From craft brews to Craftsman homes, Portland, Oregon is known for many things. But that broad overview only speaks to the overall city.
To truly discover Portland, you’ll need to dive into Rose City’s best neighborhoods. Each boasts its own unique character and offerings. And the proximity of the various quadrants makes it easy to get from one area to another.
One minute, you’re brewery-hopping and grabbing a bite to eat at a food truck in an up-and-coming neighborhood. The next, you’re at home in a family-friendly district full of classic houses.
Ultimately, Portland’s neighborhoods are inclusive, welcoming communities. Here’s our run-down of the best neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon.
A great neighborhood for creatives is the Alberta Arts District in Northeast Portland. Full of art and culture, there’s always something to see and do on NE Alberta Street.
Start the day with a locally-roasted coffee, check out galleries and shops and end the day at any number of funky bars and restaurants.
One can’t-miss attraction is the monthly Last Thursday art market. And off the main drag, the surrounding neighborhoods are full of historic houses.
Above all, Alberta embodies that famous “keep Portland weird” vibe.
Located in East Portland, the edgy Buckman neighborhood is one of the best foodie areas in town. Many of the city’s most raved-about restaurants call Buckman-Kerns home. And there’s always a new must-try spot opening up.
There’s also plenty of great cafes and coffee roasters. And the craft beer scene…well, let’s say, if you came to Portland for beer, start with Buckman. Between Buckman and the adjoining Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood, there are tons of local craft breweries to try.
The area is also home to eclectic housing options, from hip apartment buildings to historic Victorian and Craftsman houses.
Home is where the heart is. And in Portland, the heart of the city is the downtown. Pioneer Square is, after all, known as Portland’s living room.
Sandwiched between the West Hills and the Willamette River, the downtown is a major business district. But its blend of classic apartments and sleek high-rises, shopping and dining options also make it a great place to live. There are cultural offerings at theaters and museums, and the area is easily walkable or navigable by public transit.
But it’s not all skyscrapers and concrete. There’s plenty of greenery too. At the Tom McCall riverfront park, you’ll find groves of cherry blossom trees and lush green lawns. Or head to Washington Park to hike or admire manicured nature at the Rose Garden or Japanese Garden.
Looking for Portland’s funky, eccentric neighborhoods? Head to the Hawthorne District. Named after the area’s main thoroughfare, this walkable area exudes cool, artsy vibes.
Because of its many vintage stores, Hawthorne offers some of Portland’s best shopping. There are multicultural food carts, independent boutiques and historic performance venues like the Bagdad Theater & Pub.
Strolling through the surrounding neighborhood, you’ll find whimsically decorated homes.
And don’t worry, there’s something for nature lovers too. Located on an extinct volcanic cone, Mt. Tabor Park has winding paths, a reservoir and elevated city views.
For a taste of classic Portland, seek out the overlooked Lair Hill neighborhood. Here, you’ll find some of Portland’s best examples of historic Victorian homes.
Nestled at the base of Marquam Hill, most of the houses date from the late 1800s and early 1900s but they are beautifully preserved.
With tree-lined streets and established local businesses — it’s a laidback, relaxing area for quiet living.
Photo source: Multnomah Village / Facebook
Locals call this Southwest neighborhood the village in the heart of Portland. Why? For one, it’s centrally located, with downtown a short drive away. But its close-knit community and friendly atmosphere feel more small-town than big city.
Despite being so close to the city center, Multnomah Village frequently flies under the radar for out-of-town visitors. But long-term residents feel it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Portland despite being a bit off the beaten path.
Here, you probably won’t find the latest must-try restaurant or trendy store. But you will find beloved, independent businesses like that have been around for ages. For example, there’s Annie Bloom’s Books, the one Portland-area book store to rival Powell’s.
The “downtown” is great for shopping, strolling and people-watching. And dining-wise, eat and drink your fill at homey diners and laidback brewpubs.
For outdoor fun, head to Gabriel Park for leisurely afternoons chilling on the grass or hanging out with friends.
Where in Portland can you find the perfect blend of electric and modern, trendy and classic? Where you can work out at an Orange Theory, dine on food truck ramen and then walk past historic Craftsman and Victorian homes? Northwest.
One of the best neighborhoods in Portland, Northwest houses the Alphabet District and Nob Hill areas. Here, you’ll find popular shopping and dining hubs like NW 21st and 23rd (Trendy-Third) avenues.
When you tire of cosmopolitan thrills, nearby Forest Park has ample hiking trails and walking paths.
For on-trend urbanites who want to live at the center of the action, there’s nowhere better than the Pearl.
Located next to downtown, the area originated as a warehouse and railyard district. Now, it’s a revitalized hotspot. But despite the addition of glossy high-rises and revitalized lofts, its history still shows in the cobblestoned streets and red-brick buildings.
If you’re looking for trendy dining, the Pearl is the place. There are hip cafes, cool restaurants and tons of breweries and bars. Shopping-wise, you’ll find fashionable boutiques and fun stores. And it’s a great place for gallery-hopping, as the Pearl is now one of Portland’s art hubs.
All this and more is easily walkable or reachable via public transit. And other popular areas like downtown and Northwest are close by.
The South Waterfront makes quite the first impression. Driving into Portland on the I-5 North, you’re greeted by sleek, ultra-modern high-rises. It looks like something out of a sci-fi film. But in fact, it’s Portland’s most up-and-coming neighborhood.
Once an old industrial district, a years-long urban renewal project transformed the area. There are towering apartment buildings loaded with contemporary amenities.
Residents can enjoy manicured green areas and riverfront walking and cycling paths.
One of Portland’s major universities, the Oregon Health & Sciences University on Marquam Hill, connects to the neighborhood via aerial tram.
Just because it’s a new neighborhood doesn’t mean it lacks things to do. There is great shopping and dining, and downtown is close by.
Another major plus is the proximity to Tilikum Crossing — open only to pedestrians and public transit, this cable-stayed bridge was the first of its kind in the US.
This charming North Portland neighborhood feels like its own independent entity from Portland. St. Johns was originally its own town before being incorporated into larger Portland in 1915. But it still retains those quirky small-town vibes.
The area is the best of both worlds for many demographics. Families enjoy the quiet, tree-lined streets of historic houses and a sense of community.
For artists and hip young people, there are music and performance venues, vintage shops and casual dining
For everyone, there’s great nature access. Forest Park is right across the stately St. John’s Bridge. Cathedral Park offers sunny fields and riverfront fun. And the Smith and Bybee Natural Wetlands Area offers wildlife watching near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers.
The best neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon
No matter what you’re looking for in a neighborhood, Portland has an option for you. Find apartments for rent or buy a house in Portland today!