Real Estate

Every Neighborhood in Portland in a Nutshell

From Alameda to Woodstock, St. Johns to Sylvan Highlands

By Fiona McCann, Conner Reed, Margaret Seiler, and Julia Silverman March 30, 2022 Published in the Spring 2022 issue of Portland Monthly

The numbers tell one story—demographics, home sales prices, Walk Scores, commute times—but what’s a place really like? We checked the vibe on all of Portland’s residential neighborhoods. Note: in a highly unscientific process, neighborhoods that share a main drag or just a feeling may have been grouped together, and groups are listed here by whichever one comes first in the alphabet.

Alameda & Beaumont-Wilshire

Near-million-dollar homes wind up the hill as NE Fremont rises from 21st Avenue through the 40s, but the vibe is way more charming than garish, with quick access to above-par doughnuts, coffee, and brunch. 

Arbor Lodge & Overlook

North Interstate’s MAX line, neon signs, and no-frills motels seem worlds away from the sunset picnic spots along the bluffs above Swan Island, but they’re mere blocks apart.

Ardenwald-Johnson Creek

The bird-watchers who flock to the natural areas here don’t much care that it’s hard to tell if you’re in Portland or Milwaukie; neither do homeowners, who snatch up houses with significantly more acreage than you find in closer-in hoods.

Argay & Parkrose

Just east of I-205, Parkrose and Argay straddle NE Sandy with residential areas and sporty Parkrose High on the south side and airport hotels, Costco, a brewery, and a lot of light industrial activity on the north. 

Arlington Heights & Hillside

Be prepared to pay through the nose for earthquake insurance at these lofty, upscale neighborhoods perched high above the city. On the bright side, no worries about floods or finding a parking spot at Washington Park—it’s your backyard. 

Arnold Creek

For those who want to live in Lake Oswego but aren’t ready to identify as Clackamas County-ers. Homes are quite pricey, but you get the delightful Tryon Creek State Natural Area in close proximity.

Ashcreek, Crestwood & Maplewood

Suburban-feel ranch houses and kid-friendly coffee shops lurk along Portland’s leafy western edge. 

Boise & Eliot

The once predominantly African American Albina neighborhood has seen many changes since its time as a hub of West Coast jazz, These days, the avenues of N Mississippi and N Williams are known mostly for retail and restaurants, with shopping and dining strips bracketing the largely residential streets in between. 


On a plateau above Johnson Creek and below Mount Scott, this area of Southeast didn’t become part of Portland until 1986. The mostly residential zone is home to towering firs, two Jewish cemeteries, one Apostolic Faith world HQ, and some standout food carts. 

Bridgeton, East Columbia & Sunderland

Hugging the Columbia River between I-5 and the airport, this mostly industrial zone also sports golf courses and riverfront condos. 

Bridlemile & Hayhurst

Suburbia within city limits, with equally easy access to peaceful green spaces and big box stores. 


A quiet, close-in enclave that got a big boost when the Orange MAX line went in; the giant hill at Brooklyn Park is built for summer slip-’n’-slide action. 


Among the city’s highest concentration of Victorian-era homes with gingerbread trim, plus plenty of neighbor-painted road murals at intersections.

View of the St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park

Cathedral Park & St. Johns

A quaint downtown with not one but two movie theaters and the soaring St. Johns Bridge mark this picturesque end of North Portland’s “peninsula,” between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. 


Close-knit and affordable on the Portland/Gresham border with its own school district, colorful murals, and a stone’s throw from both Powell Butte and some of the city’s best birrierias. 

Collins View & South Burlingame

Perched between the vintage Burlingame Fred Meyer sign and River View Cemetery, these small hoods that punch above their weight don’t see a ton of turnover in real estate, so you might be waiting a while to get in. 


The namesake Lutheran college closed under murky circumstances in 2020, but schools are still big in Concordia, from the new building for Portland Public’s Faubion to the repurposed McMenamins Kennedy School bar-restaurant-cinema-hotel. 

Creston-Kenilworth, Richmond & South Tabor

Anchored by a burgeoning commercial district around SE 50th and Division, plus home to the kayak and canoe museum of your dreams. 

Pip’s on the edge of Cully, near Beaumont-Wilshire

Cully & Sumner

Humble ’60s-era houses sit on long lots under tall firs just south of the airport, with a golf course, a beloved butcher, and an Indian buffet drawing visitors from across the city.


The city’s heart has been through it in recent years—pandemic scars are still visible in shuttered businesses. But marquees are lit again in the cultural hub of theaters and museums along SW Broadway and the South Park Blocks. 


Some of the grandest homes in the city, though it’s technically not part of Portland, plus public schools that take applications and tuition from out-of-districters. 

Eastmoreland & Reed

The Halloween trick-or-treating is legendary, the Reed Canyons are a delight, and the battles over historic preservation vs. new development are jarring. 

Far Southwest & West Portland Park

Portland Community College’s Sylvania campus defines this hood; available housing includes both condos and single-family homes, and there’s quick access to shopping districts in Tigard and Lake Oswego.

