Choosing a Portland Neighborhood: A Mom’s Guide to Northwest


Looking for a great place to raise your sweet babies? Portland has no shortage of great neighborhoods, but I’m partial to Northwest Portland. I’ve been in the heart of NW for eleven years and I’m in love! Northwest Portland is perfectly walkable, and has access to great shopping, top notch hiking and wilderness, as well as fantastic food. This super family-friendly neighborhood has everything you could possibly want out of a city experience, including access to Portland’s crown jewel, Forest Park, while still boasting a strong residential, neighborhood feel. 

Portland’s neighborhoods all have names that do nothing to help you locate them geographically, but are steeped in history. My neighborhood, close in Northwest, is known alternately as Slabtown, Nob Hill, and the Alphabet District. Depending on who you ask, each of these have different boundaries. To avoid pretension (and confusion), my family calls it Northwest Portland and defines it’s boundaries by by the West Hills and Forest Park, The Pearl District, the Industrial District, and Burnside.

northwest portland

Schools (Hint: They’re good, great even):

 My Family’s Favorite Northwest Portland Eats & Sweets:

  • St. Honore Boulangerie
    Pro tip: A bag of 13 chouquettes (delightful airy, lightly sweet treats) costs only $4.50
  • Pepino’s
    Kids eat free on Tuesdays
  • Bamboo Sushi
    The best sushi in Portland, in my opinion. Also, excellent cocktails! Don’t overlook the fact that kids can pack away a lot of white rice, edamame, and California rolls while you dine on some of the best fish money can buy
  • Justa Pasta
    Handmade pasta. It’s hard to beat buttered noodles if you’re in the under ten set
  • Escape From New York Pizza
    A long time Portland institution
  • Salt and Straw
    Pro tip: buy a pint and skip the line. Bring your own cones or just a spoon and enjoy!
  • Ben & Jerry’s
    Because you can’t really have too much ice-cream
  • St. Cupcake and Poplandia
    Pro tip: Dots are mini cupcakes and just as satisfying. DO NOT miss the salted caramel popcorn!northwest portland

Play Time (Inside & Out because sometimes it rains and sometimes it doesn’t):

Amenities (you know, because . . . life): 

  • Fred Meyernorthwest portland
  • Trader Joe’s
  • New Seasons
  • Food Front Co-Op
  • Pharmaca 
  • Ace Hardware
  • Loads of adorable boutique shopping

Healthcare (sometimes there’s a broken bone or vomiting):

  • Legacy Health Good Samaritan Hospital
  • ZoomCare
  • Multiple pediatricians including Pediatric Associates of the NW and Metro Pediatrics

What is your favorite thing about Northwest Portland neighborhoods?