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What's the best neighborhood in Portland for a first time visitor?

I've never been to Portland and I'm a little overwhelmed by all the hotel options. I'd like to stay in a hotel that is central and gives me good sense of what Portland is like. I'd love to know where locals tell their friends to stay when they visit, and why those areas and hotels are special. thanks!

6 Answers

answered by
Brian from Portland

It depends on what you're looking for. Portland is a vert walkable city, so as long as you're not staying at a place out in the boonies, it's pretty to get anywhere on either side of the river with 20-30 minutes of walking. Our public transit is great too!

Northwest/Alphabet District is known for it's rows of shops on 21st and 23rd Ave. It's also closest to Forest Park, International Rose Test Garden, and Japanese Gardens if those are things on your list. Plenty of great coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants.

Other options include SE corners of Portland like Hawthorne Street or Belmont areas. Plenty of hips things happening over there and great for people watching if you're here for more of the "Portlandia" vibe. As long as you don't stay in the north industrial district or far south in Woodstock/Sellwood Neighborhood area, and you'll probably be close enough to walk or transit to just about anything you want to do here.

P.S. Skip the tourist trap of Voodoo Doughnuts and enjoy some local Blue Star Donuts.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Forest Park (attraction)
  2. International Rose Test Garden (attraction)
  3. Hawthorne Street (attraction)
  4. Woodstock (attraction)
  5. Sellwood Neighborhood (neighborhood)
  6. Voodoo Doughnuts (restaurant)
  7. Blue Star Donuts (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

I'm not a local, but I always tell people to stay at the Inn At Northrup Station. It's close to the Pearl District, and it has a trolley stop right out front (so it's easy to get to from the airport, and you can connect to the light rail easily). Plus, the rooms have full kitchens. You can hit a farmers market and then cook up some super-delicious stuff in your room.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Inn At Northrup Station (hotel)
1 thanks

answered first by
jennifer from Portland

Portland is divided into 4 quadrants…each offering a little something different.

The Kennedy School is a converted school house walking distance the Alberta Arts District in the NE quadrant. 

I also love the Hotel deLuxe on the West side of the river. It is a glamorous vintage hotel with a great lobby bar. 

The Embassy Suites Portland - Downtown is a grand old hotel in the center of Downtown. It is one  of the oldest hotels in Portland. Great starting point to walk all over the city. 

Good luck and hope you enjoy your stay!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kennedy School (restaurant)
  2. Alberta Arts District (neighborhood)
  3. Hotel deLuxe (hotel)
  4. Embassy Suites Portland - Downtown (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Joe from Missoula, Montana

I've lived in 5 different neighborhoods in Portland, If I were you I'd stay downtown, the Downtown area and Pearl District are great walking. Take an uber out to Hawthorne district (Hawthorne & SE 34th) or Mississippi neighborhood (N. Mississippi & N. Failing). both are very cool areas.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Portland (city)
  2. Downtown (attraction)
  3. Pearl District (neighborhood)

answered by
Luc from Portland

I would recommend hotwire to find any boutique hotel Downtown in the core.  That is where the action starts.  From there you can take the MAX to just about anywhere.  Don't forget to visit NW 23rd Ave. Washington Park, the Rose Garden and Japanese Gardens are all in walking distance.   The Pittock Mansion is worth the view overlooking the city.  On a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.

If you are a foodie, you won't be disappointed! Good food is literally everywhere!

The Pearl District is in walking distance. Powell's Books on burnside....  the list goes on.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown (attraction)
  2. NW 23rd Ave (attraction)
  3. Washington Park (attraction)
  4. Rose Garden (attraction)
  5. Japanese Gardens (attraction)
  6. Pittock Mansion (attraction)
  7. Pearl District (neighborhood)
  8. Powell's Books (attraction)

answered by
Chris from Oregon

Everything is walkable but get a 1 day pass on the "MAX" which is the trolley system. Don't just stay on the west side of the river. There are some cool districts on the east side that are really what makes Portland weird.  Hawthorne district is one of them for example around  McMenamins Bagdad Theatre & Pub at Hawthorne and 37th.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. McMenamins Bagdad Theatre & Pub (restaurant)

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