Top 10 Portland Neighborhoods 2024 Report

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Learning about neighborhoods when shopping for a new home helps ensure you live in an area that truly feels like home. This is true of any city, but it is especially relevant for Portland, Oregon. Many neighborhoods have their own distinct flavor, activities, and ways of life.

Which Portland neighborhoods are best for you and your family? We researched elements like the average home pricing,  quality of schools, and the walk, bike, and transit scores to bring you our list of the top 10 neighborhoods. We also include a brief history of each area and its parks, attractions, restaurants, and shops, so you have a clear idea of what to expect and enjoy!

1. Laurelhurst

If you are looking for a blend of historic charm and scenic beauty with an easy commute to downtown, Laurelhurst is worth a serious look. The area is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Portland and one of the first planned residential developments on the West Coast. It exudes classic charm.

Laurelhurst is famous for its tranquil, tree-lined streets and properties ranging from grand Craftsman homes to bungalows. Laurelhurst Park is a lush, green crown jewel of the neighborhood.

In addition to classic beauty, you get modern conveniences like trendy cafes and boutique shops. Sandy Boulevard is one of the most diverse and unique boulevards in Portland.

Laurelhurst has a tight-knit community feel, is highly family-friendly, and is considered safe. The schools are also highly rated. Homes tend to be higher priced than in other neighborhoods, but if your budget permits, it is a wonderful place to live.

Laurelhurst History

In addition to being one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods, Luarelhurst was part of the City Beautiful Movement in the early 1900s, a nationwide response to correct and redirect urban development practices. Portland’s leaders created a City Beautiful Fund and encouraged residents to prioritize aesthetics and the preservation of nature. It grew through public subscription and funded the hiring of Edward H. Bennett, who devised the city’s first plan in 1912.

The neighborhood was developed by the Ladd Investment Company, which platted to include winding streets to a creek bed for a public park. William Sargent Ladd bought the land in 1869 during a time of controversy. Elijah Davidson and Terrance Quinn were some of the first to settle in the region but never made permanent improvements. When the land went to their heirs, they lost it due to questions of legitimacy regarding ownership. Ladd then purchased the land. When Quinn’s daughter, Mary, challenged the acquisition,  The US Supreme Court settled the case in favor of Ladd. Then John Wesley Ladd, William Sargent Ladd’s son, received the deed in 1906.

William Sargent Ladd expanded his holdings in 1873 and 1876 and built Hazel Fern, a 486-acre farm of purebred cattle, grain fields, and fruit orchards. When Ladd passed in 1893, residential subdivisions were already sprouting up and growing within two miles of the farm’s boundaries. William Ladd’s sons deemed the land too valuable to remain farmland. They created the Ladd Estate Company and deeded Hazel Fern to one of the sons, William M., who made the Ladd Investment Company. On April 24 of that year, the tract was sold for $2 million, the largest sale of vacant land in Portland’s history at the time.

On May 24, the  Laurelhurst Company planned to develop Hazel Fern for residential homes. Paul Murphy, one of the company members, had been involved in Seattle’s Laurelhurst subdivision, so the same name was also given to the new Portland development site.

The Olmstead Brothers, a Massachusetts architectural firm, was hired to plant the development within the parameters set by the City Beautiful Movement. The firm had previously worked in Seattle and Portland developing city-wide park plans and contributed to the site plan for the 1905 Lewis and Clark World’s Fair and Exposition in Portland.

Their plan was to develop a neighborhood with lush natural vistas that unfolded as the viewer traversed curving streets. Laurelhust Company took on the task of the neighborhood’s development and planted trees, established utilities, and paved over 52 miles of sidewalks and 26 miles of streets after platting 2,800 lots. Tracts were set aside for an elementary school, a 32-acre park, and the Mann House, a safe home for women.

Building restrictions were  put in place designating only single-family homes be built costing no less than $3,000 (excluding stores and apartment buildings.) Other restrictions included the making or selling of alcohol and selling to Portland’s Chinese, Japanese, and Black residents.

During this same period, the Ladd Investment Company deeded an area on Glisan Street for what would become the Montavilla streetcar line, an important part of Laurelhurst’s development. The automobile wasn’t yet front and center in residents’ daily lives.

Homes sold fast. By 1910, about half of the lots were sold. Two of the biggest selling points were the park and the atmosphere it created, including Laurelhurst Club and its tennis courts. By 1925, nearly all lots had been built on, including an area known as a “bungalow fairyland.” To this day, Laurelhurst maintains its distinct identity with non-residential zoning kept to a minimum.

Laurelhurst Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $865,000

Walk score: 82

Bike score: 94

Transit score: 67

Laurelhurst School: 9/10

Grant High School: 8/10

Laurelhurst Points of Interest

Laurelhurst Park is one of Portland’s most popular and iconic parks, spanning nearly 30 acres at the neighborhood’s southern edge.

The Laurelhurst Club is a newly renovated rental venue originally built in 1912. It features cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, hardwood floors, a mid-century mezzanine bar, and an outdoor garden. It is a popular choice for weddings, fundraisers, and events.

