It’s easy to romanticise Portland.

Affectionately named “the city of roses”, it began its existence as a gritty port town, well-known for its rough edges and hardcore habitants. Then, as it grew, it’s edges softened, its jaw melted into its chin, and it is now a hub of liberalism and progressive political views.

The city grew with the times, and bears all the hallmarks of a great success story.

However, that does not mean that finding out where to stay in Portland has become any easier. Quite the opposite in fact, as extra size = extra awesomeness = choice overload.

Luckily, I am here to give you all the goodies and inside knowledge on this fantastic city, so you can make great choices when it comes to choosing a place to stay! With top tips, tricks, and exceptional neighborhoods, my guide will (most-likely) lead you to that stay you always wanted to have…

…So let’s take a look at some EPIC places to stay in Portland, Oregon!

 

 

Welcome to my awesome Portland guide!

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Where to Stay in Portland

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are my top recommendations if you’re looking to travel to Portland.

West End Loft | Best Airbnb in Portland

West End Loft

If you’re looking for a unique, comfortable stay that could undermine even the top modern hotels, this Airbnb is the way to do it. With stylish architecture, a secure entrance, and access to a world-class bistro, the West End Loft is a bargain at the price it is. Located within walking distance of downtown in the coveted West End, you won’t be far from city action either.

HI Portland | Best Hostel in Portland

HI Portland

HI Portland easily surpasses its peers to become my pick for the top hostel in Portland. With several common rooms, a bar, a cafe and an on-site restaurant, there is an impeccable social vibe here. Its location steps its brilliance up another notch, as you are super close to everything!

Hampton Inn And Suites By Hilton Portland-Pearl District | Best Hotel in Portland

Hampton Inn And Suites By Hilton Portland Pearl District

Modern and luxurious, it’s no wonder this Hampton Inn and Suites gets our vote for the best hotel in Portland. A four-star hotel, it has comfortable rooms, contemporary facilities, and an in-house restaurant.

It also has an unbeatable location close to transit, restaurants, bars, cafes and the very best of Portland.

Portland Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Portland

FIRST TIME IN PORTLAND
portland oregon and mt hood at dusk from pittock mansion
FIRST TIME IN PORTLAND

Downtown

Downtown Portland is the best place to stay in Portland for first-time visitors. This area is home to famous street markets, noteworthy museums and galleries, and some of Portland’s most instagrammable locales, including the “Keep Portland Weird” mural

ON A BUDGET
food carts in portland oregon sunny day
ON A BUDGET

Old Town

One of the top features of this eclectic district is Old Town Chinatown. With amazing restaurants, surprising shops, and of course, the Shanghai Tunnels, staying in this part of Portland is buzzy, exciting, and unique.

NIGHTLIFE
Centrals Eastside, Portland_2
NIGHTLIFE

Central Eastside

Portland’s Central Eastside is bustling day and night. It’s an area famous for its coffee culture thanks to the many cafes and bistros that line its streets.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
fall in portland oregon travel guide
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Pearl District

The Pearl District is far and away the coolest neighbourhood in Portland – which is saying something because this city, as a whole, is pretty cool! It boasts a central location and all the conveniences of downtown, but still maintains a distinct and trendy atmosphere.

FOR FAMILIES
portland travel guide ohsu aerial tram
FOR FAMILIES

Nob Hill

Nob Hill is one of Portland’s more upscale and fashionable areas filled with sophisticated bistros, boutiques and restaurants. Historic Victorian houses, tree-lined streets and cosy cafes are just a few of Nob Hill’s top attractions. It’s one of the best places to stay in Portland for families

Portland is a city that oozes laid-back cool. It’s famous for breathtaking views, iconic style, and for “keeping it weird”. It’s also one of the top destinations in the US for coffee culture, craft beer, and hyped up culinary combos. There’s a managerie of awesome things to do!

The capital and largest city in Oregon, Portland covers more than 375 square kilometres in the Pacific Northwest and is divided intto two by the Willamette River. On either side, you’ll find incredible neighborhoods and districts to explore.

