Life in Portland Blog

Getting Around the St. Johns Neighborhood in North Portland

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Considering a Move to North Portland’s St. Johns Neighborhood?

Perhaps the only neighborhood in Portland that is still considered a “locals paradise,” St. Johns offers an old-Portland community feel. With soaring parks, old-timey diners and dives, and hundred-year-old homes, St Johns is equal parts quirky and charming

And while the North Portland neighborhood may seem like it’s a bit far from the city center, public transportation makes it easy to commute to the west side. Curious if St. Johns could be the right Portland area for you to call home? Here’s a guide to getting around North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood.

Commuting From Portland’s St Johns Neighborhood

In terms of price, buying a home in the St. Johns neighborhood is a bargain when it comes to Portland real estate. It’s still possible to buy 2,000 square foot, four bedroom homes in St. Johns for less than $450k. But what about the commute? Is time spent traveling to and from work worth the lower price point?

Fortunately, St. Johns does offer a few transportation advantages. If you work in Portland’s industrial area, it’s a quick jaunt to Columbia Boulevard. And if you’re commuting to Vancouver, St. Johns is mere minutes from the state line. If you do work downtown, don’t lose hope! Trimet bus lines 44, 4, and 75 will take you straight downtown, and a 45-minute bike ride guides you along some of the city’s best views.

Where to Eat and Drink in St. Johns

Don’t let St. Johns’ small-town vibe fool you, because the area has great eats and drinks for all tastes. We recommend visiting the neighborhood and trying the local eateries yourself, but if you want a little guidance, here’s our insider’s take on a great food crawl through the neighborhood.

Start your morning with a cup of java from the Great North. With sleek lines and local roasters, you’ll think you’re in a trendy Division St. coffee shop. For an early lunch, visit Homegrown Smoker BBQ. Keep an open mind because technically it’s an all vegan BBQ, but the mac-and-cheese burrito and the beet BBQ patties are flavorful and filling enough to satiate any meat eater.

Mid-day, stop in at Occidental for a brew and take in pristine views of the Columbia. And if you need a snack after climbing your way back up the steep hill to the town’s center, grab a $1.50 taco from Tienda Santa Cruz (a small Mexican restaurant hidden behind a grocery store). For dinner, you can unwind with pizza and music at Gabagool.

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Other Reasons to Love St. Johns in PDX

St Johns hosts some of Portland’s best summer events — without the crowds you’ll find downtown or in trendy southeast neighborhoods. On the second Sunday in May, St. John’s hosts an annual bizarre with music, vendors, and street eats. Last year, the lineup included Portland favorites including The Thermals and Y la Bamba. Oh, and did we mention the festival is free?

The neighborhood also hosts “the longest running jazz and blues festival west of the Mississippi River.” The Jazz Society’s Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is a free, three-day long event where locals are encouraged to come sit beneath the St. Johns Bridge and enjoy blues music. Dancing feet encouraged.

And finally, St. Johns boasts one of Portland’s finest public school facilities. With a new makeover, the renovated Roosevelt High School looks more like a college campus than a local high school. We’ll admit, we’re a little jealous!

Between the opportunities for outdoor fun and local eats, St .Johns is an ideal location for Portlanders who are looking for a slice of the old city. If that’s your scene, start searching through our St. Johns neighborhood listings today!

[image via: Jazz Oregon]