Known for hipster culture and beautiful gardens, the City of Roses is a popular tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest! As the largest city in Oregon, Portland is a bustling metropolis with plenty to offer visitors – whether you want great cuisine and nightlife, or a laid back historic tours.
Portland is a city that grew outwards rather than upwards, so navigating the sprawling streets can be difficult. It’s important for you to consider your needs before planning where to stay on a visit to the city.
That’s where we come in! We’ve created this guide to the seven best neighborhoods in Portland to help you plan your upcoming trip to this fascinating part of the country.
So let’s get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Portland
- Pearl District – Best neighborhood in Portland for your first time
- Downtown – Where to stay in Portland close to everything
- Central Eastside – Where to stay in Portland for nightlife
- Nob Hill – Best neighborhood in Portland for families
- Hawthorne – Where to stay in Portland on a budget
- Division – Best neighborhood in Portland for couples
- Alberta Arts District – Best neighborhood in Portland for culture
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
With such a great reputation internationally, it’s no wonder a Hostelling International hostel has made the top spot on our list! Whilst Portland boasts two of their hostels, their Hawthorne offering is the best rated in the city. They offer regular events including movie nights and karaoke.
Best Budget Hotel in Portland
This stylish hotel makes sure your money goes further and barely feels like a budget choice at all! Rooms are beautifully kitted out with modern furnishings and artwork by local creatives. It is also perfectly located in the heart of the nightlife district – and only a short walk from the city centre.
Best Luxury Hotel in Portland
As the best rated five star hotel in the city, Sentinel had to take our top spot for splurge accommodation in Portland! With unbeatable facilities and excellent standards of service, you will feel truly pampered during your stay in this Provenance Hotel. The on-site restaurant is also popular with guests.
Portland 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the seven best neighbourhoods in Portland. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighborhood in Portland for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Pearl District – head on a brewery crawl with one of the city tour providers to discover craft beer culture
- BEST place to visit in Pearl District – Powell’s City of Books is the largest independent bookstore in the world and a Portland institution
Once one of the most run-down neighborhoods in the city, the Pearl District is a modern beacon to the upcycled cool that Portland is known for! This is where you will find the city’s creative attractions – including art galleries and independent theatres. It is also the home of Powell’s City of Books, one of the city’s most loved landmarks.
Aside from the art and literature, the Pearl District is a great place to discover craft beer culture in the city! It is home to many of the best known independent breweries, as well as a whole host of cool bars and upmarket restaurants serving their fresh brews.
- Check out BridgePort Brewing Company, the oldest craft beer distillery in the city with regular tours and tastings
- First Thursdays, held at the start of every month, are large arts festivals throughout the region featuring local creatives
- Walk along the Willamette River – there is a large park with great cycle lanes and views towards the city’s iconic bridge
- The aptly named Barista is the premiere spot in town for high quality speciality coffee with a rotating selection of beans
- If you want to take your first steps into Portland’s varied culinary scene, head to Brix Tavern and try their classic American style food
Best Hostel Pearl District
Located within a historic building, this Hostelling International accommodation comes with excellent facilities and standards of service! It is located between Pearl District and Nob Hill, giving you easy access to two of the city’s best neighborhoods. They offer free events and tours, as well as artisan bread.
Best Budget Hotel in Pearl District
Also housed within a historic building, this is a great hotel if you want a little bit of an upgrade from a hostel but don’t want to break the bank! A complimentary American style breakfast is included in the rate, as well as high speed WiFi and 24 hour tourism services.
Best Luxury Hotel in Pearl District
This five star hotel has all the facilities you need for a truly luxurious stay close to Portland’s City Centre! Rooms are packed with great facilities and modern technology – including an in-room fitness and wellness pack. They accept pets and provide pillow menus and nightly turndown services upon request.
(Where to stay in Portland close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Downtown – enjoy the Saturday Market where you can pick up souvenirs and street food – it’s the largest outdoor market in the United States!
- BEST place to visit in Downtown – wander around the Portland Art Museum and admire work from local and international artists
Downtown, as one might expect, is located right in the heart of the city centre! This makes it the perfect location for getting around Portland’s other neighborhoods with ease. It is also home to the main transport hubs, allowing you to travel further afield within the city and surrounding towns.
