Overlook Neighborhood Portland

Overlook is located in North Portland and is bordered by the popular University Park, Arbor Lodge, Humboldt, Boise, and Eliot neighborhoods.  Overlook also includes what is known as Swan Island, a mostly industrial area with an active recreational boat launch and port.

Click the image for a fully searchable Overlook neighborhood map, including all homes for sale.

Overlook Neighborhood Features

As a result of the Portland real estate market boom and like many other Portland neighborhoods, Overlook has seen an influx of new residents to the area. As one might imagine, Overlook has some wonderful areas with beautifully improved homes and neighborhoods, and some still in transition. 

This area feels a bit secluded, as it’s on the “other side” of Interstate Ave., but offers convenient access to other local neighborhoods, and the Max light rail train. Local businesses thrive here—a few standouts are the wacky and ever-popular Alibi Bar, Fire on the Mountain, and the Historic Overlook House.  Locals shop at New Seasons Market and Fred Meyer and also enjoy the retail and restaurant offerings in the nearby Kenton, St. Johns, and Mississippi Ave. neighborhoods. 

While it feels less urban than its neighbors, Overlook offers very “bikeable” access to downtown Portland, great mass transit options via light rail and bus, and is about a 5-minute drive to downtown Portland. If you prefer walking, be sure to wear your Adidas running shoes. Don’t have any? Well, the Adidas North American headquarters are right here in Overlook, and the flagship store is inside the Montgomery Park Building in NW Portland.

Overlook Neighborhood Businesses of Note

Like the neighborhoods surrounding it, Overlook is home to some of the best restaurants, bars, and hotspots in Portland. The two best places to stroll are Interstate Ave. and Killingsworth St. We highly recommend taking a walking or bike tour of the area to see what hidden gems pop out at you. However, for those who want to plan their itinerary, we’ve listed some of our top picks below. 

Pinky’s Pizzeria

Portlanders are known for loving their hand-crafted pies, and Pinky’s is one of the top pizza-slash-cocktail lounges in the area. Pinky’s is an excellent spot to hang with friends or have a party since the place does rent out its lounge area regularly. Whiskey is the spirit of choice, as they have dozens of both well-known and less-recognizable brands. 

The menu here is just as eclectic as the staff and clientele. Yes, you can get your favorite slices and pies, but there are some more unique offerings as well. Some of the notable selections include Sriracha pickled eggs, a Muffaletta sandwich, and Korean BBQ jerky. When talking about pizza, they have everything from vegan options to The Shaft, which comes with three kinds of meat, onions, peppers, and mushroom. Get a slice or buy the whole pie if you’re willing to share (or just want leftovers for tomorrow morning). 

Pinky’s Pizzeria—3990 N Interstate Ave

Alibi Tiki Bar & Lounge

While dive bars are plentiful in Portland, Tiki bars are few and far between. The Alibi is one of the oldest spots around, and it’s also one of the most funkadelic options for grabbing a pint or a cocktail. Established in 1947, The Alibi has become a local landmark, thanks to its massive outdoor neon sign and area-famous karaoke nights. 
Any Tiki bar wouldn’t be complete without a fun cocktail menu, so be sure to bring a sense of adventure when you visit. Some of the highlights include Alibi Slushies, the Shark Attack, and the various punch bowls, which are perfect for friends. Also, if you’re a little hesitant to get up and sing, we highly recommend the Scorpion Bowl. With three kinds of rum, along with gin, brandy, and citrus, it’ll make even the most conservative patron get loose enough to sing “Don’t Stop Believing.”

The Alibi also serves standard bar and tropical-style dishes (like Loco Moco), and many of the spirits on tap come from local distilleries and breweries. Be sure to come for Sunday brunch and karaoke, which goes until 4 pm on weekends. Brunch and karaoke are a match made in heaven.

