Portland goes by many names: Stumptown, Bridge City, Rip City. But one of the prettiest nicknames is the City of Roses. (It’s also the city’s official nickname.) Often shortened to Rose City, Portland got its sweet moniker with the founding of the Portland Rose Society in 1889. Soon after, Portlanders were fixated on filling their gardens with the thorny bush. By 1905, during the Lewis and Clark centennial celebration, there were more than 200 miles of rose-lined streets and sidewalks. Two years later, in 1907, the city hosted the first Rose Festival. Portland officially became the City of Roses.
The neighborhood of Rose City Park was incorporated the same year as the inaugural Rose Festival. Today, this Northeast neighborhood comprises a diverse mix of established Portland, with gentrified updates and hip eateries. It’s also family- and dog-friendly with outdoor spaces, parks and shopping. And neighbors are often able to find lower home prices in Rose City Park, compared to in the adjacent neighborhoods of Hollywood and Beaumont.
What Neighbors Say
With three kids under 8, it was important for the Cowdins to live close to a park. “We loved the idea of living only a block off the park for our kiddos to play,” says Akasha Cowdin. She and her husband, Luke Cowdin, have three daughters: Holden, age 7, Elliot, age 4 and Louise, age 2.
The Cowdins moved to Rose City Park in 2014 and appreciate the tight-knit community in the neighborhood. “We are close to those around us. We check in on each other,” says Akasha. “We help out. We pick up trash or items on the street. We offer to water gardens, watch pets, pick up mail. It’s a community feel.”
Families also love the neighborhood elementary school. “We have loved the community and energy the teachers, administration, parents and kids bring to the neighborhood,” says Akasha, adding that the convenience and comfort of walking with the kids to and from school is a great perk.
“The number of families with young kiddos (living here) has increased exponentially,” she adds.
In addition to the nearby park, the Cowdins head to The Wiggle Room to get out their energy (especially when it’s cold and rainy out!). For food, Cha Ba Thai and the Barley Pod food cart park are their go-to family eateries.
Rose City Park is home to some iconic Portland eateries. Looking for a good steakhouse that’s family friendly? Visit Clyde’s Prime Rib. Here you’ll not only find the namesake cut of meat, but a kids’ menu with favorites like mac and cheese, a cheeseburger and fried chicken. They also have regular live music on the indoor stage — with room to dance — and an outdoor patio. Another family favorite is Laurelwood Brewing Co. One look at the menu — which says, “Order your kid’s meal early … and we’ll get the kids fed first!” and you know this place is kid-oriented! Kid-approved meals include a corn dog, cheeseburger, grilled cheese and chicken tenders. But there’s also a delicious lineup of food made with locally sourced ingredients for adults, and your favorite brews. If you’re a family that can never agree where to go out to eat, the Rose City Food Park (pictured above) is for you. This is one of Portland’s longest running food cart pods, and features tasty eats like pizza, BBQ, sandwiches, vegan Mexican street food and more. And for the grown-ups, there’s also a beer garden with beer and ciders on draft.
Kids love exploring Normandale Park. In addition to the requisite park features, including a playground (that’s also accessible), picnic areas, sports field and courts, and a fence off-leash dog park, Normandale is also home to the Erv Lind Stadium, first built in 1948. The neighborhood boundary also includes a section of the sprawling Rose City Park. This 24-acre park has lots of play and sports surfaces and structures. It also boasts an impressive number of conifers, pines and a Douglas fir grove, all perfect for walking or picnicking under. Don’t miss the beautiful Rose City Golf Club. It’s the second oldest municipal course in Oregon. Neighbors also enjoy the opportunity to grow veggies in the community garden at Frazer Park. For indoor soccer fun, don’t miss the eastside location of Rose City Futsal (pictured above). You’ll see plenty of youth practicing here for a number of teams. And if you’ve got graphic novel readers in the family, a visit to Cosmic Monkey Comics is a must-do. (It’s also a top five winner for PDX Parent Reader Favorites for Best Comic Book Shop.)
$670,000: Median home price
$1,650: Average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
To read about more fun neighborhoods like this one, check out the rest of our Neighborhood Guide.
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