Nestled in Northeast Portland, away from the downtown hubbub but within walking distance of a myriad of activities, is a tranquil little neighborhood full of stately trees, well-kept gardens, and early 20th-century homes. Welcome to an idyllic pocket of Portland known as the Grant Park neighborhood.
Need to know
As you may have guessed, the Grant Park neighborhood is named after a park — and Grant Park (the park) takes its name from former President Ulysses S. Grant, who visited our neck of the woods more than once during the mid-to-late-1800s. The park named in his honor is the centerpiece of the surrounding neighborhood, bordered by Alameda and Beaumont-Wilshire to the north, Irvington to the west, Rose City Park to the east, and the Hollywood District, Sullivan’s Gulch, and Laurelhurst to the south.
The early days
Grant Park’s origins date back to the 1850s and a donation land claim called the Bowering Tract, a narrow, 160-acre length of land that changed ownership among developers until being sold in 1887 to real estate mogul Charles Cardinell. His daughter, Eliza Dolph, would later plat Dolph Park — a 10-block, demarcated subset of Grant Park — but that’s a story for another time.
Running low on time? A trip to this neighborhood wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, a tribute to the beloved children’s author who grew up in Portland. Head to the west side of the neighborhood’s namesake park. You’ll find a splash pad surrounded by three bronze figures — two people and a dog — from Cleary’s books.
While far from being Portland’s busiest shopping district, the Grant Park neighborhood is home to a handful of small businesses that warrant a visit, particularly along Northeast Broadway.
- Vinyl aficionados will find a carefully curated assortment of rock albums at CITY NOISE RECORDS.
- Every day is a special occasion at Blossoms Floral, which designs eloquent bouquets for delivery and events.
- Indulge your crafty, artistic side at The Color Shop, where you can take a painting workshop, find every shade of chalk paint imaginable, shop for gifts, and more.
Grant Park excels at hosting evening walks (or walks any time of the day, to be honest). But if you’re looking to get some fresh air and work up a sweat, the 20-acre park at the center of the neighborhood offers much more than just footpaths.
- Cool off on a hot summer day at Grant Outdoor Pool, a seasonal public pool offering swimming lessons.
- Challenge a buddy to a game of tennis or basketball at the public courts.
- Look at a community garden founded by students at Grant Park High School that produces food served in the school cafeteria.
Eat + drink
Foodies aren’t forgotten in Grant Park. Though it can often be overlooked in favor of other areas with a denser variety of eateries, the Grant Park neighborhood boasts surprising diversity in its pint-sized culinary scene — or, walk to the nearby Hollywood District for a host of options.
- The Blind Onion Pizza & Pub is a hole-in-the-wall, casual pizzeria serving what many returning customers consider to be the best pies around.
- Bring your appetite to Nicholas Restaurant Lebanese and Mediterranean Cuisine for generous portions (including complimentary pita) in a cozy, date-night-friendly Mediterranean setting.
- Though it’s technically about a block outside of Grant Park, we’d be remiss to omit Holly Rose Coffee Bar where you’ll find baked goods, beans from Sterling Coffee Roasters, and specialty drinks.
Where to live
If you’re sold + looking to buy a home in the area, here are some housing options currently on the market:
- 2224 NE 41st Ave. | 4 BD, 3 BA | $1,065,000 | This Craftsman home built in 1924 is a host’s dream with a chef’s kitchen, formal dining room, and private guest quarters.
- 2259 NE 31st Ave. | 4 BD, 3 BA | $1,750,000 | Mahogany-inlaid oak floors, leaded glass, and a private patio complete the fairy tale vibe at this American Tudor home that hasn’t had a new owner in over 30 years.
- 3123 NE Broadway St. | 3 BD, 3 BA | $849,000 | Dreaming of running a business out of your own home? This 3,000-sqft building might be calling your name.