When you move to a new city, getting the lay of the land takes time. It can feel both exciting and intimidating to learn your way around a new town. For anyone considering a move to PDX, here is an introduction to Portland, Oregon neighborhoods.
A Quick Overview of Portland, Oregon Neighborhoods
Portland has several nicknames, such as Stumptown, Rip City, and The City of Roses. One nickname, however, gives a little clue to the city’s layout.
The moniker Bridgetown is a nod to the structures that span the Willamette River, the body of water that divides Portland into its east and west sides. A dozen bridges connect the two sides of the city, and each bridge has its own history and characteristics.
Burnside Street marks the line between north and south, delineating Portland’s four primary areas: NW, SW, NE, and SE. Evidently, we weren’t content with only four sections, so we also distinguished North Portland and South Portland as their own areas. But in true Portland quirkiness, we still call them quadrants, even though there are six of them.
With the ocean about an hour to the west and Mt. Hood about an hour to the east, Portland is a haven for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. It’s a pretty perfect spot, to be honest.
The NW Portland Vibe
The northwest section of Portland has an impressive mixture of old and new. It boasts some stately Victorian homes close to downtown, but it also has many new developments, especially in the Bethany area.
Because NW Portland draws a lot of the Silicon Forest crowd, it boasts the wealthiest zip code in the Portland Metro area. The 97229 part of townhouses a lot of Nike and Intel employees, as well as workers from other high-tech companies.
One of the most popular neighborhoods, The Pearl District, is also in NW Portland. This area is full of restaurants, shops, pubs, and cafes to help residents and visitors spend a great day or night. Or both!
NW Portland also houses Old Town and the ever-popular Portland Saturday Market full of handcrafted items and food from local vendors.
The SW Portland Vibe
The southwest sector of Portland includes the downtown corridor and waterfront area, along with some well-established neighborhoods farther out west. The riverfront is home to many iconic annual events such as the Rose Festival and the Waterfront Blues Festival.
Downtown offers everything you could want, from big box stores to mom-and-pop boutiques. It has a high-end mall, easy mass transit options, and a vibrant college experience at Portland State University.
The southwest hills are home to impressive houses that often enjoy spectacular views of the mountain and the city. And SW Portland also houses the popular Multnomah Village neighborhood with its restaurants, galleries, and shops.
The NE Portland Vibe
NE Portland is home to quirky, awesome stretches such as the Alberta Arts District. Galleries, street fairs, and a thriving cultural scene are prevalent throughout the northeast area.
With old, established neighborhoods and parks, NE Portland is one of the prettiest sections of town. It’s a great place to head out for a stroll, bike ride, or dog walk. And since it’s Portland, you can plan on seeing a lot of dogs.
The SE Portland Vibe
The southeast section of town out-Portlands all the others. It includes the incredible beer, coffee, food, tattoos, bikes, music venues, and thrift stores that are the epitome of the city. SE Portland also is home to the popular Mt. Tabor Park, which sits on a dormant volcano.
With the Hawthorne, Belmont, and Selwood neighborhoods, SE Portland offers the textbook Portland experience. It is also where you can find the beloved amusement park, Oaks Park, complete with its fantastic roller skating rink. The rink is also where the Rose City Rollers practice and compete.
The North Portland Vibe
NoPo is tucked in between the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, and it has undergone tremendous change in recent years. Right off the I-5 corridor and just minutes away from Vancouver, WA, North Portland houses some of Portland’s older homes and neighborhoods.
This eclectic area has been a blue-collar part of town for generations. And now it also has a lively food and cultural scene. The beautiful St. John’s Bridge, modeled after the Golden Gate Bridge, leads people right into the heart of North Portland.
The South Portland Vibe
The newest “quadrant” officially became a thing in 2020. South Portland takes up a strip of land on the west side of the Willamette River and boasts lovely green spaces and plenty of access to water recreation. It is also home to a commuter aerial tram that takes people up to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
How Do You Choose Your Neighborhood?
One of the challenges for people moving into or within Portland is picking the part of town that is best for them. Each area has a distinct personality and feel, so it can take some time to find the spot that feels right to you.
If you’re planning to move to the Portland Metro area, it’s worth taking the time to visit each spot you’re considering. Commute times, schools, and amenities vary significantly from quadrant to quadrant. They all have incredible neighborhoods and beautiful homes, so it comes down to finding the best fit for your situation.
At Julia Monaghan Real Estate, I love helping people find their next home. I know each part of town well and get excited to show clients around. And if you’re selling, I can help with that, too! By focusing on the micro-market numbers, I can create a winning strategy to earn you top dollar.
Are you ready for your Portland home? Let’s connect and get started.