The Nob Hill neighborhood, also known as the NW
21st and 23rd Avenue neighborhood (with street signs also referring to the area
as the Historic Alphabet district), is apparently known by many names. But, to
anyone who lives in Portland, you know what area we are talking about in spite
of the naming confusion. This is a very popular and trendy area to shop, dine,
walk, and generally just hang out. Many restaurants, coffee shops, and specialty
retail shops and boutiques line the two main drags of NW 21st and NW 23rd
Avenues. You'll also find some great bars, spas, salons, and local markets...all
with a creative flair.
Northwest neighbors find that Couch
Park is an attractive green space to relax.
For some exercise, locals tell us they love
walking up the hill to Pittock
Mansion via the sidewalk staircases up through the west hills, then walk
down through Forest Park to Lower
MacCleay park on Upshur. It’s a good 2+ hour hike and it’s like
urban mountain climbing.
The Northwest Examiner - Local Paper (503) 241-2353, email@example.com
Enjoy these videos featuring the Nob Hill Neighborhood
and some local businesses.
Nob Hill (featuring a tune from local Portland band Echo Helstrom, "Better
Nob Hill - 21st Avenue Video
(featuring a tune from local Portland band Acoustic Minds)
Northwest Trendy, Unique, Urban Sophisticate, Artsy - Lots of neighborhood hustle and bustle with all the shopping on the main
drags of 23rd and 21st Avenues. This is a popular tourist area for
visitors as well. The area has a ton of charm with big old beautiful homes
with character. Live here if you're an extrovert, you want to be
constantly surrounded by people, enjoy a strong sense of community, and want to live within walking distance of
coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. Plenty of local parks are nearby,
and due to the close proximity, this is a very easy commute into downtown.
Nob Hill Real Estate
The gorgeous homes and rentals in this
neighborhood are stunning, uniquely Northwestern, and quite expensive compared
to some other areas of town. This area continues to be immensely popular and the
prices match the demand (location, location, location). You will find some of our city's most wonderfully
restored homes lining these streets. Here, you'll have a choice of stunning
Craftsman, and other large Portland homes with period details, as well as many
unique apartment homes, condos and rentals.If you're thinking of living here you should
consider the constant stream of walking traffic (which could make you feel you
live in a fishbowl), and the lack of available street parking. If you're more
socially extroverted and don't mind lots of people, and if you're willing to
sacrifice owning a car (as many true Portlander's are), and enjoy walking, biking,
taking public transportation, then Nob Hill might be for you!
If you are looking for information on buying or selling a home in Nob Hill,
including property search, mortgage rates, loan calculators, home appraisers, school report
cards, and crime reports, visit the Nob Hill Real Estate page, or the Portland
Real Estate page. Or, visit the Portland
Real Estate Map to search the RMLS for Nob Hill homes for sale.
Nob Hill Restaurants
Here’s looking at you, Marrakesh. After all, I don’t have to go all
the way to Casa Blanca for Moroccan food, now do I? Right around the corner
since 1989, Marrakesh has been dishing up traditional ingredients such as lamb,
couscous, eggplant, and chicken with (they-had-me-at) olives. Frankly, this
particular little ingest-a-maniac brakes for olives. So that last little
number happens to be the top fave. A friend of mine has seemingly staked a
claim in the lamb couscous. Don’t even think about wedging yourself
between her and the plate. I’m sure fellow diners have lost digits for
If you’re looking for white linens, wine stewards, and candles, you’re
obviously not trying to visit North Africa. But if you like to sate an
appetite now and then for communal hand-washing, eschewing silverware and
sharing baskets of homemade bread with the rest of the patrons, you might want
to pull up an ottoman on the floor of Marrakesh.
An a la carte menu is available on weekdays, but the way to do Marrakesh is
to take advantage of their five-course meal at $17.50 per head. This
particular culinary tour starts with a yummy lentil soup that is not served with
a spoon. (I know, sounds like a riddle, huh? Answer: you drink it. Duh.) Soup
is followed by a salad called Zaalouk, which actually looks a lot more like a
dip. Made of a near puree of eggplant and carrot, with cucumber, tomato,
celery, and spices, this is where that homemade bread comes in especially handy
to sop it all up. Contrasts come together in the Pastilla, which is a sweet
and savory mixture of shredded chicken, crushed almonds, and eggs nestled inside
phyllo dough with powdered sugar and cinnamon on top. All this is followed
by your entrée of choice, a dessert of either a pudding with hints of rose
water called Mahalabia or perhaps a small fruit salad. Topping it all off
is fresh mint tea that the server pours from a great distance above your glass.
