Nob Hill Neighborhood Guide

Nob Hill is located in Northwest Portland and is adjacent to downtown Portland. Nob Hill is a quick five minute drive into downtown Portland and has excellent bike and mass transit options as well. Nob Hill is also close to Highway 30 and the Industrial
District and neighbors Linnton and Sauvie Island to the north.


Nob Hill



Nob Hill Reviews


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About Nob Hill

Nob Hill, Northwest Twenty-Third Avenue, The Alphabet District. Call it what you will, this neighborhood is a must-go must-stop for many in Portland in the mood for shopping, people-watching, and tree-lined avenue strolling, all within flirting distance of not only one of the best downtown areas in the country, but of the emerald treasure called Forest Park.

The neighborhood encompasses Northwest 21st and Northwest 23rd Avenues, from West Burnside Street to Northwest Thurman Street (but don’t skip the mysteriously omitted Northwest 22nd, because you’ll miss the excellent Elephant’s Delicatessen and a very nice and shady walk among lovely houses bearing the distinctive Portland style, south of Kearney Street).

Certainly this area boasts little of the gritty, party-colored plumage of other popular areas in the northeast and southeast quadrants of the city, and makes no apologies for its more refined commercial sensibilities. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun place to spend a day, a fact made evident by the near-impossibility of walking a straight line on the sidewalks. At peak hours and weekends it’s very easy to miss a shop or eatery on the first pass, so dense is the humanity that stutter-steps and sidles by.

North of Lovejoy Street is where Northwest 23rd really begins to assert itself. The first place you’ll probably see (or perhaps smell) is Nob Hill Bar & Grill, a popular destination in the neighborhood for burgers and tots and beer. Or if you have Greek cuisine in mind, Dorio is the place for souvlaki and tzaziki. Thai? You want Red Onion. Stay on that side of the street and let your meal settle while you peruse Shogun’s Gallery, full of antique and beautiful Asian furniture, fabrics, and ceramics.

Farther up the street is Besaw’s, a very popular breakfast spot, or, heck, any meal you care to eat. A perfect place to take a first date or a new-in-towner.

At Thurman Street you have a choice to either turn west to discover the natural wonder of Forest Park, or go east to seek Northwest 21st for a return trip southward. If the latter, you’ll no doubt skid to a stop as you pass The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, one of the oddest shops in a city known for odd shops. Enter to gaze at all manner of oddities and art, and dare to spoon up (and hope to keep down) a bug sundae (that’s “bug”, not “big”, but the sundae itself is a good size). Then point your shoes and your cast-iron stomach to explore Northwest 21st.

Once descended to the corner of NW 21st and Northrup Street, you’ll find Marrakesh. Did you bring your elastic waistband along? You’ll need it, and the large towel the wait staff will provide. Never has eating with your hands been more delicious! Watch the belly dancers and have a cup of spiced Morrocan coffee or mint tea. Next, escort your lady friend (or drag your guy pal) into Stella’s on 21st for all manner of colorful girly-ish home décor and fashion items.

Walk (so much better than driving, yes?) farther south and then pause to take in the stately grandeur that is The Parish of St. Mark, one of Portland’s most beautiful churches. Then continue down the avenue alternating between window-shopping and licking your chops. After a short time you’ll see Cinema 21, one of the city’s cherished grand old movie theaters that features classics new and old, as well as the offbeat and obscure (with beer and wine!).

Refresh thyself at the Blue Moon Tavern & Grill, and then hit the sidewalk to hike this ‘hood again. You’ve missed some of it. Guaranteed.


Nob Hill



Northwest neighbors find that Couch
is an attractive green space to relax, read a book and watch the locals do the same.

For some exercise, locals tell us they love
walking up the hill to Pittock
via the sidewalk staircases up through the west hills, then walk
down through Forest Park to Lower
park on Upshur. It’s a good 2+ hour hike – urban mountain climbing!

More neighborhood park links:





Nob Hill Community Resources


Nob Hill Zip Code 97209, 97210



Join the Nob Hill On-line Community – Meet your Nob Hill neighbors, add local events to
the calendar, share photos, and more.

