Foster Road – Historic Walking Tour

Image of 1940s Barts Drive-in. Black and white image with cars parked (waiting for car hops with food) there are about 70 plus feet of neon lights on the building looks like a space craft fressbee with an illuminated coit tower popped on top.
Barts Drive Inn Foster Road Courtesy Tom Robinson

Historic Foster Road

Tour Description

This bike- and pedestrian-friendly Southeast Portland neighborhood has a character all its own. Expert guide Dr. March has worked with community members and local businesses to highlight a section of Foster Road once served by the Mt. Scott trolley line with the highest concentration of theaters outside of Downtown. Peek into the suburban evolution of fast food culture, preservation efforts, the shift to quality coffee and vegan options. Once the widest road in Portland the neighborhood offers an authentic Portland adventure. 


This 90 minute tour starts at Kainos Cafe 5300 SE Foster Rd., Portland, OR 97206. On this twenty block loop we will explore both sides of what was once the widest road in Portland. This is a flat accessible tour with no grade. Overall, Foster Road offers a unique blend of history, culture, entertainment, and sustainability.  Enjoy exploring this vibrant and evolving neighborhood! 

Local Highlights

The angle of Foster Road is a vestige of 100s of years when Native Ameriocans traveled from from Johnson Creek to the Willamette River. The well worn trail was appropriated by the Foster family to transport goods from their farm to Portland.

Streetcar Development: Take a step back in time and learn about Foster Road's history. The tour walks along a stretch of Foster where the historic Mount Scott streetcar line ran from 1892-1936. The revival of the area has focused on making it even more pedestrian-friendly and accessible.

Phoenix Pharmacy: Explore this meticulously restored 1922 landmark building. Phoenix Pharmacy embodies Foster Road's transformation from industrial to a hub for small businesses proudly located in a streetcar era suburb with its beautiful architecture and current tenant focus on outfitting you for numerous outdoor adventures.

Bob White Theater was a vibrant neighborhood cinema from 1924 to 1985.  This massive theater was the gem of the seven theaters cluster and it played a significant role in the community's entertainment scene for over 60 years. After closing as a cinema, the Bob White structure went through various uses, including housing a pipe organ restoration shop, on the tour and your guide will present you with how numerous historic buildings are being recycled and adapted.

PBOT image of Foster Road
Bob White Theater Courtesy Steve Stone
Allen Video Courtesy the Phoenix project


Thanks to a partnership with The Foster Area Business Association, Venture Portland, and Prosper Portland this tour is offered at a reduced rate. 

Adults $20 Seniors $15


Please arrive 15 minutes prior to start time. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that are appropriate for the weather. It’s a good idea to bring a hat, sunglasses, and a jacket or umbrella if there’s a chance of rain.  We allow friendly leashed dogs on our tours. There are no refunds for no shows. Tours run rain or shine.  We can often accommodate a friend if the walking tour you booked is sold out. You should receive a text for your tour guide in advance of the tour.  If you will be arriving late, reply to the text so that the guide can direct you to a meet up location at a later stop point on the tour.

Parking and Transportation 

Street parking is free in this area. Watch for hour limitations on posted signs.