If you’re wondering where to stay in Portland when planning a trip, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we show you the best accommodations in Portland. In doing so, we draw on our personal experience from our June 2022 visits to Portland, Oregon.
We review the best neighborhoods in Portland and tell you the pros and cons, neighborhoods, and the best areas in each neighborhood.
Read on to find the perfect accommodation in Portland, for all types of travelers and budgets.
- 1 Where to Stay in Portland
- 2 Best Places to Stay in Portland
- 3 Downtown Portland – Best for First-time Visitors
- 4 Central Eastside: Best Location
- 5 The Pearl District – Central and Charming
- 6 Southeast Portland: Accessible and Quiet
- 7 Alberta’s Arts District – Best for Foodies
- 8 Bottom Line
Where to Stay in Portland
Let’s dive into the best Portland neighborhoods for visitors. We give you our perspective, based on our personal experience with Portland, the city we fell in love with at first sight.
In general, we recommend a hotel in the Central Eastside, which is becoming our favorite neighborhood in Portland. It’s close to the river. This means you can walk to downtown Portland and all the tourist attractions, but it’s a bit more residential and therefore quieter.
If you’re in Portland for the first time, you can’t go wrong with downtown Portland or the Pearl District. Downtown Portland is as central as it gets.
We recommend staying in the southern half of the district. The more upscale Pearl is a former warehouse district that has opted for a sober, industrial feel. Spend the night at the Canopy by Hilton at the Pearl, a solid, stylish accommodation at an affordable price.
If you’re looking for a slightly different experience, head to the eastern suburbs. Places like Hawthorne and the Alberta Arts District are certainly not the best places to stay for the first time in Portland, but there are a lot of good food and drink options there.
Best Places to Stay in Portland
So what are the best places to stay in Portland? Read on to find out!
Downtown Portland – Best for First-time Visitors
Downtown Portland is a bit more charming than the other neighborhoods we visited, thanks to the green spaces and fast food trucks you’ll probably run into while exploring.
You’ve probably seen on the news that downtown Portland is in chaos, with protests all day and night, and numerous confrontations with police at all hours of the day. I say this because people always mention it when we say we love Portland. Especially if they have never been to Portland before.
This may come as a shock, but it’s not really a complete picture of what’s going on. We went to Portland five times between June 2020 and March 2022 and spent over six weeks in the city without seeing a single protest, even though we went downtown several times to buy donuts and coffee.
Portland, like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and almost every other city on the West Coast, has a relatively large and visible homeless population.
You may get yelled at or see people using drugs in broad daylight, which is very annoying. But for the most part, they won’t bother you or hurt you.
Families with young children and people traveling alone, however, may feel safer elsewhere.
Pros and Cons of Staying in Downtown Portland
Pros: You can’t get much more central than downtown. Plus, there’s a great selection of hotels, restaurants, and drinks. It will also be one of the cheapest places to stay, especially given the many options.
Disadvantages: Downtown Portland has more charm than downtowns in other cities, but it is much less charming than most of Portland in general. The previously mentioned homeless population is more visible in downtown Portland.
If the sight of the homeless makes you uncomfortable, we recommend living a little further away, such as in the Central Eastside, Southeast Portland, Mississippi or the Alberta Arts District.
Downtown Portland Highlights
- Coffee in Downtown Portland: As you can imagine, downtown Portland is full of great coffee shops. Portland’s OG, Stumptown, has two locations.
- PSU Farmers Market: This is without a doubt the best farmers market I have ever been to. It is huge. There are hundreds of vendors to choose from. It’s open year-round, rain or shine.
- Portland Saturday Market: less of a farmer’s market than an arts and crafts market. It takes place on Saturdays at the waterfront and is worth a walk along the waterfront to visit.
Best lodging option in downtown Portland
Hotels are the best option in downtown Portland and we stayed in the Hoxton in June.
The Hoxton – Trendiest Hotel in Portland
We really like the idea of the Hoxton, which exists in cities all over the world, though we’ve only recently discovered it and haven’t stayed in one yet. They are on our list for some of our upcoming trips, though. This is one of the coolest hotels in Portland, at least in our opinion.
The reason we love it is that it offers a unique combination of style and affordability, thanks to its carefully designed rooms inspired by the city they’re in – in this case, rich woodwork and modernist design in the Pacific. The rooms’ pottery is handcrafted by a Portland artist.
The rooms are well appointed and available in all sizes.
Couples here have several options, depending on their budget and space, from comfortable rooms to spacious rooms.
Plus, all rooms are dog-friendly, so bring your dog and enjoy the weekend.
This hotel is also located on the border between Chinatown and downtown Portland, but it’s central enough to be a good starting point.
Central Eastside: Best Location
This area is our recommendation for most Portland visitors. It’s located between downtown Portland, which is only about a mile away, and the impressive Hawthorne which is a must-see while in Portland. In addition, the Central Eastside has a very good selection of food and drink and some excellent hotels.
This area includes sub-neighborhoods like Ladd’s Addition, which we include in the Central Eastside because they fit the description of central, accessible and with plenty of restaurants, cafes and more.
If you want to be as central as possible, stay closer to the river and further north.
Pros and cons of living in the Central Eastside.
Pros: It’s as central as you can get, about equal distance from downtown Portland, Hawthorne and Division, and Northeast Portland. It is within walking distance. There are many establishments to drink local beer and cider, as well as many restaurants. And there is a good selection of hotels and vacation accommodations.
Drawbacks: If you’re looking for vacation accommodations, you’ll have to look a bit outside the river area which is a bit less central. Nonetheless, we’ve personally stayed in this area twice, and it’s always a fantastic place.
