Living in Portland’s downtown area
provides both convenient accessibility to the
rest of the city and so much variety within
its one square mile of concentration, you
may never need (or want) to leave.
While Portland may not boast an architectural icon like Seattle’s Space Needle
or the Empire State Building in New York
City, there are plenty of quirky landmarks
that make Portland’s downtown area both
memorable and unique.
The “White Stag Sign”, named for its placement on the White Stag Building, looks over
the downtown sky with incandescent bulbs
forming the words, Portland, Oregon within
the outline of the state. Take a walk over the
Burnside Bridge to watch is sparkle at night.
The pepto-bismol pink boxes of Voodoo
doughnuts can be spotted all over the city,
but it’s the downtown location that can’t be
missed. While residents will often argue that
Blue Star is the better doughnut establishment, the Voodoo doughnut storefront, with
its pink exterior and giant, twisted chandelier is a downtown icon in and of itself.
Powell’s, the world’s largest independent
book store, takes up one whole block on
Burnside Street — a major artery of traffic
on the northern border of the downtown
proper. You can get lost for hours amongst
the stacks, or stop by and listen to a visiting
Pioneer Square lies at the heart of downtown, as a place to gather and enjoy your
meals from nearby food trucks and people
watch as this central location bustles with
city life. The 40,000 square feet of open
space and steps are affectionately referred to
as the city’s living room, for its comfortable,
These are just a few of the special spots
that make downtown Portland memorable
upon your first visit to the city, but locals
have a chance to dig deeper and discover the
variety of neighborhoods, the hidden gem
establishments, and the impressive livability
of Portland’s downtown area.
Bungalow style houses dominate much of
Portland’s outer neighborhoods, but in the
downtown portion of the city, apartment
buildings are increasing in number and
height. Central Portland is actually the only
area in the state where developers can build
up to 300 feet, and with the ever-increasing
density of this city, more are taking advantage of that option.
WHO’S MOVING TO
Roughly 11,000 people call downtown Portland home. The median age of those residents
is 38 and the average household net worth is
$320, 134. 70% of those people are married.
Cities tend to draw younger, single professionals in general, so one might assume that
the most metropolitan area of a given city
would reflect that trend. That isn’t so in Portland, where the younger population gravitates
to the outer neighborhoods, likely motivated
by older houses that offer cheaper rent.
But the newness of many downtown Port-
land apartments is attracting a more settled,
affluent crowd, including families. Some of
the top high schools in the city are based in
the downtown area, including Lincoln High
School and Grant High School, which is an
obvious draw for those with children. Addi-
tionally, there are plenty of kid-friendly and
educational attractions to keep your younger
ones busy on the weekends in downtown
Portland, including the Oregon Historical
Society, Portland Art Museum, Oregon
Children’s Theater, and more.
Those who seek walkability and accessibility find downtown Portland particularly
appealing. Walking is the transportation
of choice with Portland’s 200 foot long
blocks and a high concentration of amenities in one square mile. When you do need
to reach the many other neighborhoods
surrounding downtown, the streetcar,
buses, and light rail will get you just about
anywhere you need to go.
If you’re a foodie who wants plenty of
options nearby, then downtown Portland
will not disappoint. Portland is known for its
abundance of food trucks. The Alder pod at
SW 10th & Alder is one of the city’s largest,
and its downtown location draws a rush
of lunch-break workers from nearby office
buildings. Luckily, there are plenty of trucks
to thin out the crowd. Nong’s Khao Man
Gai is a local favorite, serving up a chicken
and rice dish that is simple and delicious.
Many businesses are based in downtown
Portland. Those who work in the area are
often drawn to the idea of living there,
too. Portland is known for some sticky
traffic situations, particularly during rush
hour traffic. Living and working in downtown Portland allows you to avoid that
completely, while enjoying the energy of the
city as it wakes up to a new day.
All types of people are drawn to downtown
Portland living, where culture thrives and
eating options overwhelm. If the urban lifestyle is right for you, Portland’s accessible,
compact, and friendly downtown area will
fulfill your need without overwhelming your
nerves. It’s a unique downtown that strikes
the perfect balance of lively and manageable.
WHERE TO LIVE
Options for urban living are expanding as
real estate moves skyward in the Bridge City.
URBAN LIVING RESOURCES
Northwest District Association
Old Town Chinatown
Pearl District Neighborhood
Southeast Uplift Neighborhood
South Waterfront Community