Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood is located in Northeast Portland and is bordered by the Sullivan’s Gulch, Irvington, Alameda, Beaumont-Wilshire and Rose City Park neighborhoods.
At first glance, the Hollywood District (originally known as “Hollyrood” until 1926, when the grand Hollywood Theatre on Northeast Sandy Boulevard opened) might strike a visitor as all business and no-nonsense. It has little of the Bohemian flair found in other popular neighborhoods throughout Portland, and its two main streets (Sandy Blvd. and Northeast Broadway) are relatively high-speed thoroughfares that don’t encourage pause.
The best way to appreciate Hollywood is to take to the sidewalks. A slower pace reveals a lot to like about this neighborhood.
If your tour starts as you cross over I-84, two unusual places – well, they would be unusual if this wasn’t Portland – flank you on either side of Sandy Blvd. as you enter the district via its southeast corner. To your right is Tony Starlight’s Supperclub & Lounge,whereyou may enjoy cocktails and smoky jazz and blues with the rest of the swells. A reason to bust your swanky finery out of the closet!
To the left across the street is the bottle-shaped facade of what was originally Steigerwald Dairy Company in the 1920s (the bottle was later reshaped to represent 7-Up, and today it bears the Budweiser logo). This building houses two shops that appeal to the outdoor adventurer: Mountain Shop, for all things skiing, snowboarding, and climbing, and Rip City Skate, for longboards and skateboards and accessories (where you can try out the goods on their ramp in the back!).
Should you have a yen (oops, make that a yuan) for Northern Chinese cuisine, stroll or briskly stride up 37th Avenue and hang a right onto NE Broadway to Shandong Restaurant and have a steaming bowl of Dragon in the Garden soup and potstickers. Sushi more your style? Bluefin Sushi Bar is for you, then (which is also on Broadway but you’ll have to go back south to Sandy Blvd. and then head east and look for the Sandy/Broadway split just the other side of NE 39th; part of the Hollywood District’s “charm” is it’s wacky street dynamics.
If a street can have a lighthouse, then Sandy Boulevard’s is the venerable Hollywood Theatre, a showcase for cinematic fare both classic and contemporary. A not-for-profit organization sees to the renovation and improvements to the grand old lady, and has volunteer opportunities and internships available for those with an itch to contribute. Please do take in a viewing and a pint and inquire.
From this point you may take the crosswalk to Magnolia’s Corner across the street from the theater to enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of wine, or simply walk a very few steps up to Aliviar Coffeehouse to savor a flavorful and lovingly-brewed coffee. Or take a left on 42nd Avenue and trot up to The Moon and Sixpence for a taste of Old Blighty. Cheers!
If all you really want after all is a nice walk through a neighborhood with beautiful greenery and lovely homes, just turn north. The residential areas of the Hollywood District are quiet and calm under leaf-laden trees, a very pleasant surcease after experiencing the rush and roar of the big streets. They inspire a wish to wander. And so you should.
Hollywood Neighborhood Vibe
A good mix of everyone lives, plays, eats and imbibes here. This is a walker’s paradise.
This area features many older Portland homes full of character and charm. Tree lined streets, covered porches, and families taking a stroll… Plus, Hollywood is conveniently located along major streets for easy commuting (NE Broadway and Sandy, plus a ramp to I-84). With neighborhood shops, restaurants, a theatre, and stores all within walking distance or nearby, Hollywood offers a nice lifestyle.