5 AMAZING Neighborhoods and Areas in Portland (2019)

We've broken down where to stay in Portland, one of the USA's coolest cities, and our top 5 neighborhoods by travel interest!

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Portland is undoubtedly one of the coolest cities in the United States. A stunning location, arguably one of the best food scenes in the country, and one-of-a-kind landmarks, it’s no wonder Portland has made “staying weird” look so good.

But Portland is a large city and it can be overwhelming to know which area to stay in. Which is why we wrote this article on where to stay in Portland.

This article breaks down Portland’s best neighbourhoods into small, easy to read sections. Each section focuses on a different travel style or interest so you can quickly find the neighbourhood that’s best for you!

It’s full of hidden gems and our expert travel writers’ best-kept secrets – you’ll be seriously shocked by some of them!

Knowing where to stay in Portland is super important. So let’s jump right into it.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Portland

  • Where to stay in Portland first time – Downtown
  • Where to stay in Portland on a budget – Hawthorne
  • Best area to stay in Portland for nightlife – Central Eastside
  • Coolest place to stay in Portland – Pearl District
  • Best neighbourhood in Portland for families – Nob Hill

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Downtown
Downtown Portland is the perfect neighbourhood 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.
Places to Visit:
  • Shop for treats and trinkets at the Portland Saturday Market
  • Wander through the serene and tranquil Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Eat incredible food and enjoy amazing views at Portland City Grill

 

Where to Stay in Portland

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Portland.

 

Best Hostel in Portland: HI Portland Hawthorne

Of the few hostels in Portland, HI Portland Hawthorne is our favourite. Built in a converted house, this hotel has a living garden roof, a backyard BBQ, and coin-operated laundry. It is an eco-friendly hostel that provides organic linens and towels and uses green cleaning practices.

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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.

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Portland Neighborhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Portland

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Downtown

  • Downtown Portland is the perfect neighbourhood 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.
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Hawthorne

  • Located on Portland’s southeast side, Hawthorne is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the city. This bustling district is packed with hip vintage shops, historic theatres, craft beer and delicious eateries.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Portland is a city that oozes laid-back cool around every turn. It’s famous for breathtaking views, ironic 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.

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

In total, Portland is home to 95 distinct neighbourhoods that boast incredible attraction, activities – and of course – restaurants and cafes.

At the heart of Portland is Downtown. Located next to the Willamette River, this central neighbourhood is where you’ll find the commercial, cultural and tourist districts.

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

Across the river from Downtown is Hawthorne. It is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city that features craft breweries, vintage shops, and that quintessential Portland cool vibe.

North of Hawthorne is the 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 in Portland, don’t worry. We’re about to break down this incredibly cool city by style and interest.

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay 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. Its roads are laid out in a grid system, so even if you’re not the best with a map you’ll be able to get around with relative ease.

Here are the best five neighbourhoods in Portland.

 

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

Downtown Portland is the perfect neighbourhood 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.

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!

Downtown, Portland

 

Things to See and Do in Downtown

– Sink your teeth into a delectable and delightful doughnut at Voodoo Doughnuts.

– Shop for treats and trinkets at the Portland Saturday Market.

– Wander through the serene and tranquil Lan Su Chinese Garden.

– Stand at the centre of Portland’s living room in the Pioneer Courthouse Square.

– Browse the exhibitions and displays at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

– Eat incredible food and enjoy amazing views at Portland City Grill.

– See interesting works of art at the Portland Art Museum.

– Visit the Alder Street Food Cart Pod and dine from the largest downtown collection of delicious food carts.

 

Best Hostel in Downtown: AAE Portland Downtown

In addition to its central location in Downtown Portland, the AAE Portland Hostel has large beds, free towels and linens, and free bathroom amenities. It also boasts a simple kitchen, perfect for whipping up a late night snack.

Within a stone’s throw, you’ll find many of Portland’s most famous tourist attractions and activities.

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Best Hotel in Downtown: Staypineapple at Hotel Rose

The Staypineapple is our top choice for where to stay in Downtown Portland. This fantastic modern hotel is ideally located at the heart of the city with transit, restaurants and bars all within walking distance.

It boasts a bar, restaurant, and a fitness room for travellers who want to stay active while on the road.

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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.

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2. Hawthorne – Best Place to Stay in Portland on a Budget

Located on Portland’s southeast side, Hawthorne is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the city. This bustling district is packed with hip vintage shops, historic theatres, craft beer and delicious eateries.

It’s where you’ll find quintessential Portland cool and a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

Hawthorne is also our recommendation if you’re travelling on a budget. Despite being a large city, Portland doesn’t have a lot of options for hostels. Thankfully, Hawthorne has one of the best. It’s also home to a good selection of guesthouses and apartments. So even cost-conscious travellers can stay at the centre of cool without breaking the bank.

Hawthorne, Portland

 

Things to See and Do in Hawthorne

– Wander through Mt Tabor Park and enjoy exceptional views of Portland.

– Enjoy craft beer and excellent nibbles at the Bagdad Theatre and Pub.

– Sample a variety of street food dishes at the Cartopia Food Cart Pod.

– Eat amazing tacos at Por Que No Taqueria.

– Shop for cool and unique clothes at House of Vintage.

– Savour a delectable doughnut at Blue Star Donuts.

– Kickstart your day with a satisfying breakfast at Jam On Hawthorne.

– Sip sexy cocktails at The Sapphire Hotel.

– Grab a treat at the Waffle Window, a funky eatery that serves Portland-style Liege waffles.

