Every great city is the sum of its smaller parts. It's the individual neighborhoods that together give a city its unique character. This is especially true of Portland.
This Pacific Northwest city has six geographic quadrants. Each named for its directional placement. There is North, Northwest, Northeast, South, Southwest and Southeast. Within these quadrants, you'll find Portland's 90-plus official neighborhoods.
To find Portland's best neighborhoods, we looked at factors like walkability and local things to do. Here are the 15 best neighborhoods in Portland to live in for 2023.
The creative, art-centric Alberta Arts District in Northeast Portland has long-term homeowners and young renters alike.
This makes Alberta a great option for a small-town atmosphere in a big-city package — thanks to its community-oriented services like co-op grocery stores and an abundance of local businesses. But, rent here is expensive. Two-bedroom apartments go for around $2,650.
The Alberta Arts District is by NE Alberta Street where most of Alberta's best treasures exist. The district is a great spot to find locally-roasted coffee at cafés like Case Study. Restaurants, food carts and bars offer an eclectic mix of cuisines and dishes. Alberta is also great for shopping for goods from local creators.
Primarily, though, Alberta is all about the art, with street art, murals, galleries and the Last Thursday art market.
The SE neighborhood of Creston-Kenilworth is a bastion of cute, affordable homes. With a diverse mix of residents, city parks, good schools and easily navigable residential areas, it's a great option for families and young professionals. The average one-bedroom rent is $1,360
Despite being a bit more southerly, Creston-Kenilworth is not lacking in Portland perks. There's the award-winning Hopworks Urban Brewery, which runs a sustainable, eco-aware business. There's eclectic dining, ranging from Mexican to Thai to comfort Southern. For shopping, there are quality, trusted name brands like Trader Joe's.
From Creston-Kenilworth, it's easy to get around. The bordering SE Powell connects to the city center and other major streets.
Located in the Southwest quadrant, Portland's Downtown is the heart of the city. Its compact city blocks squeeze between the Willamette River and the West Hills. Tall skyscrapers crowd together, giving it a distinctly urban feel.
If you're looking for job opportunities, Downtown is one of Portland's top business districts. But, it also serves as Portland's cultural hub. It's here you'll find the Portland Art Museum, the Keller Auditorium and historic landmarks like the Pioneer Courthouse. There are also varied local food options, from upscale restaurants to casual food cart pods.
With a mix of new and old apartment complexes, downtown is a great residential neighborhood for young professionals. Students at nearby Portland State University also live in the area. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,924.
Centrally located, TriMet's buses and rail services slither out from Downtown to all corners of the city for an easy commute. With bike lanes and sidewalks, Downtown is also easy to get around on foot or by bicycle.
You can escape the urban jungle in the riverfront Tom McCall Park and the South Park Blocks. You can also spend the day exploring nearby Washington Park. This 410-acre park is home to the International Rose Garden, Hoyt Arboretum and the Holocaust Memorial.
Sandwiched between Downtown, Arlington Heights and Washington Park in Southwest, Goose Hollow is the best neighborhood for sports fans. Providence Park, the home of the Thorns and Timbers football clubs, is in the heart of the district. And, local sports bars like the Cheerful Bullpen are also close by for beer and wings while watching the game.
The neighborhood gets its Goose Hollow name from when locals would let their geese wander around nearby wooded areas like Tanner Creek Gulch.
Nowadays, there are no free-roaming geese. But, you will find affordable housing, with one-bedrooms costing around $1,600. There are also tons of dining options and cultural offerings like the Artists Repertory Theatre, all easy to get to thanks to a high walk score of 95.
This Southeast Portland district gets its name after its main artery, SE Hawthorne Boulevard. The road itself stretches from the riverfront all the way to Mount Tabor. But, the district extends from SE 12th to SE 60th at the base of Mount Tabor. Branching out from Hawthorne Boulevard, you'll find the residential areas full of historic homes.