Multnomah County Library

Hill Day Care


(churches, synagogues, places of worship, private

Public Transit
– bus routes, train stops, etc.

Involved – Northwest District Assocation Website

The Northwest Examiner – Local Paper (503) 241-2353, [email protected]



Enjoy these videos featuring the Nob Hill Neighborhood
and some local businesses.

Nob Hill  (featuring a tune from local Portland band Echo Helstrom, “Better


Nob Hill – 21st Avenue Video
(featuring a tune from local Portland band Acoustic Minds)


Nob Hill Neighborhood Vibe

Trendy, young, unique, urban sophisticate, artsy – neighborhood hustle and bustle with all the shopping on the main
drags of 23rd and 21st Avenues.  This is a popular tourist area for
visitors due to dozens of one-of-a-kind shops and has a huge nightlife scene for the 20Something’s.  The area has a ton of charm with big old beautiful homes
with character.  Live here if you’re an extrovert, you want to be
constantly surrounded by people, enjoy a strong sense of community, and want to live within walking distance of
coffee shops, stores, and restaurants.  Plenty of local parks are nearby,
and due to the close proximity, this is a very easy commute into downtown.

Nob Hill

Nob Hill Real Estate

The gorgeous homes and rentals in this
neighborhood are stunning, uniquely Northwestern, and quite expensive compared
to some other areas of town. This area continues to be immensely popular and the
prices match the demand (location, location, location). You will find some Portland’s most wonderfully
restored homes lining the streets of Nob Hill. Here, you’ll have a choice of stunning
historic Victorians,
Craftsman, and other large Portland homes with period details. You will also find many
unique apartment homes, condos and rentals.If you’re thinking of living here you should
consider the constant stream of walking traffic (which could make you feel you
live in a fishbowl), and the lack of available street parking. If you’re more
socially extroverted and don’t mind lots of people, and if you’re willing to
sacrifice owning a car as many true Portlander’s are, and enjoy walking, biking,
taking public transportation, then Nob Hill might be for you!

If you are looking for information on buying or selling a home in Nob Hill,
including property search, mortgage rates, loan calculators, home appraisers, school report
cards, and crime reports, visit the Nob Hill Real Estate page, or the  Portland
Real Estate
page. Or, visit the Portland
Real Estate Map
to search the RMLS for Nob Hill homes for sale.

Nob Hill Restaurants

Marrakesh Restaurant

Marrakesh, Portland restaurants

Here’s looking at you, Marrakesh. After all, I don’t have to go all
the way to Casa Blanca for Moroccan food, now do I? Right around the corner
since 1989, Marrakesh has been dishing up traditional ingredients such as lamb,
couscous, eggplant, and chicken with (they-had-me-at) olives. Frankly, this
particular little ingest-a-maniac brakes for olives. So that last little
number happens to be the top fave. A friend of mine has seemingly staked a
claim in the lamb couscous. Don’t even think about wedging yourself
between her and the plate. I’m sure fellow diners have lost digits for

If you’re looking for white linens, wine stewards, and candles, you’re
obviously not trying to visit North Africa. But if you like to sate an
appetite now and then for communal hand-washing, eschewing silverware and
sharing baskets of homemade bread with the rest of the patrons, you might want
to pull up an ottoman on the floor of Marrakesh.

An a la carte menu is available on weekdays, but the way to do Marrakesh is
to take advantage of their five-course meal at $17.50 per head. This
particular culinary tour starts with a yummy lentil soup that is not served with
a spoon. (I know, sounds like a riddle, huh? Answer: you drink it. Duh.) Soup
is followed by a salad called Zaalouk, which actually looks a lot more like a
dip. Made of a near puree of eggplant and carrot, with cucumber, tomato,
celery, and spices, this is where that homemade bread comes in especially handy
to sop it all up. Contrasts come together in the Pastilla, which is a sweet
and savory mixture of shredded chicken, crushed almonds, and eggs nestled inside
phyllo dough with powdered sugar and cinnamon on top. All this is followed
by your entrée of choice, a dessert of either a pudding with hints of rose
water called Mahalabia or perhaps a small fruit salad. Topping it all off
is fresh mint tea that the server pours from a great distance above your glass.

