Life in Portland Blog

Getting Around the Kenton Neighborhood in North Portland


Getting to Know North Portland’s Slumbering Kenton Neighborhood

When you say you’re headed to the Kenton neighborhood, some PDX residents might meet you with a look of confusion. Removed from other north Portland ‘hoods, Kenton is closer to the Washington border than nearby Arbor Lodge and Piedmont neighborhoods.  

But despite people’s lack of familiarity with the Kenton neighborhood, the area has over a century of history to its name. Originally founded as a company town from the Swift Meat Packing Company in 1911, the Kenton neighborhood has been around for decades.

Today, the neighborhood marries its century-old charm with plenty of contemporary flair. Curious? Here’s what you need to know about Portland’s Kenton neighborhood – it could be the perfect PDX spot for you to call home!

Transportation in Portland’s Kenton Neighborhood

This north Portland neighborhood may feel far removed from the city center, but when it comes to transportation, Kenton doesn’t lack convenience. If you prefer to take mass transit to commute to the city center, then you’re in luck: Trimet’s yellow line passes through the core of the Kenton neighborhood, making it easy to zip from Kenton to downtown in under 30 minutes.

When it comes to navigating the Kenton neighborhood, it doesn’t get much better. Often described as insular, the Kenton neighborhood is “small, safe, and simple.” The neighborhood core centers around the recently renovated public library, and residents can easily walk between nearby restaurants, shops, grocery stores and bars — all within walking distance of home in many instances.

Where to Eat and Drink in Kenton

While Kenton may be small in area, it’s definitely large in flavor. In this tight-knit community, you’ll still find access to many of Portland’s big names, but you won’t be fighting for table space. If you’re a foodie, here’s how you could spend the day eating and drinking in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood.

Start your day off at Presso — a small coffee cart turned into a chic brick and mortar location. The small shop is just as Instagram-friendly as other Portland coffee shops, with lovely wallpaper, twee shades of pink, clean white tile, and delicious baked goods.

After a cup of joe and something sweet, balance out your diet with lunch at Cultured Caveman. The paleo-friendly, low-key joint is beloved by neighborhood residents and visitors alike. In the evening, we recommend trying Swift and Union. This bright gastropub serves up some of the best New American plates in the city — just don’t tell Eater, or the restaurant’s friendly lack of wait times will soon disappear.

Where to Find Entertainment in Kenton PDX

Although Kenton lacks some of the density of art galleries in comparison to other PDX neighborhoods such as the Pearl, the neighborhood’s artistic flair remains strong.

As you wander the neighborhood by food, you’ll pass the iconic woodsman sculpture, countless murals by local artists, and a smattering of street art. But the neighborhood’s biggest arts draw? Disjecta, a not-for-profit arts organization that showcases national talent in contemporary art.

Recent work has featured VR technology, multiple channel video installation, and sensory gymnastics. Open Friday through Sunday, Disjecta is free to the public, offering Kenton residents unparalleled, affordable access to the arts.

The neighborhood also hosts a Third Thursday art walk, allowing residents to browse shops and galleries in the downtown area for free.

As one of the few remaining alcoves of Portland that retains a small-town feel in a growing city, Kenton’s affordability won’t last long. Between the easy commute and the strong sense of community, this is a neighborhood you’ll want to be a part of. So start searching through our Kenton listings today!