Portland boasts a diverse array of neighborhoods to consider.  Which can make choosing one a little daunting to newcomers. Luckily, no matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find the right Portland neighborhood.

  • First things first. Establish your priorities in a living situation.
  • Are you looking for an urban environment or a quiet suburb where you can have a yard?
  • Would you like to take public transportation to work, ride your bike, or will you be driving your car?

The variety of Portland Neighborhoods will give you a lot to consider, but exploring the eclectic neighborhoods that make up this city is half the fun.  Don’t let the Portland clichés fool you. Sure, if you’re looking for a little slice of Brooklyn, New York with locally-sourced, artisanal soap stores and an endless selection of craft breweries, you can find that. But you can also find so much more.


Downtown Portland is one-square mile of concentrated amenities that’s easy to navigate and a joy to explore. A diverse selection of retail brands offer both local charm and big-name splurges, all made even more tempting by Portland’s lack of sales tax.

For those who enjoy stepping outside to a playground of possibilities, downtown Portland packs it in. You’ll find just about anything you could possibly need within walking distance. But you’ll also have access to all of Portland’s public transportation options for when you do need to escape. Those who have cars may find parking difficult. Most streets are metered and renting spots isn’t cheap.

High rise apartment buildings dominate the living options, with the heaviest concentration in the Southwest corner. Access to the waterfront in the downtown area is a draw for active types who can enjoy walking, jogging, or biking along the riverfront.


The young, hip crowd will be drawn to Southeast Portland for the endless options in dining, drinking, shopping, and exploring.  And not to mention people watching.

You’ll get a sense for why Portland prides itself on being “weird”.  The city’s tagline encourages you to keep it that way. Street performers, traveling jewelry makers, and roving groups of quirky individuals mix it up with lines of brunching twenty-somethings on the weekends, and remote workers crowding coffee shops on the weekdays.

The bus lines in Southeast Portland will get you where you need to go, but many residents opt for biking or walking, as so many of Southeast Portland communities are self-contained with plenty of options to keep you in the neighborhood.


You’ll find lots of apartment options in Southwest Portland.  The majority of high-rise buildings stake their claim on the skyline. Three college campuses also dominate this part of town; Oregon Health & Science University, Lewis & Clark College, and Portland Community College. Those who appreciate a quieter alternative to downtown, with close enough proximity to enjoy all of the city center’s options, will find Southwest Portland fits the bill.

You’ll find yourself within a stone’s throw from the river, where you can enjoy fresh air and waterfront walks. The newest Portland bridge, Tilikum Crossing, connects bikers and pedestrians in Southwest Portland to the Southeast side of town, without the stress of cars.


A mix of various residential and industrial areas make up Northwest Portland. Beautiful homes cover the hills that climb towards Forest Park. Where you can get meander along miles of trails and forget you’re in a major city.

The Pearl District and Portland’s West Hills are two of the priciest and most desirable Portland Neighbofhoods. If you enjoy the finer things in life like high-end shopping and sweeping views of the city, The Pearl District is for you. Home to many converted warehouses, as the area once served as the city’s industrial zone.


Northeast Portland is often considered more settled and grown-up than its neighbor quadrant to the South. It’s still a great place for families, but the hipness factor is going up these days, thanks to hip families and singles, alike.

Mississippi Avenue and Alberta Arts District are two of the newest trendy neighborhoods. With young, artsy crowds flocking to both. You’ll find Portland’s favorite chains on these strips.  Drool-inducing storefronts include Salt & Straw ice cream and Little Big Burger.

But there’s much more to Northeast Portland than the newest cocktail bars and boutique clothing shops. Some of the more diverse areas of Portland inhabit this part of the city too.  The King neighborhood along Martin Luther King Blvd are located in Northeast Portland.

Northeast Portland is a reflection of how fast the city is changing as whole, but still hanging on to the heart of its character.

North Portland

You might call it “NoPo” if you wind up calling North Portland home. This Portland neighborhood is left out of the city’s traditional four quadrants of reference  SE, NE, SW, NW.  North Portland is increasing in popularity as a place to call home. You tend to find more established Portlanders rather than transplants in this part of town.  However, newcomers will find plenty to appreciate here. From the Kenton neighborhood’s 30-foot-tall Paul Bunyan statue, to the stunning St. Johns bridge and its gothic construction rising over the well-trafficked Cathedral Park.

North Portland is arguably the least accessible to downtown, with an approximately twenty-minute commute, but the affordable housing options make up for the distance.

Finding the right Portland neighborhood might take some time, but will be well worth it!