Is Portland Walkable? 8 Best Neighborhoods for Walkability in Portland
Portland, Oregon, is a city of unique character. With a city population of more than 650,000, there's shopping, sports, and entertainment galore. However, despite the regional population of well over 2.5 million, homes in Portland also enjoy some small-town characteristics. Compared to most large cities, the "City of Roses" has more walkable neighborhoods outside downtown. It's a great place to live for people who love exploring their home zip codes on foot. Looking to move to Portland? Keep reading to find the most walkable Portland neighborhoods you should explore.
Pearl District Amenities
- The Fields Park
- Some apartments have great views of the Willamette River
- Dense neighborhood with lots of shopping and restaurants
- Quick access to I-405 and NW Broadway Bridge with walking paths
Bordered by the Willamette River, the Pearl District was once full of warehouses and industrial facilities. As a neighborhood with a great mix of commercial and residential properties, the area has many rental opportunities. The average rent per month in the Pearl area is around $1,785, which is above average for the city. Most of the residential stock around this region was built in the latter part of the last century. Condos in the Pearl area have a wide variety of price points, ranging from the mid-$200s to well over $1 million, so buyers can typically find a home here no matter their budget.
Pearl District condos are in a very walkable community because the neighborhood is densely populated with lots of retail and eateries. Around 19.3% of commuters in the area indicate that they walk to work. After work, there are a number of spots around the area for indoor and outdoor exercise. The Fields Park spans just over 3 acres, including a walking path and children's playground. The Willamette River Greenway Trail offers walks along the river for leisurely lunch breaks.
Shopping and dining are two definite highlights of the neighborhood. The Botanist Cocktail might be a great place to relax with friends. Check out the Yama Sushi & Sake Bar for delicious Japanese food and drinks. With a high walkability score, new residents will find plenty of fun and opportunities a brisk stroll away.
Old Town/Chinatown Amenities
- Great apartment views of the Willamette River
- Waterfront contains a nice walking trail and several attractions
- Wide variety of restaurants and attractions
As the name sounds, Old Town, also known as Chinatown, is one of the oldest communities in the city. That means plenty of historical buildings and gorgeous architecture. However, new residents will still find modern conveniences, such as walkable streets and bike paths. Outdoor lovers may also enjoy the Willamette River Greenway Trail, which moves along the river the length of the neighborhood.
On the community's eastern edge, the Trail encounters the Japanese American Historical Plaza. Another scenic outdoor jewel is the Lan Su Chinese Garden, including a Garden Teahouse. The southern end of the neighborhood has java center Deadstock Coffee as a place for relaxing and Wi-Fi. Explore Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade and Bar for classic video games in a bar atmosphere.
The neighborhood keeps near-perfect scores for walkability, biking, and transit. With average rental prices around $1,780, this riverfront area is among the more desired in the city. However, amenities like the lovely waterfront views and a wide variety of shopping, food, and outdoor make the area worth every penny. As with the Pearl District, affordable Old Town lofts can be found in the mid-$200s, but the median real estate cost in the city center is about $720K, and home values can easily go higher.
- Portland State University Library
- Quick access to I-405 and I-5
- Several apartments and eateries with views of the river
Like most downtown neighborhoods, downtown Portland has a near-perfect walking score. The area has plenty of apartments, commercial spaces, shopping, and retail. Around 12,800 people live within the community, making it among Portland's most highly populated neighborhoods. New residents of Downtown's condos, ranging from affordable dwellings starting in the mid-$200s to luxurious million-dollar high-rises, will find many unique retail and niche restaurants, but that is not all.
Bound by the I-405 and I-5, the area features several green spaces along the river and through the city. The neighborhood has lots of historical landmarks within walking distance of many Downtown Portland homes. The Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground includes museums and seasonal tours for curious visitors. But those who don't enjoy the strange and scary may prefer highlights like the Pioneer Courthouse Square. South Waterfront Park is another great outdoor option. The Portland Art Museum has a revolving offering of exhibits. Of course, the best part of the southern downtown district has to be Portland State University. When it is time for dinner, check out Southpark Seafood for Shrimp and Grits or Clam Chowder.
Goose Hollow Amenities
- Walking distance to Providence Park
- Easy access to I-405
- The western border has great views of trees and trails from the Portland Japanese Garden
Compared to other neighborhoods mentioned here, Goose Hollow is among the smallest. The community is bordered on the west by the Portland Japanese Garden and Washington Park Playground. I-405 runs along the eastern edge, branching out to U.S. Route 26 on the southern side. At only about 279 acres, less than 5,000 people call the area home.
Goose Hollow real estate has a mix of residential homes and condominiums, so there are plenty of options for those searching to rent or own. Anyone who does not enjoy the high excitement and density of downtown-type areas may prefer Goose Hollow. There are plenty of single-family homes on quiet streets. The exchange for the lower density is that residents may have to walk a longer distance to find certain attractions. However, this is still a community that is friendly to foot traffic.