Laurelhurst Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

Here are some unique food offerings and shopping worth experiencing on Sandy Blvd.

The Shaku Bar—a newly opened bar (May 2022) with a large outdoor patio offering creative cocktails and a Japanese-influenced food menu.

Petite Provence Boulangerie & Patisserie—a French-inspired cafe with multiple locations serving coffee, baked goods and dishes made with produce from its restaurant-owned farm.

Piccone’s Corner—Italian-inspired butchery and osteria serving farm-raised meats from the butcher counter or for dining in.

No Bonz Doggy Daycare—a daycare for dogs offering daytime and overnight boarding with a live webcam for pet owners.

Chopsticks Karaoke Bar—Late-night Portland karaoke institution with a lighted stage, serving drinks and Chinese food.

Pulse PDX—a dance club-themed group fitness and strength classes complete with lights and a disco ball.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Laurelhurst homes for sale.

2. Sellwood-Moreland

Sellwood-Moreland is an inviting, small-town neighborhood with a quiet, residential feel. It offers quick access to downtown Portland’s cultural and business districts, yet it has privacy, which means it operates to an extent as its own little hamlet.

It sits in southeast Portland along the Willamette River, offering stunning waterfront views and outdoor activities. Some of Portland’s first Victorians, cottages, and Craftsman bungalows can be found here, and the charm of these older homes along with its eclectic mix of antique shops, cozy coffee houses, thriving food scene, and family-friendly parks give it a welcoming, small town feel. The blend of nature, tranquil residential living, and the area’s strong sense of community make it a valued place for locals to call home.

If you like a neighborhood with quiet, tree-lined streets, perfect for strolls and connecting with neighbors, Sellwood might be the place for you.

Sellwood History

Once a Native American fishing and trading encampment, the area was settled by Henderson Luelling, his brother, Alfred, and William Meek in the late 1840s. The men brought livestock and traveling nurseries to the area and established a horticultural community consisting of nurseries and fruit orchards. They are believed to have introduced many first strains to the region, including Lambert and Bing cherries.

In 1866, East Portland minister Rev. John Sellwood bought a 321-acre tract of land that makes up most of the community today, and 16 years later, the Sellwood Real Estate Company purchased the land. From 1887 to 1893, land holdings in Sellwood were tied up in litigation due to Sellwood Real Estate Company’s financial problems.

The Oaks Amusement Park was created in 1905 to capitalize on the tourist traffic brought to the area by the Lewis and Clark World’s Fair and Exposition.

By 1920, the area employed around 600 people, but then the Great Depression hit, wiping out the community’s advances. It experienced a short-lived rebound thanks to the surge of industry prompted by World War II, but ultimately, property values in the area depressed. In the 1970s, the revitalization of Sellwood’s commercial district brought new businesses, most of which were focused on antiques on 13th Avenue, or Antique Row, as known by locals — many of which still thrive today.

Several of the early buildings still stand, including the Bank of Sellwood, Sellwood Fire Station, the Shannon Residence, and St. Johns Episcopal Church, the oldest building in Sellwood.

Sellwood Rankings and Stats

Median home price: $687,000

Walk score: 81

Bike score: 96

Transit score: 45

Sellwood Middle School score: 7/10

Sellwood Points of Interest

Sellwood Riverfront Park—7.6-acre park on the Willamette River with paths, picnic tables, restrooms, a stage, a boat dock, and an off-leash dog area.

Westmoreland Park Nature Playground—42-acre municipal park.

Johnson Creek City Park—A 4.5-acre city park named after Johnson Creek, which flows through the park.

Oak Bottom Wildlife Refuge—141-acre city park known for attracting a wide variety of birds.

Oaks Amusement Park—a small amusement park, one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the country.

Eastmoreland Golf Course—a public course surrounded by parks and gardens offering lessons, a pro shop, and an eatery.

Stars and Splendid Antique Mall—a storied, sprawling business with vendors selling antiques, vintage jewelry, and home decor.

Unique Antique—vintage home items, jewelry, and precious metals acquired via cash, consignment, or trade.

Sellwood Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

As with the rest of Portland, food carts have popped up in Sellwood (Sellwood Corner Food Carts, Piknik Park Food Cart Pod, The Yellow Cart—formerly Papa Lee’s Kitchen).

Killer Burger—a counter-service joint serving burgers with toppings like peanut butter and sriracha, plus local beer.

Piece of Cake— a long-running cake specialist with vegan and gluten-free options known for its quirky vibe.

Sellwood Inn—a laid-back pub and eatery with a beer garden, poker machines, darts, and pinball.

Calabash Authentic—Fresh Calabash, Authentic West African cuisine, made daily.

Moreland Ale House—a laid-back sports bar with Asian-inspired bites, local craft beers, weekend brunch, and outdoor seating.

PDX Sliders— an easygoing eatery serving imaginative sliders and sandwiches made with local ingredients, as well as craft beers.

