8 Best Portland Neighborhoods: Where to Live in Portland
Welcome to the city of Portland—one of America's most unique and vibrant cities. From the high rises of downtown to the peaceful solitude of the city's many parks, there are so many great neighborhoods to explore. But for potential new residents, sorting through them all can seem a bit overwhelming. No matter what future homeowners are looking for, one of Portland's top neighborhoods can provide it. Keep reading to discover eight of the best neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon.
Pearl District Amenities
- Vibrant art, dining, and nightlife scene
- Close proximity to downtown, freeways, and transit
- Multiple parks, including Jamison Square and The Fields Park
- Variety of local and national brand shopping
What was once a cluster of warehouses and industrial buildings is now the heart of one of Portland's hottest neighborhoods. Located just north of downtown, the homes in Pearl District are roughly bounded by the Willamette River, NW Broadway, W Burnside Street, and Interstate 405. Within this area lies a food and art lover's paradise. Browse diverse works of art at spots like the Blue Sky Oregon Center For The Photographic Arts, one of the area's oldest galleries. Afterward, grab a bite at Thai restaurant Khao San or sandwich shop Break Bread before capping off the night with a drink at Deschutes Brewery's Portland Tap House. Getting around is also easy with several stops on Portland's light rail system.
The Pearl District's industrial and commercial heritage can be felt in its housing stock, which is primarily high-rise condominium buildings and lofts converted from warehouses. Buyers can usually find smaller one-bedroom, one-bathroom units in the low $300,000s. On the opposite end of the spectrum, three- to four-bedroom luxury penthouses, condos, or townhomes can sell for as much as the $5 million range. Most options sit somewhere between a half-million and just over one million dollars.
- Dual commercial corridors on N Mississippi Avenue and N Williams Avenue
- Close to Interstates 405 and 5 and Highway 99E for easy commuting
- Denorval Unthank City Park
- Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center
Another of Portland's neighborhoods that's seen a dramatic rebirth in recent decades, Boise is located on the eastern side of the Willamette between Interstate 5 and Highway 99E, south of N Skidmore Street. It traces its roots back to the 1800s but boomed throughout the early 20th century as a home for those working on railroads, in shipbuilding yards, or in local stores. The community is centered around Mississippi Avenue, home to many of Boise's shops, restaurants, and other unique businesses. These include the foodie favorite Gravy and live music at the locally renowned Mississippi Studios. It's also among Portland's most walkable neighborhoods yet still has easy access to interstates and highways for trips through and around Portland.
Boise real estate includes a mixture of small to medium multifamily buildings, townhouses, and single-family detached homes. Prices typically start in the mid-$400,000s and stretch into the high six figures. However, some newer, larger, or more luxurious homes here can sell for over a million up to several million.
- Many shopping, dining, and nightlife options
- Cultural scene including museums and music venues
- Numerous parks and green spaces, including along the waterfront
- Portland State University
The Downtown neighborhood is the heart of Portland, a dense, walkable area known for its high-rise buildings and compact streets. The community is bounded by Interstate 405, the Willamette River, and W Burnside Street. However, some also include the Chinatown area to the northeast. Downtown is a perfect neighborhood for those looking to be right in the center of it all. There's a significant number of shops, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment spots in Downtown Portland, along with museums like the Portland Art Museum and other notable facilities like Portland State University. As if that's not enough, Downtown's central location means it's easy to hop on Interstate 5 or 405, in addition to U.S. Highway 26, for trips around the city, state, or rest of the Pacific Northwest.
Homes in Downtown Portland are primarily limited to multifamily condominium buildings, with a smaller number of townhouse-style properties available. On the low end, some smaller or older units can be found starting in the low $200,000s. Most sell from the mid-$400,000s to the mid-$600,000s, although some luxury units can sell for a million dollars or more.
Nob Hill Amenities
- Unique, historic architecture
- High walkability
- Easy access to downtown/Pearl District and freeways
- Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center
One of Portland's hippest neighborhoods lies in the northwest section known as Nob Hill. Also referred to as the Alphabet District, the Nob Hill neighborhood is one of Portland's oldest, dating back to the mid-19th century. This heritage can be seen by any visitor who takes a stroll, as Nob Hill is home to some of Portland's most unique houses, many designed in Victorian or other historic styles. These single-family detached homes dominate the district's housing, complemented by a limited number of condominium units in converted homes or apartment buildings. Some condos can be found as low as the $200,000s, though single-family homes generally list for $1.5 million or more.
Like many Portland neighborhoods, this area is filled with an ever-evolving group of shops, restaurants, and nightlife spots, so there are plenty of things to do in Nob Hill. Better yet, the area's easy walkability means residents can leave the car at home for errands or a night out. For lovers of the outdoors, Nob Hill is also just a short drive to Washington Park and Forest Park, one of the country's largest urban parks. Meantime, sports fans will enjoy their proximity to Providence Park, home of MLS' Portland Timbers.
