Beaverton was chosen as one of Apartment Therapy’s Coolest Suburbs in America 2019. We showcased the burbs nationwide that offer the most when it comes to cultural activities, a sense of community, and simply a good quality of life. For more on how we define “cool” and what exactly counts as a suburb, check out our methodology here. To view Apartment Therapy’s other Coolest Suburbs in America 2019, head here.
The living is easy in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Neighbors are chatty. Bike trails to neighboring towns and downtown Portland abound. Hop in your car to dozens of box stores minutes away. It seems like everyone composts. Parking is readily available and free. There’s never a line at the post office. City employees return calls swiftly. I could go on. Have I mentioned that all aspects of life are comically uncomplicated? Especially compared to a stint in Manhattan? They are.
Beaverton particularly excels at public spaces and programing: Well-maintained trails weave through mossy forests right out of “The Hobbit,” in a dozen residential neighborhoods. Full rosters of movie nights and festivals fill warm evenings.
Get here sooner rather than later, because housing prices continue to rise. If you envision the West Coast as a very expensive block of cities, the Portland region is the cheapest destination on an overpriced block, which will continue increase in price. Beaverton’s many imports from L.A. and San Francisco constantly say things like “I would’ve moved here a decade ago, if I’d known how nice people are.”
Editor’s note: Beware that locals scratch their heads at the Beaverton city map, which is inexplicably oddly shaped, with Beaverton entirely circling multiple downtown areas. The main impact on locals is that many residents who appear to live in Beaverton technically do not, and thus miss out on cheap parks and recreation classes. This guide covers the Beaverton area.
Average rent price:
$1,337, according to Rent Café.
Median house price:
$392,200, according to Zillow.
Price per square foot:
$223 in Beaverton, vs. $231 in the surrounding metro area of Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro, according to Zillow.
48, according to Walk Score.
Median household income:
$64,619 according to Census data.
97,000, according to the City of Beaverton.
What you think the city is known for:
Beaverton is full of hidden parks that are simply breathtaking, like Hyland Woods Natural Area. The 30 acres of forested park is circled by a residential neighborhood. Don’t miss the 1.5-acre nature play area for children.
Place that makes you happy to live there:
Westside Trail. The 6-mile, car-free trail will eventually connect all the way to downtown Portland, linking neighboring parks, forests, refuges, and towns. Locals have funded over a decade of expansions, which are continuing.
Favorite activity for families:
The 4,500-square-foot splash pad at Conestoga Recreation Center. If happily shrieking children are your jam, this is the place to be.
Favorite hangout for young professionals:
Sitting in rush hour traffic in and out of Portland (kidding, kidding). But if you’d like to actually talk with young professionals, try Westgate Bourbon Bar & Taphouse, which keeps it high end and fun, with ample whisky on hand. When you prefer something a little more low-key, head to Bleachers, a dive bar that is always hopping.
Favorite place to catch a movie:
Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing. Superhero movies are shown every couple of hours, with around 20 different films shown daily. Skip the popcorn, because delicious Thai Noodle Etc. is across the parking lot.
Favorite teen hangout:
Sky High Sports trampoline park. Teens bounce their brains out on various trampolines, and then swing off a rope into a foam pit.
Favorite outdoor lounge spot:
Satisfy your desire to be in nature and drunk at the same time, at McMenamins Rock Creek Tavern, a secluded old barn with live music, shuffleboard, and really good food. Head to the corner patio. The original building burned down 17 years ago, and was rebuilt with wood from nearby old barns. It’s technically a few minutes outside of Beaverton, but everyone goes there.
Favorite date spot:
First, hit Portland Escape Rooms, where you and your boo have 60 minutes to solve puzzles and find the key to freedom. Then hit Decarli Restaurant, where Italy-meets-Oregon food is served a beautiful space (think high beam-and-rafters ceiling and a chandelier from an old hotel). It’s perfect for a run-of-the-mill date night. Most entrees run between $20 and $30.
Favorite local bookstore:
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. The 32,500-square-foot outpost of the main store downtown boasts more than half a million books (both new and used!), and a kids area that’s a destination itself. It’s the best.
Favorite place to get coffee:
Ava Roasteria. What lacks in ambiance (it could be anywhere, selling anything), it makes up for in coffee. The coffee is just delicious.