Aside from its convenient location, Downtown is also a foodie paradise! This is where you will find some of Portland’s most innovative menus – both in terms of food and coffee. Like Pearl District, Downtown is another great area for first-time visitors – especially if you are here to sample the cuisine.
- Grab the ultimate Portland Instagram shot at the Keep Portland Weird mural right in the heart of Downtown
- Voodoo Doughnut are a local institution offering some weird, as well as some more ordinary, flavours on a rotating basis
- Hop on the streetcar and explore all of the city centre’s best neighborhoods at once – some tour operators also offer tours of these routes
- Stumptown Coffee is one of the most well-known speciality coffee companies in the United States, and they’re based at the Ace Hotel
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has some fantastic interactive exhibits – perfect for families opting to stay centrally
Best Hostel Downtown
Only a short walk away from the Greyhound and Amtrak Stations, this hostel is perfect for backpackers that are only in Portland for a short period of time! Though pretty basic, it is one of the cheapest in the city and offers excellent social spaces. WiFi is also provided free of charge throughout.
Best Budget Hotel in Downtown
Despite being a budget-friendly hotel, the Paramount Hotel comes with excellent facilities that ensure your money goes a little bit further. There is a 24 hour gym on-site, as well as a restaurant and separate bar. Rooms are well furnished in a modern style, and high speed WiFi can be accessed throughout.
Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown
This luxurious five star hotel is elegantly decorated in a style that blends modern comforts with classic design! They provide 24 hour room service, as well as in-room massage treatments that can be pre-booked. There is a fitness centre on-site, as well as a billiards room and large business suite.
(Where to stay in Portland for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Central Eastside – head to Century Bar to catch up with local sports during the day, and enjoy a nightclub atmosphere at night
- BEST place to visit in Central Eastside – visit the Eastbank Esplanade with a coffee and take a relaxing stroll along the river
Across the river from the city centre, the Central Eastside is where many Portlanders come to party! Portland is known for its casual, laid-back nightlife and nowhere is this more apparent than the Central Eastside. With late-night restaurants, classic sports bars and calm dance clubs, this is a great place to kick back with locals.
It is also a major hub for coffee in Portland and a great place to discover the city’s prominent café culture! The Eastbank Esplanade is a popular spot for locals to unwind and soak up the atmosphere, and there are plenty of great coffee shops nearby to grab a fresh cup of joe.
- Grab a coffee at Coava Roasters – a gorgeous café in a converted industrial building with freshly roasted beans and chill vibes
- Kure Juice Bar also sells great coffee, but their true speciality is their vast selection of juices and smoothies
- Head to Doug Fir Lounge in the evenings if live performances are more your vibe – it also converts into a regular nightclub late at night
- Pick up a slice of Portland pizza at Sizzle Pie – not only is the food great, but they also have an interesting heavy metal theme
- Check out a fantastic burlesque performance at Lovecraft Bar – they treat it as an art form and have excellent drink choices
Best Hotel for Backpackers Central Eastside
Though there aren’t any hostels in Central Eastside, this two star inn is perfect for backpackers on a tight budget that want to stay close to the main nightlife spots! Rooms are basic but kept comfortable with air conditioning and solid furnishings. There is high speed WiFi access in every room.
Best Budget Hotel in Central Eastside
Jupiter NEXT is another great budget-friendly hotel that has some additional touches that make it feel like your money is going further! Most rooms come with views across the city and are decorated in a modern style. Private parking facilities are available on-site, and there is a private garden with patio.
Best Luxury Hotel in Central Eastside
This ultra-modern hotel is located just across the street from the Convention Center – perfect for corporate travellers, and those that want to be in the heart of the city’s nightlife district. Rooms come with gourmet coffee machines and private refrigerators, as well as walk-in showers in the en-suite bathrooms.
(Best neighborhood in Portland for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Nob Hill – simply take a walk around the ‘Alphabet District’ and admire the gorgeous Victorian architecture
- BEST place to visit in Nob Hill – head to Forest Park for a hike around the beautiful trees and great views across the city
Known colloquially as Snob Hill, this is one of the most upmarket districts in the city and it’s easy to see why it is so attractive to the wealthiest residents in town! The colorful buildings hark back to the city’s Victorian past, and simply strolling around the beautiful streets can be an enjoyable attraction.