Alibi Tiki Bar & Lounge—4024 N Interstate Ave

Satellite Tavern

For the sports fans of the Overlook Neighborhood, one of the best places to watch a game with a cold drink is the Satellite Tavern. Regardless of your sport of choice, the place comes alive on game day. The relaxed and open vibe is perfect for watching solo or with friends. If you do come alone, plan on making a few new acquaintances while you’re here. Satellite features an outdoor seating area and open-air fire pit and a new heated outdoor sports patio.

Another element that sets Satellite apart from other sports bars is its daily specials. Every day has something unique to offer, from $1 wings on Mondays to ribeye on Thursdays. Saturday nights are a bit more open-ended, so be sure to check in to see what the chef has cooking in the back. Satellite offers mostly no-fuss, scratch bar and grill cuisine, including a variety of sandwiches and burgers, lots of sides and starters, and specialties, like mac and cheese, nachos, and chicken strips and fries. Satellite also has health-conscious items like salads, fried cauliflower, and tomato soup. 

Satellite Tavern—5101 N Interstate Ave


If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean food, Spitz is just the place for you. Although the name isn’t very becoming, the dishes more than make up for that. Spitz’s specialty is döner wraps, and if you haven’t had one before, now is the perfect time to branch out. The restaurant offers a wide selection of döners, filled with everything from hummus to tzatziki to kalamata olives to feta cheese. You can also get meat or veggie-filled döner, depending on your preference. 

While döners are the main highlight, Spitz has all of the Mediterranean favorites as well. Falafel, fried döner rolls (like taquitos), and salads. You can also choose from a variety of bowls, each one as tantalizing as the last. Since Spitz is known for street food, everything is portable if necessary. However, there is plenty of seating both inside and out when you visit, so don’t feel like you’re in a rush. 

Spitz Mediterranean Street Food—2103 N Killingsworth St

The Stacks Coffee House

Portlander’s love their coffee. And books, too. At The Stacks Coffee House, you can have both! Along with your java, you can enjoy pastries and other nibbles while surrounding yourself with walls of books, all provided with kind service from a friendly staff.

And the best part: their library actually allows for lending, so if you crack open a book you just can’t put down, take it home until you’re finished. No pressure-filled due dates here. They accept donations, too, so when it’s time to clear out or refresh your home library, keep The Stacks in mind.

The Stacks Coffee House—1831 N Killingsworth St

Killingsworth Station Food Cart Pod

Portland also loves, loves, loves its food cart pods! Overlook neighborhood has one right on Killingsworth filled with tasty options. Take your pick from V3 (vegan food + seasonal options), Euro Dish (blintzes, dumplings, sauerkraut salad, and more), Thai Bungalow PDX (curry, stir fry, fried rice, and more), La Tehuana (enchiladas, tacos, and burriots), Mardi Gras (beignets and coffee), and Love a Bowl (bowls made scrumptious, hearty fixings).

There’s a sit-down, covered area where you can take a break and enjoy your food. Or grab-and-go if you’re in a rush. Give the Rose Bowl at Love a Bowl a try—a combination of rice, quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, corn, and other tasty ingredients. Healthy, delicious, and filling!

Killingsworth Station Food Cart Pod—1331 N Killingsworth St

Historic Overlook House

If you’re planning on getting married in Portland, the city has a lot of picturesque venues. For Overlook residents, the Historic Overlook House is one of the prime highlights of the neighborhood. Built in 1928, the structure is both imposing yet quaint, with plenty of greenery on the grounds for all kinds of wedding photos. The venue is maintained through a joint partnership between the Friends of Overlook House and the Portland Parks and Recreation department. 

The original home was built by the Ravens, who owned a successful creamery in the city—Raven Creamery. The land was bought by the Overlook Land Company, which had some specific rules regarding what could be built there. According to the original deed, any structure couldn’t cost less than $2,000 (roughly $30,000 in today’s money), nor could it sit less than 20 feet away from the street. 

Since its inception, the Overlook House has been part of the community, serving as the headquarters for the Overlook Women’s Club. To show how civically engaged the Ravens were, Elvira sold the house to the city for $1.00 with the stipulation that it serve the Overlook Community. She did this after her husband, Herman, died while out teaching dairymen in Oregon best practices for milk processing. (He was nationally known for his expertise and participated in Dairy conventions across the country.) On that day, his car got stuck in the mud, and he succumbed to a heart attack while trying to push the car out. 