One Word of Warning: take care when trying to make your way to the restroom. I
personally have not experienced a fall or so much as witnessed one, but I cringe
every time I see a patron head that way. Directions are to take a right
through the door at the back of one of the dining rooms, but, if you happen not
to be looking, you could miss the fact that IMMEDIATELY on your right is a long
flight of stairs, down which you could take a tumble. My advice to the
staff is to do whatever it takes to make customers aware of this.
And of course, what night at Marrakesh wouldn't be complete without...bellydancing!
1201 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
So normally this website, which is clearly devoted to each
intrinsically interesting neighborhood, doesn’t really do the corporate chain
thing. After all, the suits can buy all the word of mouth they need, and, with the record pace with which they can
co-opt a community, their mission statement seems to be, “Neighborhood
Have to say though, when it comes to Schmizza, they’re a welcome exception. First of all,
their “world headquarters” is located in nearby Hillsboro, so they kinda
come by that weird thing naturally. Their pizza actually is tasty, and they franchise to local owners who have latitude in
how they run their shop.
Owners of the Schmizza on 21st, Joel and Sarah
Patterson have put their own unique stamp on the operation. They made
sure that a pool table was part of the atmosphere since little
pizza eaters don’t have many options to play in the area. They
kept the wall art comprised of several mounted, computer keyboards
from the previous owners and allow those same said little pizza eaters
to go interactive with it if it suits their fancy.
And perhaps most importantly, understanding that the whole
pizza equation adds up to a big zero without beer, they offer a tap
spotlights a small brewery called Off the Rail Brewing that –
like Joel and Sarah’s venture – is locally owned by couple,
Daniel and Antionette
Bragdon. The beer clocks in at a reasonable buck to buck-fifty if
on a slice – so yet another beautiful marriage is honored.
Being born and raised in Tucson, Arizona prepares one for a
few things in life: endless dry skin therapy, chronic disappointment in sunsets
anywhere else, and knowing the flavors of Mexico instantly when they cross your
So, when a spoonful of tortilla soup takes over my every ounce of concentration,
rattling me with its flavors, and nearly bringing tears to my eye in its
recollection because it reminds me of my childhood home – I think I can safely
say that the soup is a taste of Mexico in itself.
The décor is Mexico as well. What that means is, instead of planting relics around the joint like
little men with huge sombreros that speak much more to American ethnocentrism
than an authentic cultural peek, Taste of Mexico went for what absolutely
screams Mexican – color.
The vibrancy of Mexico has always been strongly communicated
their signature, plain and simple. And the approach here is simple,
just a few napkins cleverly placed, even around the
water pitchers. But the effect is unmistakable. When you walk through
the door at Taste of Mexico, you know instantly where you are. And
frankly, I will be going back for the tour.
Taste of Mexico
716 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Ken's Artisan Bakery
One of the six establishments that will be highlighted in the upcoming Food
Network Awards 2007, Ken’s Artisan Pizza has its sister baking operation
located on 21st. And at Ken’s Artisan Bakery, they apparently do all
things bread and pastries: canneles, maccarons, biscotti, quiche, brioche,
baguettes, ciabatta, you name it. And on Monday nights, guess what –
As one of seven distinct venues owned by Concept Entertainment Group (C.E.G.,)
Gypsy Restaurant & Velvet Lounge has it all: dining, drinking, pool, video
games, televisions everywhere. Having been here and one other venue
belonging to C.E.G. called The Lotus, the theme seems to be lowbrow barfly meets
the sports’ crowd meets dishes that sound like Smoked Salmon with Cucumber
Squares and Steak and Bleu Cheese Pinwheels.
