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23 Best Neighborhoods in Portland, OR

By: Susan Finch
January 22, 2021

Portland has long attracted independent spirits and creatives at heart looking for a balance of work, life, and play. Often referred to as The City of Roses and embraced for its gorgeous gardens and landscape, Portland's best neighborhoods feature trendy pubs, cultural offerings, and live entertainment venues.

If you're ready to trade in your car for a bike and live along the Willamette River, here's where to find the best neighborhoods in Portland.

1. Pearl District

As one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city, the Pearl District is a haven for young professionals moving to Portland. The community was once full of warehouses. Now, those buildings are filled with art galleries, shops, famed restaurants, and nightlife options.

There's a little of everything in the Pearl District, like Yama Sushi & Sake Bar with sustainably sourced sushi and sashimi. Choose from the repurposed warehouses, lofts, and new midrises in the Pearl District.

You'll pay more in the trendy Pearl District than other Portland neighborhoods. However, locals think the nightlife and dining are worth the trade-off.

2. Downtown Portland

Locals often lump the Pearl District and Downtown Portland into the same neighborhood. However, they’re distinctively different.

Downtown offers more high-rises and access to the rest of the city. You'll find the core of the city's retail industry Downtown. Locals take advantage of the lack of sales tax.

You're also just a quick walk to cultural offerings. Those include the Portland Ballet, theaters, and galleries.

Grab lunch at the Alder food cart pod. It sprawls more than a city block with favorites like Whole Bowl. Or, savor Vitanemese cuisine at Luc Lac.

Downtown is also home to plenty of luxury high-rise apartments and condos. Look for waterfront views and bike storage so you can bike along the Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park on your weekends.

3. West End

West End is part of Downtown Portland. It’s nestled between West Burnside and Southwest Morrison near the Pearl District.

Literature lovers spend their weekends poring over the new, used, and rare collections at Powell Books. The neighborhood is known for its funky vibe and shopping scene.

Get some retail therapy at Union Way or Bridge & Burn. For a lunch break, try Boxer Ramen. Like the rest of Downtown Portland, you'll find a mix of new apartments and condos and converted spaces welcoming you home.

4. Eastmoreland

The upscale Eastmoreland neighborhood offers a more traditional vibe without a commercial district. Its curvy, tree-lined streets provide a suburban feel for a break from city living.

You won't find scores of restaurants around Eastmoreland. However, you’ll find the century-old Eastmoreland Golf Course, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and incredible parks.

Eastmoreland is known for its high-end houses and manicured lawns. However, you can find apartments in smaller complexes.

5. The Northwest District (aka "Nob Hill" or "Northwest")

Nob Hill is a cheaper alternative to the Pearl District. But it’s still full of dining, boutiques, and pubs to choose from.

It's also among the oldest neighborhoods in Portland. Make sure your commute aligns with your location. Crossing the river requires a long wait in the morning while residents clamor to get onto I-405.

23 Hoyt serves tavern-style favorites with a twist, like beer-braised beef cheeks. Over at Caffe Mingo, browse the menu for hand-cut pasta. Browse for apartments in a mix of trendy complexes, reimagined spaces, and mid-rises packed with amenities.

6. Arlington Heights

Soak up the views of the city below from Arlington Heights. Beyond the views, the neighborhood is also renowned for the International Rose Test Garden and Arboretum.

It's easy to see why the area attracts outdoor enthusiasts looking for the best in city living. You're also just a short walk to Downtown Portland. That makes it an easy commute.

Locals walk into the surrounding Downtown neighborhoods like the Pearl District and Nob Hill for trendy dining. The real draw to Arlington Heights is the great outdoors. Look for a mix of small apartments or private homes for rent in the neighborhood.

7. Lloyd District

The Lloyd District is a premier neighborhood in Portland. The area is home to the Oregon Convention Center and Moda Center where music acts, theater productions, and the Trail Blazers play.

Shop your way through the expansive Lloyd Center Shopping shopping mall with big-box retailers and the Lloyd Center Ice Rink. Browse for newer condos and apartment buildings with updated amenities in the Lloyd District. You'll also find older buildings at a cheaper price point for apartment hunters on a budget.