Historic Overlook House—3839 N Melrose Dr

Milk Glass Mrkt

For those looking for a quaint, homestyle deli, the Milk Glass Mrkt is a gem worth exploring. Its chic atmosphere and minimalist decor are both aesthetically pleasing and highly welcoming to new visitors. Milk Glass Mrkt is the perfect spot to enjoy some pastries or a nice soup and sandwich combo. 

What helps MGM stand out is that it’s both a corner market and restaurant, serving grab-n-go style. So, if you’re trying to have lunch while out shopping, you can kill two birds with one stone. The market is also notable for sourcing as much of its products locally as possible—both for the menu and the items on their shelves. The market offers hard-to-find products that you won’t see at most grocery stores. Fresh and wholesome is the mantra here, and it doesn’t disappoint. 

Milk Glass Market – 2150 N Killingsworth St

Hobbies Unlimited

These days, most hobby stores are all but a memory. With online shopping so ubiquitous, the appeal of hanging out at a brick-and-mortar establishment seems so antiquated. Fortunately, for hobbyists in Portland, Hobbies Unlimited is still alive and kicking. Portlanders love keeping local businesses alive, so you can expect this place to stick around for a while still. 

No matter what your hobby is, whether its robotics, model vehicles, trains, or Lego sets, Hobbies Unlimited has it all. The arts and crafts scene in Portland is thriving, thanks to hotspots like the DIY Bar, where you can get drunk while making a lovely decorative piece. The staff at Hobbies Unlimited are more than helpful, so even if you’re new to a specific project, you can get guidance and advice to ensure everything fits together smoothly. 

Hobbies Unlimited—4503 N Interstate Ave

Overlook Neighborhood Parks

Madrona Park—Basketball court, playground, and paved and unpaved paths

Beach Community Garden—Neighborhood garden

Patton Square Park and Community Garden—Picnic tables, garden, and playground

Overlook Park—Dog off-leash area, baseball field, basketball court, playground, soccer field, softball field, track, volleyball court

Mocks Crest Park—Simple park on a hill offering tree-shaded areas, grassy open spaces, and Willamette River views

Pittman Addition Hydropark—Hydropark with picnic tables, benches, and sculptures

Overlook Neighborhood Community Resources

Overlook Neighborhood Association

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center

The Historic Overlook House

Overlook Neighborhood Schools

K-5th—Beach Elementary School

Middle School—Ockley Green Middle School

High School—Jefferson High School and Roosevelt High School

Overlook Neighborhood Vibe

Community conscious, family-friendly, bicycles everywhere, walkers, dog-friendly, babies in strollers. Overlook feels like a good place to raise a family and it feels less urban than its surrounding neighborhoods. Most of the homes are well-kept and cared for with landscaped yards and gardens.

Overlook Neighborhood Stats

Overlook Zip Code 97217 and 97227

Local Crime Stats

Overlook Neighborhood History

Overlook is comprised of several of Portland’s original land claims, designated as such in the 1840s to Phillip T. Smith, Josiah Atkinson, and Evander Howe (north of N Killingsworth); Frederick Proebstel, George Darch, and Jonathan Gerow (south of N. Killingsworth); and James Thompson, who had a farmhouse below N. Going St. Four others were located on the river’s flood plain, and Lemuel Hendrickson’s was all of Swan Island. After a years-long legal dispute, Overlook was surveyed for development in 1905.

Overlook is unusual in that under half of the neighborhood’s area is residential. A large portion of its footprint is comprised of Swan Island, Mock’s Bottom industrial area, and the Union Pacific rail yards. The reason being that in the 1970s when boundaries were drawn, there was concern about I-5 traffic disrupting the quality of life in residential areas.

Before becoming part of Portland, Overlook was within the city of Albina. This changed in 1891 when Albina became incorporated with Portland and East Portland and expanded north to the Columbia River. Despite its new classification as “within city limits,” it remained rural for quite a while with only a few Victorian-style farmhouses.