Perhaps the center of the Goose Hollow community is Providence Park. The facility is dedicated to various outdoor sports games, including college football and soccer. Many of the restaurants and bars within the district are only blocks away from the field. This may provide the perfect opportunity to watch the game and visit local watering holes afterward. Check out the Cheerful Bullpen or the Civic Taproom and Bottle Shop for great brews and a comfortable environment to watch the game from afar.
Northwest District Amenities
- Easy access to I-405
- Concentrated access to eateries and retail
- Several residential complexes along the water
- Easy access to Forest Park entrance
Homes for sale in the Northwest District exist immediately west of Pearl and northwest of the downtown community. The area includes the Nob Hill neighborhood, the Slabtown neighborhood, and homes in Forest Park. Where a small segment of the district abuts the water, the Northwest waterfront includes several apartments, condos, and lofts complexes. That provides excellent opportunities for those that enjoy living beside the water.
Speaking of walkability, a long paved walkway directly beside the water provides an outlet for exercise and scenery. With another great mix of housing and rental units, the Northwest District is a community with something for everyone. This is a large neighborhood, with I-405 as the western border. The northern edge begins with NW St Helens Rd and swoops down into NW Nicolai St. West Burnside Rd contains the southern boundary, and the community of Kings Height and Forest Park rest to the west.
The average rent per month for Northwest is about $1,740, which is above average for the area. Like Pearl to the east, this is a community that is packed with retail shopping and restaurants. There is hardly ever an intersection more than three blocks from food and fun.
- Easy to navigate grid format
- Most addresses are less than three streets from a walkable major strip
- Plenty of restaurants and niche shopping along the major roads
Sunnyside is a smaller neighborhood that exists east of the Willamette River. It's straightforward to navigate, as it has lots of straight streets and a grid pattern. The main road in the area is SE Belmont St, and many of the restaurants and bars are close to this area. However, SE Hawthorne Blvd along the southern edge also contains plenty of visitor sites.
The vast majority of the homes for sale in Sunnyside are residential, with plenty of single-family homes. However, there are loads of rentals in the area, and the average monthly cost is about $1,500. Because of the small size and straight streets, no address is more than three blocks away from a major strip. That gives the region a great walking score despite not being built like a typical downtown or commercial district.
Many of the vendors in the central region have a unique flavor, such as the Tao of Tea wholesaler or the vegan-friendly Paradox Cafe. Meanwhile, visitors can find Common Grounds Coffeehouse and more along the southern edge. This is not a neighborhood that is large enough to find all the regular U.S. brands, but this is a great place to find something unique.
- Several commercial enclaves and quiet neighborhoods
- No address is more than five blocks away from a major strip
- Close access to I-5
To the west of Sunnyside, Buckman is another small neighborhood with an easy-to-navigate grid. The community's eastern border is SE 28th Ave, while the Willamette River waits to the west. Buckman is across the water from downtown Portland, and this region is also jam-packed with shopping and restaurants. True to the nature of Portland, there are also plenty of niche brands and unique retailers.
East Burnside Street forms the northern edge of the Buckman neighborhood, with SE Hawthorne Blvd to the south. Most of the commercial areas run along major roads, including SE Belmont St. This neighborhood has a great mix of residential and business areas organized into enclaves.
Because this community also has straight streets in a grid pattern, it is also easy to navigate. No intersection within the area is more than 4–5 blocks away from a major strip with eateries and shopping. However, these locations each demonstrate lots of unique character. From the Helium Comedy Club to the Eastside Coffee Bar and Workspace, this is an area with a lot of variety.
- Easy access to several major routes, including U.S. Route 26 and I-5
- Most addresses are within about five blocks from major commercial streets
- Easy-to-navigate grid format
Directly to the south of the Buckman neighborhood, the Hosford-Abernethy community also has a western edge along the Willamette River. With the southern border completed by the U.S. Route 26, the region is among the smaller neighborhoods. Compared to most of the others on this list, Hosford-Abernethy is primarily a residential area. It is full of owner-occupied and rental units.
The average sale price on units in this neighborhood is about $565K, making it overall one of the most affordable Portland neighborhoods for those seeking walkability, especially for those looking for detached homes. Average monthly rental costs are also reasonable at $1,440. The area has two significant points of interest in its design. First, many of the single-family homes are situated in the northeast or southeast of the area, while the downtown-like regions are to the west. Secondly, in the center of the community is a unique section of the neighborhood that breaks into diagonals, with The Ladd Circle Park and Rose Gardens at the center.
Find the Amenities You Want in Portland's Most Walkable Neighborhoods
Portland's population is growing quickly for a reason. This city loves walkable neighborhoods, and a stroll from almost any address will reveal something new for those looking for fun things to do in Portland.