Arlington Heights Amenities
- Secluded community close to downtown and other popular neighborhoods
- Large and spacious homes
- Extensive green space
- Adjacent to Washington Park
Nestled inside the northern side of Washington Park, Arlington Heights offers a secluded escape just minutes from some of Portland's most exciting areas. Set along steep, winding streets, some of the city's grandest homes are here, built in a variety of architectural styles. It's easy to forget downtown is only about 10 minutes away by car in this quiet, green community. Residents can take advantage of all of the many attractions of Washington Park, including the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, an arboretum, public art, memorials, and many sports fields and playgrounds. But the many restaurants and other attractions of Nob Hill are just minutes away, and a few minutes more will bring residents to the heart of the city.
Made up almost entirely of single-family detached homes (and a few parcels of undeveloped buildable land), Arlington Heights offers spacious properties with three to five bedrooms and up to nearly 6,000 square feet of living space. Homes in Arlington Heights typically start in the high six figures but can sell for $2.5 million or more on the high end.
Mount Tabor Amenities
- Quieter, mostly residential streets
- Mt. Tabor Park
- Easy access to local highways and downtown Portland
- Warner Pacific University
Mt. Tabor is an east Portland neighborhood centered around the park that shares its name. This hundred-plus-year-old community and park are built on a volcanic cinder cone. Mount Tabor Park offers the area's primary attractions and is notable for its large historic reservoirs, walking and biking trails, and even a yearly adult soapbox derby! Outside the park, residents can enjoy peaceful residential streets. Most commercial activity is limited to the major roads bordering the community, E Burnside Street and SE Division Street. However, extensive shopping and dining options are located just outside Mt. Tabor's borders along SE Hawthorne Boulevard, like Mexican restaurant ¿Por Qué No? and health-conscious spot Harlow. In addition, the neighborhood's central location means easy access to several freeways for trips around the Portland region.
Homes in Mt. Tabor are primarily single-family detached houses, with a limited number of townhouses. Older, smaller homes can generally be found starting at around half a million dollars. Most others sell in the high six figures, though they can sell as high as the $1.5 million range.
- Some of Portland's largest homes
- Laurelhurst Park
- Close to downtown
- Providence Portland Medical Center
The southeast Portland neighborhood of Laurelhurst is one of the city's oldest but most popular neighborhoods—and for good reason. It's one of the first "planned communities" ever created in the United States, resulting in a more coherent, orderly design and construction rather than the sometimes-sprawling organic growth of other parts of the city. The area, set south of Interstate 84 between NE 32/33rd Avenues and NE 44th Avenue, is almost entirely residential, except the well-known Laurelhurst Park. This beautiful community green space operates as a center of the neighborhood. It includes walking paths, playgrounds, sports fields, a pond, an outdoor stage, and more. Despite the quiet, established feel of the neighborhood, downtown Portland is only a few minutes away, thanks to the nearby freeways and light rail transit stops. Laurelhurst is also home to a well-known gilded statue of Joan of Arc, which sits in Coe Circle as a World War I memorial.
Smaller homes in Laurelhurst with three to four bedrooms typically start in the mid to high $500,000s. However, Laurelhurst also includes a significant number of five- to six-bedroom homes that can reach the high $800,000s to over a million dollars. Some of these spacious homes have more than 5,000 square feet of living space, making them among the largest in the Portland area.
West End Amenities
- Adjacent to downtown, Pearl District, and other top neighborhoods
- Highly walkable and bikeable community
- Director Park
- Multnomah County Central Library
The West End may still be fully coming into its own as an independent neighborhood, but this vibrant enclave near downtown shouldn't be missed by those looking for a home in Portland. While the boundaries are less distinct than some other areas of Portland, it's generally considered to include the area between W Burnside Street, SW Morrison Street, Interstate 405, and Broadway. West End distinguishes itself from the nearby urban core with its local flair. Local shops, restaurants, and bars replace the soaring commercial buildings a few blocks away. It's home to Portland's famous Powell's City of Books and the iconic Crystal Ballroom live music venue. The neighborhood's central location means getting around is easy by car, bike, transit, or foot.
Like nearby downtown, West End's housing is primarily made up of mid-rise and high-rise condominiums and other multifamily buildings. For those looking for affordability, studio units can generally be found as low as the high $100,000s. Most one- to two-bedroom units range from the $200,000s to the $600,000s.
Bustling Downtown to Suburban Oasis: Portland's Got It All
Moving to Portland can be an exciting time. However, it can also be a stressful one, navigating a competitive housing market and learning about the ins and outs of the city. Each of these top Portland neighborhoods offers its own unique set of benefits for future residents. No matter what community they choose, new Portlanders will find a city full of one-of-a-kind amenities and experiences, all just a short trip from their front door.