The cool, fun and funky city of Portland is one of the best places in the US to visit for a short vacation like a long weekend or a more extended stay. The NorthWest gem has beautiful scenery, plenty of green space, excellent restaurants and bars, hip creative neighborhoods, a love for the arts and culture and amazingly friendly people. Portland also offers very diverse options when it comes to accommodation.
Whether you prefer the luxury and comfort of a high-rise hotel suite or the very welcoming environment of a small-town community inn or cozy bed and breakfast, Portland has plenty. Here is our visitor’s guide to where to stay in Portland, Oregon…
The Four Quadrants – how to choose the right location in Portland
Before taking a look at specific places to stay, let us first familiarize ourselves with the general geography of the city. Portland is divided into four quadrants – the Northeast, the Northwest, the Southeast and the Southwest. The Willamette River runs right down the middle of the city, splitting it into the east and west portions. Perpendicular to it is Burnside Street, which separates the north and the south part of the city.
Now, most of the touristy areas of Portland are to the west of the Willamette, and these include Downtown Portland in the Southwest and the famous Pearl District and Northwest District in the Northwest. But if you want to get a real taste of the famous Portland weirdness, it is highly recommended that you choose accommodation on the east side of the city.
In the Southeast quadrant, there lie several bike-friendly neighborhoods that have a more local feel instead of the touristy vibe to the west. They also have a wide variety of shopping venues and dining establishments, especially along Belmont and Hawthorne Streets. The Northeast is a mix of residential, industrial and commercial areas. Culture fanatics will find its Alberta Arts District particularly interesting, as well as its own little Hollywood.
Downtown Portland – the central hub of Portland
For the traveler who is visiting Portland for the very first time and would like to get a complete tourist experience, staying downtown will put you right at the heart of the action. Downtown Portland takes up most of the Southwest quadrant and it offers countless choices when it comes to the best restaurants, cafes, museums, art galleries and shops.
No matter which hotel you choose to book at Downtown, these trendy and fancy establishments will all practically be within walking distance.
The downside of choosing to stay at the city center is that the accommodations here come at a high price. There are a few budget hotels around but these get booked quickly so you might have to make reservations well ahead of your trip.
The Paramount Hotel offers great amenities at reasonable prices. If you are willing to spend more for a really fabulous stay, you can check out the Benson or the Mark Spencer Hotel.
Pearl District – a hip place to locate yourself in Portland filled with former warehouse turned trendy bars, shops and restaurants
If you are going to Portland because you’ve been lured by the craft beer and scrumptious local cuisine, then Pearl District is the place where you should stay. This neighborhood used to be an industrial district but is now one of the most vibrant and interesting places to explore in the entire city. You can enjoy a taste of the city’s famous craft beer at places like Back Pedal Brewing, Deschutes Brewery and Public House, and 10 Barrel Brewing. You will also have no shortage of options when it comes to fine dining, family-friendly restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries and delightful boutiques.
There are a number of condos and apartments that you can rent out while staying at the Pearl District. Many tourists also like staying at the McMenamins Crystal Hotel because of its unique but superior quality amenities. For more classic and plush accommodations, the Canopy and the Hampton Inn & Suites, both by Hilton Portland Pearl District, are magnificent choices.
Nob Hill – a charming area to locate yourself with historic Victorian homes turned into boutiques and restaurants
Right next to the Pearl District neighborhood on the west side is Nob Hill, which is one of the most sought-after residential locations in the entire city of Portland. It is particularly attractive to nature lovers, being in close proximity to verdant outdoor recreational spaces such as Forest Park and Washington Park.
The streets of Nob Hill are a pleasure to explore on foot or while riding a bike, with its shady trees and beautiful Victorian abodes. It is also a haven for coffee fanatics and enthusiasts of delectable food.
If you are a solo traveler, the Inn at Northrup Station is a highly recommended place to stay in Nob Hill. It has studio accommodations that are quite small but come with complete and comfortable amenities. The Inn is also great for traveling couples.
If you are looking for more spacious and plush lodgings but still at a reasonable price, the Park Lane Suites & Inn and the Portland International Guesthouse would be two of the most viable choices.
