Northwest 23rd Avenue is one of Portland’s most well-known streets, laden with shopping and culture that attracts much attention from tourists and locals alike. Pedestrian and cycling traffic along 23rd is consistent throughout the day given the number of shops, bars, restaurants, clubs and other destinations on Trendythird, a nickname reflecting the hip, ever-changing culture of the avenue.
From January 2009 through May 2010, 23rd was subject to road repair and railroad ties were excavated to improve the driving, walking and cycling conditions of this busy street. Since wrapping up the improvement project, 23rd has been clear and bustling with even more activity than prior to the work, both among residents in the area and visitors to Trendythird.
Parking is near impossible to find during peak hours along 23rd, though three TriMet bus lines (15, 18, 20) makes stops at West Burnside and 23rd. The 15 continues north along 23rd until its last stop at Northwest Thurman Street; after looping the block, the 15 traverses south along 23rd and toward Downtown Portland before crossing the Willamette River and going eastbound on Southeast Belmont Street. The Portland Streetcar makes its northernmost stop at 23rd and Northwest Marshall Street, then progresses back toward the Pearl District and into Downtown on its way to the South Waterfront neighborhood.
PDX Northwest includes a business section on the Northwest District that includes details for several businesses located on 23rd, so be sure to visit that section before prowling for apparel, gifts or whatever else is on the shopping list. The business section also examines the myriad restaurants along 23rd, and there is sure to be a spot that appeals to every palate considering the wide variety of cultural and culinary influences that have made their presence known in Northwest Portland.
While there aren’t any parks on 23rd itself, Couch Park is three blocks east on Southwest Glisan Street, and Wallace Park is two blocks west at Northwest Pettygrove Street. Cyclists living in the area will enjoy the short trip to the Hillside neighborhood, where several trails exist in Forest Park, Macleay Park and Hillside Center Park.
This is a dog-friendly neighborhood, and PDX Northwest has a pets business section detailing the best shopping spots for your canine, as well as a dog parks section with information about places dogs may run leash free. Aside from the occasional woodland creature and roaming cats (most of which are domesticated and simply prowling the neighborhood), animal presence is low in the area so taking man’s best friend for a walk along 23rd is a safe and invigorating activity both owner and pet are sure to enjoy.
Living on 23rd is pricey, though the limited parking and dense concentration of destinations in the area typically mean a trade-off between increased rent in the place of vehicle ownership (and the many expenses that incurs). Apartment buildings exist on 23rd, and there are also Victorian and Craftsman homes—many that have stood in the area for decades—that have been converted into apartments. Living here means constantly being surrounded by culture in a busy, hep niche of Portland and it’s always worth a visit, whether to shop, dine or simply walk around.