Where to Stay in Portland – Neighborhoods & Area Guide

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Portland, the largest city in Oregon and the second-largest in the Pacific Northwest, is a laid-back metropolitan known for its marvelous blend of history and modern architecture. Dubbed as the “City of Roses,” Portland is also popular for its arts and music scene and is home to one of the highest concentrations of zines and independent publishers in the United States of America.

Mill’s End Park, at 2.5 feet in diameter, is the world’s smallest park, however, Portland also has plenty of substantial green spaces, including Washington Park and Mt Hood. The city has the highest number of microbreweries in the world and is known to host an annual “World Naked Bike Ride”.

With an exciting reputation of being termed as the “Beer and Food Cart Capital of the World,” the city welcomes approximately 8 million visitors every year. If you are planning to join that number soon, you must know of these charming neighborhoods, so you can decide where to stay in Portland on your visit.

Downtown Portland

Downtown PortlandSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock
Downtown Portland

The quintessential city center of Portland, the Downtown neighborhood is nestled along the banks of the Willamette River. A historic seacoast with numerous galleries, award-winning restaurants, unique shops, and a hip vibe, this area is home to some of the best attractions and entertainment in the city. Portland Art Museum, a notable attraction in the area, is home to an exquisite collection of Asian and Native American artifacts and many temporary exhibits. Another significant landmark, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, popularly known as “the Schnitz,” is a historic theatre that hosts several local and national artists and is the residence of Oregon Symphony. Director Park, the latest addition to the city center, is a former parking lot which now features a fountain, a café, and ample outdoor seating space – look out for events that take place here occasionally.

Great for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Skidmore Fountain, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland Saturday Market, and Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Paramount Hotel Portland – Located in the thriving downtown neighborhood of Portland, this luxurious property offers wonderfully-designed guestrooms with brilliant amenities, including free Wi-Fi and cable TV. Guests staying here can utilize the 24-hour fitness center and the state-of-the-art business center. An on-site restaurant and bar take care of all your wining and dining needs. Great for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
  • The Mark Spencer Hotel – A couple of minutes’ walk from the world’s largest new and used bookstore, the Mark Spencer Hotel features a 24-hour fitness center and a complimentary evening wine tasting to allow guests to unwind and socialize. Get your personal Spencer Court Passport to win amazing deals at nearby restaurants and retail outlets. Perfect for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • Staypineapple at Hotel Rose – Featuring a 24-hour reception, an on-site bistro and bar, a fully-stocked bar with an extensive wine menu, and complimentary bicycle rentals, this affluent property offers comfortable accommodation within a couple of minutes’ walking distance from Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Great for all kinds of travelers.

Old Town Chinatown

Old Town Chinatown, PortlandSource: ARTYOORAN / shutterstock
Old Town Chinatown

The original downtown district of Portland and its oldest neighborhood, Old Town Chinatown comprises some of the most iconic landmarks of the city as well as brilliant entertainment options. The most famous of these historic attractions is, of course, the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Made out of materials specially imported from China, the garden is revered as one of the most authentic Chinese gardens in the United States of America. Celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year (if here at the time) or enjoy a soothing tea at the two-story pavilion that overlooks the picturesque pond – the garden will definitely be the highlight of your trip to this neighborhood. And then, there is the Portland Saturday Market. The largest arts and crafts fair in the nation, this weekend market (which also remains open on Sundays) is a myriad of art shows, live concerts, and an open-air market space ever since it first started in 1974. Do not miss relishing a doughnut at the 24-hour Voodoo Doughnut – it’s a Portland favourite.

Great for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Steel Bridge, Broadway Bridge, Burnside Bridge, Oregon Nikkel Legacy Center, and Pine Street Market.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Embassy Suites Portland – Downtown – A short walk from the beach, this stylish hotel offers spacious, well-appointed guestrooms with multiple facilities, including soundproofing, tea/coffee maker, and private bathroom with free toiletries within a historic building that is only a few minutes from Oregon Convention Center. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • Courtyard Marriott Portland City Center – Located near the Willamette River, this opulent hotel fabulous guestrooms with contemporary décor and large artworks. Guests can start their day with a superb workout at the fitness center and then enjoy a delicious complimentary breakfast before heading out to explore the city. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
  • The Benson, a Coast Hotel – Boasting an international restaurant, a 24-hour fitness center, a business center, and a magnificent décor comprising Australian crystal chandeliers and Italian marble floors, The Benson is a historic hotel located a short distance away from the major attractions in the city. Great for all kinds of luxury travelers.

Pearl District

Pearl District, PortlandSource: Joshua Rainey Photography / shutterstock
Pearl District

Home to the biggest theatre company and the highest number of art galleries in the city, Pearl District is essentially where you head out for amazing shopping deals and delightful dining experiences. A former warehouse district, the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets and lustrous lofts make living in this area a blissful experience. If you are an art lover, there is no better time to be in this neighborhood than the first Thursday of the month – this is when most galleries in the district stay open till late and give you an opportunity to go on a self-guided gallery walk through various free exhibits. However, the biggest draw of Pearl District is Powell’s City of Books. Loved universally by locals and tourists, this historic bookstore has five levels of new and used books and occupies an entire block in the city. Needless to say, it is the largest of its kind in the world.

