Aerial view of the Portland, Oregon, skyline with Mount Hood in the distance.

12 Best Portland Neighborhoods in 2024

Oregon Portland (OR)

by Alex Keight Posted on April 17, 2024

Portland, OR, has worn many personalities over the last couple of decades — some earned and some thrust upon the city by force of pop culture. The truth is, locals are proud of the strong independent-maker culture, inclusive politics, and all-for-one community vibe, which is unmistakable in the best neighborhoods in Portland. And the Rose City shines when it comes to its beer, cocktail, and restaurant scene, which has earned repeated national awards and nominations over the last 10 years. 

Planning a move to Portland? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

One downside, though? The rain. Portland has five seasons: summer, fall, winter, spring, and rainy. And unfortunately, the rainy season is long and persistent. But those who can hack the gray skies and frequent showers will be rewarded with near-perfect summers filled with easy access to plentiful outdoor activities and lush parks, not to mention a kaleidoscope of burning fall colors. 

If you’re thinking of moving to Portland or just looking to find a new home in the Rose City, you can jumpstart your search with this guide to some of the best neighborhoods to live in Portland, Oregon. Whether you want walkability, a small community feel, access to city amenities, or great public schools — or just don’t want to break the bank! — read on to find the best neighborhoods Portland has to offer. 

Portland at a Glance

Portland’s fast growth contributed to the city’s skyrocketing home prices, but in the past two years housing costs have calmed down from their pandemic-era spike. While the cost of living in Portland may be high for some, for those living in Seattle, moving from San Francisco, or leaving other parts of California, the lower cost of living may come as a pleasant surprise.

Here are a few quick stats and frequently asked questions about Portland:

Q: Which side of Portland is better?
Portland is divided into two sides by the Willamette River. Ask a person on either side which is better and they’ll likely say theirs. The truth is, both sides of Portland have their pros and cons, and it just depends on what you’re looking for. Once you find the right fit, you’ll know you’re in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Portland — for you. 

Q: What is the safest area in Portland downtown?
Unfortunately, Downtown Portland has fallen into slight disgrace. The area has a high number of unhoused people living in encampments — many of which have drug problems — making Downtown Portland less safe than most other parts of the city, specifically at night. Business owners report slight improvements in the past year, but the district is, unfortunately, not considered one of the best neighborhoods in Portland. 

Q: What is the safest part of Portland?
Based on the latest stats from Neighborhood Scout, the three safest neighborhoods in Portland are Bethany East, Forest Park, and Cedar Mill North. Northwest, one of our top picks for the best Portland neighborhoods, also makes their top 10 list.. 

Q: What is the coolest neighborhood in Portland?
Nob Hill is the coolest Portland neighborhood on the west side of the river, thanks to its many trendy boutique shops, great restaurants and bars, and walkability. On the east side of the river, SE Hawthorne is generally considered the coolest or hip part of town. 

Q: What is the wealthy area of Portland?
Southwest Hills is considered the most expensive area in Portland, with average home values at a whopping $1.02 million. Among the beautiful estates, gorgeous green spaces in the neighborhood include Council Crest Park, Governors Park, and Healy Heights Park

Best Portland Neighborhoods

Schools, parks, and a family-friendly vibe are essential factors for most home shoppers with children. Similarly, retirees often look for more laid-back areas with easy access to nature. And professionals? They likely have commute times top of mind. Regardless of your situation, there’s probably a Portland neighborhood with your name on it. Here are 12 of our favorites.

A one-story home in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. The exterior is made of white siding, and the windows and doors are framed with a bright, natural wood. The lawn is well kept, and the shade of nearby trees is being cast on the house.

Family-friendly is the vibe in Laurelhurst, where tree-lined streets are ablaze with color in spring and fall. 
(Source: Robin Springer PDX Real Estate via Facebook)

1. Laurelhurst

Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood is named after the city’s leafy Laurelhurst Park, where residents spend time walking paved and unpaved paths under the tall trees and around a duck-filled pond, while giving their dogs some exercise in the off-leash area. This whole neighborhood is stunning, with color in fall and bright blooms in spring, and it’s full of people on foot in summer. Homes here are a mix between new, contemporary apartments with luxury amenities and gorgeous older homes of various styles. 