How Did Overlook Get its Name?

The neighborhood was named for one of its additions, the area west of N. Interstate Ave. and south of N. Skidmore.

Who was Henry Weme?

One man said to be highly instrumental in Overlook’s development was German businessman, Henry Wemme, who came to the U.S. to avoid forced enrollment to the German army. The 18-year-old Wemme made his way to Portland and began his career in 1883, first with a business called Willamette Tent & Awning, which supplied tents to those involved in the Klondike Gold Rush.

Wemme is also credited with owning the first automobile in the state of Oregon, a Stanley Steamer he bought in 1889. He brought other automobiles to Portland and became president of the Portland Automobile Association.

In 1906, Wemme sold his tent business to Max S. Hirsch (who sold his Meier & Frank stock to finance the purchase of Wemme’s business). The business was newly named Hirsch-Weis and later became White Stag. 

As Wemme amassed wealth, he invested most of it in downtown Portland real estate. He also became a known advocate for the Columbia River Highway construction project.

Furthering his contribution to Oregon’s early development, Wemme bought the Barlow Toll Road for $5,400 in 1912, built bridges, and made other improvements worth $25,000, then gifted it to the people of Oregon as a free highway. The small, unincorporated community of Wemme, Oregon, is named after him.

Word has it that even when Wemme had wealth, he never showed it, usually dressing like a “poverty-stricken laborer.”

Wemme eventually made his way to a suburb of Los Angeles, where he died. He was buried in Riverview Cemetery in Portland. Henry’s will caused a lengthy debate and was ultimately deemed null and void, leaving his estate, “appraised at more than a million dollars…,” as written by his brother, August, up in the air.

Henry’s will stipulated that half of his estate go to the Christian Science Church and half to his German heirs. The legal battle found its way to the Oregon Supreme Court, then all the way to the United States Supreme Court before funds were divided between heirs in both Germany and the U.S. Half of his estate went to fund and support a home for “wayward girls,” now known as the Salvation Army White Shield Home in Northwest Portland, which houses and assists pregnant teens and young mothers in the foster system, most of them due to being in violent and abusive families.

Swan Island

Part of Overlook neighborhood, yet an entity all on its own, Swan Island has an interesting history separate from and in relation to the neighborhood as a whole. Swan Island was once home to a moonshine still, created by Richard McCrary, James Connor, and Hi Straight in 1899. It was also the site of Swan Island Municipal Airport, Portland’s first, dedicated by Charles Lindbergh. It operated until the early 1940s and became the site for Bess Kaiser Hospital in 1959. The island was eventually repurposed to serve as a tank construction site and shipbuilding yard for World War II. Swan Island is now solely an industrial area with a small beach named Lindbergh’s Beach.

Lindbergh Beach is a long, sandy beach with an excellent view of Fremont Bridge. It’s a great place to hang out and enjoy the quiet of nature right in the middle of the city any time of year. Late July is best, though. That’s when the river tends to be lower, giving you more sand to lounge and play in!


As land claims were subdivided into smaller segments and deemed pastures, woodlots, farms, and other smaller lots, roads began to appear on the bluff that overlook the Willamette River. The Willamette Bridge Railway created a steam-powered railroad for passenger transportation through Overlook in 1890. It was ultimately electrified and merged with the original streetcar system, which peaked in 1912.

To accommodate the increasing use of the automobile, Interstate Ave. was constructed in 1916 as part of Pacific Highway #1. It joined the north end of Patton Ave. and the south end of Maryland Ave. What was left of Patton, south of Prescott, was renamed Massachusetts Ave.

Currently, the MAX Yellow Line serves the neighborhood at three stations: Overlook Park, North Prescott, and North Killingsworth. Portland Trimet bus lines 24, 35, and 4 also service the neighborhood.

Housing and Real Estate Development

Residential development first started on Overlook’s south and east ends, fully platted and with streets established by 1897. A housing boom ensued after the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exhibition in 1905, but that didn’t disrupt the rural vibe at the time with cattle still occasionally straying into the neighborhood. By 1907 most of the streets that make up the neighborhood today were in place.

