Hollywood’s glitzy title comes from a bizarre game of telephone: originally named Hollyrood after a Scottish hamlet in Edinburgh, the “r” flipped to a “w” after the Hollywood Theatre first lit up its iconic marquee in 1926. Now split into three auditoriums, the movie palace remains the area’s calling card, but it’s far from the sole highlight.
Joined to the cinema on the same NE Sandy Boulevard block is Vivienne Kitchen and Pantry, a quaint breakfast spot serving up Extracto coffee and a variety of carefully crafted American bites. A block south, on NE Broadway, sit vegan haven Doe Donuts and long-standing Chinese spot Chin’s Kitchen, which boasts heavenly handmade dumplings and one of PDX’s best neon signs. A a short walk west, nestled in an unassuming strip mall, is Gado Gado, a playful Indonesian-fusion spot slinging A-grade cocktails with an ever-changing menu and some serious visual exuberance. It’s one of the city’s best restaurants.
Hollywood Babylon, an outpost of N Mississippi’s Babylon Vintage, lives at the neighborhood’s bleeding edge, right before it spills over into Rose City Park—it’s small but mighty, a treasure trove of affordable looks and diverting ephemera. Antique Alley, inside the 42nd Street Station, sprawls and sprawls, an easy afternoon-killer for the adventurous shopper. Little Axe Records strikes a perfect balance between comfortable classics and worthwhile discoveries; give their Instagram a follow for weekly updates. And in good news for the cannabis-inclined, Hollywood falls squarely within Sandy Boulevard’s “Green Mile,” packing several dispensaries in its tight boundary, including the semi-sleek Silver Stem and a franchise of statewide chain La Mota.
Hollywood itself is parkless, but it’s bordered closely by several green spaces, including the multiuse Grant Park encircling Grant High School. Pick up a book from the Hollywood Library—the crown jewel of Multnomah County neighborhood branches—and plunk down at Grant Park’s Beverly Cleary sculpture garden for a perfect afternoon.