Situated on the peninsula where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet, the St. Johns neighborhood is home to a community of friendly locals and small businesses. Its colorful history begins with the tale of early Portland settler, James John, who laid out the first street grid here in 1865. Similar to Albina, St. Johns was initially an independent city until it was annexed by Portland in 1915.
Most people don’t know that the St. Johns Bridge is actually located within the Cathedral Park neighborhood. The stunning arched bridge opened in 1931, coming in $1 million under budget, and was built in a mere 21 months. Fun Fact: On St. Patrick’s Day 1931, local officials announced that the suspension bridge was to be painted green.
What to do in St. Johns
This immersive cafe/tavern experience, said to have been built no magical spring that grants its drinkers special powers. If you are in need of a whimsical adventure, Wonderwood Springs should be on your list.
Catch a first-run flick at this awesome old movie theater that serves beer, pizza and good coffee for prices that won’t break the bank.
Yep, St. Johns has not just one movie theater, but two! The historical building that is now Mcmenamins St. Johns Theater & Pub, was the crown jewel of the Lewis and Clark Exposition (a World’s Fair) in 1905, and only built to last about six months. The theater showcases second-run movies and a sampling of locally-sourced pub snacks and food to accompany your beer or cider.
If enjoying a meal at an old fueling depot turned pizza parlor isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. This family-owned and operated business prides itself on serving artisan pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches and salads made with fresh, all natural ingredients and delicious ingredients.
Grab a delicious coffee and house-made baked good at The Sparrow Bakery.
Don’t miss The Groovy Floret, a vegan food truck turned brick and mortar, offering 100% Vegan, Gluten Free & Nut Free tacos, nachos, breakfast hash and more! They have a photo-worthy covered outdoor space and are pet friendly.
You can count on a delightful mix of vendors at the weekly Farmers Market in St. Johns. From local farmers offering organic produce to a wide variety of hand-crafted products, you are sure to find multiple items to take home. Open Saturdays from May-October.
This free family event has been a tradition in North Portland since 1962. People from near and far join in on the fun every year on the 2nd Saturday in May.
The longest-running free jazz festival west of the Mississippi draws in fans and families from all over to enjoy multiple performers during this weekend-long event.
Living in St. Johns
Present-day St. Johns is known for being a small town within a city, and home to some of the oldest buildings in all of Portland. The neighborhood features all styles of architecture, from cape cods and ranches, the occasional Victorian home and even houseboats.
The Columbia Slough