University Park Neighborhood Portland
University Park is the neighborhood surrounding the University of Portland. It is bordered by the Willamette River to the south, as well as the neighborhoods of Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Portsmouth, Arbor Lodge, and Overlook. This is one of the smaller neighborhoods in Portland, as the University takes up much of its real estate.
Click the image for a fully searchable University Park neighborhood map including all homes for sale.
University of PortlandUniversity Park is the home of the University of Portland, the well-known private Catholic school highly regarded by its students. The presence of the school in the community accounts for the high percentage of homes rented.
University Park Neighborhood Vibe
University Park is a neighborhood that doesn’t dazzle with grand old houses or sculpted greenery or cafes with colorful facades and outside seating. This is a community of nice, modest houses and the students and families who reside in them, a place of straight and relatively quiet streets frequented by bicyclists who prefer a residential area to ride through rather than brave the velocity and vehicle exhaust of North Lombard Street, the busy commercial thoroughfare that serves as this neighborhood’s northern boundary.
Several churches serve this community. Not only is there Holy Cross Church, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Portsmouth Trinity Lutheran, Peninsula Church of Christ, and University Park Baptist Church as well.
University Park Features
As a result of the Portland real estate market boom and like many other Portland neighborhoods, University Park has seen an influx of new residents to the area. As one might imagine, University Park has some wonderful areas with nicely improved homes and neighborhoods and some still in transition.
University Park is home to one of the oldest schools in the area, the University of Portland. There is a large student population and much of the area feels young and vibrant. Adidas Corporation is a large area employer as is the Swan Island industrial area. Commuters here have many options: a quick and easy bike ride to downtown via bike lane nearly the whole way, great mass transit options via bus and the Max light rail train located on Interstate Avenue and a 10-minute drive to downtown Portland via car.
University of Portland
One thing that you’ll notice about University Park is its abundance of churches. Virtually all variations of Christianity are represented, from Mormons to Lutherans to Baptists. The University of Portland was founded as a Christian university by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1891. During its initial run, the school failed to generate much revenue, but then it was bought and refurbished by the Holy Cross Church and Archbishop Alexander Christie. The college opened its doors again in 1901 under the name Columbia University.
By 1922, Columbia University achieved junior college status, and in 1925, the School of Arts and Sciences was created. At some point in the 1930s, the college’s name changed to the University of Portland. Over the years, the campus has expanded, including the school of nursing, the business school, and the engineering school in 1948.
Currently, the University of Portland has 4,200 students attending every year, and many of them live in University Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Also, U of P can boast that over 13,000 alumni still live in the city, as a testament to Portland’s appeal. It’s also highly rated and is labeled as one of the best colleges in the Northwest. The campus is both gorgeous and historic, with the backdrop of the Willamette River creating an even more memorable experience.
University Park Businesses of Note
Beyond the college, most of the neighborhood is residential. However, if you want to experience some of the flavors of North Portland, you’ll want to take a stroll down Lombard Street to the north. This main drag is home to most everything in University Park, so you don’t have to travel far to get what you need. Here are some highlights.
Darcy’s Restaurant and Bar
North Portland is a generous mix of old and new vibes. Darcy’s has been around for a couple of decades, giving it a much more authentic feel. It’s not chic or trendy, but it’s also not trying to be, either. It’s a perfect example of a neighborhood bar that works well for both locals and travelers alike. You can also expect to see much of the college crowd in here on the weekends to score some cheap drinks and delicious food.
The menu here is as simple as the decor, but they make a pretty tasty burger. If you’re really hungry, we recommend the bacon cheeseburger or the Alaskan cod fish and chips. Also, since Darcy’s does open relatively early, you can come in for breakfast – or dinner, depending on how late you stayed out the night before.
Darcy’s Restaurant and Bar – 4804 N Lombard st
As you’ll notice when trying different places in North Portland, everything has a comfortable and familiar vibe to it. As with Darcy’s and other restaurants, Chef Zhao isn’t going to be the most happening place on social media. However, if you’re looking for Chinese comfort food at decent prices, then you’ll appreciate not having to go far for the privilege.
