Choosing a Portland City Neighborhood: A Mom’s Guide to Northeast Portland


Northeast Portland is a wonderful place to live. Diverse and ever changing, this neighborhood is a hotbed of new restaurants, bars, community events, and family friendly activities. With parks for rose lovers, dog lovers, and nature lovers, we’ve got a park for everyone! There are bountiful places to grab a bite, a renowned avenue for art, and a sparkling new elementary school. Come to NE Portland and take a peek into our evolving world!

northeast portland

Our Northeast Portland neighborhood is brimming with young families, new home owners, and an energy all its own. We’ve got a ton of bus access as well as the MAX, and downtown Portland is only fifteen minutes away. I’ve lived here for the last four years and am amazed at the amount of young kids I see on the sidewalks with chalk and balance bikes. We’re cozied right up next to Woodlawn park with a playground and community garden just a two-minute walk away. As a new mom, Northeast Portland is my favorite little neighborhood nook.

The Schools

If you have elementary-aged children, Northeast Portland is a wonderful neighborhood for education. Not only do we have unique public schools, we also have a wide range of private options that gives every kid a chance at the curriculum and environment that suits their individual needs. Public schools include Alameda Elementary serving K – 5th with a focus on arts integration and technology, Faubion Elementary is K – 8th with a brand new building and a gorgeous state-of-the-art playground, and Rigler Elementary serves K – 5th with a lauded two-way Spanish immersion program.

There are many private options, but Shining Star Waldorf School (1st – 8th) has a curriculum focused around the ‘whole child’ approach and integration of nature-infused education, and St. Therese Elementary serving K – 8th brings a Catholic focus to community integration in education.

The Parks

northeast portland

Woodlawn Park includes a modest splash pad, a playground, and big open green spaces. K(h)unamokwst Park came into being in 2015 and is absolutely gorgeous, has a big field, skate park, splash pad, and playground that will make your kiddos’ jaws drop. Tucked away, it’s not a well-known destination and doesn’t get terribly crowded. Peninsula Park is for the rose-lovers with a gigantic fountain and the sweet-smelling blooms cascading  away in a wonderland-esque pattern of tiny hedge mazes. 

As for the dog parks, Fernhill Off-Leash Area is a puppy playground with big trees, hills, and squirrels for days. Alberta Off-Leash Area is slightly smaller but well-loved in its community with good shade, a wood-chipped area, and no busy streets to worry about. Normandale boasts a dog park with three separate areas for big, medium, and small dogs. Choose your own adventure!

Dining and Date Nights

You can’t go wrong with food in Portland. If there is something I can say with any certainty, it’s that the neighborhoods are each overflowing with incredible options. Some of our favorites include:

  • Laurelhurst Market: For delicious sandwiches during the day, perfect cuts of meat from the butcher shop to take home, or a truly spectacular evening dining experience if you want to really treat yourself.
  • Tamale Boy: From food truck to brick and mortar, this Mexican gem serves lunch and dinner with a big, beautiful patio.
  • Tough Luck: Brand new with a patio that welcomes kids (until 9 p.m.) and dogs, the margarita shouldn’t be missed and the food is eclectic!
  • Hale Pele: Fire, rainstorms, volcanoes, and a whole lot of coconut cream. Take a temporary vacation into tiki paradise with this fun and phenomenal little bar.
  • Podnah’s Pit: A barbecue joint with some serious street cred. Well-loved within the neighborhood and without, these smoky treats will melt in your mouth and get your hands extremely sticky.
  • Pizza Jerk:  Best pizza to hit Northeast Portland since forever.
  • Freehouse: Cutest darn neighborhood pub out there. Chill vibe, nice patio, and great staff, they allow minors until 9 p.m.
  • Breakside Brewery: Award-winning beer, pub grub, and a ton of neighborhood cheer.
  • Bamboo Sushi: The sushi is soooo good.
  • Frank’s Noodle House: These homemade noodles are not to be missed!

 Additional Amenities

There are thirteen community gardens in Northeast Portland. Not only are they a beautiful addition to any neighborhood but they’re great fun to take show your kids how to tend a plot! Northeast Portland is also home to the Alberta Arts District which is a street of galleries, restaurants, nightlife, and street fairs. You can spend an entire day just wandering into and out of little shops along the avenue. We are also deeply involved in Sunday Parkways which is an annual set of weekends where you can bike, run, or walk from park-to-park with the help of friendly traffic police keeping the route safe for you and your little ones. The parks connected include those highlighted: Alberta, Fernhill, K(h)unamokwst, and Woodlawn. We also just got our own little Woodlawn Farmer’s Market on Dekum!

If you’re looking for a neighborhood with charm, community, nature, and character, then Northeast Portland is it!

Northeast Portland Mommas, where are your favorite local activities/places?

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Autumn is a Pacific Northwest native, born and raised in Seattle before moving to Portland at twenty-eight. She met her husband within a week of the move, graduated from PSU the following year, and now is the proud momma of one baby boy and one medium-sized mutt who she admits, is much more popular on Instagram than she is. Autumn has been an outdoors enthusiast her entire life, thanks to adventurous parents. She summited her first peak at age eight and hasn’t looked back. A firm believer in getting kids into nature, she is looking forward to including her little one on future wilderness forays. Autumn’s husband is the chef at Portland’s well-loved Laurelhurst Market. A great dad who loves to cook at home, she clearly won the partner lottery as she can barely boil water without catastrophe. Autumn’s hobbies include hiking, camping, blogging, and battling her Instagram addiction.