An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood with a Small Town Vibe
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About St. Johns
On Portland’s northwestern-most tip, historic St. Johns is an up-and-coming neighborhood with a small town vibe. At the neighborhood’s entrance, you can take in live music at The Fixin’ To, which is a southern-inspired honky-tonk with an outdoor patio. At the McMenamin’s St. Johns Theater and Pub, you can kick back with a pint on comfy couches and watch second-run movies beneath the building’s original 1905 dome. The historic St. Johns Twin Cinema in downtown serves up cheap flicks with local pizza and brews. Downtown also boasts a vintage camera shop, a vegan barbeque joint, several great coffee shops, and the John Street Café, which might be Portland’s best-kept secret breakfast spot.
The St. Johns skyline is graced by the gothic arches and soaring spires of its namesake bridge. Built in 1931, the bridge connects St. Johns with Forest Park, one of the largest urban forest reserves in the U.S. with 70 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Beneath the bridge, the 23-acre waterfront Cathedral Park is home to the annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, which is the oldest free jazz festival west of the Mississippi. Each May, the neighborhood plays host to the St. Johns Bizarre Festival, attracting large crowds with music, crafts, and food.
The neighborhood is located on the peninsula formed by the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and is steeped in history. Native American tribes once fished along the river banks and in 1806, it was a landing site for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The township of St. Johns was officially established in 1847 by James John, who chose the site for a ferry across the Willamette River.
The homes in St. Johns are among the most affordable in Portland. You’ll find a mix of Old Portland architecture, ranging from small bungalows to grand Victorians. New developments are scattered throughout the neighborhood, and there’s also a floating home community along the river bank.