicious burgers. For some supreme browsing, head to Antique Alley. This thrifting oasis is located downstairs in the Hollywood 42nd Street Station. Wander through a maze of booths filled with toys, clothes, glassware and ephemera. Continue the history trip by stepping inside the classic Hollywood Theatre, a Northeast Portland icon for 95 years. (In 1983 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently undergoing renovation.) The theater features diverse programming — such as Kung Fu throwbacks and family-friendly vintage animation — and families can enjoy matinee tickets for $4 for children 12 and under and $7 for adults. 

To read about more fun neighborhoods like this one, check out the rest of our Neighborhood Guide.

Tiffany Hill
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