Here, there's a good mix of renters and homeowners, with an average rent of $1,575 for a one-bedroom apartment. With a high walk score of 76, the district was fantastic walking access to everything from coffee shops to stores.
The area is known for its vintage shops, food cart pods, historic theaters and movie houses. Lounge Lizard, Magpie and House of Vintage offer endless hours of browsing vintage clothing and furniture. There are several classic old theaters, including the McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub. For a neighborhood park, you can't get better than Mount Tabor Park. This extinct volcano has lush forests, sprawling fields, tennis courts, reservoirs, unbeatable city views and people-watching.
As a hotbed for dining, live music and nightlife, Kerns is popular among young professionals. Over 80 percent of Kerns locals rent and the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,510.
It's also one of the few neighborhoods in Portland with river access along the Eastbank Esplanade on the east side of the Willamette River. The architecture is another plus, with edgy condos and commercial spaces like the YARD and the Fair-Haired Dumbbell.
The nearest green space is Laurelhurst Park and Burnside and other major roads make it easy to get around Portland by transit or car. Interstate 5 also passes close by.
Dating from the 1800s, Mississippi is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Portland. After a brief decline in the second half of the 1900s, the area has completely bounced back thanks to its dedicated community.
Today, it's popular with Portland's youthful crowd and young professionals. They can take advantage of newer apartment complexes, great walking and cycling and accessible public transit. But, it still feels quiet and off the beaten track. That sense of privacy does come at a price, though, with one-bedroom apartments averaging $2,020 a month.
Shopping and dining along Mississippi Avenue are also stand-out experiences here, from Southern-worthy barbecue at Matt's BBQ to finding new houseplants at Pistils Nursery.
Popular with families and young couples, the Portland neighborhood of Montavilla is between the Northeast and Southeast quadrants.
Cut through by major thoroughfares like E Burnside, NE Glisan and SE Division, these streets serve as hubs for shopping, dining and entertainment. The historic Academy Theater hosts screenings of second-run and classic films. Top neighborhood dining spots include Ya Hala, Lazy Susan and Montavilla Brew Works. Shopping-wise, Montavilla is great for vintage and vinyl perusing.
Montavilla is easy to navigate by foot or bike, with high walking and cycling rankings. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,395.
The Southwest Portland neighborhood of Multnomah Village sits slightly outside the city center along the I-5 corridor. Often referred to as “the village in the heart of Portland," it's considered one of the city's best neighborhoods.
With a good mix of renters and homeowners, residents like to set down roots here to raise families. It also offers a more laid-back and affordable quality of life, with one-bedroom units costing an average of $1,112. There are good public schools, lush parks like Gabriel Park and independent businesses.
Topping the list of the best neighborhoods in Portland is Northwest Portland. Northwest is one of Portland's six quadrants. Its tree-lined streets contain smaller neighborhoods called Nob Hill, the Alphabet District and Slabtown. Each has its own architecture, delicious food and entertainment, all within walking distance of your front door. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,700.
As one of the best dining neighborhoods in Portland, you have so many dining options to choose from it can feel overwhelming. At Ken's Artisan Bakery, you'll eat the best chocolate chip cookies of your life. Northwest is one of Portland's top neighborhoods to take advantage of Oregon's tax-free shopping. Here you'll find local shops like Tender Loving Empire and upscale chain stores.
Slabtown offers newer, luxe apartment complexes. In Nob Hill and the Alphabet District, renters can live in older, historic buildings. The area is also rife with single-family homes in the Victorian and Craftsman styles. If you need to get some fresh air and exercise, check out the hiking trails in Forest Park. At 5,200 acres, it's one of the largest urban forests in the United States. For these reasons, Northwest is popular with young professionals, couples and families.
The South Waterfront sits along the western banks of the Willamette in South Portland. This up-and-coming district is another prime example of urban renewal in Portland. Once an industrial yard, now it's an affluent, contemporary neighborhood on par with the Pearl.