Highlights of the Central Eastside
Here are some of our favorite spots in this neighborhood:
- There are too many coffee shops in this part of Portland to list here. We recommend Coava Coffee.
- Food Trucks: If you’re in Portland, do what Portlanders do and eat at least once in a food truck. Here in the Central Eastside, there are two, both within a block of each other, so you can see them both before choosing one. Cartopia is on the corner of Ladd’s Addition, and Hawthorne Asylum is a block or two down by the river.
Best Accommodation Option in Central Eastside
The Central Eastside is a bit less populated than the areas immediately to the north and south, which means there are some interesting hotels. It’s also relatively close to downtown and Pearl, which means you can cross the famous Burnside Bridge to reach some of the more urban parts of Portland if you want.
Grand Stark Hotel
At the Grand Stark Hotel, an old building has been restored and outfitted with modern elements that reconnect with the city’s history, while creating a modern and welcoming place for travelers to Portland. The rooms are well-designed, equipped with Nespresso machines and mini-fridges, and have some luxurious details like plush bathrobes.
It’s located right in the heart of the action on the Central Eastside, so the location is pretty good. You can choose between double, queen and king size rooms, depending on how much space you need and how many people make up your party.
The Pearl District – Central and Charming
Located north of downtown Portland, the Pearl District is a former industrial area in the midst of change – hence the brick buildings and industrial atmosphere – that has become one of Portland’s most exclusive neighborhoods. That’s not to say there aren’t good restaurants and drinks, or that it’s not possible to live well here when visiting Portland.
The location couldn’t be better: Downtown is within walking distance, but it’s a bit removed from some of the less pleasant aspects of downtown Portland, like traffic noise.
Pros and Cons of the Pearl District
- It is centrally located. You can walk to downtown as well as to 21st and 23rd streets in Northwest Portland.
- There are plenty of options for eating and drinking. Even if you exclude everything nearby, but technically outside the Pearl, there is still plenty to eat and drink here. From coffee shops to beer joints to unusual restaurants to sandwich shops, you’ll find plenty of places here that are worth your time.
- It’s charming. Tanner Springs Park, at the north end of the district, is one of the coolest places in downtown Portland. It’s a little oasis in a sea of skyscrapers, with a nice little natural habitat preserved against so much development.
- Fewer great accommodation options, compared to the rest of Portland.
Highlights of the Pearl District
- Tanner Springs Park: a former swamp, now a public park surrounded by concrete, is an oasis in the middle of the more upscale part of the district. It’s a cool place to find information about efforts to preserve this natural habitat in the face of increasingly cramped construction.
- Barista: as the name would suggest your coffee is made by experts and you can choose from a wide variety of coffees, some of which are roasted on-site and some from other roasters in the Pacific Northwest.
The best accommodation option in the Pearl District
One of the downsides of the Pearl District is that there aren’t many lodging options, and the hotels that do exist are owned by global chains, which means they aren’t necessarily the most unique or interesting.
The Canopy By Hilton Portland Pearl District
This is a nice place to stay in Pearl District. The rooms are large for hotel rooms and have a desk, mini-refrigerator, and Nespresso machine, all for a relatively reasonable price.
The main attraction is the common areas, which are open and inviting, and we think they achieve that goal. Some are indoors, some are outdoors, and there’s also a bar and cafe on-site and a gym to use.
Southeast Portland: Accessible and Quiet
Division, Hawthorne, and Belmont are three main streets that cut through a residential neighborhood from west to east. In between, you’ll find charming homes and along these three streets, you’ll find an incredible variety of food, drink, stores, and more.
It’s quiet and very walkable, which, at least for us, is an absolute must.
For the purposes of this guide, we’re referring to the area between 20th Avenue and 50th Avenue (west to east) and between Belmont and Division (north to south).
Pros and Cons of Living in Southeast Portland
- It’s a quiet residential area, but there are several great sections along Belmont, Hawthorne, and Division.
- Plenty of bars, restaurants, stores, and everything else you could possibly want.
- There are no hotels in this area.
Southeast Portland Highlights
Here are our favorite places in Southeast Portland:
- Cafe Tov: a unique cafe housed in a large red double-decker bus on Hawthorne. They also have a good selection of tea.
- Southeast Portland is a foodie’s paradise, there are many great restaurants here.
The best Accommodation in Southeast Portland
The only option in this area is vacation rentals, and there are lot’s of them.
Alberta’s Arts District – Best for Foodies
We love this area, even if it’s not the most convenient location for exploring downtown and other parts of the city west of the river.
It’s a lovely neighborhood, and it’s located right off Mississippi Avenue, another great place to explore.
Pros and cons of staying in the Alberta Arts District.
- Alberta Street is lined with restaurants of all kinds, bars, cafes and stores. It’s a great place to stay and enjoy life in Portland.
- The amazing food, and loads of it!
- It’s far from downtown and the main tourist attractions.
Alberta Arts Highlights
- Bye and Bye for trendy cocktails.
- Tiki Tea for bubble tea. and vegan food.
The Best Accommodation Option in Alberta’s Arts District
Here is our favorite:
The Alberta Petite Hotel
At the east end of Alberta, is the Alberta Petite Hotel. It’s in a great location, close to some of the best restaurants, bars, and stores that Alberta Street has to offer. The hotel is smaller but it has all the amenities at a fraction of the cost of the larger hotels.
Portland is a great city if you love food, and drinks, from craft beer to coffee. The independent spirit is evident in the hundreds of unique little stores around town.
You’re going to love Portland no matter where you live, but hopefully, this guide to the best neighborhoods has helped you find your way around the city and book a place you like.