Saburo’s Sushi House—Nigiri sushi and rolls are super-sized at this bustling, no-frills Japanese restaurant.

Bastion PDX—Seasonal, sustainable plant-focused American cuisine: always gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free cuisine.

Papa Haydn—European-style desserts meet upscale American sandwiches and salads at this romantic cafe with a patio.

Reverend’s BBQ—Fried chicken, smoked meats, and beer on tap in a contemporary space with both counter and booth seating.

Wei Wei – A Taste of Taiwan—Creative Taiwanese noodle soups, bars, desserts, and teas in an intimate space.

Gino’s—Modern trattoria offering carefully prepared Italian dishes and an extensive wine list in a sleek room.

The Muddy Rudder— a laid-back pub with a kid-friendly garden patio offering pizza, sandwiches, and salads, plus live music.

Fairlane Coffee—a specialty coffee shop that uses ethically sourced coffee beans and also serves tea, savory snacks, and more.

Jade Tea House—a homey Thai and Vietnamese cafe selling French-inspired confections like tarts and macarons.

Backcountry Wine Tours—Customized tours to a variety of top-tier Oregon wineries.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Sellwood homes for sale.

3. Goose Hollow

Goose Hollow is an urban area that joins history and contemporary living. It also joins some valuable traits: quick access to Portand’s downtown district and a stable, historic residential neighborhood.

It is within walking distance of Portland’s city center and close to Providence Park, which attracts young professionals and sports lovers. The park has long hosted sporting events and is home to Portland’s soccer team, the Timbers.

The blend of parks, schools, cafes, and pubs creates a lively environment that attracts people wanting an energetic and convenient place to live, yet it still maintains a relaxed feel. It is generally safe and somewhat family-friendly, but the area is best for those who crave a more lively lifestyle while also being rather affordable.

Goose Hollow History

Daniel Lownsdale built the first house in Goose Hollow in 1845 on his land claim, “The Hollow” (the North side of the neighborhood’s lower sections), which is now Washington Park and King’s Hill. Amos King later bought the claim, and Lownsdale bought Francis Pettygrove’s land by the Willamette River. Thomas Carter built a house on his land claim on the south end near SW 18th and Clay, known as Carter’s Hill, what we now know as Vista Ridge.

Much of it was undeveloped and wild when it was founded. The area surrounding Tanner Creek was a flood basin, and many of the local women raised geese there, harvesting their feathers for down. Over time, flocks started to co-mingle, which led to disputes among owners, sometimes resulting in calls to the police. The problem made its way into the courts with threats from Judge J.F. McCoy to jail the next woman to start a fight over the geese. In reporting about the incidents, the Oregonian used the name “Goose Hollow” to describe the neighborhood, referring only to the lower elevations of the area.

Though disagreements over geese no longer exist, reminders of that time still remain, including many images and references to geese. The name was lost over decades of change and development and wasn’t resurrected until 1967 when former mayor Bud Clark opened the Goose Hollow Inn.

Goose Hollow Rankings and Stats

Median home price: $349,000

Walk score: 94

Bike score: 81

Transit score: 83

Ainsworth Elementary School: 9/20

Lincoln High School: 8/10

Goose Hollow Points of Interest

Frank L. Knight City Park—steep, undeveloped hillside city park next to the Vista tunnels, full of trees and bushes.

Jefferson Street City Park—a small, circular city park with evergreen and deciduous trees.

Providence Park—a sports and events venue with a stadium and field hosting Major League Soccer, college football, and more.

Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC)—a private social and athletic club.

Zupan’s Market—a family-owned neighborhood gourmet grocer serving the Portland metro area food and wine from local and global sources.

Goose Hollow Restaurants, Bars, and Coffee Shops

22 Below—a rolled ice cream spot that also serves popping, milk, and shaken teas, along with boba smoothies.

Vtopia All Vegan—warm, unassuming nook specializing in cashew-based cheeses, vegan sandwiches, and salads.

Kinara Thai—neighborhood nook with contemporary decor preparing a menu of traditional Thai specialties.

Mazatlan Mexican—a colorful eatery with a patio offering fresh fare, large margaritas, music, and karaoke on weekends.

The Soop is a Korean restaurant that utilizes an indoor hydroponic and microgreen farm. It brings fresh ingredients closer to your table by breaking down the old barriers set by traditional farming. In Korean, “soop” means “forest.”

Gilda’s Italian Restaurant is a happening, mural-adorned spot that draws crowds with its ample portions of traditional Italian fare.

Gracie’s is a swanky restaurant with a classic Hollywood feel that serves refined American fare in the Hotel deLuxe.

Goose Hollow Inn—venerable, laid-back tavern known for its cluttered decor and hefty Reubens, with an outdoor deck.

The Commodore Lounge—modest neighborhood watering hole with billiards and classic American comfort food in chill surroundings.

Kingston Sports Bar & Grill—a basic sports pub in a triangular building with a pub-grub menu, many TVs, and a popular happy hour.

