Portland, Oregon, is a vibrant, appealing city thanks to its beautiful setting, quality of life, and diverse housing options.
If you’re preparing to move to Portland, you’ll discover a wide variety of neighborhoods to choose from. Finding the “best” one is everyone’s goal. What does that mean? Let’s look at what Portland has to offer!
How is Portland Split Up into Neighborhoods?
Portland is split into six geographical areas: North, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and Southwest. The Willamette River cuts through the city, separating east from west. Burnside Street is the dividing line between north and south.
Almost 100 formally recognized Portland neighborhoods make up the city, each with distinct boundaries and unique characteristics. So you’re sure to find a place that feels like home!
What Makes a Good Neighborhood?
Every neighborhood or community has its pros and cons. But truly great neighborhoods share some common traits that contribute to quality of life:
Proximity to amenities: Easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, and services, makes everyday tasks convenient and more cost-efficient.
Quality education: A well-ranked school district and excellent schools draw families interested in settling down, who in turn help nurture a vibrant neighborhood.
Accessibility: Nearby access to public transportation and easy commute times is a bonus for residents of all ages, from young commuters to retirees.
Green space: Parks and greenways that offer outdoor spaces to play and gather contribute to a healthy mind and spirit (and a better ecosystem!)
Walkability: Walkable neighborhoods encourage active lifestyles and better mental health and happiness, helping to reduce car use and improve our environment.
Safety: A low crime rate provides a feeling of safety and security and the ability to walk, let kids play and socialize, and be out after dark without concern.
Community spirit: Neighbors who care for their homes and each other, who actively come together to make improvements and solve problems, create community.
Some of The Best Neighborhoods in Portland
Each of the Portland metro area’s unique neighborhoods is desirable for many reasons. Here are six great Portland neighborhoods that feature “best of” qualities:
Bethany (Northwest Portland)
Located about 25 minutes northwest of downtown Portland, Bethany is home to families, commuters, and retirees, with a population of just over 28,000. Served by the Beaverton School District, it offers three of the highest-ranking schools in the state. Parks are numerous, along with easily accessible walking paths and trails. The quiet, safe, and welcoming suburb is often noted as one of the best places to live in Oregon, ranking as a favored suburb and a wonderful place to raise a family.
Alameda (Northeast Portland)
Situated high on a ridge with views of downtown Portland and the Willamette River, Alameda is a family-friendly suburb. Its convenient central location, highly-rated K-12 schools, caring neighbors, and beautiful historic homes make it one of Portland’s most popular Northwest neighborhoods. Three area parks are within half a mile, and tree-lined streets add to the “greenness.” The Alameda community comes together for block parties and clean-ups.
The Pearl District (Downtown Portland)
For those who like city living, “The Pearl,” just blocks north of downtown Portland, offers condo living and an urban, industrial vibe. A mix of modern high-rises and low-slung historic structures hug open, grassy enclaves where kids play. Art galleries, shopping, and dining options are numerous. And work can be within quick walking distance or a short bus ride away. Like many large cities, safety is an issue in parts of Portland, but the Pearl has much to offer as an urban neighborhood!
Goose Hollow (Southwest Portland)
With a relaxed urban vibe, this charming and intimate neighborhood is nestled in an area blocks west of the city’s core. Up the hill from eclectic 23rd Street and downtown Portland, it’s close to dining, shopping, and museums. Transportation options are varied, making for easy commutes. Goose Hollow’s unique mix of modern condos and historic apartment buildings on tree-lined streets offers a little something whatever your taste in housing. And its proximity to Portland’s renowned Washington Park and Rose Garden is a bonus.
Ashcreek (Southwest Portland)
Ashcreek is conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown Portland. Easy public transportation makes the Southwest Portland neighborhood appealing to professionals, and well-ranked schools draw families. The urban-suburban setting offers a mix of housing options with nearby shopping, restaurants, services, and parks. The neighborhood vibe is friendly, with a population total of around 5,000. Nearby Marshall Park in Southwest Portland is similarly ranked as a top place to raise a family, and bustling Multnomah Village is a beloved small business community serving Alameda.
Sellwood-Moreland (Southeast Portland)
Sellwood has a charmingly relaxed “small town” energy just over the newly constructed Sellwood Bridge. Small, historic bungalows line quiet streets, and the main avenues provide varied shops and eateries. Just below Sellwood along the Willamette River is nostalgic Oaks Park, where the Ferris wheel offers a glimpse of Portland’s downtown, and the iconic roller rink is open year-round. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a peaceful place to unplug and commune with nature.
Find a Portland Neighborhood to Fit Your Needs
Everyone looks for something different in the neighborhood they choose to live in. Age, family, and work situation all make a difference. But with over 90 Portland neighborhoods, each offering its own “best of” features, there is a home and a community for you.