This is a great neighborhood for people looking for a location where almost everything — restaurants, bars, grocery stores, coffee shops, and vintage stores — is within an easy walk. Drive a car? Parking can be tricky but not frustrating, as there are no street-cleaning days. Families like the lively yet family-friendly social spots, top-notch schools, and quiet streets, while singles and young professionals revel in the excellent restaurants, bars, and variety of activities available. And everyone here benefits from a relatively low crime rate.

2. Goose Hollow

Goose Hollow rests in Portland’s Southwest District. Historic mansions of all styles line the steep and curvy streets (worth a stroll, even if you don’t live here), alongside both historic and modern apartment buildings. This classy neighborhood butts straight up against Washington Square Park, one of Portland’s green gems (and the entrance to the Portland International Rose Test Garden). Its proximity to the sports stadium makes it a haunt for the city’s legion soccer fans, and its proximity to Portland State University only amps up the celebration on game days. 

There’s no shortage of restaurants or bars in Goose Hollow, but reliable parking can be a hair-pulling quest (unless you’ve got a city parking pass). Crime is also relatively low in the area, likely because the main thoroughfare of Burnside is down the steep streets — it’s a calf-burner to reach this neighborhood. Niche gives public schools in Goose Hollow an overall A grade. 

A boxy, two-story home in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, The exterior is brick for the lower level and wood siding for the upper level. The entire home is painted a deep blue. There’s a raised wooden garden bed in the front yard and a variety of trees and shrubs.

Situated on the north end of a Gothic-style suspension bridge about 15 minutes from downtown, the St. Johns neighborhood offers a laid-back feel, with vintage stores and plenty of greenspace. 
(Source: Robin Springer PDX Real Estate via Facebook)

3. St. Johns

Long ago, the St. Johns neighborhood was classified as a town all its own. Nowadays, it still gives off vibes of independence through its boutiques, eateries, and activities. Think park picnics and laid-back feels, plus local treasures like Etcetera Gifts & Goods and the St. Johns Twin Cinema. The neighborhood is located in North Portland, on the other side of a soaring Gothic-style steel and concrete suspension bridge, and it’s only about 15 minutes by car to downtown. 

The area features a slow pace, access to nature, and a fun selection of shops. Unfortunately, St. Johns’ public schools aren’t among Portland’s best, though, so if you have kids, you may want to consider private options. 

4. Hawthorne District

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,450
  • Median home sale price: $605,000
  • Great for: Students, young professionals, artists, foodies, walkability

The southeast’s Hawthorne District is a hip and trendy neighborhood with Hawthorne Boulevard as its main artery. Cafes, food trucks, small eateries, bars, boutiques, and loads of vintage stores keep foot traffic heavy along these 43 blocks in one of the best neighborhoods in Portland. The side streets are full of larger single-family homes, while contemporary apartments have popped up along Hawthorne. And some of Portland’s best restaurants are in this neighborhood, which manages to seamlessly blend a historic and community feel with diversity and inclusiveness. Our suggestion? Try local favorite Lilla for plant-based pizza and pasta. 

Rent here varies, depending on the age, size, and location of the building. But wherever you live, there’s plenty to do. The Hawthorne Theatre hosts national and local music acts, and the Bagdad Theater & Pub is a historic cinema that shows modern films. Residents here are typically young and single or families that have lived here for years. 

The chic interior of a condo at Chown Pella, a historic warehouse-turned-condominium building in the Pearl District. The living room is decked out in brown leather couches and a modern coffee table. There are medieval-style lighting fixtures throughout the living space, and the open kitchen is visible in the background. Large windows are letting in natural light.