Leaky Roof Gastro Pub—a cozy pub with an easygoing vibe offering a diverse menu and cocktails in a warm, light-filled space.

The Cheerful Bullpen—a no-frills sports bar with individual TVs in every booth for rooting on teams like the Buffalo Bills.

Super Joy Coffee Lab / Roasters—Asian-owned coffee roaster offering beans with elements of Chinese culture.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Goose Hollow homes for sale.

4. Irvington

Irvington is an excellent location for commuters going to work and other nearby Portland neighborhoods. Access to downtown and the Pearl District is easy with a quick jaunt over the Broadway bridge. It is also a strong choice if you prefer a more established and prestigious neighborhood in a centralized location. Its grand old homes and meticulously manicured lawns are some of Portland’s finest. The broad, tree-covered avenues and neighborhood plan have a stately vibe.

Irvington is known for being family-friendly, safe, and having a strong community spirit. It also has a highly ranked elementary school and excellent walk/bike scores, making Irvington a place where many strive to live. The blend of all of these benefits has kept Irvington one of the more in-demand areas in Portland.

Irvington History

Irvington was once part of the City of Albina before Albina was annexed into Portland. Despite early industrialization and times of social unrest, Irvington has maintained its elegant character, but it did experience challenges.

Like virtually all of Portland, the area was first occupied by Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, and the land was broken up and developed by the Donation Land Claim Act in 1852.

The owner of much of Irvington’s donation land claim was Captain William Irving, a sea captain and shipbuilder. After his passing in 1872, his widow and son sold most of the land to Ellis B. Hughes, John W. Brazee, a local businessman, and David B. Thompson, a two-time mayor of Portland. Although the land was platted in 1874, it failed to sell because there was no streetcar service to the area, and there was cheaper land in the Albina and East Portland communities. The owners sold the land in 1887, with development not occurring until 1890.

Land in Irvington started to sell consistently at the end of the century, mostly due to the need for housing for the city’s growing middle and upper classes. The nearby Albina’s industrial base also continued to grow.

Until its annexation with Albina and East Portland, Irvington was one of northeast Portland’s major recreation areas with horse and motor racing bounded by 7th, Freemont, Brazee, and 12th. What we now know as Irvington Park was a site for barns, grandstands, and landscaping.

Economic wealth came to the area in 1905, thanks to the Lewis and Clark World’s Fair and Exposition. Three years later, Prospect Park Company bought the land with the intention of developing it for upper-class homeowners. Eight acres were improved with sewer, water, gas mains, and hitching rings, along with asphalt streets and a luxury not found in other parts of the city: a network of concrete sidewalks. All this came at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars, which wasn’t cheap.

With the highest elevation in the city, the neighborhood was billed as offering downtown and mountain vistas. However, the views were lost due to lots having been graded flat.

By 1910, three streetcar lines ran between downtown Portland and Irvington. This increase in accessibility prompted more development, with photos of newly constructed homes featured weekly in the newspaper’s weekend edition. It was an opulent place to live and maintained that reputation until after World War II, but then the buildup of downtown and nearby Lloyd Center occurred. The development displaced many of the lower-income residents from those areas and forced them into Irvington, which caused current residents to leave and property values to decrease quickly.

In 1964, the Irvington Community Association was formed to stabilize the neighborhood and encourage residents to stay, and it worked. Then, in 1967, the Irvington Home Tour was created to revitalize interest in Irvington and resurrect its past presence as one of Portland’s more desirable neighborhoods. The tours still happen today. The 1970s Model Cities grant also aided with rehabilitation and improvements. Though Irvington has some condos, most residences are elegant single-family homes restored to their original beauty.

Irvington Rankings and Stats

Median home price: $1.15M

Walk score: 84

Bike score: 99

Transit score: 67

Alameda Elementary School: School: 8/10

Irvington Points of Interest

Irving Park—16-acre city park located at Northeast 7th Ave. and Fremont St.

Irvington Tennis Club—a tennis club established in 1898, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Irvington Restaurants, Bars, and Coffee Shops

Lucca Restaurant—serving wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and other classic Italian dishes served in a cozy, bustling dining room.

Taste Tickler—a long-standing eatery serving up sandwiches, Japanese bento boxes, and more in a bare-bones setting.

Black Water Restaurant—a happening nightspot with creative cocktails and pub eats with vegan options, plus live bands.

Twisted Croissant—a bakery reimagining the possibilities of croissant dough and providing handcrafted croissants, cruffins, and croissant donuts.

Cadillac Cafe—a neighborhood spot serving classic American breakfasts and lunches, with a vintage Cadillac on display.

New 715 Inn—neighborhood watering hole with a pool table, video poker, and a low-key atmosphere.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Irvington homes for sale.

5. St. Johns

St. Johns is known for its iconic bridge, distinctive character, industrial heritage, and small-town charm. It is also an area the locals are extremely proud to call home. Many residents know each building’s history, current owners, and quality of offerings.