Favorite bar for when you want to be around people:
Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom is particularly popular among parents who can’t stray too far from their little ones.
Favorite alone spot:
Rock Creek Trail. The flat 3.5-mile trail passes through forests, wetlands, meadows, and a number of parks.
Favorite free cultural activity to take part in:
Kaleafa. You’re in Oregon, so you’d better buy some cannabis. Lots of bud, knowledgeable staff, and good prices.
Most walkable area:
Truth: Beaverton businesses are notoriously unwalkable. But sidewalks and trails are everywhere, and due to old-forest tree growth, neighborhood walks are lovely. Pro tip: Watch your shoe brands. This is Nike country.
Favorite bike trails/parks/outdoor activity:
Tualatin Hills Nature Park, directly across the street from Nike World Headquarters, will make you forget all about capitalism. Its paved and soft trails cover 222 acres, which are mobbed with jogging Nike employees at lunchtime and dusk.
Favorite spot for an Instagram:
Commonwealth Lake Park is three blocks off a main road, yet few people seem to know it’s there. The lake is gorgeous and a hotspot for birdwatchers.
Biscuits Cafe! Don’t miss the, uh, biscuits.
Favorite free activity:
Activities at Garden Home Community Library. The event planner is truly gifted, this month mixing foreign films with a Day of the Dead celebration, a comics party, and Lego Creativity Club.
Favorite grocery store:
New Seasons Market in Cedar Hills. It’s Whole Foods Market meets “Portlandia.”
Favorite place for a workout:
Barre3. The Pilates-yoga-ballet company is headquartered in Portland, so the same teachers with enormous online followings nationwide lead 20-person classes locally.
If leggings aren’t your thing, the city parks and recreation centers are extremely well-appointed, and ideal for learning new sports. The main center, Howard M. Terpenning Recreation Complex, gets 650,000 visits per year to its 50-meter pool, 15 tennis courts, five sports fields, and skate park. You get the idea. Classes are cheap and plentiful.
Favorite place to take an out-of-towner:
BG’s Food Cartel. Thirty-one food carts provide the culinary experience of Portland, without the parking hassles.
Worst place to find parking and easiest place to find parking:
Locals say parking is “ridiculous” if they need to drive two blocks and park. On rare occasions, you will need to drive two blocks and park. Mostly, you will not.
What the neighbors say:
Two locals noted that Beaverton is more diverse than downtown Portland.
“It’s definitely known for being the western suburb of Portland.” —Joseph Ryan, 37, a software engineer and resident of one year.
Favorite annual event:
Beaverton Night Market. For two summer nights, diverse vendors gather around family-friendly cultural activities and events. Come with an empty stomach.
Also, Beaverton Concerts in the Round is a handful of summer evening shows in the park across from the library.
What I miss about the city living in a suburb:
Cool (read: non-chain, not bland) coffee shops and bars.
Favorite local garden store:
Dennis’ 7 Dees. A neighborhood spot with every indoor and outdoor variety you could want. They even have a one-year plant guarantee for those who may or may not have the greenest thumb.
Favorite local diner:
“Diner” doesn’t really translate in Oregon. Ringo’s Bar & Grill is your best bet—comfort food, great beer—but it is more like a billiards bar than a diner.
Favorite neighborhood for yard sales:
Residents of the upscale neighborhood of Forest Heights band together for an annual garage sale that is one-stop shopping for barely-used, expensive gear.
Favorite house/garden walk:
Raleigh Park Garden Tour. Roses grow like weeds here, so even middling gardens seem impressive.
Favorite dog park:
Paul and Vera Winkelman Dog Park. Just like every other public space in the area, the 2-acre off-leash area is lovely. It includes a paw wash station and agility area, with little jumping walls, and weaving poles that my dog stares at blankly.
Hit up Biofoot Reflexology and Massage Center for an hour-long foot and hand massage for $40. Low frills, with lovely staffers.
Favorite resale and antique store:
Goodwill superstore on Westgate Drive is always worth a walk through, because thanks to a nearby Goodwill Donation Express, wealthy locals frequently donate high-end clothes. For furniture, jewelry, and household bobbles, the warehouse-like Consignment Northwest dependably fills a house.
How would you sell your suburb to the coolest person you know?:
One word: ease. Beaverton wins for incubating the culture and food carts of Portland, with none of the traffic problems of the big city.