shopping, nightlife, and cultural institutions. It’s easy to get around on foot or
by public transportation here, and drivers
are known for obeying our pedestrian
right-of-way, making it safe and relatively
stress-free to walk the downtown streets.
Portland’s downtown city blocks are an
eclectic collection of both older, grittier
institutions like the Portland Outdoor Store
in Old Town and high-end, shinier options,
like the two-story REI in The Pearl.
For those who want easy access to nature,
Forest Park lies just west of downtown.
You’ll forget you’re in a city once you enter
one of the country’s largest urban forest
reserves, covering over 5,000 acres. Hikers,
joggers, bikers, and dogs enjoy 70 miles
of recreational trails, weaving through
Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western
red cedar. Most of the forest is second
growth, but you’ll still find a few patches of
old growth giants.
The sprawl of houses in the hills is considered the Northwest Heights, where you’ll
find some of Portland’s most expensive
properties. The sweeping views of downtown and Mt. Hood in the distance, as well
as its proximity to Forest Park, make this a
premium spot for those who can afford it.
Victorian facades and boutique stores
dominate Nob Hill, also known as the
Alphabet District, where sophisticated
come to play. The narrow streets are filled
with storefronts, from the uniquely Portland Moreland House which displays an
impressive selection of gifts and collectibles for the dachshund lover in your life,
to well-known chains like Pottery Barn
and Urban Outfitters.
The Portland streetcar connects Nob Hill
to the Pearl District for a 4. 8 mile shopping loop that will leave you in need of a
lift. You wouldn’t want to walk with all
There’s plenty of variety within this part of
town, where downtown meets miles of trees,
shoppers quickly shift to hikers, and the
grittier sections of downtown quickly meet
some of the trendiest streets in Portland. For
those looking for variety, activity, and plenty
of style, Northwest might be the place for
The downtown energy is turned down a
notch in Southwest Portland, where you’ll
find more high rise buildings and college-aged residents, hailing from Portland State
University. Due to the higher concentration of residential buildings and lower
concentration of nightlife, the Southwest is
generally quieter — although you’ll still find
plenty to do.
The concentration of high rises along the
Southwest waterfront make it look like a
second downtown, and the Willamette River
glistens with light from those tall buildings
When you move to Portland, you’ll discover that there is always
something new to explore on foot. When planning your move,
you may want to make your new home in one of Portland’s
most convenient, walkable neighborhoods.
Definitions of walkability vary. Walk Score® rewards neighborhoods with access to things like grocery stores, restaurants,
libraries, parks, and schools. Another definition of walkability
factors in the amount of trees, homes, crosswalks, mass transit
stops, etc. You can learn more about walkability and how it is
calculated at walkscore.com, where you can even compare
Portland’s walkability to the city from which you are moving.
It might surprise you, but according to Walk Score, Portland
isn’t one of the top walkable cities in America, but is in the Top
20. New York City sits at the top of the list for overall walk score.
Still, Portlanders know this city is full of neighborhoods that are
great for walking.
The problem is that not every neighborhood has everything. If
you’re looking for a place to settle down with the family, what
good is the world’s most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood if
there are no parks or backyards in sight?
Here are a few of the most walkable Portland neighborhoods
for your specific needs.
DELICIOUS FOOD: PEARL DISTRICT
According to Walk Score, the Pearl District is the number
one most walkable neighborhood in the city. Most residents
don’t need a car for day-to-day errands, and the densely
populated area is full of crosswalks and stoplights.
The Pearl is small enough that you can easily enjoy coffee with
lunch at Lovejoy Bakers, stroll through a few art galleries, buy a
book at Powell’s, and still have time to spare before heading
to dinner at one of Portland’s finest restaurants.
QUIRKY PORTLAND CULTURE: ALBERTA ARTS DISTRICT OR
Many of Portland’s most famous oddities are in these two
locales. Both neighborhoods are slightly more residential than
the Pearl District, and that makes zig-zagging across the street
easier and safer.
People flock from all over Portland and beyond to walk up and
down NE Alberta Street, home to both Last Thursday and the
Alberta Street Fair. Walking at these events is even easier in
summer, when the city closes the street to cars.
Sunnyside-Hawthorne is the place to go for vegan food and
people watching. The Bagdad Theater on Hawthorne Street is only
a few walkable blocks away from the local New Seasons Market.