Portland has an array of neighbourhoods, each with their own character, attractions and amenities on offer. Doing thorough research before choosing an area in which to live is highly recommended, as there are many factors that will influence the suitability of a neighbourhood for a person or family.
Choosing a neighbourhood in a new city can be a difficult process, so we’ve put together a list of some of the most popular areas in Portland.
Trendy neighbourhoods in Portland
The Pearl District
The Pearl District, in the heart of the city, is a sanctuary for young professionals moving to Portland and is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city. While the area was once packed with warehouses, the streets are now lined with art galleries, chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and endless nightlife choices. With property options ranging from historic homes to modern apartments, this walkable spot is the most expensive neighbourhood in the city. That said, those living here say it’s well worth the bucks.
Those looking for a luxury high-rise apartment that overlooks the river need not look any further than Downtown. This neighbourhood is the centre of the city’s retail industry and is home to an abundance of theatres and galleries, for anyone looking to experience some culture. With its central position and great access to the rest of the city, Downtown is perfect for those that enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life.
Packed full of boutiques, cafes, bars and locally owned restaurants, Nob Hill is a cheaper alternative to the Pearl District, yet just as trendy. This authentically Portland neighbourhood is one of the city’s oldest, situated close to Forest Park as well as the Rose and Japanese Gardens. Victorian style houses can be found alongside newer apartments and condos in Nob Hill (also known as the Northwest District).
Although not technically a neighbourhood, West End is a hidden gem next to the Pearl District that’s making waves for design in Portland. This funky, fashionable and forward-thinking neighbourhood is as trendy as they come. West End has a thriving nightlife and restaurant scene and is also an extremely popular shopping destination. A range of properties can also be found here, from townhouses to apartments.
Family-friendly neighbourhoods in Portland
Arlington Heights is exceptionally family friendly. While it is in walkable proximity to the trendy areas of the city, it is also nestled in the Tualatin mountain range. With views overlooking the city, and its access to the great outdoors, including many of the city’s best parks, this neighbourhood is also only a short train ride away from many of the family-friendly attractions in the city. The Arlington Heights area also has an abundance of public and private schools and plenty of historic family homes to choose from.
An extremely popular neighbourhood for families, Laurelhurst is only a 10-minute commute from the city centre and surrounds a beautiful park that boasts a pond, sports facilities, picnic tables, walking paths, a restroom and a wading pool. If the 34 schools in the neighbourhood don’t give away the child-friendly nature of this part of the city, the Laurelhurst Kids Club might. This club is a way to meet others in the community, find babysitters and school reviews, as well as receive news about anything that may affect or benefit the children in the neighbourhood. The historic and artistic vibe of Laurelhurst can be found in the abundance of vintage homes in the area.
Offering some of the best views of the city, this neighbourhood is also quiet, safe and friendly. Containing some good schools and local hotspots, such as the Alameda Brewhouse, this neighbourhood is historically popular among the upper-class residents of the city. While there are many large and beautiful homes that come at quite a price in Alameda, one may also be able to get their hands on one of the cottages and bungalows in this area.
This Portland neighbourhood is a wonderful blend of urban and suburban living, with gorgeous residential streets but plenty of city amenities. This family-friendly area has some of the best schools in the city and a variety of attractions, while also being less expensive than its surrounding neighbourhoods. Perfect for families on a budget, Sellwood-Moreland is dotted with cute homes, an array of shops and restaurants and good access to public transport. Food trucks abound in this area of the city, as do movie theatres and parks.
This residential neighbourhood with a historical feel blends the old with the new and offers the biggest variety of activities in the city. One of the oldest Portland neighbourhoods, and tucked away on the outskirts of the city centre, Goose Hollow is also one of the more affordable parts of the city. In close proximity to some of the best schools in the city, the neighbourhood also has a great sports and culture scene, housing the city’s soccer team, the Portland Timbers, as well as the longest running theatre company in the city, The Artist Repertory. The neighbourhood's quiet and private streets, and selection of historic and modern homes, make it a superb spot to raise a family in Portland.
►For information about renting a home, see Accommodation in Portland.
"I would recommend the Inner Southeast and Inner Northwest from around 12th Avenue to 75th. Multnomah Village and Selwood are really nice as well but I'm not a fan of generic suburbs where you have to go to a mall to eat or do your shopping. That's deadly for a Copenhagener like myself so take my opinion with a grain of Scandinavian salt." Read more about Peter's experience of expat life in Portland in his interview.
Are you an expat living in Portland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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