The neighborhood sits at the joining of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. It is, by and large, self-contained and offers beautiful views and ample outdoor activities – especially at Cathedral Park. The neighborhood feels almost like its own city.

Some of the oldest buildings in Portland are located here and in many different styles, including ranches, cape cods, and Victorian. Still, the area’s vibe is more laid-back than Portland’s more central neighborhoods. It collects artists and families who value a slower pace of life. The school rankings are lower than others on this list, but it has a more affordable cost of living compared to other Portland areas. It is community-centric, with many small businesses. No pretentiousness here.

The neighborhood is often described as extremely friendly. The deep pride is due to its unique placement on a peninsula that helps it maintain a feeling of autonomy from the rest of Portland. Some of the pride comes from its famous St. Johns Bridge, the Grand Lady of Portland. You will likely spot people walking dogs dressed up as the bridge.

St. Johns History

St. Johns had its own municipality in 1902, but it became part of Portland in 1915. The old city hall is currently the police station. The comes from St. John, or rather James “Jimmy” John, who owned a home and store in town and operated a local ferry. He bought 320 acres of donation land claim in 1846 and platted it in the 1850’s. The name St. John was recorded incorrectly with an “s” at the end. Other prominent contributors of land were Lewis Love, who donated over 630 acres, and the Gaston Family, who farmed 320 acres of donation land claim since 1852.

Some of the oldest buildings in Portland are found here, and some businesses have rich histories. One example of an institution in the area was “The Man’s Shop,” which opened in the 1940s to offer “everything a man could want.” The shop closed in 2019 — the end of an era.

St. Johns Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $450,000

Walk score: 63

Bike score: 86

Transit score: 42

James John Elementary School: 6/10

George Middle School: 4/10

Roosevelt High School: ranking not available

St. Johns Points of Interest

Cathedral Park—hosts the St. Johns Jazz Festival each year. It sits directly below the St. Johns bridge and has a stage and plaza, a boat ramp, a dog off-leash area, paved paths, and a nature patch.

Forest Park has a trailhead and features local wildlife, such as spot deer and other small animals.

Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area—a protected wetland scenic area that attracts all wildlife, such as beaver, river otter, black-tailed deer, osprey, bald eagles, and one of the largest remaining populations of Western painted turtles in Oregon.

Columbia Slough— has boat ramps for canoeing and paddle boarding. Public art also adorns the restored trail.

Pier Park—a forest-like park with a play area, skateboard park, disc golf course, and outdoor public pool- hosts classical music performances.

Chimney Park—an 18.39-acre area with a dog off-leash area that acquired its name from the city’s incinerator chimney, previously located on the site and removed in 1990.

St. Johns City Park—located in the center of the neighborhood and is home to a play area.

St. Johns Community Center offers before- and after-school activities for kids, classes, and events for all.

The St. Johns Parade—has been held in the neighborhood every year for over 50 years. It is a free celebration open to all, complete with homemade floats.

St. Johns Restaurants, Bars and Businesses

Rockabilly Cafe—Newer restaurant fashioned as an old-school diner serving American comfort food made with local and organic ingredients.

Mikasa Sushi & Ramen—a Sushi bar offering rolls, nigiri, and a selection of ramen bowls.

Paiku—a bakery selling sweet and savory pies with a brunch menu and to-go picnic dinner packages.

Big Kahuna Barbecue & Catering—Restaurant serving Hawaiian-style barbequed meats and side dishes.

Lombard House—Cozy neighborhood bar inside a house welcoming food from the carts outside.

3 Tracks Music—Shop specializing in vintage guitars, amps, and acoustic instruments.

Leisure Public House—Pub with local beers on tap, delicious sandwiches, ping pong, and bocce ball.

Blue Moon Camera and Machine—Photography shop and film-developing studio carrying vintage cameras.

Signal Station Pizza—Pizza eatery inside a historic gas station serving pizza, calzones, and subs.

McMenamin’s St. John’s Theater and Pub—Movie theater showing second-run movies with beer and snacks available for purchase.

Vinyl Resting Place—Record shop buying and selling unique records, including jazz, folk, and blues.

St. Johns Twin Cinema and Pub—Old movie house with two screens selling pizza, beer, coffee, and snacks.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all St. Johns homes for sale.

6. Pearl District

The Pearl District is a revitalized warehouse district in the heart of the city and is known for being the upscale and trendy section of Portland. Often called “the Pearl,” it is one of the most famous areas of Portland. It is home to fashion, sophistication, and upscale living, including luxury apartments, sleek high-rise condos, and industrial buildings converted into spacious lofts. It is also well-known for its vibrant arts scene and is home to numerous galleries, theaters, and design studios. The streets are lined with high-end boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and coffee shops.

With easy access to so many amenities, the Pearl District is the most walkable neighborhood in Portland, with a walking score of 99. Scores don’t get much higher than that. It is also a cyclist’s dream with no need for a car to run daily errands, earning the neighborhood an equally high bike score of 99.

