Known by such monikers as Rose City, Portlandia, Rip City, and PDX, Portland, Oregon, is truly a city all its own. Oregon's largest city is mere miles from Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, wine country, and the Oregon Coast, which means it's an amazing destination for adventurous souls.
But believe it or not, its incredible location isn't actually what makes the city so unique. The diversity in Portland neighborhoods, restaurants, recreation options, and residents is what gives the city such a cool and hip vibe.
Like many other West Coast cities (including Los Angeles and Seattle), Portland neighborhoods are so distinctive that they're almost miniature towns themselves. The city is broken down into six quadrants: North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and East. There are more than 90 neighborhoods among the quadrants, but here are a few notable ones you won't want to miss:
Downtown Portland is one of the most central neighborhoods, and it's situated along the west bank of the Willamette River. Like many other cities' downtowns, Portland's largely contains office and civic buildings, but it actually has a lot more to offer.
Portland State University's "urban campus" lies on the southern end of the neighborhood– though you won't find much of a campus, the college is located along a set of beautiful park blocks that are full of farmers markets and food carts during the warmer seasons.
In the heart of Downtown Portland is a place called Pioneer Square, where there are often events, concerts, and other goings-on. Another great part about Downtown Portland? Free public transportation! The city's public transit system is renowned, and residents and visitors can take the light rail, streetcars, and buses for free within the downtown area.
The Pearl District is one of the trendiest Portland neighborhoods, where you'll want to spend some time in if you're a big foodie.
Referred to by locals as just "The Pearl," the neighborhood used to be an abandoned warehouse district, but has since become one of Portland's priciest locales. It has everything from five-star cuisine to boutiques, microbreweries, shops, galleries, and more.
Up in Northeast Portland is Concordia, a neighborhood that embodies Portland's weirdness perfectly.
The main drag in Concordia is Alberta Street, where you'll find locally owned art galleries, coffee shops, antique stores, bars, restaurants, music venues, and a variety of other businesses. The area is also home to some beautiful and funky residential streets and is becoming a more popular place to move within the city.
Hawthorne is located in Southeast Portland, directly across the Hawthorne Bridge from the Downtown neighborhood. It's hip and eclectic, and like Concordia, is home to dozens upon dozens of family-owned cafes, shops, restaurants, secondhand stores, and more.
In fact, it's one of the most popular places in the city to spend a sunny afternoon (a wonderful rarity in Portland) simply wandering in and out of shops and eateries. If you're planning on spending time in Hawthorne, don't miss catching a movie at Cinemagic, a movie theater that opened in 1914, or seeing a band play at the Hawthorne Theatre.
Old Town Chinatown is one of Portland's oldest neighborhoods and a local favorite because it has so much going on. You can come for authentic Chinese food and shops, or spend an afternoon in the stunning Lan Su Chinese Garden.
If you're in the area on a Saturday, you can't miss the Portland Saturday Market, a huge riverside exhibition of local arts, crafts, clothing, music, and food. Also, take the opportunity to visit one of Portland's famous food carts. Don't forget to stop by Voodoo Doughnuts on the way home – their one-of-a-kind creations will blow your mind.
NoPo is an umbrella term for all of North Portland's neighborhoods, of which there are many.
The area spans a large part of the city and includes the University of Portland's campus, gorgeous parks like the Smith and Bybee Wetlands, and many residential areas. You're more likely to find locals in North Portland than tourists, but it has its share of amazing restaurants and local businesses.
Northwest Portland's Nob Hill is a very trendy area in which you'll find NW 23rd Street. The street is full of high-end restaurants, stores, salons, and boutiques, mixed with more casual cafes and shops.
Lining the nearby streets are rows of beautiful old Victorian houses, and the neighborhood is also adjacent to Forest Park, Portland's biggest park area.
The Lloyd District is one of the quieter central Portland neighborhoods. That doesn't mean it has nothing to offer, however. The neighborhood is home to Portland's largest mall, the Lloyd Center, as well as the Rose Garden Arena where the Portland Trailblazers play.
The area also has tons of restaurants and businesses, and it's a quick light rail ride into Downtown Portland, making it a popular destination for people who want to live in a central location.