At the heart of Portland is Downtown. Located next to the Willamette River, this central neighborhood is where you’ll find the commercial, cultural and tourist districts. A disproportional number of the best places to visit in Portland are located here.

portland oregon old town sign
Portland is an awesome Pacific Northwest city!

To the north of Downtown are Pearl District and Nob Hill. Popular with tourists, these two neighborhoods are within walking distance of the city’s main attractions and boast a great variety of upscale eateries, hip bars and trendy Portland hangouts.

The Old Town encompasses a high quantity of mystique and history. The old town’s Chinatown is exceptional fun, offering a brilliant diversity of eateries, cafes and unusual decor. Tea houses are a particular speciality of this area.

Across the river is Central Eastside. A mecca for coffee enthusiasts and party animals, this is where you’ll find many of the city’s best bars, clubs and cafes.

If you’re still not sure where to stay, don’t worry. We’re about to break down this incredibly cool city by style and interest to help you plan your stay in Portland.

The 5 Best Neighborhoods in Portland

Getting around Portland couldn’t be easier. Not only does it boast a pretty robust public transit network, but it is super easy to navigate on foot or by bike. There are a range of unbelievable day trips from Portland, and the great transport network makes it easy to facilitate these too.

Anyway, here are the best five neighborhoods in Portland.

1. Downtown – Best Place to Stay in Portland for First-Timers

Downtown Portland is the perfect neighborhood for first-time visitors. This area is home to famous street markets, noteworthy museums and galleries, and some of Portland’s most instagrammable locales, including the “Keep Portland Weird” mural.

In addition to its central location, Downtown well connected throughout Portland. Hip and trendy districts like Hawthorne and Pearl are easily accessible on foot or via public transit.

portland oregon and mt hood at dusk from pittock mansion
Photo: Alejandro Rdguez (Flickr)

If you love to eat, Downtown Portland is for you. This area of the city is famous for the abundance of food trucks and street food vendors that line its streets. From tasty tacos to succulent sandwiches, in this part of the city, you will eat very well!

West End Loft | Best Airbnb in Downtown

West End Loft

Featuring a unique design by Skylab architecture, this loft apartment has room for up to 4 guests, and is accessed via a landscaped garden. The building itself contains several restaurants, including the award winning Greg and Gaby’s Bistro, and a couple of coffee shops. It has an awesome location in downtown Portland, near the city centre.

The Paramount Hotel | Best Hotel in Downtown

The Paramount Hotel

Snuck into the heart of Downtown Portland only a short walk from Waterfront park and the Pioneer Courthouse Square, this Hotel offers mouth-watering Pacific Northwest City cuisine. There is a fitness centre, bar, and same-day dry cleaning service. If you feel you’re due some class, don’t miss this hotel!

Paramount Hotel Portland | Best Hotel in Downtown

Paramount Hotel Portland

This great three-star hotel is ideally located in downtown Portland. It’s close to all the city’s top tourist attractions and hotspots, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby.

This charming hotel has a great selection of amenities, and every room is outfitted with tea/coffee facilities and a refrigerator.

Things to Do in Downtown

  1. Sink your teeth into a delectable and delightful doughnut at Voodoo Doughnuts.
  2. Shop for treats and trinkets at the Portland Saturday Market.
  3. Join a small group walking tour, a fantastic intro to any city!
  4. Wander through the serene and tranquil Lan Su Chinese Garden.
  5. Stand at the centre of Portland’s living room in the Pioneer Courthouse Square.
  6. Browse the exhibitions and displays at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
  7. Eat incredible food and enjoy amazing views at Portland City Grill.
  8. See interesting works of art at the Portland Art Museum.
  9. Visit the Alder Street Food Cart Pod and dine from the largest downtown collection of delicious food carts.
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2. Old Town – Best Place to Stay in Portland on a Budget

Portland’s Old Town is an awesome place to stay. Located adjacent to the Willamette river, the Old Town presents a part of the City that holds some fantastic things to do.

