City Guide: Northwest Portland

 NW 23rd Ave NW 23rd Ave

Miraculously the first neighborhood we visited in Portland to check-out apartments was in Northwest and Thomas and I were immediately hooked. With it’s charming tree-lined streets, trendy boutiques, cozy cafes, and abundance of great restaurants and bars, Northwest is the epitome of all that we could ever want out of a neighborhood. Whether you’re taking a quiet walk up in the west hills, shopping down bustling 23rd ave, grabbing coffee at the corner cafe, sipping drinks at happy hour with friends, or having a date night out, Northwest has a little something for everyone.

Here is all of my favorite spots to grab coffee, breakfast, something sweet to eat, local watering holes, cute shops, restaurants, and things to do in NW Portland!

 Ken's Artisan Bakery - 338 NW 21st Avenue Ken’s Artisan Bakery – 338 NW 21st Avenue

Best Breakfast and Coffee Spots

Ken’s Artisan Bakery // Relaxed bakery and coffee spot with a neighborhood vibe. My favorite place to grab a cup of coffee and a croissant on the weekends. Ken’s Croque Monsieur and the Herbed Goat Cheese & Leek Croissant is to die for!

Besaw’s // Cranking out the classics like eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, and Belgium waffles. Good coffee and good food every time I’ve been there!

23 Hoyt // $2 mimosa’s folks. Heavy on the bubbles, light on the OJ which is my kind of place! The brunch is always on-point, but the dinner I’ve had here as been so-so. Definitely an AM spot in my book.

Barista // Cozy coffee spot on 23rd. Grab a cup of joe and sit in the window seat. Perfect for people watching!

St. Honoré Boulangerie // French cafe, mimosa pitchers, and quiche lorraine. Heaven.

Kiva // I love having a healthy kick start to my day by going to Kiva. I’m obsessed with the “power house” bowl and lavender latte.

 Besaw's - 1545 NW 21st Ave Besaw’s – 1545 NW 21st Ave  Power House Bowl and Lavender Latte at Kiva - 1533  NW 24th Avenue Power House Bowl and Lavender Latte at Kiva – 1533  NW 24th Avenue  23 Hoyt -529 NW 23rd Ave 23 Hoyt -529 NW 23rd Ave

Must-stop Shops

Sloan Boutique // It’s impossible for me to walk by sloan boutique without stopping in. Especially when it’s perched on-top of Saint Cupcake and Poplandia! Sloan has locations scattered around Portland and they carry the trendiest clothes whether you need something for a special occasion or just a comfy oversized tee.

Bellini’s Skin + Parfumerie // This shop is the ultimate pampering palace. Amazing skin care lines, the best candles, and intoxicating fragrances.

Tender Loving Empire // The cutest of all cute shops. They carry products only made by local artists and it’s my favorite shop to take out-of-towners to get Portland gifts.

Will Leather Goods // The coolest store on 23rd. You’ll pay a pretty penny, but all of Will’s products are unique and the best quality.

Goorin Bros Hat Shop // It’s so fun walking into this shop! You can find any kind of hat imaginable here and would be great for Father’s Day or birthday gifts.

We would be here all day if I named all of my favorite shops on 23rd, but there’s so many!
Also be sure to check out The Meadow, 3 Monkey’s, and Lush!

 Sloan Boutique on top of Poplandia and St. Cupcake  -738 NW 23rd Ave. Sloan Boutique on top of Poplandia and St. Cupcake  -738 NW 23rd Ave.  Bellini's Skin + Parfumerie - 633 NW 23rd Ave Bellini’s Skin + Parfumerie – 633 NW 23rd Ave  Tender Loving Empire - 525 NW 23rd Ave. Tender Loving Empire – 525 NW 23rd Ave.  Gorrin Bros Hat Shop - 808 NW 23rd Ave Gorrin Bros Hat Shop – 808 NW 23rd Ave  Will Leather Goods - 816 NW 23rd Ave. Will Leather Goods – 816 NW 23rd Ave.

Best Sweet Treat Spots

Saint Cupcake // These cupcakes are unbelievably good. Sometimes I can’t help myself to stop in and get one when I’m walking down 23rd. The chocolate banana is my absolute fave.

Salt & Straw // The mothership of all ice-cream parlors. Salt & Straw is the epitome of all that is Portland. Local ingredients, homemade waffle cones made to order, and a line wrapped about the building pretty much all the time.

Blue Star Donuts // I don’t think I’ve ever drooled as hard as when I first walked by Blue Star one morning. I love the unique combinations like Mexican hot chocolate, blueberry bourbon basil, lemon poppyseed, and creme brûlée.

Papa Haydn // A must-stop dessert spot. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner but their dessert case is where it’s at. The chocolate layer cake is beyond words.

Pacific Pie Co // All the tarts and pies your heart can desire! They also have a fun pie making class which is such a fun date night!