8. Laurelhurst

Laurelhurst dates back to 1909. The neighborhood boasts lovely vintage homes situated around Laurelhurst Park.

Historic home tours are popular in Laurelhurst. Locals are proud of their historic neighborhood with an artistic vibe. Stop by the Laurelhurst Theatre or Music Millennium.

Savor fresh cuts from the Laurelhurst Market for lunch or dinner on the outdoor patio. Smaller apartment complexes and mid-rises are peppered throughout Laurelhurst, including converted homes.

9. Sellwood-Moreland

Find the best of both worlds in Sellwood-Moreland for a blend of suburban and urban living. The family-friendly enclave offers quality schools. It’s also less expensive than many of Portland's surrounding neighborhoods.

Spend the afternoon at the Oaks Amusement Park. It dates back over 100 years with old-school rides, a skating rink, and cotton candy treats.

Food carts are a favorite around the neighborhood. So is the checkered red-and-white tablecloth dining experience at Gino's.

10. South Waterfront

South Waterfront underwent a redevelopment. Now, it’s home to several high-rise buildings. The main draw is a car-free bridge that illuminates the evening sky and the Portland Aerial Tram with panoramic views.

Grab a bite of Lebanese cuisine at Al Hawr or the Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen. Walk or bike back to your waterfront high-rise apartment with views of the Willamette River.

11. Old Town-Chinatown

Old Town-Chinatown features a mix of commercial office space, popular nightclub haunts, and funky drag burlesque shows. Portland rent prices have skyrocketed in this popular neighborhood where you can live in proximity to the best of what Downtown has to offer.

Hit the dance clubs or lively cocktail bars that attract locals from around the city. Or, grab a donut from Voodoo Doughnuts and take a walk through the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

The Portland Saturday Market features arts and crafts vendors. Look for apartments and lofts near the waterfront or modern complexes loaded with amenities.

12. Mississippi

The hipster vibe is alive and well in the Mississippi district of Portland. Live music pours out of pubs and restaurants lining this city street. Stop by Mississippi Records for blues and soul recordings to add to your record collection. The Land is filled with the Portland homewares you're looking for.

Browse the food carts at Prost Marketplace or grab a brew and upscale pub fare at Ecliptic Brewing. Look for apartments in Mississippi's converted spaced, older urban buildings, and modern options.

13. North Portland

North Portland is among the city's quadrants with a quirky vibe and eclectic backdrop. Browse the shops and eateries along Mississippi Street, or take in the views from St. Johns.

Williams Street is home to shopping, dining, and neighborhood pubs for a more laid-back vibe than nearby Mississippi.

Dine at the eclectic Quaintrelle with a creative cocktail list or The People's Pig for Texas-inspired barbecue. A mix of old apartment buildings and modern apartments are available in North Portland's neighborhoods. You may be able to score views of the Willamette or Columbia Rivers.

14. Hillside

Situated in Northwest Portland, Hillside is known for its narrow streets and gorgeous homes. The heart of the neighborhood lies in Hillside Community Center with Pittock Mansion Acres with rolling gardens.

Spend the day wandering over to the Oregon Zoo, Portland Japanese or Rose Gardens, and the country's largest urban park at Forest Park. Hunt for apartments converted inside Hillside's gorgeous old homes. You can also opt for a more modern mid-rise option with updated kitchens and amenities.

15. Goose Hollow

Goose Hollow blends the old with new and close to popular downtown neighborhoods like Nob Hill. It's part of the old Portland neighborhoods dating back to 1845. Goose Hollow is also home to Providence Park, where the Portland Timbers play. In Goose Hollow, you'll also find cultural centers like the Artists Repertory Theatre.

Stop in for a beer at Kingston Sports Bar & Grill or cozy up at Gilda's Italian Restaurant. You'll find a mix of old, vintage houses and modern condo buildings along the neighborhood's tree-lined streets.

