Inner Northwest Portland – specifically around NW 21st and NW 23rd – is one of the most popular in the city center for shopping, entertainment, and dining. It also has a memorable nickname: the Alphabet District.
You might not notice the reason for the name immediately, especially if you're taking your time meandering from one shop-lined block to another, but the streets in the quadrant that run east-west are in alphabetical order – from Burnside, Couch, Davis, Everett, and Flanders on up through Wilson. There's an A street further east (Alder), but it doesn't continue up far enough to be part of this district.
The Alphabet District is historically one of Portland's most desirable neighborhoods – there are beautiful Victorian-style houses in the residential blocks and sought-after condo buildings. One of the city's oldest independent movie theaters, Cinema 21, is on NW 21st Avenue. Nature lovers may enjoy staying in this part of the city because of its ready access to Portland's huge city park, Forest Park, which stretches into the hills west of the neighborhood.
In real estate circles, the area is often called Nob Hill. Portlanders typically just call in “Northwest Portland,” using that to refer to inner Northwest only. Note that “Couch” is pronounced “cooch.” “Flanders” served as the inspiration for Ned Flanders on “The Simpsons.” Practical Info Street parking is free in Northwest Portland, but it's also extremely hard to find. Luckily, the Portland Streetcar connects the Alphabet District with downtown up and down Lovejoy and Northrup Streets. The MAX light rail trains also stop nearby at SW 18th and Morrison, a few blocks' walk from the area.