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Boise-Eliot: The Mississippi and Williams Avenue Neighborhood Guide


The Boise neighborhood is sometimes referred to as "Boise-Eliot" and is located on the east side of the Willamette River. It is bordered by the Overlook, Humboldt, King and Eliot neighborhoods in the increasingly hip and popular North Portland. Boise is in a great location for commuting to downtown Portland and is conveniently close to other major Portland neighborhoods such as Concordia (Alberta Arts) and Irvington.

Major freeway ramps located nearby include I-5 and I-84. Drive over the Fremont, Steel or Broadway bridges to get downtown or to the Pearl District, and Old Town/Chinatown in mere minutes. The "MAX" light rail located on Interstate is only minutes away on foot. Downtown by bicycle is about 25 minutes.

Features

Portland's Boise-Eliot neighborhood is one of the most unique and most popular Portland neighborhoods. Most locals know Boise-Eliot by a few names: Williams Avenue and Mississippi Avenue. While technically both part of the same neighborhood proper, these two streets have truly developed their own unique personality and feel with respect to the independent businesses that line their streets and the folks who frequent them.


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The Mississippi Ave neighborhood has changed radically in the last 10 years. It is truly unrecognizable: gone are the barren streets, the dilapidated homes and the drug dealer on the corner. It has taken a village, but the area is now pretty safe for all. A great deal of commercial investment has changed the whole face of the area and while the businesses are largely independent, some of the local flavor and color has been lost. The new condos seem out of place here and the apartment prices are sky high. It is a hugely popular "destination neighborhood" due to the popularity of the bars, restaurants and retail shops.


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The Mississippi Historic District is decidedly young, urban and hip. The streets are busied with bike traffic, foot-traffic and buses cruising by every few minutes. Mississippi has just about everything the average urbanite could ever want for: nearly a dozen great restaurants, fantastic coffee shops, a recording studio and live music hall, several bars and pubs and a ton of retail and boutique shops, all independently owned. 


Highlights of the Historic Mississippi Avenue in Portland

North Mississippi Avenue, in the Boise neighborhood of North Portland, dashes northward from the clatter and tangle of the interstates, and upon reaching North Fremont Street it sheds its nondescript industrial skin and becomes one of the most popular destinations in the city. It's an area that encourages gatherings; there are very few people strolling the walk alone. Couples and families flock to this part of Portland to shop, to eat, to drink and enjoy each others' company.

It hasn't always been so. Poverty, crime, and violence once marked this area of town as a place not suitable for any law-abiding soul. It wasn't until 1999, when the City of Portland embarked on a mission to improve the neighborhood, that a change began to take place. That change is still ongoing and the effort has given rise to the spectre of gentrification, the results of which are not to everyone's taste; the facades of modern condominiums and business complexes are at odds with those of shops and eateries that evolved in place. Fortunately those glassy boxes haven't managed to overshadow the street-wise charm and the bazaar atmosphere on the sidewalks.

The avenue celebrates art, food, and community in a variety of ways throughout the year. The event known as 2nd Thursdays features artwork by local artists in the neighborhood. The Mississippi Street Fair, held in July each year, gives a healthy boost to businesses and organizations in the area. Cirque du Cycling, a bicycle festival and race event, celebrates all things bike and benefits Albina Youth Opportunity School.

To hike North Mississippi Avenue, start at the Albina Yard maintenance building and admire the mural painted as a testament to the neighborhood's spirit. Then climb the sidewalk to ¿Por Que No? Taqueria and have a cerveza and one or four of the tasty taco options. Word is that it's some of the best eating in town. Save room though, because right up the sidewalk is Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge, where there are hot slices of great pizza (even gluten-free options) waiting for you, along with live music and a fun time with pub quizzes and spelling bees for both kids and alleged grown-ups.

Right across the avenue is The ReBuilding Center of  Our United Villages, a nirvana for those who crave DIY and sustainability. Everything you need to furnish your house all Earth-friendly-like, or to pluck it thoughtfully apart for the reuse and recycling of its materials, may be found there. It's the Portland way.

You might want to trot up to Gumbo Gifts & Gallery, because you need a hat. Or something vintage. Maybe some postcards or coasters or decorative eyewear. You may wander around in there for a long time. Be warned. If you need an excuse to leave, think about Ruby Jewel a few steps north, where you can glom onto a waffle cone full of some of the best ice cream you can find in town. Don't you dare lay those sticky hands on the treasures to be found at Bridge City Comics, though. Seriously, people have been beaten for less in a comics shop. Wash up first.

Need to pick up some salt? Like, from Antarctica? The Meadow offers that, as well as salts from all over the rest of the world.  And chocolate.  And bitters and syrups.  And shrubs.  Lots of stuff.

If you're in the mood for delicious small plates, Radar Restaurant is a great destination for delicious food and drinks, with friendly service.

Cocktail lovers will enjoy Sidecar 11 and Moloko.


Far from finally (because there are plenty more things to see and do and eat on the avenue), there's North Portland Bike Works, one of the highest-rated bike shops in Portland. It's a non-profit, community-focused shop with new and used bikes and a repair space where the staff can fix your bike AND teach you to fix it yourself with their tools and know-how.

North Mississippi Avenue is a “have to” stretch of the city, for tourists, guests, and citizens alike.

A few more standouts on the street are...

Portland Food Carts on N. Mississippi Avenue - some of the finest food cart fare in Portland

Mississippi Studios- a very intimate music venue reported to have the best sound in Portland.

