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Pearl District and Broadway Bridge | © Alfred Twu / WikiCommons
Pearl District and Broadway Bridge | © Alfred Twu / WikiCommons

The Coolest Neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon

Picture of Anna Kramer
Updated: 9 May 2017

Portland is a hip town, no matter which way you look at it. Among its many green patches, lively neighborhoods gather ‘round bustling main streets, each offering their own unique flavors, festivities, and attractions. It’s much more than you can see in a day, but these areas are why you’ll just have to keep coming back to Portland, Oregon.

Alberta Arts District

With its long stretch of galleries, restaurants, bars, and boutiques, Northeast Portland’s Alberta Street has a lot going on. Gluten-free and vegan bakeries, wine shops, and standout Mexican food can make for a perfect Saturday outing, but that’s only the beginning. Once a month, the diverse neighborhood puts on a lively street fair called Last Thursday, a play off of Pearl/Downtown’s original event. Musicians, performers, and local artists line Alberta displaying their talents and wares while new artwork debuts at surrounding galleries, bars, and restaurants.

Pearl District

Just north of Downtown and one of Portland’s most walkable neighborhoods, the Pearl District’s cobblestone streets and riverside docks speak to its warehouse port past. Today, the area is chic and stylish, with a thriving cultural scene, with the famous Powell’s City of Books at its heart, along with a few theaters, fantastic restaurants, and First Thursday’s arts festivities. Beer aficionados take note: the area also features Oregon’s oldest craft brewery, the BridgePort Brewing Company.

Hawthorne

A vegan mecca, Hawthorne is home to many plant-based eateries as well as a host of popular food trucks offering all kinds of tasty treats, from bagels and burritos to Korean BBQ. This beloved Southeast Portland Boulevard, the heart of which runs between 30th and 50th Avenues, is stocked with a variety of local businesses, from clothing stores and vintage shops to an array of indie dining options and opportunities to see live music, movies, and comedy shows.

Just another walk around the neighborhood. #hawthornepdx #seportland #portland

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Belmont, just a few blocks north, has its own collection of food carts, bars, and boutiques worth exploring, while Mt. Tabor to the east offers a low-key vibe with its quaint coffee shops and impressive park—with a 600-foot (183-meter) volcanic peak at its core.

Division

Beautiful houses line the streets of Richmond to the south, with cute gift shops, handmade goods, and offbeat galleries dotting its hip cross-section of SE Division. The neighborhood is home to a few fantastic restaurants, including Pok Pok—the New York location of which boasts a Michelin star—and Bollywood Theater, a fun, flavorful dining experience consisting of savory Indian street foods and old Bollywood movies playing on the wall inside.

Just a few blocks away, there’s more to see and do. You can visit Clinton Street Theater—one of the oldest continually operating movie theaters in the United States (and one that’s been screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday since 1978)—followed by drinks at the Night Light Lounge or perhaps a long steam at the Löyly Sauna, a soothing Scandinavian retreat.

Nob Hill

Close to Forest Park, as well as the Rose and Japanese Gardens, Northwest Portland and Nob Hill are the perfect stomping grounds for nature lovers and urbanites alike. Stroll past stunning Victorians and Craftsman mansions and keep walking west to see them fade into the tall trees of the nearby woods.

The neighborhood also features several unique shops and popular restaurants, such as locally loved jewelers betsy & iya and the French-inspired Paley’s Place, a carnivore’s favorite with its bone marrow and oxtail dishes. Are you looking for something a bit different to do? The VoiceBox Karaoke Lounge offers private suites, while The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium™ appeals to those interested in oddities, the occult, and also ice cream.