Often referred to as the Belmont neighborhood, Sunnyside’s motto is “Proud Past, Bright Future.” Even by Portland standards, Sunnyside is one of the most eclectic and independent-minded neighborhoods in the area. It’s also home to one of the most prominent murals in Portland.
Sunnyside envelops parts of the Belmont District and Hawthorne District. Belmont is filled with eclectic shops, restaurants and quirky shops, while the Hawthorne District is known for its creative vibe and vintage shops.
With lively happy hours and nightlife to choose from, Sunnyside is popular among young professionals and college students looking to explore the trendy strip between Southeast 24th and 4th Avenues.
Where is Sunnyside, Portland?
Sunnyside is located in the southeast section of Portland. The area lies between SE Stark Street and SE Hawthorne Blvd from the north to the south. From west to east, Sunnyside stretches from SE 28th Ave to SE 49th Ave. Laurelhurst, Richmond, Buckman and Mount Tabor are Sunnyside’s neighbor and makes it easy to get around the city.
Sunnyside, Portland was primarily an isolated part of East Portland until Morrison bridge opened in 1887. After completing the bridge, a steam-powered streetcar serviced the neighborhood, and more development and locals settled into the working-class neighborhood.
The shopping areas on Belmont remain thriving shopping districts with Queen Anne-style buildings and homes. You can still see some of the brass rings locals used to tie up their horses.
Today, Sunnyside is a champion of eco-consciousness and sustainable living. From shops to restaurants, the neighborhood focuses on a more sustainable way of life. It’s easy to see why Sunnyside is known as the “uncontested champion of eco-consciousness”.
What to Do
Sunnyside, Portland offers that independent, creative spirit that Portlanders love. The neighborhood is home to funky boutiques, vegan restaurants, craft brews and cafes. Heat lamps line the pubs and cafes in cold, damp months to keep the happy hour going into the evening hours.
For shopping, Sunnyside’s eclectic boutiques include Altar and Tibet Spirit. Twill Boutique sells curated women’s clothing, and Super Natural Eco Boutique provides a curated collection of sustainable fiber clothing.
When locals aren’t shopping and eating their way through Sunnyside, they’re playing at the Avalon Theater and Castle’s Wunderland. You can stay and play at the nickel arcade games or catch a show at the Avalon, one of Portland’s oldest theaters. It also won’t break your budget. The Avalon plays second-run movies on the cheap.
The Movie Madness Museum is also a must and is housed inside a movie rental store. The museum showcases over 100 pieces of movie memorabilia. The video rental store is also known as one of the best countries with over 80,000 DVDs, VHS and Blu-Ray titles.
Despite all the urban amenities to choose from, the Sunnyside neighborhood is short on parks and green space. Laurelhurst Park isn’t far and attracts locals looking to take a run or lounge in the sun over a picnic. There’s also a sensory playground, spring-fed pond, and earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places for its stunning landscape and history.
Where to Eat & Drink
Dining and imbibing is a big deal around Sunnyside. There are 147 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the neighborhood. Bare Bones Café and Bar features specialties every day of the week, including the popular Taco Tuesdays.
Aalto Lounge was named for the Swedish designer and features colorful décor and craft cocktails. Look for $3 cocktails during happy hours and cozy outdoor space. For all things curries, the mainstay Indian Oven features a menu filled with authentic dishes and spices.
Dine on locally sourced, fresh ingredients at 3 Doors Down for Italian dishes in an intimate bistro. For vegan food, Sweet Hereafter offers late-night bites and a large covered patio.
The Pied Cow Coffeehouse is tucked away inside a renovated Victorian with morning and evening brews, as well as flavorful hookahs. For English style drinks and food, the Horse Brass Pub features regional and international beer, including sours and lambic varieties.
Moving to Sunnyside, Portland
Real Estate Snapshot
Sunnyside, Portland is a popular choice among renters and comes with a price tag to match. Expect to pay an average of $1,516 on rent for apartments in Sunnyside, which is higher than the average $1,484 rent around the rest of the city.
The Sunnyside neighborhood is also known for its Queen Anne architecture and Victorian homes and is often compared to San Francisco’s colorful Haight Ashbury district. Many boutiques and cafes are nestled inside converted homes, as well as apartments for rent.
Sunnyside is considered one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Portland, with a walk score of 91. The streets are full of people window shopping and stopping into their favorite bars and coffee shops. Sunnyside’s bike score is 99 and offers decent public transportation. TriMet’s 155 bus runs through Sunnyside between Clackamas Town Center and Happy Valley.
Like most of Portland, you can ditch the car and rely on biking and walking instead. Uber and Lyft are readily available in the neighborhood to connect to the rest of the city. For a day trip to the nearby Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, zip cars are available by the hour.
Schools & Employment
Sunnyside, Portland attracts young professionals and growing families looking for the best in city living. Families in the area send their kids to local public schools or choose private options. Higher education isn’t far. Portland Community College Downtown Center, Oregon State University and Portland State University a short bike ride or walk away.
Oregon is sales-tax-free and makes shopping in boutiques and vintage stores appealing. Pubs and cafes are plentiful, making restaurant jobs a popular option. Locals also aren’t far from the rest of the city’s job market in healthcare, high tech, manufacturing, athletic and wholesale trade.
Ready to jump into the independent spirit of Sunnyside, Portland? Enjoy shopping, vegan eats and pub crawls in a neighborhood known for its eclectic vibe.