Lovely's Fifty-Fifty- a fabulous pizza and ice cream shop.

The Crow Bar - a local bar and hangout...think pinball and a pool table.

Amnesia Brewing - a local brewer with a wonderful outdoor seating area in all weather conditions.

Gravy- home of the massive breakfast. Get there early or wait for an eternity- you have been warned.

The Fresh Pot - one of the first stores on the street and first cafes in the North Portland area.

Pistils Nursery- a wonderful nursery and landscape design store that simply cannot be missed. They offer many classes on goat raising, chicken keeping, composting and more.

Others are Miss Delta, Bar Bar, Manifesto and much more. Take a trip and enjoy this this is a thriving entrepreneurial district- you won't find a single Starbucks here and locals will see to it that you don't.

Just a few minutes away, Williams Avenue offers even more independent retail and boutiques.  Neighborhood favorites are the Lompoc 5Q also known as the Fifth Quadrant which is a great local brewery and pub, Eat: an Oyster Bar, Lincoln Restaurant, and Kenny & Zuke's Deli.  Also here are Tasty n Sons  (the famous little brother of Toro Bravo), HUB - Hopworks Urban Bike Bar, Queen Bee, Ink & Peat, Lodekka Dress Shop and Ristretto Coffee Roasters


Portland Community College is a major presence in the Boise and Mississippi Ave area as many residents are also students or faculty. Additionally, head about five minutes north to Killingsworth Street for more really great local businesses to choose from such as Saraveza, a wonderful beer bottle shop, The Red E Cafe, E'njoni Ethiopian Cafe and CoffeeHouse-Five. Down the road on Interstate is a New Seasons Market which is a local area shopping staple and employer. 

Overall, Boise-Eliot is a great urban Portland neighborhood which is centrally located and totally self-sustaining. 

Boise-Eliot Parks

Denorval Unthank Park Baseball field, basketball court, soccer field playground

Boise-Eliot Community Garden

Patton Community Garden

Dawson Park Basketball court, playground, stage, volleyball court

Matt Dishman Community Center and Pool Indoor swimming pool, fitness center and movement classes.

Overlook Park Baseball field, basketball court, dog off-leash area, playground, soccer field, softball field, track and volleyball court

Two Plum Park

Sumner-Albina Park

Lillis-Albina Park Playground, soccer field, softball field

King School Park Basketball court, playground, soccer field, softball field, tennis court and track

Beach Community Garden

Irving Park Baseball field, basketball court, dog off-leash area, horseshoe pit, playground, soccer field, softball field, lighted tennis court and volleyball court

Patton Square Park

Mallory Meadows Park

Madrona Park Basketball court

Peninsula Park Basketball and tennis courts, gymnasium, paved paths, gorgeous old rose garden, play structures and outdoor swimming pool.

 

Boise-Eliot Community Resources

Multnomah County Library - North Portland

Mississippi Ave Day Care

Neighborhood Schools

Religious Organizations (churches, synagogues, places of worship, private schools)

Neighborhood Public Transit - bus routes, train stops, etc.

Mississippi Ave Neighborhood Association

North Portland Tool Library

King Farmers Market Located one neighborhood over...an easy bike or walk.

 

Boise-Eliot Neighborhood Vibe

Evolution. Growth. Movement. Indie, hipsters, organic, welcoming, booming. A place where bikes and scooters are more widely accepted than cars. The neighborhood prizes diversity, independence and entrepreneurialism. Locals know each other and support their local businesses.  A mix of renters and owners, singletons and families.  Everyone is busy doing something interesting.

 

Boise-Eliot Stats

Mississippi Ave Zip Code 97227

Local Crime Stats

Census

Boise-Eliot Real Estate & Rentals

Boise is an urban neighborhood with cultural diversity. Home styles in this area consist of older Victorian cottages, Craftsman, and other older East Portland styles that have historic charm and character you just can't find in the outlying suburbs. A mix of new urban style lofts are popping up, as well.  

Home prices in this area have skyrocketed in the last several years due to the Mississippi Avenue boom. This neighborhood is highly coveted and the real estate prices reflect that. Rentals homes and apartments are on the higher side as well but affordable housing is possible to find. Many locals advertise their rentals and rooms-for-rent only in the coffee shops and pubs in their neighborhood so look for the community board at the cafe instead of Craigslist.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in this Portland neighborhood, visit our Portland Real Estate Page for more information, or visit our Portland Real Estate Map to search the RMLS for neighborhood homes for sale.

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Moving to Portland?  Want to make new Portland friends or ask questions about the Hosford Abernethy & Clinton Street neighborhood?

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Neighborhood Links

Zip Code 97227

Mississippi Ave On-line Community

Mississippi Ave Schools:

Boise-Eliot Elementary

Ockley Green Middle

Jefferson High School

Portland Public School Boundaries

Neighborhood Demographics and Census Statistics

Local Crime Stats

Census

Local Google Map

Neighborhood Boundary Map

Portland International Airport

Portland Police Bureau

Portland Off-Leash Dog Parks

TriMet - Interactive Maps and Schedules for Bus, Max and Streetcar


Maps - View Neighborhoods and Boundaries

To locate specific Portland neighborhoods on the map, view one of the links below:

Clickable Neighborhood Map

Portland Neighborhood Boundary Map 

Individual Neighborhood Maps

NOTE:You may need the "Adobe Acrobat Reader" software installed on your computer to read some map files. The Adobe Reader is available free from Adobe. If you cannot view the maps, download and install Adobe Acrobat reader, then try again.

 

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