Portland: Undoubtedly one of the hippest, unique and artsy cities in the US, but with all of the excitement exuding from each pocket of Portland, the question remains, where should you stay?
Glad you asked. Our friends at Utopia Management in Portland and throughout the West Coast know all of the ins and outs of Portland neighborhoods. They’ve shared their insight on the area to steer you in the right direction when it comes to selecting where to take your Portland vacation. Whether it is your first visit or your fifth visit to the vibrant city of Portland, we’ve got you covered.
The perfect hub for first timers, downtown Portland is central to a healthy dose of a little bit of everything Portland has to offer from nature to nightlife. Downtown also offers the accessibility and convenience of public transportation and the freedom to walk and bike nearly everywhere. You’ll be near hotspots like the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s, Portland’s Sunday Market, and Voodoo Donuts located right next to the iconic “Keep Portland Weird,” sign. Washington Park is a ten minute drive from downtown where you’ll find the Oregon Zoo, The Portland Japanese Garden and plenty of trails to explore.
Central Eastside is located just across the Willamette River from Downtown and is the place to stay for a healthy dose of nightlife action. The industrial aesthetic is a nod to Central Eastside’s roots as Portland’s Warehouse District and boasts an eclectic spread of dining, drinking and exploring. This is just about as central as you can get between Downtown, Hawthorne and Division, so this might be a great option if you are looking to explore and spread your time between several areas of Portland. Public transit is readily accessible with direct light-rail connections between PDX and downtown and plenty of hotel options within the area.
Looking for a funky neighborhood chock-full of vintage shops, bookstores and cozy coffee shop nooks? Look no further than Hawthorne. This neighborhood offers a local feel with plenty of “non-hotel” accommodations like extended stays and fun, affordable hostels. It’s easier to navigate the streets by foot or by bike than by car, which is how you stumble upon all of the cool little shops and restaurants that line the streets of Hawthorne. Mt. Tabor Park is also located in Hawthorne where you can slow down and take in the city views over sunset picnics and explore beautiful hiking trails.
Division/Clinton, though not centrally located near any of the other pockets of Portland mentioned in this list, is the must-hit spot for foodies alike as it boasts some of the best dining in Portland. There is no shortage of spots to snack and sip as you explore the very walkable stretch of unique and locally owned shops. Outside of the bustling activity of Clinton St., you can find quiet more residential neighborhoods which can be nice for a weekend getaway with the family if you are looking for a vacation rental, but do keep in mind that there are not many options for hotels in this area. This area will give you a local and laid back feel.
Alberta Arts Division
Alberta Arts Division, just as the name suggests, is bursting with individuality, creativity and charm. Alberta’s main street is always filled with live music, local art and entertainment and plenty of dining options. In the Summer, Alberta’s streets close to vehicle traffic and host more than 150 vendors, musicians and artists for their monthly Last Thursday street fair, so timing your trip with this lively market will only boost the experience. Alberta also has tons of cool arts and supply shops to feed your creative spirit even after you’ve returned home.
Old Town Chinatown
The oldest neighborhood in Portland was also once Portland’s original downtown and holds some of the most historical and famous landmarks in the area. Old Town Chinatown offers a dense urban feel in the heart of the action with no shortage of bars, restaurants and shopping. This part of Portland offers a diverse blend of art, nature, dining and entertainment, and has easy access to Downtown, the Pearl District and Northwest Portland. Both hotels and extended stay rentals are abundant in this area.
Regardless of where you choose to stay, Portland is sure to deliver an experience unlike any other city in the United States.