Post Overview: Where to Stay in Portland, Oregon
It’s true: the City of Roses seems to have taken its “Keep Portland Weird” motto a little too seriously in recent years. I mean, hipsters were fine, but a kombucha shop on every corner? Yep.
Still, this leafy northwestern destination is a favorite for those visiting from out of the area, and the following six neighborhoods are among the best places to stay in Portland.
I’ve lived in Portland my whole life and thought it’d be helpful to roundup where to stay in Portland for first time (or return) visitors. I’m not big on small talk, so let’s get to it.
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Where to Stay Portland, Oregon
The Pearl District
Although it used to go by the less inspiring “Portland Industrial Triangle,” the Pearl got a much better epithet in 1987. According to Pearl Neighbors for Integrity in Design, a Portland gallerist by the name of Thomas Paul Augustine named it.
He “felt that the name captured his vision of the crusty archaic buildings with exteriors that looked like oyster shells filled with treasured pearls.”
Indeed, its previous life as a center of industry still shows in its architecture and layout. But that’s the only aspect it shares with its 19th and early 20th-century self. Today, it is a vibrant community and one of the best places to stay in Portland.
There, you’ll find art, music and parks galore. It’s also a destination for foodies, who enjoy restaurants such as Andina for authentic Peruvian food or Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House. The latter is one of the best examples of the city’s famous hops scene.
You’ll have no trouble finding places to stay. The Pearl offers a wealth of hotel choices as well as a range of adorable Airbnb and VRBO studios, apartments and full-sized homes.
During your visit, make sure to check out the famous Montgomery Park office building. A former Montgomery Ward warehouse, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is well worth a look-see! You’ll instantly see why this is a great option for those in search of the best places to stay in Portland.
If you’re wondering about the most charming places to stay in Portland, we you covered with another adorable option: Multnomah Village. The Multnomah neighborhood was originally part of Hillsdale.
It grew into a bustling place of its own with the establishment of an Oregon Electric Railway depot. Its neighbor, Portland, annexed it in 1950. Today, it is a vibrant addition to the Southwest quadrant. People regularly visit it for the amazing restaurants and cute shops.
Multnomah Village is an especially fun corner of the larger Multnomah neighborhood. Several blocks of retail shops, pubs, breakfast joints and galleries adorn its streets. These are bedecked in holiday décor in November and December.
Make sure to pay a visit to Annie Bloom’s bookstore, an independent shop established in 1978. Thinker Toys has an even longer history, founded over 50 years ago. It is a destination for neighborhood kiddos.
While the village is short on hotels, you can always find a cute rental in the area as long as you plan ahead. If you’re more the fancy establishment type, try the River’s Edge Hotel, less than 3 miles away. Wherever you stay, you should make sure to hit up Grand Central Bakery for one of their lovely pastries or sandwiches.
Consider carrying your goodies over to Spring Garden Park. For a longer stroll, nearby Gabriel Park boasts almost 90 acres of sports facilities with drop-in gym rates, walking paths, orchards and gardens. Anyway you slice it, no proper list of where to stay in Portland would be complete without this gem of a neighborhood.
If you like walkability, food and nightlife, the Hawthorne District is for you. It covers more than 43 blocks of retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops and bookstores. As such, it’s perfect for a day of browsing at your leisure.
Originally named U Street and then Asylum Avenue due to the nearby Oregon Hospital for the Insane, residents renamed it Hawthorne Avenue in 1888. The new moniker still stands.
It honors one of the founders of the first mental hospital in the state. In 1933, it got its final name, Hawthorne Boulevard. Today, it is a thriving mini-metropolis built inside quirky buildings and the shells of renovated industrial architecture.
You’ll find plenty of places to stay there, from the Sapphire Hotel to the Bluebird Guesthouse. If you’re on a serious budget, try Lolo Pass. It’s an adorable hostel where you can meet backpackers and travelers from all over the world. Dedicated hikers should try private vacation rentals near Mount Tabor. This extinct volcano (!) has a great view of the city.
Start your morning off with a delicious confection from the famous Blue Star Donuts. Then, pair it with a beverage from Coava Coffee. For a treat, try local secret The Waffle Window, where you can get breakfast goodies topped with ice cream.
Note that Hawthorne is a truly bumpin’ place, which is why I recommend it to folks wondering where to stay in Portland for a first visit. There’s always something going on, so make sure to check whether any events are happening while you’re there.
