The Pearl District is located just north of downtown Portland. Once an area occupied by warehouses, light industrial businesses and railroad yards, it has been transformed into an award-winning, internationally recognized example of urban renewal. According to the Pearl District Business Association, Thomas Augustine, a local gallery owner, coined the name Pearl District in the 1980s to suggest that its industrial buildings were like crusty oysters, and that the galleries and artists' lofts within were like pearls.
Hip and upscale, the Pearl attracts a diverse mix of hip professionals, young families, empty nesters and people who want to live in the center of it all. The utilization of mixed-use space effortlessly blends residential, business and play, giving it city sophistication with urban historic charm. Creative-commerce entrepreneurs, ranging from small internet firms to world-class advertising and multi-media companies have settled in the area.
There are slews of new developments as well as many older buildings, apartments, townhomes and loft-style condos. Stunning views include a landscape of old and new buildings, the Willamette River, downtown Portland and the West Hills.
The bustling streets are lined with locally owned boutiques, art galleries, acclaimed restaurants, unique home interior stores and coffee shops. One of the oldest, Blackfish Gallery has been owned and operated by a co-op of artists since 1979, and Portland Center Stage is one of the 25 largest theater companies in the United States. The neighborhood’s Powell’s City of Books was cited by USA Today as one of America's 10 best bookstores and takes up an entire city block. You can find a good happy hour at almost all of the restaurants. During the summer, people flock to First Thursday in the Pearl District, an event on the first Thursday of the month where artists fill the streets with their merchandise to create a large art gallery.
Urban parks and green spaces are tucked amidst the city bustle where you'll see children playing in the fountains and residents walking their dogs. Jamison Square and Tanner Springs provide fountains, native wetlands and flowing streamlets. When driving along the North Park blocks, it's hard to keep one's eyes on the road instead of looking at the 80-100 foot trees. Nearby Forest Park, covering 5,100 acres on the hillside overlooking the Willamette River, is one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves. Approximately 70 miles of recreational trails crisscross the park.