1. Hawthorne Isn’t a Neighborhood (Technically)
Even many locals make this mistake! Even though there are nearly 100 neighborhoods in Portland, Hawthorne isn’t one of them. What most people refer to as the Hawthorne Neighborhood is actually a business district, stretching from SE 12th Avenue out to SE 60th avenue.
The area actually serves as a border for the Buckman, Hosford-Abernethy, Sunnyside, Richmond, and Mount Tabor neighborhoods. So when you talk about the Hawthorne Neighborhood, you’re really talking about a stretch of retail shops, restaurants, and other businesses, bordering on some of Portland’s most popular close-in neighborhoods.
2. It Hasn’t Always Been Hawthorne Boulevard
Today, Hawthorne Boulevard is named after Dr. J.C. Hawthorne who founded Oregon’s first mental hospital. But its original name “U Street” was changed to “Asylum Avenue” after the nearby Oregon Hospital for the Insane. In 1883, Portland residents were fed up with the distasteful name and changed it to honor Dr. Hawthorne.
3. 2,000,000 Bike Trips Each Year
Nearly 10% of Portlanders commute to work by bicycle, and many of them cross the Hawthorne Bridge to get to work on the West Side of town. Each year, the bridge logs nearly 2,000,000 bicycle trips— almost 20% of its total traffic!
4. The Oldest Bridge of Its Kind
Speaking of Hawthorne Bridge, it’s the oldest vertical lift bridge still in operation in the United States! It was built in 1910 and has to be opened and closed (by moving nearly 1,000,000 pounds of counterweights) every 8 hours (at least) to keep it in working order. So if you’re ever stuck at the bridge and don’t see any boats passing by, that’s why!
Another fun bridge fact: During the filming of the movie The Hunted, the production crew built a set that allowed a MAX train car to move across the bridge, despite the fact that no MAX lines have ever crossed the Hawthorne Bridge in real life!
5. Home to Portland’s Best Restaurants
Some of Portland’s best-known restaurants call Hawthorne Boulevard home, including:
- Harlow – One of Portland’s favorite vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
- Lardo – A decidedly non-vegetarian restaurant, Lardo is known for their big meaty sandwiches and awesome french fries!
- Apizza Scholls – Widely known as one of the best pizza places in America, Apizza Scholls opens at 5PM (there’s usually already a line waiting) and closes when they run out of dough.
- Por Que No Taqueria – Another local favorite where there’s always a line, Por Que No has some of the best tacos and Mexican food in Portland!
- Next Level Burger – One of the newer vegetarian hotspots in Portland, Next Level Burger is known for their vegan milkshakes and tasty burgers!
6. Hawthorne is Where Portlanders Go to Shop
Whether you’re looking for a chic dress, dapper suit, a great book, mid-century modern furniture or even a pair of clogs, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Hawthorne Boulevard:
- Red Snapper – One of our favorite furniture stores, this tiny shop is full of amazing pieces.
- Powell’s – Tourists crowd the huge downtown Powell’s location, but the store on Hawthorne has a great selection, too. And they’re in the process of expanding, too!
- Mink Boutique – Mink is a really great boutique with a fantastically curated selection of clothes and accessories. Check it out!
7. You’ll Love the Cinemas & Concert Venues
If you love movies and concerts there are some great venues to visit on Hawthorne Boulevard, including:
- The Bagdad Theater – A great place to see first-run movies while you enjoy a beer and food. Plus there are plenty of other great events at the Bagdad, too, including book signings and much more!
- Cinemagic – Sure, it looks a little run down but Cinemagic is one of the most inexpensive first-run movie theaters in Portland. Evening shows are just $7 ($4 on Tuesdays!)
- The Hawthorne Theatre – If you’re looking to see great indie musicians before they hit it big, check out the upcoming shows at the Hawthorne Theatre (right across the street from the big Fred Meyer).
8. Visit the Kayak & Canoe Museum
OK, this one’s a little quirky but a lot of fun! The Kayak & Canoe Museum is a collection of handmade, traditional kayaks and canoes, all made by the one man who runs this tiny Portland museum. It has odd hours, so it can help to call ahead and make sure they’re open. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about kayaks and canoes, plus much more!
9. Hike in Mt. Tabor Park
If you’re getting to know the Portland area, you can’t miss Mt. Tabor Park. It’s a great place to hike or just enjoy a picnic. Walk or bike to the top of this 600’ tall extinct cinder cone volcano for great views of downtown Portland and a great workout, too!
10. OMSI: A Great Museum For Kids & Adults
The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry is located near the base of the Hawthorne Bridge and features everything from an earthquake simulator to a nuclear submarine! They also host fun events like film festivals and OMSI After Dark, an evening where the museum serves food and beer and is open only to the 21 and up crowd.
11. Brunch Brunch Brunch
Portlanders LOVE going out to brunch. You’ll find great brunches at local hotspots like:
- Jam – A longtime Portland favorite, Jam serves great breakfasts, including french toast, Bloody Marys, and much more. Plus it’s a great place for kids, too!
- The Waffle Window – Not exactly a sit down restaurant, but a great place to pick up a delicious waffle to go. Choose from sweet or savory waffles with delicious toppings and fillings!
- Claudia’s – If you’re looking for an old-school sports bar to watch an early NFL game, check out Claudia’s on Hawthorne. They have great food, too!
No matter where you go for brunch though, make sure you get there early! Portland’s most popular brunch spots always have a line.
12. Watch Soccer From Around The World
We’ve written before about how Portland has earned the title Soccer City, USA. But people don’t just like watching the Timbers & Thorns in person. There are great soccer games going on someplace in the world just about all year round. And the Hawthorne Neighborhood has a few great places to watch a game:
- Bazi Bierbrasserie – A great beer and wine selection with plenty of great food options too, this bar shows Thorns road games, the English Premier League, and plenty of other soccer games, too!
- The Toffee Club – One of the newest bars on lower Hawthorne, The Toffee Club isn’t a candy shop, it’s a place to watch soccer with fellow toffees (the nickname of Everton soccer supporters) and other fans. They open early to show the English Premier League and also have events for the US National Team and other big games!
13. Get Buzzed (on Coffee)
You’ll find a few of Portland’s best coffee roasters and cafes in the Hawthorne area, including:
- Coava Coffee – Their flagship location is on SE Grand, but they’ve got a smaller more intimate cafe at SE 26th and Hawthorne.
- Oui Presse – More than just great coffee, Oui Presse has some really great pastries, too!
- Common Grounds – This is a funkier coffee shop. There’s no gleaming metal and sleek modern fixtures here– just comfy sofas and great coffee and tea!
14. Enjoy a Great Beer
Portlanders may love beer more than they love coffee! The Hawthorne area has got some great places to stop in for a drink like:
- Hawthorne Hophouse – The Oregon Hophouse on Hawthorne has a huge selection of beers on tap, including IPAs and Porters. There’s even Kombucha on tap!
- Nick’s Famous Coney Island – One of Portland’s oldest bars, they’ve been serving up drinks to locals since 1935. Make sure you try one of their classic hotdogs made from the same recipe for over 80 years!
15. Just Wander & Explore!
Hopefully, you’ve found something that piques your interest in our Hawthorne Neighborhood Guide, but we’re just scratching the surface. There’s so much to see, do, eat, and enjoy– and the best way to do it is to just get out there and wander around!
If you’d like to learn more about living in the Hawthorne area, check out the homes we have on the market in the area, or give us a call at (503) 200-8730.