Tranquil Tanner Springs Park offers a peaceful place to relax. The urban activity means the area isn’t considered the most family-friendly, but it is still considered safe.

Pearl District History

The district used to look quite different. It was once a residential area. Portland grew as an emerging world seaport, and railroad development skyrocketed after the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Railroad entrepreneurs competed heavily with each other in the area. The district, then known as the Northwest Triangle, turned into railroad tracks, warehouses, and industrial buildings.

In the 1970s, the warehouse area began to be populated by artists who took advantage of affordable housing. In 1971, Powell’s Books opened, and more culture and businesses followed. Redevelopment began in the 1980s. The River District Urban Renewal Plan in the 1990s was instrumental in changing the district to a multi-family housing and commercial area.

Growth has continued to improve. Even today, new restaurants and construction happen regularly. The district is currently home to the Cosmopolitan on the Park, Portland’s tallest residential building.

District Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $600,000

Walk score: 99

Bike score: 99

Transit score: 88

Chapman Elementary School: 6/10

West Sylvan Middle School: 6/10

Lincoln High School: 7/10

Pearl District Points of Interest

Willamette River Greenway Trail winds along the neighborhood’s banks, where cyclists and pedestrians can take in the scenery up close.

Jamison Square—features an expansive water fountain and several sculptures and art installations along the park’s perimeter commemorating the area’s history.

The Fields Park—developed in 2013 and Pearl’s newest park. It has a dog park, an open space for performing arts, an adventure playground, and a paved walking path.

Tanner Springs Park—showcases an artistically designed walking trail along its re-created wetlands.

North Park Blocks— six blocks located between NW Park Ave. and NW 8th Ave. that together form a city park. An accessible play area, basketball and bocce courts, paths and public art can be found on each of its blocks.

Pearl District Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

Powell’s Books—“the world’s largest independent bookstore”, occupying a full city block and also a famous Portland institution

Armory Building—established in 1891 and home to the theater productions and community programs of Portland Center Stage.

Alchemy—Jewelry store with high-end custom designs made by a team of experienced jewelers.

dfrntpigeon—an apparel brand supporting at-risk youth through mentorship and paid design work.

ECHO Natural Beauty—a spa offering holistic facial and massage services and “eco luxe” skin care products.

Monique’s Boutique— a designer clothing boutique selling eclectic designs at affordable prices.

Old Town Florist—floral shop with a diverse array of tropical and locally grown flower arrangements.

Verdun Fine Chocolates—the first US shop opened by a Lebanese chocolatier with over 40 years of experience crafting gourmet chocolates.

10 Barrel Brewing—a pub location offering popular craft brews from Bend, OR, with 20 beers on tap and a rooftop patio.

Andina: Peruvian restaurant serving dinner and small plates with live Latin music at night.

Fuller’s Coffee Shop—a diner operating since with old-school charm, serving comfort food including breakfast and milkshakes.

Life of Riley—Relaxed neighborhood bar with a patio and a basement with a pool, shuffleboard, and darts.

Oven and Shaker—a pizzeria and cocktail bar with an authentic Italian wood-burning oven serving Neopolitan pies, Italian street food, and cocktails.

Blackfish Gallery—an art gallery owned and operated by a co-op of artists since 1979, representing 30 artists and exhibiting work from invited guests.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Pearl District homes for sale.

7. Northwest District (Nob Hill)

The Northwest District (Nob Hill) blends old-world charm and modern city living. It features Victorian homes and classic Portland architecture, and it bustles with activity. You can easily stroll to cafés, chic boutiques, independent bookstores, gourmet grocery stores, and cozy cafés. The historic NW 23rd Avenue features many upscale shops and dining options.

Not to be outdone by city conveniences, the neighborhood also offers a natural, tranquil feel. Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States. The blend of both city and natural conveniences makes Northwest District a highly sought-after neighborhood.

Northwest District History

The area began with a land claim by John Couch in the 1850s, whose land later became the southern and eastern sections of Northwest Portland. Dandfard Balch then secured land north and west of Couch, after which Danford’s claim was broken up to create the district we know today.

As Portland grew in the 1870s and 1880s, growth extended into the area to include a hospital and high-end homes. As automobiles became more popular in the 1900s, the growth outside of the city reduced the area to a mix of single-family homes, apartments, industry, and commerce. It became one of the poorest areas of Portland by the mid-1940s. World War II led to strong shipbuilding in Portland, causing a housing shortage and further subdividing the apartments. The population declined after the war into the 1960s, despite attempts to revive it.

Social and economic change in the 1970s and 80s brought trendy boutique stores and home restorations back from apartments to single-family dwellings. Row houses also replaced many apartments to make room for upper-middle-class buyers, though many fights ensued to save some of the historical homes. The Alphabet Historic District was designated a National Historic District in the 1990s.

Northwest District Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $487,000

Walk score: 93

Bike score: 90

Transit score: 65

Chapman Elementary School: 6/10

Metropolitan Learning Center (K-12): 7/10

Cathedral School: Not available

St. Mary’s Academy: Not available

Northwest District Points of Interest

Forest Park: the largest urban forest in the US and a true landmark in the area.