One of the top features of this eclectic district is Old Town Chinatown. With amazing restaurants, surprising shops, and of course, the Shanghai Tunnels, staying in this part of Portland is buzzy, exciting, and unique.

food carts in portland oregon sunny day
Photo: John Dalton (Flickr)

The Old Town presents some slightly cheaper accommodation options, but maintains great proximity to the attractions of the centre of the city.

Traveller’s Nest on the Riverfront | Best Airbnb in Old Town

Traveller's Nest on the Riverfront

Perfect for solo travellers or couples, this fantastic Airbnb comes with awesome riverfront views. Located between the Willmette river and Union station, there is free parking, Netflix, and nearby public transport. This condo is a perfect place to stay in Portland!

Harlow Hotel | Best Hotel in Old Town

Harlow Hotel

This fitness-centre-boasting stay in Portland is exceptionally located to give you a great insight into this amazing city. Only a few minutes from Waterfront Park and the Oregon Convention Centre, there is so much to see and do straight out of the front door! Rooms are air-conditioned, comfortable, and stylishly decorated.

The Hoxton | Best Hotel in Old Town

The Hoxton

One of the top hotels in town, the Hoxton is set up perfectly for a few nights in Portland. With a rooftop bar and Tequeria, an onsite restaurant, and rooms decorated with rich walnut panelling, this stay is a bundle of style. Located conveniently near Chinatown and the attractions of Portland’s Old Town, there is even a great bus service to take you to the Forest and Washington parks!

Things to Do in Old Town

  1. Learn about old-town Chinatown’s history at the Portland Chinatown Museum.
  2. Experience a recreation of the Ming Dynasty’s impressive landscaping skills at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
  3. Head down into the unbelievable Shanghai Tunnels!
  4. Get weird at an underground doughnut tour, taking you to some of the city’s finest (including the famous Voodoo doughnuts)
  5. Portland Saturday Market runs (surprisingly) on both Saturday and Sunday from March to Christmas every year.
  6. Get yourself a fine-cut jacket at the Orox Leather Co. With sustainable leather usage one of their main focuses, there is no excuse for not looking cool as hell.
  7. Go wild at Portland’s longest-running drag show, Darcelle XV.
  8. Spook yourself out at a Portland ghost tour, recounting the fascinating history of Portland’s creepiest, most evil, and psychopathic.
  9. Gape at the amazing Chinatown Gateway
  10. Visit Portland’s breweries by bike! Whilst potentially not the most ideal from a health and safety point of view, live a little!

3. Central Eastside – Best Place to Stay in Portland for Nightlife

Wonder where to stay in Portland to party? Portland’s Central Eastside is bustling day and night. It’s an area famous for its coffee culture thanks to the many cafes and bistros that line its streets.

Whether you like your coffee classic or pumpkin spiced, this neighborhood is packed with options and opportunities to indulge your inner bean fiend.

Centrals Eastside, Portland_2
Photo: M.O. Stevens (WikiCommons) 

But there’s more to the Central Eastside than coffee. This vibrant and lively ‘hood is also the best spot in Portland for a fun night out. With its wide range of pubs, bars, clubs and dancefloors, it’s no wonder that this is where Portlanders and tourists in the know like to hang out.

The nightlife and atmosphere here are electric and you’ll be spoilt for choice of what to do.

Trendy Apartment in Province Park | Best Airbnb in Central Eastside

Trendy Apartment in Province Park

This one bedroom for 2 is in a killer location about 2-minutes to Burnside Street, where some of Portland’s most fabulous restaurants reside. Perfect for a weekend getaway located conveniently near the X-Max line. For times you are looking to stay in, this petite kitchen packs a powerful punch, fully stocked with a Keurig and whatever you need to craft a quick meal.

Lolo Pass | Best Hostel in Central Eastside

Lolo Pass

Lolo Pass is the kind of hostel that surpasses expectations. With an on-site restaurant, bar and cafe, as well as an awesome roof terrace, there is literally nothing this hostel lacks! Looking more like a modern hotel than a sleazy hostel, there is both private room and female dorm availability. A great place for your stay in Portland!