16. Buckman

Live in the Southeast section of Portland in Buckman along the Willamette River. You'll have your choice of retail, dining, and nightlife in Buckman and its surrounding neighborhoods.

The vibe around the area is funky and liberal. Locals make their way through the foodie-worthy restaurants or indulge in a weekend pub crawl.

Try the award-winning craft brews at Natian Brewery or a lager at Base Camp Brewing Co, followed by a bite at the outdoor food carts. Renters have their choice of apartments in modern mid-rises and older complexes.

17. Eliot

Portland's North and Northeast sections are home to Eliot. It’s a diverse neighborhood with a quiet vibe.

The area hasn't been as influenced by commercial development as many Portland neighborhoods. It’s more resistant to big-box retailers and fast-food chains.

Unlike the Pearl District, Eliot still retains many of its old warehouses. Many think the area is primed for revitalization.

Eliot is home to older homes and apartments. That makes it more affordable than nearby neighborhoods. It's also a quick commute to downtown Portland.

18. University Park

University Park is home to University of Portland students and staff looking to settle into modest houses and apartments. The area’s a quick bike ride or commute downtown with a connecting bike line or Max light rail service.

Grab a big at the old-school Darcy's for a drink at a quintessential neighborhood bar with simple pub food. Over at the Twilight Room, locals gather to watch sports and play pool while devouring oversized sandwiches and brews. Modest homes for rent are standard in University Park, as well as older complexes or condos.

19. Beaverton

Beaverton is a suburb of Portland and feels like a cross between city living and small-town living. Beaverton offers some of that eclectic vibe you love in Portland, as well as mix-used developments for shopping and dining. It's also the home to Nike's headquarters, making it a popular choice for its workforce.

Spend the weekend hiking 30 miles of trails and bike paths. Refuel over dinner at Apna Chat Bhavan for Indian food, followed by homemade ice cream at Ome Calli. Apartment homes, two-story complexes, and modern options are available in Beaverton, complete with pools and on-site fitness centers.

20. Sabin

The northeast neighborhood of Sabin is among the smallest in Portland but still packs in the amenities. It lies just south of the Alberta Street Arts District and is home to families and locals looking for a residential but eclectic vibe.

Order Creole dishes from Acadia or a book and beer from Rose City Book Pub. The tight-knit neighborhood is also home to the Sabin Community Orchard and Sabin HydroPark community garden. Look for updated apartments in modest buildings and renovated options around Sabin.

21. Alameda

Apartments and homes along the Almada Ridge boast sparkling views of Downtown Portland. The Alameda neighborhood is quiet and leafy. It has historic homes dating back to the early 1900s.

Catch up with friends at Guilder, a popular coffee haunt that uses high-quality beans and small menu items. Or see a live show at 24 Fremont.

Look for entire homes to rent or convert apartments around Alameda. You'll find less expensive options away from the ridge and its outstanding views.

22. Southwest Hills

The upscale neighborhood of Southwest Hills lies near Washington Park and the Oregon Zoo. Residents spend lazy weekends strolling through the International Rose Test Garden or hiking Marquam Nature Park.

Despite its quieter vibe, Southwest Hills is minutes to Downtown Portland. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood and even Mt. Saint Helens in the distance.

You'll need to venture to the outskirts of Southwest HIlls to find the restaurant and neighborhood bars you're looking for. Try Vista Spring Cafe for pizza, sandwiches, and pasta against a backdrop of gorgeous scenery outside. Choose apartments with the best views.

23. Northwest Heights

Northwest Heights is situated on the west side of Portland. Locals know it for the nearby Nob Hill.

The forested neighborhood is known for its manicured lawns and rolling hills that give cyclists a new challenge. The area has a reputation for affluence and green spaces, including Forest Park.

Locals head downtown for the best in fine dining. However, you can grab an inspired pizza from Pizzicato featuring pies with locally-sourced ingredients. Or, try Heroes American Cafe for all things sandwiches and subs.

Final Thoughts

Ready to move to the best neighborhoods in Portland? Whether you want lively nightlife or sparkling views away from the hustle-bustle, register for Apartment List to find the best apartments in Portland.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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