Revamped warehouses are a hallmark of The Pearl District, an industrial-chic neighborhood popular with people looking for a mix of trendy and walkable. 
(Source: Kelly Harness via Facebook)

5. The Pearl District

Downtown Portland may need a minute to recover from its challenges, but the downtown-adjacent Pearl District is a good compromise for those looking for a mix of trendy and walkable with contemporary apartments, lofts, and condos. Bars, restaurants, and boutiques are housed in revamped warehouses, giving the neighborhood an industrial-chic vibe. You’ll also have easy access to TriMet, Portland’s public transit system, via the bus, MAX light rail, and even the Amtrak station. 

Everything is at your fingertips in the Pearl District, including terrific dining options, shopping, art galleries, cafes, and nightlife. Parking is hard to find, but that’s okay; if you live here, you don’t need a car. This is a popular neighborhood for PSU students and Oregon Health and Science University employees. And though the public schools are highly rated, the crime level could be better, so families should keep that in mind. 

6. Hillside 

Hillside is — you may have guessed — on a hillside of Washington Park. According to Niche, the area is excellent for outdoor activities and maintaining health and fitness — which is great for retirees. The public schools, jobs, commutes, and nightlife are also highly rated, also making it a great choice for families and young professionals.

Beautifully designed homes in Hillside are tucked away off the side of the road, and views tend to be lush and green. Traffic is minimal, though slick roads from snow and Portland’s infamous rain can cause backups. But if you live here, you’ll be a stone’s throw from Portland’s best parks and even have access to trails. 

Must dos: Check out Phil’s Meat Market & Delicatessen, a mainstay since 1979, and Cornell Farm Nursery and Cafe, where four generations have supplied locals with garden-fresh food, gifts, and classes in everything from houseplants to medicinal herbs. 

A two-story bungalow in the Hollywood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. The home is built on a hill with a lush yard to the left of the home’s entrance. There are several steps leading up to the covered porch. On the first level, the garage is accessible from the street. The exterior of the home is made of gray wood siding, and there is a long box of blooming spring flowers above the garage.

Gentrification is attracting young, budget-minded residents to historic Hollywood, which features a mix of fixer-uppers and newer construction.
(Source: PDX Real Estate Agent via Facebook)

7. Hollywood

Hollywood is one of Portland’s historic districts, and, by the looks of it, not much has changed here in decades. The area is going through a bit of gentrification now, however, attracting younger residents on a budget. That said, rent here is on par with established neighborhoods like Hawthorne and Laurelhurst. 

Victorian homes, landmark buildings, and wide sidewalks thread through Hollywood, which has a mix of long-standing mom-and-pop businesses and newer places, too. Contemporary standbys like Target and Trader Joe’s can be found, along with old favorites like the Hollywood Theatre (which plays new films), Antique Alley, and Chin’s Kitchen (Portland’s oldest Chinese restaurant). Hollywood may feel a little rough around the edges compared to other neighborhoods, but plenty of Portlanders like its less-polished, more historic feel. 

8. Northwest District (Nob Hill)

Located in the Northwest District, Nob Hill feels downright cosmopolitan compared to Portland’s quieter, residential neighborhoods. Nob Hill is part of the Alphabet District, where the streets are named in alphabetical order, making them easier to navigate (it’s also said this area of Portland inspired many character names for The Simpsons). The main action takes place along NW 23rd and NW 21st Avenues. 

Upscale eateries, boutiques, top-end brands, brew pubs and bars, and specialty stores share this bustling grid neighborhood. Local favorites include St. Jack for a date night and Nong’s Khao Man Gai, a Thai hotspot. There are beautiful mansions and historic apartment buildings — and practically non-existent free parking. Streets are busy with traffic and pedestrians on the move, giving this neighborhood an air of big-city bustle. 

Aerial view of the popular Ladd’s Addition neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. It’s springtime and mature trees throughout the neighborhood are full of vibrant, green leaves. The streets of the neighborhood are set at an angle, unique to Ladd’s Addition.