Great for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Broadway Bridge, Jamison Square, The Fields Park, Oregon Jewish Museum, Planet Granite Portland Gym, and Center for Holocaust Education, and North Park Blocks.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Downtown/Pearl District – A few hundred meters from Portland Union Station, this remarkable pet-friendly property features luxurious suites with cozy beds, cable TV, kitchen, and a private bathroom. Guests can relax in the indoor pool, workout at the on-site fitness center, or ask the 24-hour front desk for any help they may need with exploring the city. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • Hampton Inn And Suites By Hilton Portland-Pearl District – Offering an indoor saline pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, a business center, and a welcoming 24-hour front desk, this exclusive hotel features well-appointed guestrooms with latest facilities. After a long day, guests can unwind themselves on the rooftop patio. Perfect for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • McMenamins Crystal Hotel – Guests at the McMenamins Crystal Hotel are treated with world-class hospitality and services, including live entertainment, multiple on-site bars, and a subterranean saltwater soaking pool. Complimentary Wi-Fi can be accessed throughout the property. Great for solo travelers, couples, and small families.

Lloyd District/Convention Center

Lloyd District, PortlandSource: ARTYOORAN / shutterstock
Lloyd District

Home of the prominent Oregon Convention Centre, Lloyd District is where sports-lovers and shopaholics like to spend their time. After all, it has the largest mall in the state of Oregon and the Moda Center – the home ground of NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. That’s not all though. Moda Center and Oregon Convention Center are also known to host some of the most epic concerts in the state, including the annual Crafty Wonderland. Lloyd Center, a haven for shoppers, houses the Lloyd Center Ice Rink where you can practice your loops and camel spins on the same turf that gave rise to former U.S. champion Tonya Harding. Another common activity to enjoy in the area is a ride on the Portland Streetcar Central Loop line – hop in at the Convention Center Stoppage and let it take you around the city’s hottest restaurants and favorite attractions.

Great for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland Winterhawks Hockey Club, Portland farmer’s Market, Eastbank Esplanade, and Holiday Park.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hotel Eastlund – Guestrooms at Hotel Eastlund come with 42-inch flat-screen TV with cable, tea/coffee maker, free Wi-Fi, extra-large beds, and private bathroom with free toiletries. The on-site rooftop bar and restaurant serves an exclusive menu and splendid skyline views of the city. Great for all kinds of travelers.
  • Inn at the Convention Center – Situated across the road from Oregon Convention Center, the property features well-furnished guestrooms with latest amenities such as a cable TV, seating area, tea/coffee maker, and ironing facilities. The pet-friendly hotel is also just 10 minutes’ walking distance from the largest indoor mall in Oregon. Great for all kinds of travelers.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel Portland-Downtown Convention Center – A ritzy 4-star property, Crown Plaza Hotel Portland offers complimentary airport transfers, an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and a sports court. Guests at the property stay in lavishly decorated rooms equipped with exquisite amenities such as a Keurig coffee maker, a DVD player, and a mini refrigerator. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.

Nob Hill/Northwest Portland

NW 23rd AveSource: Joshua Rainey Photography / shutterstock
Northwest Portland

Also known as “The Alphabet District” due to its alphabetically named east-west streets, Nob Hill consists of innumerable local attractions, cultural institutions, entertainment venues. But, the star attraction of this neighborhood is its neighbor – the fittingly named, Forest Park. Home to over 100 bird species and 60 mammal species, this massive wilderness area, smack in the middle of the city, attracts nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to hike, cycle, or run around 70 miles of trails within the park boundaries. Hike through the Wildwood Trail to spot the 1936 Witch’s Castle ruins and continue to climb a 0.5-mile upward trail to reach the century-old Pittock Mansion. Last but not the least, you can’t leave Portland without benefitting from the city’s sales tax – free shopping, and there is barely a spot better than Northwest 23rd Avenue to do so.

Great for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights:
The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and Museum, Wallace Park, Willamette Heights, Portland Japanese Garden, and Oregon Zoo.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Inn at Northrup Station – Within a couple of kilometers from Pearl District and Memorial Coliseum, the Inn at Northrup Station features well-appointed studio units fitted with facilities such as a satellite TV, coffee machine, and private bathroom with free toiletries. Complimentary Wi-Fi and on-site parking are available on the premises. Great for all kinds of travelers.
  • HI – Portland Northwest Hostel – Featuring a shared kitchen, bicycle rentals, and a 24-hour front desk, HI – Portland Northwest Hostel offers comfortable double occupancy and family rooms with facilities such as seating area, washing machine, and air-conditioning. A shared-fully-equipped kitchen is available if guests wanted to cook their own meals. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • Portland International Guesthouse – Established in 1906, Portland International Guesthouse offers spacious, wonderfully-furnished guestrooms equipped with amenities such as seating area, dressing room, and air-conditioning. Some rooms come with a pleasant view of the city. Private parking and complimentary is available on the property. Great for solo travelers and couples.

Where to Stay in Portland – Neighborhoods & Area Guide:

  • Downtown Portland
  • Old Town Chinatown
  • Pearl District
  • Lloyd District/Convention Center
  • Nob Hill/Northwest Portland