Like a smorgasbord of amenities, C.E.G.’s locations have hosted the office
parties of such local high-profiles as Nike, Wieden & Kennedy, and the Trail
Blazers, so the seed factor of the joints is planted only as deeply as you care
Gypsy Restaurant & Velvet Lounge
625 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
The caption under the gorgeous sign above the door reads, “big world diner.”
And the aim here definitely does appear to be round-the-world.
They’ve got your Cajun, and they’ve got your Szechuan. Italian?
Of course. Mexican, Jamaican - heck, even a French sounding chicken and
Is the world represented well though, you ask? All I can say is I
walked in to snap a few photos at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and was met by a
buzz. (So shocked was I by the number of people present and their fun
demeanor that I actually stopped to check my watch.) Screaming local
hangout, MUU-MUU’s appears to be the kind of place, “where everybody knows
your name,” a Norm-haven if you will. In fact, the very first person I
came across sitting at the bar was the artist who made the fabulous sign out
front. Perhaps it really is a small world after all.
612 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Nob Hill Businesses and Shopping
Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil. DO NO WRONG! Destination
shopping at its finest, 3 Monkeys is the kind of store you take out of town
company to visit. It’s part garage sale, part high-end boutique. It’s
“Rock Star Apparel,” and it’s vintage accoutrements. It’s purses
strewn up the stairway and monkeys in the window. It’s beautiful skirts,
blouses, and bags – and estate sale menagerie. Simply, it’s an extended
stay if you let it.
A certain educated guess tells me that the three monkeys of the store are
more than just a cute motif. Before a customer ever walks through the door,
a static monkey clearly warns, “Don’t look.” ‘Cause even a lower
primate would know that there’s not much chance of walking out of this
wonderful shop without finding something that grabs the eye.
811 NW 23rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97210
So what’s Blake? Well, if you ask its namesake proprietor, Blake will
tell you that Blake is all about the denim. Literally. Okay, come on,
Blake’s not a madman. Of course, he’s got shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts
and the like to go with the denim. But denim is the focus. Denim is
Showcasing 42 different brands of denim in one store, Blake boasts the
largest selection in Oregon. And in case you think you’ve got one of
those figures that doesn’t contour well in a pair of jeans, might wanna stroll
into the store that’s got the street rep for being able to denim any derrière.
Know that droopy, dry skin that your Aunt Mildred on your grandmom’s side
used to scratch across your nascent cheek during a hug? Sure you do –
‘cause that’s what’s been greeting you in the mirror each morning for a
couple good years now of your aging denial. Well, don’t waste time
berating yourself for what it took generations to wreak upon you.
Providing solutions since 1851, Kiehl’s offers their own generations of
combined experience in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge
to work with your particular family’s legacy of hair, face, and body needs. With
an extensive product catalog that reads like a menu - complete with ingredients
like avocadoes, apricot kernels, and almonds – Kiehl’s offers everything
from firming cream to diaper rash ointment, minding the gap so-to-speak.
Ever get drawn into a shop by the stunning array of color that greets you at
the door? Now how many of those shops sold dishes? Sure, you might
have been pulled into a little boutique by its rainbow of clothes.&A gift
shop perhaps. Party supplies maybe. But dishes? My guess is not
likely unless you’ve happened by Mamma Ro.
The sole United States’ distributor for the Mamma Ro brand of Italian
handmade tabletop ceramics and home accessories, the Mamma Ro store on NW 23rd
is a dazzling table setting for hundreds. So beautiful is the showroom that
its catalog is divided by color. And so extensive is the line of products
that there is a category just for rectangular service.
Along with its outlet operation on NW Upshur, this locally owned
shop/importer distributes to approximately 250 retail stores across America.
Finally an excuse to go to The Powder Room together. After all, how many
places claim to offer “Guilt Free Shopping?” On the basement level of
one of those adorable storefront houses that Nob Hill is just crazy with is a
boutique that offers high fashion at inexpensive prices. Owned by Janine
Schroeder, along with Cindy Speare who runs the sister operation in Seattle, The
Powder Room offers 20 years of retail experience between the sites.
