Are you ready to get out of the city and buy your own home in the suburbs? In this episode of Live, Love, Learn Portland, I’m going to tell you all about one of my favorite suburbs: Lake Oswego. We’ll focus on this community’s downtown area to give you an idea of everything Lake Oswego has to offer.
Welcome To Lake Oswego
If you’ve been working from home for the last two years and have been saving gobs of money doing so, you might be ready to get a place of your own away from the city. If you think the suburbs are stuffy or uncool, that’s exactly what I thought 10 years ago—but now I call them home. They’re actually pretty cool, not stuffy, and way more accessible than you might think.
One of my favorite suburbs is Lake Oswego, specifically the downtown area. The famous Oswego lake was actually named Waluga by the Native Americans. However, starting in 1852, survey maps show that the lake was named Sucker Lake—which doesn’t have the same ring to it like Waluga or Oswego. Fast forward to the present day, and this body of water is officially called Oswego Lake.
Lake Oswego is home to one of the best farmer’s markets in the Portland area. My kids and I love exploring the market on the weekends or getting ice cream at one of the many shops in the area. I also love coming down here without the kids so I can explore on my own and shop or meet up with friends for happy hour.
The main reason people love Downtown Lake Oswego is you can spend an entire day there without even really wanting to or needing to leave. Want to work out? Done. Are you looking for brunch? There are so many options. Are you in the mood to shop? You’ll easily find something for yourself or a gift for someone else.
Do you want to read a book in the park? You have plenty of beautiful and serene options for this. Are you having a first date or celebrating a big anniversary? Enjoy one of many delicious restaurants. Do you need to pick up some provisions on your way home? Take your pick of local grocery and convenience stores. The best part about it all is you don’t even need a car to do any of it.
The downtown area consists of a few really great neighborhoods, including First Edition-Forest Hills, Evergreen Foothills, Old Town, and Lakewood. There’s also the lake itself, which is over 400 acres. The US Geological Survey records the official name as Lake Oswego, but because of its artificially increased size, it’s classified as a reservoir.
I like coming down to the lake with friends and walking the seven-mile lake loop. After that, we grab brunch at Lola’s or one of the many brunch spots. Fun fact: Lake Oswego is actually privately held. This means that, for most of its history, it’s been inaccessible to the public.
This is not because you physically couldn’t have access to the lake. Rather, because it was privately held, you couldn’t legally have access to the lake. As of 2022, there is a court case going on that could potentially change the lake’s accessibility—and the case is getting quite a bit of attention.
A Shopper’s Paradise
Outside of downtown’s beauty and cleanliness, one of the big attractions of Lake Oswego is the shopping. There are all different types of shopping available. You’ve got your pick of utilitarian grocery stores to plenty of places to find a gift for someone or yourself. You’ll have access to clothing stores, specialty shops, home decorating and design stores, and much more.
Two of my favorite boutiques are right next door to one another—and I even used to work at one of them. Its founding location is in Northeast Portland, though sadly it’s now closed. One of my other favorite stores downtown is called City Home, a home decoration and design store. It’s a fun and inspiring place to even just walk through.
Everything in City Home is set up in these incredible displays that have been given so much thought. They also just moved into a new location that’s twice as big and twice as awesome, so make sure you check it out.
Healthy Living And Good Food
Another thing that I think is really cool about Lake Oswego is that, throughout the last few years, they have really grown in how many places you can go to work out. This includes things like spin studios, yoga and pilates studios, and even a StretchLab. I really love how health-centric they’ve become.
The last—but far from final—reason why people and myself love downtown Lake Oswego is the thriving restaurant scene. From wine bars and public houses to specialty bake shops, they literally have it all. If you’re on date night, try Bamboo Sushi. If you’re with the family, check out Manzana or head down to Duke’s Public House.
One of my favorite places to go myself or bring out-of-town guests is Domaine Serene. Here, you can get a taste of the incredible and famous Oregon wines without having to make the trek to the Willamette Valley. If my guests aren’t big on wine, Breakside Brewing is a fantastic option for really great local beer. These places are great for catching up with friends any day of the week.
Cost Of Living
Now that you have an idea of what it’s like to live in downtown Lake Oswego, let’s explore how much it costs. On average, detached single-family homes are around $1.6 million, while townhomes and condos are around $820,000. The area ranges in all ages and sizes of homes including new luxury homes, older and smaller cottages, classic townhomes, and everything in between.
You’ll get the idea fairly quickly that there is so much pride of ownership here in Lake Oswego. There’s also a deep love and sense of community. People love the area for its top-rated schools, safety, accessibility, cleanliness, and all of its amenities.
Make Lake Oswego Your Home
As you can see, Lake Oswego has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you haven’t been in quite a while, I highly encourage you to go check it out. Also, if you have any additional questions or want some specific information, feel free to reach out to me at any time and I’ll be happy to help.
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