Sunnyside Neighborhood in Portland is found right between two of the trendiest streets in SE Portland, SE Hawthorne and SE Belmont. Hawthorne is it’s southern boundary, and is brimming over with bohemiian, funky, hip and local restaurants, pubs, bars, shops, book stores, alternative medicine practicioners, and it ends at the base of Mt Tabor. So not only do you have all the shops and restaurants you could want, but you have a huge beautiful park, with miles of trails, views, peace and serenity, all within walking distance. Then to the north of Sunnyside Neighborhood is Belmont, which has it’s own flavor of shops and businesses, and it ends by curving around the north side of Mt Tabor.
Sunnyside Neighborhood is just north of Hawthorne from about SE 28th to SE 50th – where it runs into Mt Tabor. It’s north border is SE Stark- where it runs into Laurelhurst, and it’s south boundary is SE Hawthorne, where it hits Richmond. It has two really cool, trendy, hip “sub-neighborhoods” in it- The Hawthorne District- which is the southern boundary of this neighborhood- and just 6 blocks north, and there is SE Belmont. I’ve written a whole page about Hawthorne– go to it and find all kinds of photos, links and maps. Belmont is a lot like Hawthorne- a little bit smaller- it’s a historic street full of boutiques and ethnic restaurants.
Parks in Sunnyside Neighborhood
Mt Tabor is an extinct volcano that has been preserved as a beautiful huge forest park in the middle of the inner SE Portland metro area. Mt. Tabor Park is 195 acres, and has it all…. trails, staircases and a paved road that goes up to the top where the lookout is. There are grassy areas, beautiful forests, plus all the normal things you expect to find in a park, like basketball court, play area, a restroom, picnic area, dog off-leash area, picnic tables, playground, and tennis courts.
If you love to walk, hike, or have a dog that you love to take on beautiful long walks through a forest…but you also want to live in the city, this area is for you! From Mt Tabor, there are amazing views of the city all the way to Forest Park one way, and Mt Hood the other way. There is a reservoir, in fact there are 3, on Mt Tabor, but they may have to be covered because of water security and safety. There is a trail map that shows all the different parts of Mt Tabor Park on the left. You can click on it and it will take you to the full map on Portland Parks.
Mt Tabor Park Map Above Mt Tabor Park from above
History and Housing Styles
Before the Morrison bridge was built in 1887, Sunnyside area was just 384 urban acres that was first homesteaded in 1851, and very isolated because the only way to get to Portland was by Ferry. It took a whole day! Before it became part of Portland, the streets were lettered L to T, where Washington to Madison aer, and the North south streets were named after trees, like myrtle, Laurel, Laburnum, Maple, Acacia, Chestnut and Cedar- now 31st to 37th. When the new bridge went in over the Willamette in 1888, the steam powered streetcar began going regularly across the Willamette, up Morrison, across at 26th and onto Belmont and then Mt Tabor. This totally changed the area! People wanted to get out of the dirty city, and they began to move to the Sunnyside and Mt Tabor area. During the 1890s through the 1930s, a vibrant shopping area on Belmont and also on Hawthorne were born, mostly from about 33rd to 35th.
This area became the first stop on the new streetcar line and became the city’s first suburban development and just a day trip away from downtown. It started as a high end residential area way back in 1890 and then, as the houses got older, and people began moving out into the suburbs, it changed into more of a working class area.
There are a lot of cool old homes here that date back into the early 1900’s and even before! There are mostly Four Squares, Victorians, Craftsman, Old PDX and Bungalows- many with leaded glass windows, ornate woodwork and built-ins and a lot of character and charm. There are rentals mixed in because it is right in the middle of Hawthorne and Belmont- but many homes have been restored to their former beauty and completely remodeled.
Other Important Links
The MAX and buses make public transportation really good!
Sunnyside Environmental Elementary School is amazing! It teaches kids about gardens, and chickens and the environment with native grasses and grains project, colonial-style garden, rain water catchment, moss graffiti, chicken coop, wild bird conservation area, rain shelter, and much more. In the typical small front and side lawns of an elementary school, the students, teachers and parents at Sunnyside have developed many beautiful, distinct places and projects for teaching and learning.
- Belmont Academy is a private, non-affiliated school offering preschool and elementary school education.
You can find all kinds of [pmaps] even exactly what happened where, if you just put in an address in Portland. There are lots of other things you can learn there- like census information, maps, school info, parks, environmental issues, permits on houses, nuisance complaints and taxes.