Hawthorne District Custom Home Builder

Delahunt Custom Homes

The Hawthorne District in Portland, Oregon, is an area of Southeast Portland on SE Hawthorne Blvd. that runs from 12th to 60th Avenues, with the primary core of businesses between 30th and 50th Avenues.

The area has numerous retail stores, includ-ing clothing shops, restaurants, bars, brewpubs and microbreweries. Hawthorne district is known for its liberal residents. The district has been known for having various social groups, such as Generation X, hippies and more recently, hipsters. The Hawthorne area has vintage homes and apartments and locally owned shops and restaurants.


Hawthorne Boulevard was named after Dr. J.C. Hawthorne, the cofounder of Oregon’s first mental hospital. Originally named “U” Street, the road was renamed Asylum Avenue in 1862. In 1883 the privately owned Oregon Hospital for the Insane was replaced by a new state-run facility located in Salem, today’s Oregon State Hospital. The “distasteful” name Asylum Avenue was abandoned in April 1888 when the street was renamed Hawthorne Avenue by city ordinance in honor of Dr. Hawthorne. It was further renamed Hawthorne Boulevard in March 1933.

Neighbors organized and prevented a McDonald’s restaurant from being built at the site of an abandoned fast food building. The abandoned building was replaced with condominiums and retail shops on the first floor.

Things To Do in Hawthorne District Custom Home Builder

Landmarks and Recreation

Features of the Hawthorne Neighborhood in Portland

Portlanders entertaining family and friends from out of town are sure to make Hawthorne Boulevard one of their first stops as they proudly show off the city. Hawthorne is so chock-full of great eateries and shops that they literally spill out onto the sidewalk, endangering your shins. On sunny weekends especially, the boulevard is a-swarm with shoppers and those who love to watch them come and go, to and fro, from behind a foamy glass.

The Hawthorne “district” actually extends through the Southeast Portland neighborhoods of Buckman, Ladd’s Addition, Hosford-Abernathy, Sunnyside, Mt. Tabor, and Richmond. It runs along Hawthorne Boulevard from 11th to 55th Avenues.

Fun and Games near Hawthorne District Custom Home Builder

A Portland institution since 1983, Do Jump! Extremely Physical Theater makes its home just off Hawthorne, near the Bagdad Theater. Do Jump’s “actorbats” blend theater, dance and acrobatics into shows that appeal to family audiences as well as seasoned theater-goers.

Rock club Hawthorne Theatre attracts such diverse acts as crossover thrash pioneers D.R.I., alt-country band The Deep Dark Woods and Northwest rapper Grieves, and serves as a venue for the annual Bridgetown Comedy Festival, held each April.

The Sapphire Hotel, a great place to meet for a drink and dessert, is a dark, candlelit bar that was once a hotel and brothel.


Every August, the neighborhood rallies together for the Hawthorne Street Fair, one of the city’s finest fairs, with music stages spread throughout the shopping district, sidewalk sales and kids’ activities.

For more than 10 years, overgrown kids have taken part in the Portland Adult Soap Box Derby, hurtling down Mt. Tabor in homemade vehicles, while sunbathing, beer-drinking spectators cheer them on. The big race is held every August.


Small Thrills

The best example of this is The Waffle Window, quite possibly Portland’s most playful dining spot. A literal hole in the wall, demarcated by a blue door, the popular snack spot doles out smiles in the form of waffles overflowing with bacon, cheddar and jalapeño — or dipped in peanut butter and chocolate.

Equally adored, ¿Por Qué No? usually has a line out its door, and for good reason. The street-style tacos pair perfectly with margaritas and boozy sangrias; the guacamole is made to order; and house-made sauces liven it all up. Served amid eye-catching art, or on its cozy patio rain or shine, their authentic Mexican fare is a great way to quickly fuel a local adventure.

Self-serve sundae shop The Maple Parlor  invites visitors to build their own soft-serve masterpieces, with ample options for those avoiding gluten, dairy or refined sugar. Choose from tasty toppings like sesame balls, raw fudge and candied bacon.