One Word of Warning: take care when trying to make your way to the restroom. I
personally have not experienced a fall or so much as witnessed one, but I cringe
every time I see a patron head that way. Directions are to take a right
through the door at the back of one of the dining rooms, but, if you happen not
to be looking, you could miss the fact that IMMEDIATELY on your right is a long
flight of stairs, down which you could take a tumble. My advice to the
staff is to do whatever it takes to make customers aware of this.

And of course, what night at Marrakesh wouldn’t be complete without…bellydancing!


1201 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 248-9442

Pizza Schmizza

Pizza Schmizza, Nob Hill, Portland

So normally this website, which is clearly devoted to each
intrinsically interesting neighborhood, doesn’t really do the corporate chain
thing. After all, the suits can buy all the word of mouth they need, and, with the record pace with which they can
co-opt a community, their mission statement seems to be, “Neighborhood

Have to say though, when it comes to Schmizza, they’re a welcome exception. First of all,
their “world headquarters” is located in nearby Hillsboro, so they kinda
come by that weird thing naturally. Their pizza actually is tasty, and they franchise to local owners who have latitude in
how they run their shop.

Owners of the Schmizza on 21st, Joel and Sarah
Patterson have put their own unique stamp on the operation. They made
sure that a pool table was part of the atmosphere since little
pizza eaters don’t have many options to play in the area. They
kept the wall art comprised of several mounted, computer keyboards
from the previous owners and allow those same said little pizza eaters
to go interactive with it if it suits their fancy.

And perhaps most importantly, understanding that the whole
pizza equation adds up to a big zero without beer, they offer a tap
spotlights a small brewery called Off the Rail Brewing that –
like Joel and Sarah’s venture – is locally owned by couple,
Daniel and Antionette
Bragdon. The beer clocks in at a reasonable buck to buck-fifty if
you’re chewing
on a slice – so yet another beautiful marriage is honored.

Pizza Schmizza

320 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 445-7770


Ken’s Artisan Bakery

One of the six establishments that will be highlighted in the upcoming Food
Network Awards 2007, Ken’s Artisan Pizza has its sister baking operation
located on 21st.  And at Ken’s Artisan Bakery, they apparently do all
things bread and pastries: canneles, maccarons, biscotti, quiche, brioche,
baguettes, ciabatta, you name it.  And on Monday nights, guess what –

Ken’s Artisan Bakery

338 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, Or 97209

(503) 248-2202

Gypsy Restaurant and Bar

Gypsy Restaurant and Bar, Nob Hill

As one of seven distinct venues owned by Concept Entertainment Group (C.E.G.,)
Gypsy Restaurant & Velvet Lounge has it all: dining, drinking, pool, video
games, televisions everywhere.  Having been here and one other venue
belonging to C.E.G. called The Lotus, the theme seems to be lowbrow barfly meets
the sports’ crowd meets dishes that sound like Smoked Salmon with Cucumber
Squares and Steak and Bleu Cheese Pinwheels.

Like a smorgasbord of amenities, C.E.G.’s locations have hosted the office
parties of such local high-profiles as Nike, Wieden & Kennedy, and the Trail
Blazers, so the seed factor of the joints is planted only as deeply as you care
to dig.

Gypsy Restaurant & Velvet Lounge

625 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 796-1859


Muu-Muu's, Nob Hill

The caption under the gorgeous sign above the door reads, “big world diner.”
 And the aim here definitely does appear to be round-the-world. 
They’ve got your Cajun, and they’ve got your Szechuan.  Italian? 
Of course.  Mexican, Jamaican – heck, even a French sounding chicken and
brie sandwich. 

Is the world represented well though, you ask?  All I can say is I
walked in to snap a few photos at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and was met by a
buzz.  (So shocked was I by the number of people present and their fun
demeanor that I actually stopped to check my watch.)  Screaming local
hangout, MUU-MUU’s appears to be the kind of place, “where everybody knows
your name,” a Norm-haven if you will.  In fact, the very first person I
came across sitting at the bar was the artist who made the fabulous sign out
front.  Perhaps it really is a small world after all.


