Portland has over 90 diverse neighborhoods. Below is a list of some of the better known areas.
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Portland is an eclectic, artistic community, home to retail stores, studios and galleries, coffee houses, unique Brownstones and lofts. In the last two decades The Pearl district has grown beyond a collection of artist galleries to become Portland’s most cosmopolitan neighborhood. Portland Center Stage has recently relocated to the Pearl District into the renovated Portland Armory, providing even more entertainment to this thriving artistic area. The housing in The Pearl is all high-rise condos, townhouses and lofts. The area is connected to the downtown & NW 23 areas by street cars, buses and MAX.
NW 23rd Avenue
The Portland neighborhoods of NW 23rd Avenue and Hawthorn Street are renowned for their bohemian character, with trendy boutiques and restaurants. NW 23rd Avenue, or the “Nob Hill” area, as it is known by locals, is a collection of locally owned businesses occupying rejuvenated Victorians along tree-lined streets. There are unique older Victorian homes in NW 23rd area along with some new and historic condos & townhouse construction.
Hawthorne is not a “neighborhood” as such, but five neighborhoods converge on the area for shopping and dining. The Hawthorn District has a definite counterculture vibe about it. You’ll see plenty of young people with tattoos and piercings on the main drag and a growing number of vegetarian restaurants. On both sides of Hawthorne Blvd. there are older craftsman and bungalow homes that are being renovated as families move into the area.
Located between the Park blocks and Broadway Avenue, home to The Portland Center for the Performing Arts, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and the Portland Art Museum. “Off Broadway” performances and plays can be experienced at the edgy The Artist Repertory Theater… or enjoy an evening at the stylish Oregon Symphony.
Portland’s Old Town
Find even more arts and entertainment in Portland’s Old Town and China Town, with great jazz and blues clubs. Shop Saturday Market under the Burnside Bridge for local artists’ handcrafts and experience the Classical Chinese Gardens in China town. A gift from Suzhou, China to the city of Portland. The Gardens were built by Chinese artists and craftsmen and cover an entire city block. This is also the location of the famous Voodoo Donuts.
Sellwood is a historic district known for its more than 50 antique stores. It is a neighborhood of Victorian homes with many turn-of-the-century homes. The homes are small and pleasant and the neighborhood is conveniently located to downtown, as well as to Eastmoreland golf and country club. Located next to the Willamette River and just blocks away are the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and Oaks Amusement Park. The 21 mile Springwater Corridor perfect for cyclists and joggers alike.
Eastside of Portland
The Eastside of Portland began growing during the early part of the last century. Streets are plotted out in a traditional grid pattern with many ‘Old Portland’ style homes and bungalows with tree-lined streets and detached garages hiding in the back. In many areas a coffee shop is just around the corner and commuters use MAX, our light rail system. Some of our wealthy founders built beautiful craftsman houses that were copied for decades and have resulted in areas such as Laurelhurst, Irvington and Eastmoreland.
Westside of Portland
The Westside consists of the suburb cities of Aloha, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Northwest Portland, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn and Wilsonville. MAX, our light-rail system runs from downtown Portland through Northwest Portland, Beaverton, Aloha and Hillsboro.
The Portland Metro area includes 4 counties with 1,572,771 people. Multnomah County which includes the city of Portland, Clackamas County in the southwest, Washington County west of Portland, and Clark County Washington make up the metro area. Portland has 556,000 residents with makes it the 24th largest city in the US.
Portland’s climate is mild with temperatures ranging from low 40’s in the winter to the mid 70’s and 80’s in the summer months. On average the region gets about 36 inches of rain per year divided between 150 days. The annual rainfall is less than Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis or Seattle! The Custom Weather Service rated Portland as having the best summer weather in the U.S. TIP: Portlanders are a positive bunch and they talk about partly sunny days instead of partly cloudy.
From Stump Town to Tech Town
Portland was born as a timber city. As some of its tall firs were harvested to develop land for housing, roads and commerce, travelers were forced to maneuver horses and buggies around the tree stumps, earning Portland the nickname “stump town”. An abundance of trees still remains, but today, the Metro area has become a high-tech hub with over 1200 technology companies (many located west of Beaverton along Highway 26) as part of its thriving economy. Some industry folk now refer to Portland as Silicone Forest. (North of San Jose, Ca.)
Oregon is known as the “Environmental State”, famous for three decades of “smart planning” designed to protect farm and forest land while reining in urban sprawl. You can actually see where the urban growth boundary ends and farm/forest land begins. Transportation is another important part of this plan. With its innovative mass transit and network of bicycle lanes and trails, it’s no wonder Portland was rated the #1 city for Bicycling and Walking. Portland also boasts the highest recycling rate in the nation with over 54% of household trash being recycled. Newcomers soon learn the joys of curb side recycling and returning bottles and cans to the store to reclaim the nickel deposit. And when it comes to water, turn on the faucet and drink up! The region’s dependable rainfall helps to fill the pristine Bull Run reservoir with some of the cleanest, naturally soft water in the country.
Quality of life is one of Portland’s most powerful attractions. With Mount Hood painted on the skyline, winter and summer sports are abundant. Mt. Hood provides year round activities from glacial skiing during the summer at Timberline Lodge to down-hill, cross-country and snowboarding November-April at Mount Hood Meadows and Timberline. Some of the best fly fishing can be found on the east side of Mt. Hood. Salmon fishing occurs on the Willamette River during select times. The #1 wind surfing city in the world is located up the Columbia Gorge in The Dalles. Wind is the operative word here. White water rafting is available during the spring and summer on the Clackamas River. Bicycling through the wine country is a favorite and Cycle Oregon occurs every summer. In August you will find absolute madness as hundreds of running teams race–yes race–from Mt. Hood to the coast. Teams from around the world enter this race and it’s so large the number of participants are now limited. With the largest urban park in the country (Washington Park in the West hills) there are numerous walking and hiking trails. Of course, the Willamette River is also home to sail and ski boats. Challenging golf courses are scattered throughout the area and usually only about 20 minutes drive from most locations. My personal favorite is Pumpkin Ridge.
All of this might be why Fit Magazine called Portland “Fit Town USA.” (As a side note: Nike Corporate Headquarters is located in Beaverton on a spectacular campus with the buildings named after major athletes. It’s a must see!