Jupiter NEXT | Best Hotel in Central Eastside

Jupiter NEXT

A fantastic combination of modern and rustic, Jupiter NEXT is a great base for your time in Portland. It’s located in the Central Eastside and is within walking distance of top attraction, including the Oregon Ballet Theatre and Good Coffee. It has comfortable rooms, stylish décor, and a very friendly staff.

Things to Do in Central Eastside

  1. Sip a variety of incredible wines at Noble Rot Wine Bar.
  2. Grab drinks at Century Bar, a stylish sports bar.
  3. See the city in all its glory by jumping on a city bike tour!
  4. Dine at Le Pigeon and enjoy delicious French and international dishes with flair.
  5. Listen to live music at the Doug Fir Restaurant Bar & Lounge.
  6. Go out for a great night of dancing and drinks at the White Owl Social Club.
  7. Laugh to the jokes of well-known comedians at Helium Comedy Club.
  8. Dance the night away at Dig A Pony, a bar built in a restored pharmacy.
  9. Have your future told and see a burlesque show at the Lovecraft Bar.

4. Pearl District – Coolest Neighborhood in Portland

The Pearl District is far and away the coolest neighborhood in Portland – which is saying something because this city, as a whole, is pretty cool! It boasts a central location and all the conveniences of downtown, but still maintains a distinct and trendy atmosphere.

Here you’ll find a mix of great galleries, rustic breweries, upscale residences and hip local businesses.

fall in portland oregon travel guide
Fall in Portland is fantastic too!

Pearl District is also home to the world-famous Powell’s City of Books. The largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, Powell’s spans more than 3,000 square meters and offers titles from some 3,500 different sections.

Calling this institution a book lovers paradise is a serious understatement!

Luxury Penthouse with Amazing Views | Best Airbnb in Pearl District

Downtown Pearl District Upscale apt w Rooftop

Yes, we admit it, this is definitely not the most affordable home in Portland, but oh my, it offers a ton of amazing value and amenities. Starting with the view, you can either enjoy the unrestricted panoramic outlook from the massive windows in the living area or from your own rooftop terrace. Wake up and make yourself a coffee with the free capsules in the kitchen before you start heading out to explore the city. Speaking of, the Airbnb is ideally located in Pearl District, close to lots of hotspots and puclic transport options. If you want to treat yourself a bit, this is the place to stay at!

Residence Inn | Best Hotel in Pearl District

Residence inn

With an unbelievable indoor pool and fitness centre, the Residence Inn will make your stay in Portland, Oregon absolutely dreamy. Just 3 minutes from the Willamette river, and a few more from the Portland Art Museum, this hotel will show you a great side of Portland. With an extremely stylish lounge area (that I am very jealous of) and comfortable rooms, its hard to make a better choice for your time in the “city of roses”.

Hampton Inn And Suites By Hilton Portland-Pearl District | Best Hotel in Pearl District

Hampton Inn And Suites By Hilton Portland Pearl District

Modern and luxurious, it’s no wonder this is our recommendation for where to stay in Pearl District. This four-star hotel has comfortable rooms, contemporary facilities, and an in-house restaurant. It also has an unbeatable location close to transit, restaurants, bars, cafes and the very best of Portland.

Things to Do in Pearl District

  1. Shop for new and used books at Powell’s.
  2. Dine on traditional American fare at Brix Tavern.
  3. Excite your sense with a unique blend of flavours at Ovation Coffee & Tea.
  4. See works of art by strong contemporary artists at Froelick Gallery.
  5. Sample delicious local beers at the BridgePort Brewpub.
  6. Take a relaxing stroll through North Park Blocks.
  7. Enjoy the world’s best selection of teas at Tea Bar.
  8. See the iconic Broadway Bridge.
  9. Explore Jamison Square Park.
  10. Sip an exceptional coffee at Barista.
  11. Enjoy a distinct Northwest-style taste and atmosphere at Deschutes Brewery.