612 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR

(503) 223-8169

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 248-9442

Nob Hill Businesses and Shopping

3 Monkeys

3 Monkeys, Nob Hill

Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil. DO NO WRONG! Destination
shopping at its finest, 3 Monkeys is the kind of store you take out of town
company to visit. It’s part garage sale, part high-end boutique. It’s
“Rock Star Apparel,” and it’s vintage accoutrements. It’s purses
strewn up the stairway and monkeys in the window. It’s beautiful skirts,
blouses, and bags – and estate sale menagerie. Simply, it’s an extended
stay if you let it. 

A certain educated guess tells me that the three monkeys of the store are
more than just a cute motif. Before a customer ever walks through the door,
a static monkey clearly warns, “Don’t look.” ‘Cause even a lower
primate would know that there’s not much chance of walking out of this
wonderful shop without finding something that grabs the eye.

3 Monkeys

811 NW 23rd Avenue

Portland, OR 97210

(503) 222-5160


Blake, Nob Hill

So what’s Blake? Well, if you ask its namesake proprietor, Blake will
tell you that Blake is all about the denim. Literally. Okay, come on,
Blake’s not a madman. Of course, he’s got shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts
and the like to go with the denim. But denim is the focus. Denim is
the business.

Showcasing 42 different brands of denim in one store, Blake boasts the
largest selection in Oregon. And in case you think you’ve got one of
those figures that doesn’t contour well in a pair of jeans, might wanna stroll
into the store that’s got the street rep for being able to denim any derrière.


2285 NW Johnson Street (at NW 23rd)

Portland, OR 97210

(503) 222-4848


Know that droopy, dry skin that your Aunt Mildred on your grandmom’s side
used to scratch across your nascent cheek during a hug? Sure you do –
‘cause that’s what’s been greeting you in the mirror each morning for a
couple good years now of your aging denial. Well, don’t waste time
berating yourself for what it took generations to wreak upon you.

Providing solutions since 1851, Kiehl’s offers their own generations of
combined experience in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge
to work with your particular family’s legacy of hair, face, and body needs. With
an extensive product catalog that reads like a menu – complete with ingredients
like avocadoes, apricot kernels, and almonds – Kiehl’s offers everything
from firming cream to diaper rash ointment, minding the gap so-to-speak.


712 NW 23rd

Portland, OR 97210

(503) 223-7676


MammaRo, Nob Hill Portland

Ever get drawn into a shop by the stunning array of color that greets you at
the door? Now how many of those shops sold dishes? Sure, you might
have been pulled into a little boutique by its rainbow of clothes.&A gift
shop perhaps. Party supplies maybe. But dishes? My guess is not
likely unless you’ve happened by Mamma Ro.

The sole United States’ distributor for the Mamma Ro brand of Italian
handmade tabletop ceramics and home accessories, the Mamma Ro store on NW 23rd
is a dazzling table setting for hundreds. So beautiful is the showroom that
its catalog is divided by color. And so extensive is the line of products
that there is a category just for rectangular service.

Along with its outlet operation on NW Upshur, this locally owned
shop/importer distributes to approximately 250 retail stores across America.

Mamma Ro

940 NW 23rd

Portland, OR 97210

(503) 241-4960

Mamma Ro Premium Outlet

1801 NW Upshur Street, #100

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 274-0687

The Powder Room

The Powder Room, Nob Hill

Finally an excuse to go to The Powder Room together. After all, how many
places claim to offer “Guilt Free Shopping?” On the basement level of
one of those adorable storefront houses that Nob Hill is just crazy with is a
boutique that offers high fashion at inexpensive prices. Owned by Janine
Schroeder, along with Cindy Speare who runs the sister operation in Seattle, The
Powder Room offers 20 years of retail experience between the sites.

So what happens if you don’t happen to have someone to accompany you to The
Powder Room? Don’t worry, Janine is apt to fill those shoes if you’d
like her to. On the day I visited, she watched me try on hats, offering
advice, even going so far as to tell me when one wasn’t exactly the right
match. Wow! That’s a proprietor who knows that a successful business
isn’t just about the sale. It’s about the trust. “Guilt Free
Shopping” at its finest.

The Powder Room

814 NW 23rd

Portland, OR 97210

(503) 248-9160

21st Avenue Bikes

Nob Hill

Establishing a bike shop in Portland is like letting a fox
loose in a hen house. No brainer – both will have a heyday.