The Parish of St. Mark— one of Portland’s most beautiful churches.

Cinema 21: A beloved old movie theatre is still in operation, and some movies allow for beer and wine.

Northwest District Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

Elephant’s Delicatessen—an innovative and highly regarded local deli and catering chain that offers something for everyone

Besaw’s—a popular breakfast spot in the city

Freakybuttrue Peculirarium—one of the oldest stores where oddities abound!

21st Avenue Kitchen and Bar—An institution in the city offering locally sourced food and regional wines, beers, and speciality cocktails.

Marrakesh Restaurant—A traditional–styled Marrakesh eatery that is as delicious as it is to look at.

G-Love New American Kitchen—a restaurant serving creative non-meat dishes

New Renaissance Bookstore—a long-adored bookshop offering fiction and non-fiction and plenty of spiritual-based literature, as well as crystals, candles, and statues.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all  Northwest District homes for sale.

8. Hollywood District

The Hollywood District is one of the smallest districts in the city, but it is big on character, making it a popular destination for road trippers. Located in Southeast Portland, the neighborhood is a vibrant and bustling urban area that exudes Portland Charm while being family-friendly. You won’t find wild, crazy nightlife here, but it is home to excellent dining, a lively commercial district, the iconic Hollywood Theatre, and one of the finest farmer’s markets in Portland. It is not as upscale as other Portland neighborhoods but offers a strong value for your dollar.

In terms of homes, the Hollywood District mixes historic buildings with contemporary living. You will find homes in styles such as Arts and Crafts, Foursquare, Spanish Revival, and bungalow homes, some of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The neighborhood features several schools, libraries, and family-oriented activities throughout the year. The area has a strong sense of community and easy access to public transit, making it a practical choice. The area’s blend of affordability, safety, and community-focused living makes it an attractive option for urban living at lower budgets.

Hollywood District History

The name Hollywood originates from the Scottish word “Holyrood,” an area in Edinburgh, Scotland. The area was originally a land claim of Joseph Backenstos and provided to his widow by President Andrew Johnson in 1866.

In the early 20th century, the area consisted only of a dirt road and a few homes but then grew to become a suburban area. Real estate developers Hartman & Thompson used the land to create the Rose City Park subdivision in 1907. Many of the original Craftsman, Foursquare, and bungalow homes still exist. That same year, Hartman & Thompson added the Rose City line, a streetcar system that improved the area’s growth.

The neighborhood changed again after 1920 to become one of Portland’s most popular commercial destinations. Sandy Boulevard became a popular cruising road in the state. Walter Tebbetts built the famous Hollywood Theatre in 1926, solidifying the area’s name change. Other neighborhood buildings adopted the style, giving the area its distinct character. The theatre still exists and plays movies today. The district continues to blend the old and new.

Hollywood District Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $525,000

Walk score: 94

Bike score: 95

Transit score: 73

Odyssey Middle School:8/10

Grant High School: 8/10

Hollywood District Points of Interest

Hollywood Theatre—a Bohemian-designed theatre that gets better the longer you look at it from the outside.

Tony Starlight’s Supperclub & Lounge—home to cocktails and jazz and a place to wear your finest threads

Hollywood District Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

Shangdong Restaurant—famous for its Dragon in the Garden soup and potstickers

Bluefin Tuna and Sushi—your home for sushi in Hollywood and so popular that you will likely need a reservation

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Hollywood District homes for sale.

9. Sylvan-Highlands

The residential Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood sits in the Tualatin Mountains and is a forest haven, making it an ideal home for nature lovers. It is also known for its excellent schools.

At 1,100 feet at its highest point, this neighborhood is one of the highest areas of Portland and gets more snow than any other area. Set in a hilly terrain and filled with stately homes with forest views and space for solitude, the neighborhood has an upscale feel with homes ranging from classic bungalows to Cape Cod and NW Contemporary styles.

Multiple parks surround the area, including Forest Park, Washington Park, and Hoyt Museum, a “living museum” of native trees. The Discovery Museum educates visitors on forest ecosystems and the future of forestry. The area also neighbors the Oregon Zoo. Numerous trails allow for ample exploration, though the neighborhood itself is not particularly walk or bike friendly.

Sylvan-Highlands History

Eccentric pioneer Nathan B. Jones settled in Tanner Creek and platted lots in the 1850s for an area he called “Zion Town.” He planned to make the area Oregon’s next capital. The area had a dirt road that connected Portland to the Willamette Valley, allowing for easy transportation of the valley’s crops to Portland for shipping.

Jones was later killed during a robbery in 1894. His name for the town also didn’t last. Two other post offices in Oregon were named Zion, so a local resident recommended a name, “Sylvan,” based on the name “Sylvanus,” the Roman deity of the woods.