Unlike the Pearl, there are few historic buildings left on the South Waterfront. Developers reimagined the district from the ground up as an ultra-modern oasis. Residents can choose from hip apartment blocks to glossy high-rises. The district is popular with young professionals, couples and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) employees and students.
Just because it's a newer neighborhood doesn't mean it lacks things to do. There are restaurants, doctor's offices, grocery stores, farmer's markets, gyms, salons and more.
Furthermore, the compact district is also very walkable and well-connected. It has a walk score of 82. Public transit easily links to other neighborhoods or downtown thanks to the Tilikum Crossing bridge.
This North Portland neighborhood of St. Johns was its own separate town. To this day, it retains that independent, small-town atmosphere. Most residents, which range from families to young couples, have been there for years. A slight majority are homeowners. But, renting is still available with one-bedrooms starting at around $1,700.
With a walk score of 67 and a bike score of 84, you can walk or cycle down commercial streets full of stores and businesses that have been there for years. Young urbanites and artists enjoy the counterculture, hipster atmosphere. There are arthouse movie theaters, great vintage shopping and diverse dining.
Located at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, St. Johns is one of the best neighborhoods for nature access. Wetland and forest environments are both close by like the Smith and Bybee Natural Wetlands Area, Cathedral Park and Sauvie Island.
With one-bedroom apartments averaging $1,575, the Southeast neighborhood of Sunnyside is sometimes also referred to as Belmont. This is because of SE Belmont Street. This major commercial artery passes through the neighborhood and has a great mix of wine shops, food carts, cafés and more all within walking distance.
The majority of Sunnyside residents rent their homes in houses and apartments. But, homeowners here are rightfully proud of the neighborhood's classic architecture, including beautiful Victorian and Tudor homes.
Sunnyside is also a treasure trove of local history and quirks. There's the Avalon, Portland's oldest operating movie theater. Film buffs will have a ball at the Movie Madness museum. And, come Christmas, Peacock Lane has the best holiday lights and decorations in Portland.
With close proximity to Downtown, the Willamette River and Northwest Portland, the Pearl District in Northwest is one of Portland's most trendy, upscale neighborhoods. Formerly a rail yard and industrial area, developers renovated the district's historic red-brick buildings into lofts, condos, restaurants, office space, art galleries and stores. These revitalized spaces sit side-by-side with sleek, glossy highrises full of luxe apartments.
Overwhelmingly popular with couples and young professionals, the Pearl area is home to some of the best shopping in the Portland area. It's here you'll find the famous Powell's City of Books, which takes up an entire city block.
Another reason people love this neighborhood is the food and drink. You'll find craft breweries like Deschutes and 10 Barrel. You can also try many popular restaurants like Republica and Nola Doughnuts, one of Portland's best donut shops.
Finally, the Pearl is a must-visit destination for art, with tons of highly-regarded galleries and the First Thursday art event. All this is instantly accessible on foot thanks to a near-perfect walk score of 96.
The Pearl's popularity also means it's one of the pricier places to live. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,184.
Part of the broader Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, Westmoreland in Southeast Portland offers residents a great balance of nature and culture. The slight separation from the city center offers great rates like $1,465 for a one-bedroom and a laid-back, chill atmosphere. This makes it ideal for families and budget-conscious renters.
Residents don't need to go far to get everything they need. Whether it's groceries, a fun activity or some time spent in nature, Westmoreland has it.
For thrills and family-friendly activities, check out the historic rides and games at Oaks Amusement Park. If you love antiques and vintage shopping, Westmoreland has many top-notch shops and boutiques. The riverfront location also makes it easy to go for leisurely riverfront walks or quick dips. With a walk score of 82, it's easy to get around on foot, as well.
With over 90 recognized districts, these 15 represent some of the best that Portland has to offer. Portland is a great city for renters thanks to its affordable rates and diverse housing options. No matter what you're looking for, there's an apartment for rent in Portland that's perfect for you in the right neighborhood.