 

Best Hostel in Hawthorne: HI Portland Hawthorne

The HI Portland Hawthorne is an eco-friendly converted house with a living garden roof, friendly staff, and discounted bike rentals. A simple breakfast of cereal, oatmeal and coffee or tea is included.

They have organic linens and towels, and there’s coin-operated laundry on-site. All this combined makes it our pick for where to stay in Hawthorne.

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Best Guesthouse in Hawthorne: Cherokee Rose Inn

A central location, comfortable beds and delicious food are just three of the reasons we love this guesthouse. Set in the Hawthorne District, this guesthouse is a short walk from Portland’s top restaurants, bars and attractions.

It has a charming and cosy atmosphere and all the essential amenities.

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Best Apartment in Hawthorne: Central AC Luxury 3 Bed

Looking for a home away from home in Portland? We’ve got you covered. This luxurious three-bedroom apartment is centrally located in Hawthorne. It’s close to the neighbourhood’s best bars, cafes and restaurants, and is a short walk to downtown.

It has comfortable beds, colourful décor, and a welcoming atmosphere.

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

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 neighbourhood is packed with options and opportunities to indulge your inner bean fiend.

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.

Centrals Eastside, Portland_2

source: M.O. Stevens (wikicommons) 

Things to See and Do in Central Eastside

– Sip a variety of incredible wines at Noble Rot Wine Bar.

– Grab drinks at Century Bar, a stylish sports bar.

– Dine at Le Pigeon and enjoy delicious French and international dishes with flair.

– Listen to live music at the Doug Fir Restaurant Bar & Lounge.

– Go out for a great night of dancing and drinks at the White Owl Social Club.

– Laugh to the jokes of well-known comedians at Helium Comedy Club.

– Dance the night away at Dig A Pony, a bar built in a restored pharmacy.

– Have your future told and see a burlesque show at the Lovecraft Bar.

 

Best Guesthouse in Central Eastside: Lion And The Rose Victorian Guest House

With its great location and charming décor, this guesthouse is your best bet for budget accommodations on the Central Eastside. A short walk from the city centre, it is close to restaurants, bars and many cafes.

It has seven comfortable rooms and boasts a library, garden and modern amenities.

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Best Hotel in Central Eastside: Jupiter Hotel Portland

Our pick for where to stay in the Central Eastside neighbourhood is the Jupiter Hotel Portland. Not only does it have a great location close to shops and restaurants, but this hotel has an on-site eatery and a stylish lounge bar – perfect for unwinding after a long day on the town.

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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.

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4. Pearl District – Coolest Neighbourhood in Portland

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.

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

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!

Pearl District, Portland

 

Things to See and Do in Pearl District

– Shop for new and used books at Powell’s.

– Dine on traditional American fare at Brix Tavern.

– Excite your sense with a unique blend of flavours at Ovation Coffee & Tea.

– See works of art by strong contemporary artists at Froelick Gallery.

– Sample delicious local beers at the BridgePort Brewpub.

– Take a relaxing stroll through North Park Blocks.

– Enjoy the world’s best selection of teas at Tea Bar.

– See the iconic Broadway Bridge.

– Explore Jamison Square Park.

– Sip an exceptional coffee at Barista.

– Enjoy a distinct Northwest-style taste and atmosphere at Deschutes Brewery.

 

Best Hostel in Pearl District: HI Portland Northwest Hostel

With an amazing location in the Pearl District, this hostel is a great option for budget accommodation. It is close to shops, cafes, museums, galleries and more. Offering shared and private rooms, this hostel has an outdoor garden, courtyard BBQ, dining room, kitchen and common area.

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Best Hotel in Pearl District: McMenamins Crystal Hotel

This hotel has a fantastic location and charming décor, and it is a great option for stylish travellers visiting Portland. It has 51 themed rooms that boast colourful accents, comfortable beds, and a range of modern amenities.

This three-star hotel also has a swimming pool and a satisfying breakfast is available each morning.

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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.

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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.

Nob Hill is also one of the greenest neighbourhoods 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 neighbourhood, you’re never very far from being back in nature.

Nob Hill, Portland

source: 1000Photography (shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Nob Hill

– Go for a hike through Forest Park, a 21 square kilometre green space in the Tualatin Mountain.

– Eat fresh and delicious seafood at Bamboo Sushi.

– Treat your little one to a variety of new flavours at Blue Star Donuts.

– See your favourite mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and more at the Oregon Zoo.

– Stop and smell the roses at the International Rose Garden.

– Enjoy freshly baked breads and other treats at Ken’s Artisan Bakery.

– Try small-batch artisan popcorn at Poplandia Popcorn. Trust us, you’ve never had popcorn like this before!

– Sink your teeth into delectable sweets at Saint Cupcake.

 

Best Hostel in Nob Hill: HI Portland Northwest Hostel

Nestled between Nob Hill and the Pearl District, this is also our choice for the best hostel in Nob Hill. This hostel is a short walk from downtown and there are many restaurants, cafes and attractions nearby.

It has laundry facilities, calming gardens, and their knowledgeable staff can help you navigate the city with ease.

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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.

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Best Hotel in Nob Hill: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Portland-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. They also offer a brilliant breakfast buffet.

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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 coffee and local shops, and stunning views and verdant nature. Trust us when we say, there’s something for every traveller in Portland.

In this guide, we 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 four hostels, HI Portland Hawthorne 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.

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

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email hostels@thebrokebackpacker.com to find out how.

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We've broken down where to stay in Portland, one of the USA's coolest cities, and our top 5 neighborhoods by travel interest!

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