Chinatown – Portland’s oldest neighborhood and a buzzing area to stay
This used to be the original downtown and sits high up on the west side of the Willamette River. Chinatown offers the perfect blend of outdoor relaxation during the day and endless options for music and entertainment come nighttime.
One of the greatest attractions of this neighborhood is the stunning Lan Su Chinese Garden, which is one of the most famous green spaces in the city, along with Tom McCall Waterfront Park. At night, you can listen to music and have some rounds of booze in the dozens of bars, clubs and music venues.
The Society Hotel is a highly recommended place to stay in Chinatown. It has rooms with shared bathrooms for the budget-conscious traveler, as well as king suites for more privacy and luxury.
For really opulent accommodations, the 4-star Hoxton (pictured above) is a great choice with its luxurious rooms and amazing mountain views.
Central Eastside – a unique area to stay which blends industrial Portland with new restaurants, microbreweries and riverside recreation
If you have been to Portland before and want to experience the city on a deeper level, or you simply want to skip the tourist stuff, for now, you will find the Central Eastside to be a great place to stay. More importantly, this is the place to be if you are a true-blue coffee lover.
The streets of Central Eastside are lined with dozens of relaxing coffee shops serving the best gourmet coffee you have ever tasted. The neighborhood is also bursting with energy at night with the variety of bars, clubs and brewpubs that you can visit. There is also a plethora of vintage shops, craft breweries, bookstores and art galleries all over the streets of this neighborhood.
Accommodations at Central Eastside are more affordable than those in the city center. Along Burnside Street, you can check out Eastside Lodge which is a few minutes walk from everywhere you need to go in the city.
Lolo Pass is another great choice with varied amenities and excellent service. For more upscale lodging, the Hotel Grand Stark provides all the luxury that you will want away from home.
Hawthorne – a quirky place to stay in Portland with a bohemian vibe and plenty of great shops and eateries
This neighborhood is an excellent choice of where to stay in Portland if you are a lover of the carefree bohemian culture that local Portlanders are quite known for.
There are plenty of art shops and galleries that you can explore along Hawthorne Boulevard where you can either just admire the artisan’s craftwork or score a few gems that you can take home with you as souvenirs.
There are not too many hotels in the Hawthorne neighborhood but there are plenty of pleasant homestays and Airbnb options that are actually more suitable for a memorable stay in this area. You can also choose from a number of really nice boutique hotels near the area, like the Evermore Guesthouse or the Bluebird Guesthouse in the nearby neighborhood of Division.
Lloyd District – a kind of “suburbia in the city” dominated by a large shopping mall
Although not really popular among tourists, this neighborhood is a highly recommended place to stay in Portland if you are in the city for business. Portland is a popular venue for corporate events in the Pacific Northwest so there is a steady stream of business travelers coming in and out of the city.
The Lloyd District is also home to the Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden Arena. This is the base camp of Portland’s top sports teams, the Trail Blazers of the NBA and the Winter Hawks of the WHL, and also where you can enjoy a variety of sporting events and concerts.
There might not be many tourist spots to explore but the area does have plenty of hotels with world-class amenities, most of which are within walking distance to the Oregon Convention Center.
If you are in Lloyd for business, some of the top hotel picks are the Hyatt Regency located right at the Oregon Convention Center and the Hotel Eastlund with its amazing rooftop terrace and spacious rooms. On the other hand, if you are in the area to watch a basketball game or to shop, the Courtyard by Marriott would be an excellent place to stay.
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Born and raised in Brazil, Gaby has always had a taste for the intriguing, the off-beat and the far flung. After travelling around most of South America, living in Spain and Italy and then moving to England, her feet have stayed continually twitchy. Studying for a degree in Spanish translation and then learning five more languages only poured more fuel onto her travelling ardor.
Gaby likes nothing better than discovering new destinations and meeting the locals, tasting the cuisine and hearing about the local stories. Her other indulgences include French cinema, boxing, photography, colourful manicures and soaking up the rays on a sun-infused beach. She counts Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon and Cornwall as her most favourite places in the world.