Portland’s Northeast district is really big, although the majority of it is residential and therefore not really of interest to visitors. Even some of these residential areas, however, have their own central areas and main streets which often have neighborhood restaurants and shops – so if you happen to find yourself in one of the Northeast neighborhoods you may be pleasantly surprised.
Northeast is on the east side of the Willamette River, and its southern border begins at Burnside. The river makes a bend toward the northwest right about where Northeast Portland starts, so instead of the river being the western border it’s Williams Ave. which is the western edge of the district. Much of the northern and eastern borders of Northeast Portland are actually the Columbia River, which also serves as the dividing line between Oregon and Washington State.
While Portland in general isn’t known for its high levels of diversity, Northeast Portland is one of the more diverse neighborhoods in the city – relatively speaking. Some of the mini-neighborhoods within the district contain classic, old, mansion-like Portland homes (all of which come with huge price tags), while others have low-income housing. In some parts of Northeast you’ll find popular shopping and dining areas, and in others you’ll find only residential areas. Some of the mini-neighborhoods within Northeast which you may visit or hear about are:
- Eliot – With some of the best restaurants and coffee shops in the city, it’s a great place to wander around.
- Lloyd District – Home to the Lloyd Center shopping mall and cinemas, this is part of the Fareless Square on Portland’s public transportation and so easily accessible from downtown Portland.
- Rose Quarter – This isn’t really a district, per se, so much as it’s a complex of buildings which are home to Portland’s professional basketball team, the Trail Blazers, and some of the other sports teams we have here. The buildings in the Rose Quarter include the Rose Garden Arena (which is where the Blazers play and where you’ll also see major concert tours) and Memorial Coliseum (where the hockey team sometimes plays and where some smaller concerts are held).
- Alberta Street – There’s quite an arts scene around Alberta, and many artists and musicians live around here as well. Similar to First Thursday, on the last Thursday of each month, the art galleries and studios stay open later into the evening and welcome people in to celebrate art. You can find out more about Last Thursday here. Each September there’s the Alberta Street Fair with live music, arts & crafts and food – and even a parade.
- Hollywood – This area is connected via the MAX Light Rail line, and has some nice shops and restaurants, as well as the theatre which gives the district its name. The Hollywood Theatre was built in the 1920s and serves as the neighborhood’s historic center.
- Irvington & Alameda – These are principally residential areas, and contain some of the oldest homes in Portland.
- Laurelhurst – This is also primarily residential, although there’s a big park bearing the same name as the neighborhood which is popular with people from all over in Northeast Portland, and there’s a gilded statue of Joan of Arc at the center of Laurelhurst – just in case you’re a big Joan of Arc fan. You’ll know when you’re entering Laurelhurst because there are big stone columns on either side of the street entrances.