University Park Neighborhood
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.
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University of Portland
University 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. It’s 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.
Astor Elementary School is in the center of the neighborhood. McKenna Park and Portsmouth Park are only a few blocks apart on North Princeton Street, perfect for a game of catch or a walk with the dog.
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. The university 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 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 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, 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, like Jalapeno poppers, tater tots, wings, and fries. Twilight also has fresh salads for those who maintain a clean 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
Bon Appétit—The Pilot House
The Pilot House is located on the University of Portland campus and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With a focus on wellness and sustainability, the farm-to-fork dishes here are lovingly created, taking into account special dietary preferences, needs, and restrictions.
For breakfast, grab a bagel and schmear, a berry/yogurt bowl, or an egg or tofu scramble. For lunch and dinner, you’ll find bowls, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. And if you want to hang out late at night, there’s a menu for that, too, so you can fill up on delicious bites while sipping your favorite beer and wine.
Bon Appétit—The Pilot House—5000 N Willamette Blvd
University Park Neighborhood Parks
Portsmouth Park—a 4.03-acre park with a playground, soccer and softball fields
McKenna Park—a 4.52-acre park with a playground, picnic pare, soccer and softball fields, and basketball court
University Park Neighborhood Resources
University Park Neighborhood Schools
University Park Neighborhood Vibe
Young, old, singletons, and families all call this neighborhood home, giving it a vibrant feel. There is a large student population in this neighborhood due to the University of Portland. This is an active, outdoorsy area—rain or shine, you’ll see bikers, runners, and dog walkers on Willamette on streets surrounded with old growth trees.
University Park Neighborhood Stats
University Park Zip Code—97203
University Park Neighborhood History
How did University Park Neighborhood Get its Name?
The neighborhood gets its name from University of Portland, the private Catholic college, funded in 1901, located within its borders.
University Park Neighborhood Real Estate and Homes
University Park is comprised of mostly modest homes with architectural styles such as Portland’s Craftsman-style bungalow, cottages, old Portland, Victorian, foursquare, mid-century ranch, and other mid-sized, one and two-story homes. Some areas of the neighborhood have lovely, improved homes.
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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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