A Visitor’s Guide to Portland Neighborhoods

Downtown – Downtown attractions include Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Portland Art museum, and Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Pioneer Courthouse Square has been referred to a “Portland’s living room” for its viability as a place for meeting and hanging out. It has an amphitheatre, outdoor chess tables, cascading waterfalls, and artistic pieces. In addition to greenspaces and cultural attractions, there are many great restaurants downtown, and public transportation makes it easy to get around. Washington Park is just west of downtown has much to see, including the Oregon Zoo, the Hoyt Arboretum, Washington Park, the Japanese Garden, and the Rose Test Garden. South of downtown is mostly nice, residential, single family homes.

Pearl District – The Pearl District is a former industrial area that has been transformed into a trendy location for art galleries, a diverse mix of restaurants, clubs, brewpubs, and the iconic Powell’s City of Books. Many of the former warehouses have been renovated into lofts and apartments with upscale restaurants at ground level. It is hip, as it was recently named to the Huffington Post’s “Top 10 Hipster Neighborhoods” in the U.S. list.

Old Town Chinatown – sitting along the Willamette River, Old Town was the original business center of Portland and features the historic underground the Shanghai tunnels and the Skidmore Fountain, which dates back to 1888 and is Portland Historic Landmark. The area has seen its ups and downs over the years, and it’s currently a trendy nightlife destination and the home of Portland’s famous Saturday Market. Dan and Louis Oyster Bar has been a mainstay in the area for over 100 years, and Voodoo Doughnut is a new favorite. Look for the Chinatown Gate over Fourth Avenue and two bronze lions still for the entrance to Chinatown, and tranquil Lan Su Chinese Garden is authentic with hundreds of native Chinese plant species and the five essential elements of a Chinese garden: rocks, water, plants, architecture and literary inscriptions.

Nob Hill – situated northwest of downtown, Nob Hill, a largely residential area full of the young, beautiful, and single in historic Victorian and Craftsman homes, high-rise condos and historic apartment buildings. It’s trendy, as it is also referred to as Snob Hill and Trendy Third, which is a reference to the retail strip with boutique shopping and hip restaurants along NW 21st and NW 23rd streets. To the west is Forest Park, one of the county’s largest urban parks.

Lloyd District – easily accessible via light rail and streetcar, this primarily commercial neighborhood just east of downtown contains the Oregon Convention Center, the Lloyd Center Mall (OR’s largest mall), and the Moda Center, which hosts NBA games and concerts. With a large concentration of chain restaurants and stores, The Lloyd District has a bit of a suburban feel to it.

Alberta Art District – Portland has no shortage of neighborhoods for the hipster to call home, and many of the hippest areas are in this Northeast District neighborhood. The Alberta Arts District is the heart of the funky action that hipsters, as well as artists, yuppies and hippies, love. The Alberta Art District that runs between NE Killingsworth and NE Alberta Streets from MLK to NE 33rd boasts the requisite independent shops, art galleries, coffee shops, cafes and bars, and they have the Last Thursday street fair on the last Thursday of every month. On NE 33rd Avenue just north of NE Killingsworth, the old McMenamins Kennedy School complex has a movie theatre and lots of bars and restaurants.

Boise – This up-and-coming Concordia neighborhood has great places to eat and linger along both North Mississippi and North Williams, especially for the young and single. It is quickly transforming into a trendy destination.

Hollywood District – this historical neighborhood has the 1920’s-era Hollywood Theatre, plus coffee houses, bakeries, pubs, and a farmers market. and the art house. Children’s author Beverly Clearly was from here and featured the area as the setting for many of her books. Since Sandy Boulevard is a main artery with lots of traffic, Hollywood is less walkable than other Portland neighborhoods.

Hawthorne District – this was a historically blue-collar district that has evolved into a more bohemian neighborhood in recent years and is gradually becoming gentrified. Reed College is nearby, so there are many residents in or just out of college. The restaurants, coffee shops, music venues, indie shops, and pubs cater to the young, counter-culture crowd. The streets are very walkable, there are beautiful homes in the area, and Laurelhurst Park and Mt. Tabor Park are nearby. Similar commercial strips can be found along Belmont a few blocks north and Division/Clinton a few blocks south.

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