For families, Nob Hill is a great choice as it is a relatively calm and peaceful area! Though mostly residential, it still has a great selection of restaurants and stores – most of which are locally owned, adding to the community vibe of the neighborhood.
- Grab some of the most delectable pastries, cakes and loaves at Ken’s Artisan Bakery, right in the heart of Nob Hill
- The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium is a fascinating store packed with curios, the paranormal and devilishly tasty ice cream
- Head to Poplandia to sample some of the best popcorn you will taste in your life – trust us, you’ll be planning your next trip to Portland once you have
- Oregon Zoo is a popular attraction with visitors and local families alike – ticket sales are also used to fund conservation efforts
- The International Rose Garden is the perfect setting for a relaxing stroll to unwind – as are the neighboring Japanese Gardens!
Best Hotel for Backpackers Nob Hill
Nob Hill also doesn’t have any hostels, but Silver Cloud Inn is a great alternative for backpackers in the area! Rooms come with flat screen TVs and WiFi access, and there is a complimentary laundrette service for all guests. The front desk operates 24 hours, and shuttles are available.
Best Budget Hotel in Nob Hill
This inn is a little bit of an upgrade, but is still budget-friendly! They offer serviced studios and suites – perfect for families that want some additional privacy in the city. The Inn at Northrup Station comes with excellent guest reviews thanks to their great customer service and facilities.
Best Luxury Hotel in Nob Hill
Part of the Provenance Hotels group, this four star luxury accommodation is perfect for families looking to splurge during their stay in Portland! Rooms are traditionally decorated, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. There is a library on-site, as well as bicycle hire services. WiFi is available in all rooms.
(Where to stay in Portland on a budget!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Hawthorne – go vintage shopping at the variety of great thrift stores along Hawthorne
- BEST place to visit in Hawthorne – Mt Tabor Park is another fantastic green space with views across the city
Located just south of Central Eastside, Hawthorne is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Portland! Whether you are interested in food, thrift shopping or dive bars – Hawthorne is a great area to soak up the hipster atmosphere of the city. It is also one of the cheapest areas in the city, so perfect if you are on a budget.
Whilst fairly far out from the city centre, it is well connected by public transport – allowing you to explore everything Portland has to offer without breaking the bank! Restaurants here are not just known for their great priced menus – it is also one of the best areas in the city to grab some vegan-friendly cuisine.
- Bagdad Theatre is a converted theatre that is now a seven-story bar dedicated to craft beer and fantastic food
- Shop until you drop at House of Vintage – the largest thrift store in the city and a bit of an institution with Portland locals
- If you want some great furniture and other household goods to take home, Lounge Lizard is a must-visit
- Take a trip to Cartopia and enjoy the multiple food trucks available – they visit on a rotating visit, so you can try something different every day
- Por Que No Taqueria are famous as the restaurant that offers the best tacos in town – great for vegans and meat lovers alike!
Best Hostel Hawthorne
Another excellent offering from Hostelling International in Portland, this particular accommodation comes with an environmentally friendly ethos! They offer a free light breakfast every morning – and like most other HI hostels they also run regular tours of the city and in-house events. Bicycle rental and WiFi are also available.
Best Budget Hotel in Hawthorne
As a mostly residential area, your best bet for private accommodation in Hawthorne is hiring an apartment! If you are on a strict budget, Dorian Apartments have some great options in the area. This particular apartment is perfect for large groups that want to split costs and comes with excellent ratings.
Best Luxury Hotel in Hawthorne
Housed within a building from the Victorian era, this bungalow is almost an attraction in its own right – giving you your own personal insight into Portland’s history! With two bedrooms, it is a great choice for families and larger parties that are looking for a private holiday home whilst in town.
(Best neighborhood in Portland for couples!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Division – hop around the various food carts that Division is now famous for
- BEST place to visit in Division – pick up some fantastic work from local artists at Little Otsu
Located just south of Hawthorne, Division is another trendy area with good links to the city centre! This neighborhood is perfect for couples visiting the city as it gives you a good taste of the hipster culture that Portland is famous for without the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It truly is the best of both worlds.