Gourmet To-Go

At the east end of Hawthorne, Apizza Scholls’ reputation for serving some of best pizza pretty much anywhere was confirmed by a visit from Anthony Bourdain himself. The restaurant’s round beauties feature toppings like cured pork shoulder and goat horn peppers. But arrive early and expect to work up an appetite in the usually long line.

Harlow, a spin-off of the Pearl District’s veggie and gluten-free stronghold Prasad, woos eastsiders with decadent, yet health-focused fare. Try the lemon poppyseed pancakes and a coconut cider, or the “rawsome” veggie burger and rich smoothies like the Retrospection, loaded with almond butter and cacao.

Right in the middle of Hawthorne’s busiest stretch, 3 Doors Down Café, beloved for its lengthy happy hour, is another serious food destination, with ingredient-driven, Italian cuisine, like their house-made ricotta cavatelli and mussels and clams ladled with spicy plum-tomato sauce.

Caffeine Fixes

But wherever you are on Hawthorne, great coffee is likely within arms’ reach. The Fresh Pot, which adjoinsPowell’s Books on Hawthorne, is a favorite place for enjoying an espresso alongside a paperback. Further east, Albina Press, pouring up rich mochas, cocoas and heavenly cappuccinos, also serves WiFi data to its laptop-toting customers. A second outpost of Coava Coffee provides coffee-lovers with locally roasted single-origin coffee and espresso, plus single-origin mochas made with a custom blend of shaved and powdered Cocanu chocolate.


Books and Music

Cornering the market on classic Stumptown souvenirs — as well as stacks of cookbooks and planting guides —Powell’s Books on Hawthorne and Powell’s Books for Home and Garden are perfect outposts for transporting the city’s taste and green attitude home with you. And with aisles of new and used titles, this local chain is a destination for bookworms.

Part record label, part gift shop, Tender Loving Empire teems with made-in-Portland art, albums, tees and trinkets.

Jackpot Records bucks the trend of downloadable music with expertise that’s worth its weight in CDs. Thumbing through their well-sorted selection of vinyl is time well spent, especially when you score a fairly priced, forgotten favorite, or a take a chance on a disc recommended by their tuned-in staff. Likewise,Crossroads Music is where more than 35 independent dealers combine collections to create a treasure-trove of vinyl. Sure, that means their stacks are a little disorganized, but digging and discovery are what makes record stores fun.

Clothes and Accessories

Stocking up on Portland styles comes naturally on Hawthorne. Mink Boutique stocks a great assortment of skirts, dresses and name-brand jeans, with a down-to-earth sales staff to point you in the right direction. Designer denim and locally stitched sweaters fill the chic boutique CommunionSloan Boutique offers head-to-toe fashions that are great for every day or a night on the town, and their staff knows how to mix and match to make the perfect look.

Specializing in sizes 12 and up, Savvy Plus keeps fuller figures fashionable and looking fabulous with an array of consigned pieces that are high on quality and low in price. It’s also a kick to dig for deals at Imelda’s and Louie’s Shoes, which stocks more than just boots, sandals and high heels. They also have array of bags, jewelry and accessories, as well as shoes for men.

Find a gift for anyone (and perhaps one or two for yourself) at Presents of Mind, which stocks locally designed jewelry and accessories, baby gifts and a great selection of cards. Or discover a signature scent at The Perfume House, which offers an astonishing collection of 1,500 aromas.

Vintage and Resale

Antiquing is exciting wherever you make a great find, but hunting on Hawthorne brings it to a new level. For example, located behind a school bus-turned-candy shop and taco food cart (see?), House of Vintage has 1,300 square feet of vintage clothing, furniture and art. With one of the largest stockpiles of vintage clothes in Portland, the high-traffic Red Light Clothing Exchange stops bargain-hunting fashionistas in their tracks. And nearby, you’ll find even more resale — with an emphasis on newer brands — at Buffalo Exchange andCrossroads Trading Co.

Todd Delahunt
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Todd Delahunt

Delahunt Homes is a residential, custom, luxury home builder serving the Portland Metropolitan area and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. We've been building custom dream homes featured in The Street of Dreams since 1992.
Todd Delahunt
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