Northwest 21st and 23rd Avenues Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Northwest (the general term for 21st and 23rd Avenues and the surrounding blocks) has seen easier times. Once considered the fanciest and most desirable part of Portland, it’s now frequently mocked (NW 23rd has long sported the obvious nickname “Trendy-third”) by people who live on the other side of the river; the glam boutiques and upscale restaurants that defined it went either out of style or out of business as unemployment grew and disposable income shrank. For years this was the undebated first stop for any serious eating, drinking, or shopping to be done in Portland, but as the city has matured and other neighborhoods have taken over as talked-up destinations, Northwest has seemed to fade a little. In urban-planning magazine articles it’s outshined by the neighboring Pearl District, and in youth-approved cool it loses out to Old Town, Alberta, and much of Southeast. Still, there’s a lingering Euro-style beauty to the tree-lined streets and vintage buildings, and there are plenty of other reasons to seek out this area: one of the greatest art-house cinemas in the country, for one thing, not to mention a killer gourmet-grocery market, an appropriately cranky New York–style pizza joint, and several places in which one can sip a cocktail and feel like an adult. Plus the whole thing is part of the Alphabet Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts some lovely residential buildings."