In particular, Division is a popular choice for those looking to dive into the food truck culture that has spread across Portland! There are new trucks popping up every day, and you are sure to find a variety of cuisines around every corner.
- Clinton Street Theatre is one of the oldest cinemas in the United States, and has a Rocky Horror Picture Show event every Saturday
- Night Light Lounge is the perfect upmarket bar for date night, or for simply chilling out after a long day of exploring
- Speaking of chilling out, head to Löyly Sauna – a Nordic-style spa facility with a wide range of holistic therapies
- For a dining experience that’s a little more upmarket, head to Pok Pok – their New York location has a Michelin Star, and the Portland equivalent boasts a fantastic menu
Best Hotel for Backpackers Division
As another area lacking in hostels, backpackers that wish to stay in Division should check out Aaron Motel. It is located just a short walk from SE Division Street, ensuring you are right in the heart of the area! Though fairly basic, it comes with all the amenities you need.
Best Budget Hotel in Division
Econo Lodge are a popular hotel chain across America with those looking for a comfortable, yet budget-friendly, accommodation in major cities! Their Portland motel doesn’t disappoint, with spacious rooms that come with their own private bathrooms. Free WiFi can be accessed throughout, and there is private parking on-site.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Division
This bed and breakfast is great if you want a little bit of an upgrade whilst staying in the area! Though we wouldn’t necessarily class it as a splurge option, it is one of the best hotels in the Division district if comfort is your main concern. There is a complimentary, vegetarian-friendly breakfast.
(Best neighborhood in Portland for culture!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Alberta Arts District – attend Last Thursdays, an alternative to the more famous First Thursdays events in the city centre
- BEST place to visit in Alberta Arts District – head to Curious Comedy Theatre to discover some up and coming entertainers
The Alberta Arts District truly epitomises what makes Portland so cool! Once one of the most run-down neighborhoods, it has since evolved into a major cultural hub in the north-east of the city. With interesting street art, independent art galleries and intimate theatre, this is a particularly great neighborhood for fans of alternative culture.
If you can, be sure to head to the Last Thursdays event in the area! Somewhat mimicking the more famous First Thursdays in the city centre, it is a great alternative that features local creatives, street performers and entertainers showing off their skills.
- Wander down Alberta Street and admire the vibrant street art that lines the walls – perfect for those Instagram shots!
- Alberta Street Gallery is an independent arts shop that showcases local talent and offers great prices on creative work
- For independent live performances, head to Alberta Rose Theatre – it is becoming an increasingly popular venue in the city
- The Grilled Cheese Grill does exactly what it says on the tin – offers some of the heartiest grilled cheeses in town
Best Hostel Alberta Arts District
Just outside of the Alberta Arts District, Travelers’ House is only a short walk away from all the cultural attractions in the area! They offer both dorms and privates, and free parking is available on-site. Interiors are decorated with local art work, and there are plenty of spaces for bicycle storage.
Best Budget Hotel in Alberta Arts District
Located within a converted elementary school, this hotel is a true piece of Portland history! If you are looking for a unique accommodation choice, you should definitely check out McMenamins Kennedy School. There are multiple restaurants and bars located on-site, and free WiFi can be accessed throughout.
Best Luxury Hotel in Alberta Arts District
Alberta Arts District is another mostly residential district, so if you are looking to splurge this four star duplex is a fantastic choice! It comes with a small balcony where you can unwind at the end of the day, and is fully air conditioned for comfort.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Portland?
Portland is an exciting city in the Pacific Northwest that oozes charm and hospitality! Known for its hipster culture, the city is packed with great dining options and intriguing cultural attractions. Scratch beneath the surface, you will also find some historical gems.
In terms of the best area, we are going to have to go with Hawthorne! It’s not often we choose somewhere outside of the city centre, but Hawthorne perfectly encapsulates what makes Portland such a vibrant destination.
Nevertheless, all of the areas mentioned in this guide have their own benefits and we hope we have helped you plan your itinerary.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, One Weird Globe will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going :)