I’m sure greater minds than mine have tried to figure
out the phenomenon that is Portland’s biking scene. Go figure.
The same home to one of the largest beer cultures on the planet is also
home to one the largest bike cultures.Or perhaps those two seemingly
independent facts are more related than we think. Either way, what can
we say? We’re a big enough city to contain contradiction. And
we’re a big enough city to welcome another bike store. In fact,
as I type, tires are probably skidding to a stop to check this place

Providing sales, service, and repair, the shop’s owners
believe the primary market will be commuters. However, as “the
neighborhood bike shop” they intend to be, this 8 week-old
enterprise won’t even get a chance to crawl before it’s off
to the races.

21st Avenue Bicycles

916 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 222-2851

City Market NW

City Market NW, Nob Hill Portland

A clever co-op of independent owners who each specializes
in his or her own niche market, City Market combines the talents and expertise
of these individual enterprises under one roof.  The effect for the consumer is a one-stop, high-quality visit to the
neighborhood market.

And even The Food Network is taking notice.Viande Meats and
Sausage Company, one of the participants in City Market NW, was
spotlighted when The Food Network Awards 2007 bestowed upon Portland
the title of one of the hottest food scenes in America.
(Like we didn’t know that, right? But it’s nice to be

Dedicated to the “time-honored traditions of the
neighborhood butcher shop,” Viande’s notoriety is now going

But did chef/co-owner Ben Dyer flash that in my face when I
asked him what he thought should be emphasized about his operation? No
way!I had gathered that little intel on my own. Nope, what Ben wanted
me to know is that Viande is all about the meat. They work everything
from scratch including curing their own Prosciutto, Pancetta, and
Guanciale and making at least a dozen different varieties of fresh
sausage daily.

Just goes to show you, big things happen when you truly have it for your hood.

City Market NW

735 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 221-3007

Stella’s on 21st

Stella's on 21st, Nob Hill Portland

As the name implies, Stella’s on 21st definitely tries
to distance itself from the competition two blocks away. The explicit
intention of owners Robyn Craig and Nancy Goodwin is to be
“funkier” than 23rd while trying to keep prices low, ever
mindful to keep the price point fair.

Much of the inventory is local. Some is consignment. And
eclectic and colorful are the mandates. A kitchen sink store (as in
everything but,) Stella’s on 21st has everything from arbors to
art, and that’s just the A’s! Known as a gifting shop,
Stella’s on 21st not only has the aforementioned wide variety of
gift ideas but has the card to go with it and will wrap for free.
It’s like the warm feeling you get when batteries are included.
No muss, no fuss, and no eleven dollar gift bag.

Stella’s on 21st

1108 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 295-5930

Roughcut Barbershop

Roughcut Barbershop, Nob Hill Portland

Ice Cube certainly wasn’t the first to notice that a
barbershop can be a place to treasure. Perhaps it is in the act of
shearing that we are also motivated to slough off some of our
protective layers and reveal something fresh and new to those within
the hallowed confines of the shop. Who knows, maybe it’s just the
discomfort of having some guy’s armpit in your face while he
clips away that causes the sudden inspiration to have something to talk
about. Either way, stuff gets said. An affinity for a place gets built.
And the business lasts. That’s if you’re doing something
right, which I can only assume must be the case at a barbershop
that’s been around since Calvin Coolidge was president.

Though the original sign out front proclaims the establishment
is still owned by Bert, for the last 25 years of its history it has
belonged to Mary Lee Perry. A responsible steward of the operation,
Mary Lee has done the smart thing and, for the most part, not touched a
hair on this establishment’s head. So, when a patron sits down to
have a do, he is sitting in the very same chair that generations before
him received everything from a Gatsby to a Lennon to a mullet. The
deco-esque wooden cabinetry at each barber station goes back to the
‘20’s, as do the mirrors. Even several ointments and
aftershaves from the ghosts of inventories past – items Mary Lee
inherited with the joint – are preserved and showcased here to
allow the full experience of stepping back in time for a contemporary

Roughcut Barbershop

513 NW 21st Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 227-7518