Sylvan-Highlands District Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $1.1M

Walk score: 19

Bike score: 36

Transit score: 43

Bridlemile Elementary School: 9/10

West Sylvan Middle School: 9/10

Lincoln High School: 8/10

Sylvan-Highlands District Points of Interest

Forest Park – one of the country’s largest urban forests, drawing hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts with its extensive 70-mile network of trails beneath towering trees.

Washington Park and its Hoyt Arboretum—a “living museum” of Pacific Northwest native trees

World Forestry Center—an organization that promotes sustainable forestry

Discovery Museum— learn first-hand about forest ecosystems and the future of forestry.

Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial, which was dedicated in 1987 to honor fallen Oregon soldiers.

Wildwood Trail a 30-mile trail connecting Washington Park with Forest Park to the north via the newly constructed Barbara Walker Crossing.

Sylvan-Highlands District Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

Pizzicato—Now a well-recognized local pizza chain, this is the very first location opened by owners Marc and Tracy Frankel in 1989. Their original restaurant is a great spot for consistently good pizza with creative toppings, including roasted vegetables, handmade sausages, and fresh herbs.

Clift House Ceramics and Claystation Studio—Offering nature-inspired pottery, printed custom nature photographs, and one-on-one instruction.

Effortless Movement Pilates Studio—“Classical Style” Pilates to increase strength and improve mobility.

Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Sylvan-Highlands homes for sale.

10. Boise

Boise is a balance of old and new, and some of the newer traits have turned it into a “destination neighborhood” for both visitors and residents. In addition to Victorian cottages and Craftsman homes, there are newer urban-style lofts for more contemporary living. The area is diverse, trendy, and entrepreneurial, with many locally-owned businesses. The neighborhood is famous for its local bars, restaurants, and retail shops. 

Boise is extremely easy to get around by foot and bicycle. It has impressive walking and biking scores of 93 and 99, respectively. All traits combined have made it a coveted neighborhood.

Boise History

The neighborhood’s name was chosen in honor of Reuben P. Boise, and local schoolboard member in the 1850’s who later became a circut judge and then a member of the Oregon Supreme Court. The neighborhood was part of the city of Albina which merged into Portland in 1891. Albina was the Portland’s industrial hob and home to many immigrants looking for work.

The Albina area has a rich history of black residents, though the demographics have changed recently. In the 2000s, with the black population dropping from 48% in the 2000 census to 26.6% in 2010, much of the change came from whites. Historically, blacks were by and large excluded from living in Albina all the way up to 1926, but a small number worked in the area’s rail and service industries. The black population grew in the area due to three main factors:

●     Blacks being excluded from other areas during the Great Depression

●     A boom in work came during World War II

●     The Flood of 1948 wiped out the town of Vanport, displaying 18,000 residents, one-third of whom were black and had few other areas to live.

Today the area is a diverse and trendy neighborhood with a high walk and bike score of 93 and 99 respectively. It also has a superbly ranked high school, with a whopping 9/10 from

Boise Ranking and Stats

Median home price: $460,000

Walk score: 93

Bike score: 99

Transit score: 53

Elementary School: Boise-Eliot Elementary School

Middle School: Harriet Tubman Middle School

High School: Grant High School – 9/10 on

Boise Points of Interest

Denorval Unthank Park— the neighborhood’s playground with paved paths, a play area, a basketball court, and soccer and baseball fields.

Portland Community College—opened in 1970. The campus offers programs in the arts, job training, and self-improvement courses.

Boise Restaurants, Bars, and Businesses

Prost! Marketplace—some of the finest food cart fare in Portland located next to one of the best German bars in town.

Mississippi Studios and Bar Bar is an intimate music venue that is reported to have the best sound in Portland. It also has its own bar serving drinks and burgers.

Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty—a popular restaurant serving pizza with fresh herbs and homemade ice cream.

Stormbreaker Brewing—local brewer with a wonderful all-weather outdoor seating area.

Gravy—one of Portland’s most popular breakfast restaurants, serving comfort food and their signature biscuits and gravy.

The Fresh Pot is one of the first businesses on Mississippi Avenue and one of the first cafes in North Portland.

Pistils Nursery—plant nursery and landscape design store also offering classes on goat raising, chicken keeping, composting, and more.

Miss Delta—Southern Cajun is on the menu here: hush puppies, fried catfish, and more.

Eat: an Oyster Bar—a hip venue with classic Cajun dishes and cocktails, and Sunday jazz brunch—New Orleans style.

XLB—a casual spot serving Chinese soup dumplings and other comfort dishes, plus beer and wine.

Either/Or—morning coffee and evening cocktails/happy hour with Chinese-American fare in a funky setting.

The Rambler: Cozy, inviting neighborhood tavern in a converted bungalow serving cocktails, craft beer, and sandwiches.

Tartuca—intimate Italian kitchen serving a seasonal menu of homemade pasta, pizza, shared plates, and old-world wines with an outdoor patio.

Stem Wine Bar—wine bar offering tastings, a wine club, live music, and trivia nights.

 Check out our dynamic Portland neighborhood map to see all Boise homes for sale.

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