 Saint Cupcake - 740 NW 23rd Ave Saint Cupcake – 740 NW 23rd Ave  Salt & Straw - 838 NW 23rd Ave Salt & Straw – 838 NW 23rd Ave  Blue Star Donuts - 921 NW 23rd Ave Blue Star Donuts – 921 NW 23rd Ave

Where to drink

Breakside Brewery // The Breakside IPA and Breakside Stout are always winners. Plus they have a humongous pretzel that comes with a beer cheese sauce that I could drink out of a pint glass if they would let me.

10 Barrel Brewery // This could be considered in the Pearl District, but it’s close enough to NW and it’s my fave so it’s included! My cheeks are actually puckering up right now as I write this, but the Cucumber Crush Sour Beer is the best thing that will hit your lips during summer.

The Pope House // It’s a bourbon lounge…in an old house….and it’s pretty awesome. Definitely get a Old Fashioned and the andouille mac n cheese.

Jo Bar & Rotisserie // Known for Jazz music and good cocktails. Once again, the Old Fashioned is killer. I guess you can guess my favorite drink by now.

Muse Wine Bar // An intimate wine bar off the beaten path in NW. I spent one of the best New Years Eve’s at  Muse and had an amazing champagne flight.

Abbey Bar & Bottle Shop // Best European beer selection and a cozy/quiet bar to grab a beer. Amazing selection of Belgian and German styles! Grab a Delerium Tremens – One of my favorite Belgian brews.

 Breakside Brewery - 1570 NW 22nd Ave Breakside Brewery – 1570 NW 22nd Ave  10 Barrel - 1411 NW Flanders Street 10 Barrel – 1411 NW Flanders Street  The Pope House - 2075 NW Glisan Street The Pope House – 2075 NW Glisan Street

Where to Eat

Fireside // Fire pits and open-air dining. I love the grilled romaine and the seared black cod.

Paley’s Place // My favorite restaurant in Northwest! Critically-acclaimed chef Vitaly Paley, produces the most beautiful dishes with local ingredients. The Foie Gras, sweetbreads, any of the dumplings, and the beef tartare are just of few of my favorites. If you’re going all in, definitely try the chef’s tasting menu.

Bamboo Sushi // Best sushi spot in NW for sure. Grab a glass of sake, the green machine role with salmon added, and the tuna poke.

Red Onion Thai // Great Thai food for how cheap it is! My go-to is the Tom Kha soup and the spicy glass noodle pad Thai.

Ataula // Spanish Tapas and they are ALL amazing. Go with friends so you can share a lot of different ones!

Santa Fe Taqueria // If you want to people watch on 23rd, sip on a marg, and grab some guac then this is your place!

 Fireside - 801 NW 23rd Ave. Fireside – 801 NW 23rd Ave.  Paley's Place - 1204 NW 21st Ave Paley’s Place – 1204 NW 21st Ave  Bamboo Sushi - 836 NW 23rd Ave. Bamboo Sushi – 836 NW 23rd Ave.  Santa Fe Taqueria - 831 NW 23rd Ave Santa Fe Taqueria – 831 NW 23rd Ave

Things to Do

Take a walk through Forest Park // Forest park is the largest wooded urban park in the United States! It’s in the west hills and the edge of the park is just a short walk from NW 23rd Ave. From there you will find over 70 miles of trails to explore.

Visit the International Rose Test Garden // A must-see! This year Portland is celebrating 100 years of roses!

Wander around Pittock Mansion // French Renaissance-style château in the West Hills built by Henry Pittock in 1909

Bike & Brew // Rent a bike in and cruise around all of the breweries in NW and the Pearl District!


  1. May 24, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    Such a great list! NW is such a wonderful neighborhood (I am biased as I live there though!). I definitely agree that Muse Wine Bar and Kiva are awesome, not as well known stops!

    • Hillary Harper
      May 25, 2017 / 4:02 am

      Thanks Erin! What are some of your other favorite spots?

  2. May 24, 2017 / 11:49 pm

    NW Portland has always been one of my faves, too. My husband works there now so we spend a lot of time there but we haven’t been to most of these places still!

    • Hillary Harper
      May 25, 2017 / 4:01 am

      You and your husband will have to grab happy hour or dinner outside on 23rd after he gets off work now that the weather is so nice!

  3. May 25, 2017 / 6:16 am

    What a great list! My BF works in NW but we never seem to spend enough time there… I’m going to show him your list and start picking out HH places to visit.

  4. Anne Kjersti
    May 25, 2017 / 6:57 am

    I’m comming over <3

  5. Melissa Chee
    May 26, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    Such a great list of fun spots 🙂

  6. Renée B.
    May 29, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    There is so much to do and see in NW Portland – you’ve mentioned a number of my favorite spots. I’m so glad our weather is starting to warm up so that we can get outside and get much-needed some Vitamin D!

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