5. Nob Hill – Best Place to Stay in Portland for Families

Nob Hill is one of Portland’s more upscale and fashionable areas filled with sophisticated bistros, boutiques and restaurants. Historic Victorian houses, tree-lined streets and cosy cafes are just a few of Nob Hill’s top attractions.

With its central location and small village feel Nob Hill is our recommendation for where to stay in Portland for families.

portland travel guide ohsu aerial tram
Photo: Ian Sane (Flickr)

Nob Hill is also one of the greenest neighborhoods in Portland. It is surrounded by parks, forests and luxurious landscapes that are perfect for hiking, trekking and wandering. No matter where you stay in this great neighborhood, you’re never very far from being back in nature.

Adorable Portland Getaway | Best Airbnb in Nob Hill

Adorable Portland Getaway

Pretty much the acting G.O.A.T of couples escapes in Portland, this superb home in the Northwest District is moments away from the bustling NW 23rd avenue, filled with coffee shops and restaurants. Catch a Timbers game at Providence park, or take a hike in the amazing Forest park. With rustic hardwood floors and great amenities, it’s hard to beat this place for your stay in Portland, Oregon.

HI Portland | Best Hostel in Nob Hill

HI Portland

HI Portland is an outstanding Hostel. Located within walking distance of the Pearl arts district, Downtown Portland and the MLS soccer stadium, there is a big feeling of centrality and a great social vibe. The hostel has multiple common rooms, a bar, a restaurant and a cafe. Live music is played most nights, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch a great nights sleep!

Inn at Northrup Station | Best Hotel in Nob Hill

Inn at Northrup Station

The Inn at Northrup Station is a colourful and funky hotel with modern décor and spacious rooms. It’s close to the centre of Portland and is just a quick walk from the city’s entertainment, shopping and tourist districts.

You’ll love not just the location, but the above-average size beds and the modern amenities available.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Portland-Northwest Downtown | Best Hotel in Nob Hill

Holiday Inn Express Hotel Northwest Downtown

This hotel is classic, comfortable and clean, with large beds, private spa baths and a friendly staff. It has not only an on-site restaurant but a stylish lounge bar where you can relax after a day of sightseeing in Portland. They also offer a brilliant breakfast buffet.

Things to Do in Nob Hill

  1. Go for a hike through Forest Park, which is one of the best places to go hiking in Oregon.
  2. Eat fresh and delicious seafood at Bamboo Sushi.
  3. Treat your little one to a variety of new flavours at Blue Star Donuts.
  4. See your favourite mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and more at the Oregon Zoo.
  5. Stop and smell the roses at the International Rose Garden.
  6. Enjoy freshly baked breads and other treats at Ken’s Artisan Bakery.
  7. Try small-batch artisan popcorn at Poplandia Popcorn. Trust us, you’ve never had popcorn like this before!
  8. You think you’ve had pizza? Think again, with a Portland pizza tour! (the only way to truly understand pizza here)
  9. Sink your teeth into delectable sweets at Saint Cupcake.
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Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Portland

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Portland

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Portland and where to stay.

What To Pack For Portland

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Final Thoughts

Portland is one of the coolest cities in the United States. It’s where you’ll find fun food trucks and hip breweries, incredible coffeeshops, stunning views and verdant nature. Trust us when we say, there’s something for every traveller in Portland.

In this guide, I’ve highlighted the best areas to stay in Portland divided by interest and budget. Although there aren’t many hostels in Portland, we tried to include affordable and cost-conscious options, like guesthouses and apartments.

Of the hostels, HI Portland is our favourite thanks to its central location, eco-friendly attitude, and its awesome amenities.

Hampton Inn And Suites is a great hotel to stay at in Portland. Its modern and luxurious, and has an unbeatable location in the trendy Pearl District.

Looking for more info on travelling to Portland and USA?
fremont bridge portland oregon travel guide
Photo: Tony Webster (Flickr)

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.