So what happens if you don’t happen to have someone to accompany you to The
Powder Room? Don’t worry, Janine is apt to fill those shoes if you’d
like her to. On the day I visited, she watched me try on hats, offering
advice, even going so far as to tell me when one wasn’t exactly the right
match. Wow! That’s a proprietor who knows that a successful business
isn’t just about the sale. It’s about the trust. “Guilt Free
Shopping” at its finest.
The Powder Room
814 NW 23rd
Portland, OR 97210
21st Avenue Bikes
Establishing a bike shop in Portland is like letting a fox
loose in a hen house. No brainer – both will have a heyday.
I’m sure greater minds than mine have tried to figure
out the phenomenon that is Portland’s biking scene. Go figure.
The same home to one of the largest beer cultures on the planet is also
home to one the largest bike cultures.Or perhaps those two seemingly
independent facts are more related than we think. Either way, what can
we say? We’re a big enough city to contain contradiction. And
we’re a big enough city to welcome another bike store. In fact,
as I type, tires are probably skidding to a stop to check this place
Providing sales, service, and repair, the shop’s owners
believe the primary market will be commuters. However, as “the
neighborhood bike shop” they intend to be, this 8 week-old
enterprise won’t even get a chance to crawl before it’s off
to the races.
A clever co-op of independent owners who each specializes
in his or her own niche market, City Market combines the talents and expertise
of these individual enterprises under one roof. The effect for the consumer is a one-stop, high-quality visit to the
And even The Food Network is taking notice.Viande Meats and
Sausage Company, one of the participants in City Market NW, was
spotlighted when The Food Network Awards 2007 bestowed upon Portland
the title of one of the hottest food scenes in America.
(Like we didn’t know that, right? But it’s nice to be
Dedicated to the “time-honored traditions of the
neighborhood butcher shop,” Viande’s notoriety is now going
But did chef/co-owner Ben Dyer flash that in my face when I
asked him what he thought should be emphasized about his operation? No
way!I had gathered that little intel on my own. Nope, what Ben wanted
me to know is that Viande is all about the meat. They work everything
from scratch including curing their own Prosciutto, Pancetta, and
Guanciale and making at least a dozen different varieties of fresh
Just goes to show you, big things happen when you truly have it for your hood.
City Market NW
735 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Stella's on 21st
As the name implies, Stella’s on 21st definitely tries
to distance itself from the competition two blocks away. The explicit
intention of owners Robyn Craig and Nancy Goodwin is to be
“funkier” than 23rd while trying to keep prices low, ever
mindful to keep the price point fair.
Much of the inventory is local. Some is consignment. And
eclectic and colorful are the mandates. A kitchen sink store (as in
everything but,) Stella’s on 21st has everything from arbors to
art, and that’s just the A’s! Known as a gifting shop,
Stella’s on 21st not only has the aforementioned wide variety of
gift ideas but has the card to go with it and will wrap for free.
It’s like the warm feeling you get when batteries are included.
No muss, no fuss, and no eleven dollar gift bag.
Ice Cube certainly wasn’t the first to notice that a
barbershop can be a place to treasure. Perhaps it is in the act of
shearing that we are also motivated to slough off some of our
protective layers and reveal something fresh and new to those within
the hallowed confines of the shop. Who knows, maybe it’s just the
discomfort of having some guy’s armpit in your face while he
clips away that causes the sudden inspiration to have something to talk
about. Either way, stuff gets said. An affinity for a place gets built.
And the business lasts. That’s if you’re doing something
right, which I can only assume must be the case at a barbershop
that’s been around since Calvin Coolidge was president.
Though the original sign out front proclaims the establishment
is still owned by Bert, for the last 25 years of its history it has
belonged to Mary Lee Perry. A responsible steward of the operation,
Mary Lee has done the smart thing and, for the most part, not touched a
hair on this establishment’s head. So, when a patron sits down to
have a do, he is sitting in the very same chair that generations before
him received everything from a Gatsby to a Lennon to a mullet. The
deco-esque wooden cabinetry at each barber station goes back to the
‘20’s, as do the mirrors. Even several ointments and
aftershaves from the ghosts of inventories past – items Mary Lee
inherited with the joint – are preserved and showcased here to
allow the full experience of stepping back in time for a contemporary
513 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
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