One of the best ways to become familiar with any one of Portland’s unique neighborhoods is to walk it. Walk it up one side and down the other. Walk it in early morning, at mid-afternoon, and in the evening.
This wide Urban Loop (south on NW 11th Ave, west on Couch and Burnside, north on Westover, and then east on Northrup) takes you past three distinctive parks on the northern edge of the Pearl District (The Fields Park, Tanner Springs Park, Jamison Square), into the heart of the Pearl District, over the 405 freeway, past a bit of industrial grunge, along lower Northwest Hills with its impressive views, and back through the Northwest District to the Pearl.
For coffee and pastries, there are several good options. Today I lingered over an excellent cappuccino at Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Portland’s alternative to Starbucks. This heart of the Pearl District location–one of several in Portland—is next door to Sur la Table on NW 11th Ave. and Couch St. Excellent coffee, friendly service, freshly baked pastries, and great location assure that it’s always packed with an interesting array of people.
Later, I stopped off at Anna Bananas NW Coffee on the north (quiet) end of 21st Ave. It’s a popular, laidback Portlandia hideaway (think Grandma’s living room with a few friendly nerds sprawled on the sofa). It’s easy to wile away an hour or so on the covered deck catching up on email or a good book.
It takes about an hour and a half to fast-walk the 50+ blocks. But why do that when there are so many great photo opportunities along the route? On my early morning walks in Portland, the camera never stops clicking. On today’s route, I captured 125 images.
Seventeen of my favorites were routed to my Facebook photo album, Line Shape Form Texture Color. The rest of the best you can see in the photo gallery below.
And here’s the map and walking directions.
Walking Portland: Pearl District-Northwest Hills Loop
The Pearl District and Northwest District (Nob Hill) neighborhoods abut each other on the northwest side of Portland (Portland Neighborhood Association Map).
- Start at NW 11th Ave & NW Overton St. (The Fields Park)
- Head south on NW 11th.
- At NW 11th Ave and NW Couch St. (starred), check out Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
- Turn right on NW Couch St.
- Turn left on NW 19th.
- Turn right on Burnside St.
- Turn right on NW 23rd.
- Turn left on NW Westover Rd.
- Turn right on NW 25th.
- Turn right on NW Northrup St.
- At NW Northrup St and NW 21st, (starred) check out Anna Bananas NW Coffee to your left.
- Continue on NW Northrup St. to NW 11th & NW Overton St. (The Fields Park)
To enable the Walking Portland slide show, click any photo in the gallery.
- To see all homes currently for sale in the Pearl District, check out Homes for Sale Portland: Pearl District.
- To see all homes currently for sale in the Northwest District, check out Homes for Sale Portland: Northwest District.
- For in-depth information on the Pearl District, check out our Pearl District Neighborhood Guide (coming soon).
- For in-depth information on the Northwest District, check out our Northwest District Neighborhood Guide (coming soon).