Homes in the garden-dotted Ladd’s Addition (Portland’s first planned neighborhood development) are pricey — nearly double the city-wide average. 
(Source: Sara Ferneau via Facebook)

9. Ladd’s Addition

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,625
  • Average home value: $685,200
  • Great for: Families, idyllic scenery, quiet residential vibes, large historic homes

It’s easy to spot Ladd’s Addition on any city map. Wedged between Buckman and Hosford-Abernethy, the neighborhood looks like an “X marks the spot.” Streets here have a diagonal layout (instead of a grid), and locals joke about how easy it is to get lost. The neighborhood itself is almost entirely residential, so you’ll have to venture out a bit if you want to visit nearby restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. But be sure to stop in at The High Dive, which bills itself as a neighborhood dive bar — in the best possible way.

Homes in Ladd’s Addition are historic and pricey (double the city average), and there are very few apartment buildings along these historic streets. The district is Portland’s first planned neighborhood development and one of the oldest in the United States, too. Tall, lichen-covered elm trees, wild landscaped lawns, and extremely low (original) curbs alongside Arts and Crafts-era and mid-century homes give this southeast Portland neighborhood an ‘80s movie feel. And at the famous Ladd's Addition Gardens, more than 3,000 roses in 60 varieties help set the mood for weddings and other special events frequently held on the grounds. 

10. Alberta Arts District

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,400
  • Median home sale price: $600,000
  • Great for: Artists, young families, walkability, Black history

Up until the 1990s, the Alberta neighborhood was home to Portland’s Black community. These days, the neighborhood has become more diverse and gentrified, but markers along Alberta Street help residents and visitors learn about the neighborhood’s history. 

This artsy and funky neighborhood is home to colorful street art, galleries, restaurants with various cuisines, small bookstores and coffee shops, and a monthly street fair, Last Thursday, with live music, food trucks, and local artwork. Rent here is lower than average, while houses are also generally more affordable than in other parts of Portland. 

Aerial view of the Sellwood - Moreland neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, in the fall. It’s a bright day and the sun is reflecting off the residential and commercial buildings in the neighborhood. Pine trees in the area are still full, but many others have dropped their leaves.

An old-meets-new spirit infuses Sellwood-Moreland, a walkable, bike-friendly neighborhood on the banks of the Willamette River. 
(Source: JD PDX Real Estate via Facebook)

11. Sellwood-Moreland

Located just south of the city and a bike ride away from downtown (biking is big here), the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood is full of character with an old-meets-new vibe. This neighborhood sits on the edge of the Willamette River, giving beautiful views of the river skyline and bridges. Sellwood is part of Portland but has a smaller town/suburb feel, making it a great pick for anyone looking to be outside the city, yet just a stone’s throw away when there’s something they need. 

The neighborhood is walkable and has a decent selection of restaurants, bars, and food carts. A vibrant wellness community offers an interesting array of goods and services, as well, from crystals and candles at The Raven’s Wing Magical Co. to yoga at the Agni studio and school. You’ll also have access to some great green spaces, like Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Sellwood Park, and Sellwood Community Garden

12. Mississippi

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,675
  • Median home sale price: $380,000
  • Great for: Local makers, food carts, diversity, students, young professionals

Mississippi is a neighborhood born out of the growth along its eponymous street in North Portland. Located on the east side of the river, this eclectic neighborhood is the city’s hub for hipsters. This quaint area went from low income and rough to popular starting in the late 90s, and it’s now one of the most trendy areas in the entire city. Mississippi Records, an independent record store here, is known for hosting great local and touring bands. In fact, most of the businesses in the Mississippi area are homegrown independent businesses, giving this neighborhood a noticeable feeling of originality and community. 

Making Your Move to Portland, OR

While you’re looking for your new place, it’s never too soon to start planning, whether you’re moving locally or from across the country. PODS can help each step of the way. They’ll deliver and pick up your container, so you can focus on packing and loading it up at your own pace. And once you’re ready, they’ll deliver it to your new home in Portland (or store it in a secure PODS Storage Center for as long as you need). And did we mention they’ll happily refer you to vetted vendors in your area, if you need help with packing and loading or unloading along the way? With PODS, you’re covered.

Alex Keight is a writer who has lived — and moved — all over the country and the world. She is an expert at packing, whether it’s for a long-distance move or a short weekend trip. Alex currently lives in Portland, OR.

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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