Running through the menu, Zhao has all of your favorites. Fried rice, seafood, spicy chicken, noodles – they’re all there. The place offers daily lunch specials, making it a favorite of students who need a quick bite. During the summer season, you can relax outside and dig into your family-style portions. Chef Zhao is made for sharing, but we won’t tell anyone if you choose to keep it all for yourself.
Chef Zhao Chinese Cuisine – 4828 N Lombard st
The Twilight Room
If you want a more full-service bar and lounge experience, then the Twilight Room is the best option in University Park. Twilight prides itself on being one of the best sports bars in North Portland, and it certainly delivers a community atmosphere along with a bevy of delicious menu options. You’ll find Twilight pretty crowded on game days, and it’s a local haunt, thanks to its pool tables and relaxed vibe.
Along with the drinks, you need to come hungry. The Twilight Room has excellent sandwiches, including a Cubano and French Dip as good as any deli. Their burgers are hefty and messy (in a good way), and we highly recommend the Rooster Burger. It comes with teriyaki sauce and warm peanut butter, giving it a distinct Thai vibe that will have you coming back for more. When talking about standard bar fare, Twilight is a master of fried dishes. Jalapeno poppers, tater tots, wings, fries – they have it all. Also, don’t worry if you’re on a diet, Twilight has fresh salads for those who don’t want that much fryer oil in their diet.
The Twilight Room Bar and Lounge – 5242 N Lombard st
Fishwife Seafood Restaurant
Most of the seafood places in Portland tend to be on the upwards end of the scale. However, if you want a simple basket of fish and chips or some tasty chowder for those dreary overcast days, you should come to Fishwife. This restaurant has been around for almost 30 years, and it still maintains that local beach town vibe. The original owners are still behind the counter, and their passion for seafood permeates into every dish.
What’s great about Fishwife is that it’s the perfect lunch or dinner spot. They have a wide selection of comfort food, from clam strips to fish sandwiches to grilled chicken. If you want to upgrade your dining experience, Fishwife offers fresh oysters, tiger prawns, and some of the best seafood pasta dishes you can find anywhere. As long as you love food from the ocean, you’ll enjoy everything on the menu.
Fishwife Seafood Restaurant – 5328 N Lombard st
University Park – Local Parks
There are two parks within the neighborhood’s borders, but plenty of others around North Portland. No matter what kind of outdoor activity you prefer, you can find a park to accommodate you. This abundance of green spaces is part of what makes the city so appealing for individuals and families.
McKenna Park – Basketball court, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, softball field
Portsmouth Park – Playground, soccer and softball fields
McCoy Park and Community Garden – Basketball courts, playground, water play feature
Northgate Park – Baseball field, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, softball field, lighted tennis court, and water play feature
University Park – Picnic tables, playground, soccer field, and softball field. Ironically, this park is not actually within its namesake neighborhood.
Columbia Park and Annex – Picnic tables, playground, indoor seating area, tennis courts, volleyball, splash pad, and a horseshoe pit.
University Park Community Resources
Multnomah County Library – North Portland
North Portland Tool Library “The North Portland Tool Library (NPTL) is a community resource that loans a wide variety of tools to community members free of charge. The Tool Library benefits North Portland residents by reducing the costs of maintaining and improving their homes, building community, and sustaining diverse, livable neighborhoods.”
University Park Schools
University Park Neighborhood Vibe
Young, old, singletons and families all call this neighborhood home. There is a large student population in this neighborhood due to the University of Portland. This is an active, outdoorsy area- rain or shine guarantees you will see bikers, runners and dog walkers on Willamette.
Zip Code 97203
University Park Real Estate
University Park is comprised of mostly modest homes with architectural styles such as Portland’s Craftsman-style Bungalow, Cottages, Old Portland, Victorian, Foursquare and other mid-sized, one and two-story homes.Click here to see all current University Park 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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