Northwest Portland (Alphabet District)
The Alphabet District is hands-down one of the best places to stay in Portland. Mariner John Couch (pronounced “Cooch” by Portland residents) first developed it in 1865. Streets labeled with letters earned it the name by which we know it today.
“In 1891,” explains the Preservation Artisan’s Guild, “the city council alphabetically renamed all the letter streets in honor of prominent Portland pioneers and landowners. These designations remain to the present day.” If you guessed they turned C Street into Couch, you’re correct!
Today, this charming series of blocks is located right next to Forest Park. This beloved local destination offers visitors more than 5,000 acres of gorgeous forestland. You’ll find amazing walking trails right off its Thurman Street entrance.
If you continue for several miles through the park, you will eventually reach an overlook of the St. John’s Bridge. Built in 1929 and a stunning Portland landmark, it’s well worth the 6.5-mile loop trek.
For unique places to stay, try the Portland International Guesthouse or the Inn at Northrup Station. While there, make sure to eat out at Papa Haydn, an institution famous for its giant cake slices and European fusion fare. The cakes alone are reason enough to consider this neighborhood one of the best places to stay in Portland!
Vibrant NW 23rd Street is a can’t-miss as well. There, you’ll find shops, tattoo parlors and amazing eateries in the neighborhood some refer to as Nob Hill.
Did You Know? The names of the most famous Simpson characters were inspired by the street names in Northwest Portland. Here’s proof.
Another of the best places to stay in Portland? Alameda. It is located on the east side of the river, where you can enjoy some of the city’s older neighborhoods.
You’ll also find some of Portland’s loveliest and most spacious homes. Their beautiful landscaping is a joy to stroll past. Historic trees dot the area with small placards, and sprawling parks are a dime a dozen.
According to the Alameda Neighborhood Association (which may admittedly have a bit of a bias), this neighborhood is “often called the warm heart Northeast Portland for its friendly residents and central location between the Irvington, Sabin, Grant Park and Beaumont neighborhoods.”
Set atop Alameda Ridge, you can enjoy sweeping views of the city from the streets. And that’s without having to don your hiking boots.
Originally known as Gravelly Hill Road, Alameda got its start in the mid-1850s as a land claim. From there, it became a subdivision. It joined Portland proper in the early 20th century. The area was intentionally built as an exclusive community with a park-like feel. Because of this, the streets are some of the widest in Portland. They’re lined with regularly spaced trees that hail straight from European city design.
In addition to luxe vacation home rentals, you’ll find quirky lodging options such as the McMenamins Kennedy School – a Portland institution. The Alberta Petite Hotel is another cute option only a mile away. For a quintessential local food experience, try Asena, Alley & Vine or Bhan Mae Vane.
Anyway you slice it the Alameda neighborhood is one of the best areas to stay in Portland!
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The Lloyd District
Last on the list of where to stay Portland is famous for the Lloyd District. Not only is it home to a giant 100-shop mall filled with Oregon-centric outlets, but it’s also another gorgeous neighborhood with a long history. The area got its name from Ralph Lloyd, a California oil tycoon and rancher. Once the mall was built in 1960, traffic to the area exploded.
Today, it’s mostly a commercial area, you’ll have lots of fun walking its streets and eating at its restaurants. Try Gather Food & Drink for cozy small-plate fare and drinks. Hit up Café 700 for coffee and small treats. Walk its streets for a more citified experience than the other neighborhoods listed here.
Make sure you don’t miss the ice rink in the Lloyd Center Mall. It’s especially charming at the holidays when a giant Christmas tree adorns the center of the skating area. Also, Tom McCall Waterfront Park isn’t too far away by car. Walking along the Willamette is one of the best ways to experience the vibrance of the city – not to mention its always-watery vibe!
Where to Stay Portland (Post Summary)
The truth is, six neighborhoods are not nearly enough to convey the full breadth and charm (and, let’s face it, weirdness) of Portland. If you become a regular visitor, you can explore them all!
For now, though, enjoy this starter list of the best places to stay in the City of Bridges. If you’d like to learn more about any of these neighborhoods, feel free to get in touch with questions or comments today.
- The Pearl
- Multnomah Village
- Northwest Portland (Alphabet District)
- The Lloyd District
Map of best places to stay in Portland, Oregon
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