Explore Portland Neighborhoods

Discover things to do and see in Portland's neighborhoods.

Explore Portland neighborhoods and be prepared for some delightful surprises. There are actually 95 defined neighborhoods in Portland and each of them have a distinct flavor or personality. This guide will show you the best Portland neighborhoods to visit and what you will find there.

Central Portland Neighborhoods

Portland Downtown

Jeff Gunn

Most people don't think of the central downtown area of Portland as a neighborhood but it really is.  People live, work, and play there and find it vibrant and exciting. It is bordered by the West Hills, Goose Hollow, the Northwest District, the Pearl District, Terwilliger neighborhoods and by the Willamette River.

This is where most of Portland's high rise buildings are located and where you definitely feel like you are in a city. It's tree-lined streets, parks, flower baskets, fountains, and bronze statues soften the hardness of steel and concrete though and give it a comfortable homey feel. You will find a full range of shops, department stores, restaurants, pubs, and hotels in the area.

The whole area is walkable but you can easily travel around on Portland's lightrail which is called MAX or if you prefer use the streetcar. See Portland Transportation.


The center of the neighborhood is Pioneer Courthouse Square which is often called Portland's living room. It covers a whole city block and has a large fountain, a coffee shop and several food carts.  It is a good place to stop for a rest and people watch for a while. It is also a good place to catch MAX. There are often special activities and entertainment going on in the square. At Christmas time there is always a huge Christmas tree and  holiday entertainment.


Pioneer Place is a shopping mall right in the heart of downtown. You will find upscale stores here such as Tiffany's, Swarovski, BCBGMaxazria, francesca's, kate spade new york, and Tory Burch along with a wide choice of restaurants and a six-screen movie theater.

Cherle Xlao

The Portland Park Blocks cuts a swath through downtown. This is one of Portland's oldest parks and therefore has plenty of large trees to provide a shady place to sit for a while. The south end near Portland State University is where Portland's main Farmer's Market is held on Saturdays March through December.

Ken Hawkins

Keller Fountain Park is a wonderful place to visit on a hot summer day (or spring or fall day) and relax with a picnic and enjoy the sound of the rushing water. It is not your ordinary fountain but rather a waterfall right in the middle of the city.

Michael Wilson

Across SW 3rd Avenue from Keller Fountain is Keller Auditorium which hosts performances by the Oregon Ballet, the Portland Opera, and the Broadway shows that come to town. On SW Main and Broadway is the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall which is home to the Oregon Symphony. Both venues are ranked right up there with more famous venues in New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles based on gross ticket sales. Portlanders and Oregonians take culture very seriously.

This Portland neighborhood is also where the Portland Art Museum and Oregon Historical Historical Society are located.  See Portland Museums.

There are dozens of hotels in downtown Portland in different price ranges where you can stay while you enjoy the city.

Portland Old Town/Chinatown

Noel Zia Lee

Wedged between downtown and the Pearl District is the oldest part of Portland. Here is where you will find some fantastic examples of vintage architecture, Portland's beautiful Chinese Garden, some very special eateries, and Saturday Market. Read more...

The Pearl District

Ted Eytan

The Pearl, as Portlanders call it, is bordered by Old Town, the Willamette River, Downtown, and the Northwest District. This is an upscale area of Portland with high end boutiques, art galleries, loft apartment buildings, popular restaurants, and delightful city parks.  Read more...

Northwest District/Nob Hill

Dr. Bertoni

The tree-lined streets with old Victorian houses and up-scale shops and boutiques in the Northwest Portland neighborhood is one of the city's most walkable and bikeable. You can easily walk to shops, restaurants, food stores, hair salons and other service businesses.  Mass transit can get you to other parts of the city in good time. Read more...

Southeast Portland


Sellwood has always had a flavor of its own, a bit different from Portland.  There was a time when it was a bit rundown and many of the middle-class homes on the shady tree-lined streets were not kept up.  Then gradually people discovered that these old homes had a lot of charm and were a bargain to buy and refurbish. Plus the area has an abundance of beautiful parks and places to be outdoors enjoying nature. Read more...

Hawthorne District/Sunnyside

Sarah Gilbert

The Hawthorne District in Portland is best described as ecclectic.  This is the Portland of the TV show "Portlandia".  Hipster? Yes. Hippy? Not as much as in years gone by. It is an area where as a tourist walking down the street you will find people are saying "Hello" as you meet and pass. Read more...

Portland Neighborhoods