Today, the neighborhood is comprised of twenty-three additions or tracts. Madronna Hill lies along N. Greeley. Nutgrove is five blocks long and one lot deep, located on the neighborhood’s east side between N. Killingsworth and Ainsworth. Five of Overlook’s additions— North Albina, First and Second Patton, Multnomah, and Cooks—were split by the I-5 construction in the early 1960s, with some homes in these areas moved to prevent demolition. Nestled within the three-block-long Pittiger’s Addition is the Beach Community Garden.

Many of the homes and other sights seen today in the neighborhood came in the 1930s, shortly after the housing boom in the 1920s, which filled most of the remaining vacant lots.

The freeway addition had the most adverse effect on the neighborhood’s development and the quality of life for its residents. While many homes were moved during the I-5 construction, completed in 1963, most were torn down. The new thoroughfare also significantly decreased traffic counts in the area, which led to a decline in possibilities for successful commerce, along with an increase in crime and vandalism, and increased traffic from industrial Swan Island. To address the issues, the Overlook Neighborhood Association was formed in the early 1970s.

Overlook experienced a revitalization in the years that followed and has become one of Portland’s most close-knit, close-in communities.

Business and Commerce

Billboards and auto shops came to Overlook after the installation of Interstate Ave. Most of the neighborhood’s shops and businesses were located along N. Killingsworth, Interstate, and Mississippi Aves. Being part of Highway #99, Interstate Ave. had an abundance of service stations and motels for people passing through.

While not technically businesses, other neighborhood resources sprung up: Beach Elementary School, Overlook Park (located on land that had originally been used as a dump), St. Stanislaus Church, and the Interstate Firehouse.

With the increase in business, more homes, and a booming industrial area, Overlook was a noisy place to live. Steam locomotive whistles, boats and ships chugging along the river, Electras circling overhead to make their landings at the new airport on Swan Island, and the din of streetcars rattling by all filled the once-peaceful air in Overlook.  

Then came World War II, which only increased the noise. Eventually, the airport required more space and was replaced by the Kaiser Swan Island shipyard. Laborers built tankers, night and day, every day, under glaring light towers said to be visible for miles. Many homeowners in Overlook at the time housed the increase of laborers. New trolleys carted workers and residents to work and back home. In 1959, the Bess Kaiser Hospital was built on the bluff where the Kaiser Swan Island shipyard had once been.

After the disintegration of the neighborhood, a revitalization brought Overlook back. Its residents now enjoy a farmer’s market, a great selection of eateries, bars, and shops. Adidas’ corporate headquarters is housed in the renovated Bess Kaiser hospital. Overlook is also the proud home to several quality community resources and gathering places, like the Interstate Fire House Cultural Center, Overlook House, and Kaiser Town Hall.

Overlook Neighborhood: Friends We’ve Lost

Miho Izakaya – Japanese Pub featuring tapas and cocktails in a converted house

Beaterville Cafe and Bar – Old-school diner featuring auto memorabilia and breakfast favorites

Pause Kitchen and Bar – American restaurant with a relaxed, chill atmosphere

DiPrima Dolci Italian Bakery – An old-world style bakery serving traditional Italian and American treats

Overlook Neighborhood Real Estate and Homes for Sale

Overlook homes range from condos, Bungalows, some Victorians, Foursquare, and even a few ranch style homes. This area is very pretty, feels safe, and has old-growth trees that line many of the streets. 

Click here to see all current Overlook neighborhood homes for sale.

To learn about the Portland real estate market, we recommend this local Portland-based, top 100 real estate blog in the world.

If you are interested in buying a home in Portland, we recommend meeting up with these top 1% Portland buyer’s agents, or if you are considering selling a home we recommend these top 1% Portland seller’s agents. Visit our Portland Real Estate Page for more information.

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Haneckow, Dan. Café Unknown. Blog. June 20, 2006.

Wikipedia. E. Henry Weme.

Wikipedia. Overlook, Portland.