Forest Park & Northwest Heights

Clinging to NW Skyline and bleeding into Bethany and the rural reaches, homes here are hard to beat for views. Bonus: it’s easy-peasy to take a hike on the Wildwood Trail.

Foster-Powell & Mt Scott-Arleta

Perennially on the edge of gentrification, these Southeast hoods still boast some deals to be found, plus proximity to the glorious Portland Mercado food cart pod. 

Glenfair, Hazelwood & Mill Park

The city has poured millions into greenspaces here like Gateway Discovery Park, but residents also endure one of the city’s highest concentrations of traffic deaths and other safety issues. 

Goose Hollow’s Providence Park

Goose Hollow

Dipping from downtown and climbing up toward Vista Avenue and Washington Park, this onetime bastion of Portland high society still has some grand homes and exclusive clubs, though all comers are welcome to be part of the 25,000 fans packing into Providence Park on soccer game days.

Grant Park

With construction at Grant High complete, neighbors here can reclaim their namesake park, home to statues of Beverly Cleary characters Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy the dog. 

Hayden Island & Jantzen Beach

Amusement park–turned–shopping center dominates the view, and floating homes and marinas fill in the edges—but much of this expanse in the Columbia River is a nature preserve.

Healy Heights, Homestead & Southwest Hills

Very hard to live up here and NOT have rooms with stunning city views and neighbors who are hardy, fit doctors who bomb down the Marquam Nature Park trails. Sidewalks are scarce, so watch for joggers and dog-walkers in the middle of the road.


One of the most walkable hoods in Southwest boasts a killer year-round farmers market and an extra-welcoming library branch. 

Hollywood & Rose City Park

The Hollywood Theatre is the main attraction, of course, but don’t count out the dark-horse food cart pods or growing number of vintage shops in these transit-friendly hoods centered on NE Sandy. 


Check out the tree-lined streets before Dutch elm disease beats you to it, and stop to smell all the roses in the Ladd’s Addition gardens. 


Historically the Oregon high school with the highest percentage of Black students, Jefferson and its sports track anchor Humboldt, which also takes in a bustling Portland Community College campus. 

Irvington & Sabin

Irving Park’s sun-trap and dog mecca and commercial stretches on NE Broadway, Fremont, and Prescott put a lot within walking distance of these leafy streets. 


An ax-wielding 31-foot Paul Bunyan stands guard over Kenton’s 1920s bungalows, new transit-served apartment buildings, old-timey downtown, and 24-hour doughnut shop.

The Zipper 


After a recent glow-up, this close-in hood boasts a busy rock gym, a bespoke butcher shop, and the designiest of the city’s many food cart pods in the Zipper, along with a solid stock of homes to rent and buy. 

King & Vernon

The forces of gentrification are strong here—an iced coffee might run you $6 along Alberta—but pockets of the area’s storied past remain, including in Black history murals and old-school barbershops. 


In the news for homeless encampments, the namesake park is still a place of peace, respite, and summer concerts, with the surrounding homes more generously spaced than in other close-in zones. 

Lents & Powellhurst Gilbert

The focus of furious revitalization efforts in recent years, this corner of Portland is a stronghold of Asian and Eastern European communities, and starter homes that won’t quite break the bank. 


Neighbors here cluster along the bluffs overlooking the Willamette, know where to find the uncrowded Forest Park trailheads, and do as much of their shopping as possible at the classic Linnton Feed & Seed. 

Lloyd District & Sullivan’s Gulch

Big question marks here about the future of the namesake mall, but the walkable area with its historic homes and low-slung apartments remains a pocket of quintessential neighborhoodiness. 

Madison South & Roseway

The slightly shaggy, lovable business district around NE 72nd and Sandy holds a vegan Jewish deli and a tasteful wine bar; small, rehabbed ranches and Cape Cod homes line the quiet streets leading up to Rocky Butte. 

Markham & Marshall Park

Big lots and Tryon Creek in the backyard make up for having no real business district to call your own. Best-kept neighborhood secret: the fairy doors hidden on the short loop of the Maricara Natural Area hike.


What’s not to love about a neighborhood with a classic second-run cinema, a corner coffee shop devoted to all things pie, and homes that are still affordable, at least for Portland? 

Mt Tabor & North Tabor

Away from the hustle of it all, this is the land of well-maintained yards and electric bikes to propel enviro-conscious commuters up the dormant volcano to their serene enclaves. 

Multnomah Village

For those who want an east-side Portland lifestyle combined with west-side Portland schools and housing stock, plus one of the city’s best indie bookstores. 

Bar Diane in Northwest District


Northwest District

A welcome mix of urban density and neighborhood charm, with eclectic architecture keeping things vibrant, and a bit of mid-aughts dignity to much of the dining along NW 21st and 23rd. 

Old Town-Chinatown

You’ll pay less here for an apartment/condo than pretty much any other close-in neighborhood, many of them with river views, but the area is also one of the city’s most affected by houselessness. 

Parkrose Heights, Russell, Wilkes & Woodland Park

Almost to Gresham (but not quite), and in the flight path from nearby PDX, homes here go for less that you’ll pay closer in and have quick access to some of the best Mexican, Russian, and Vietnamese food in the city. 


This streetcar-served former warehouse district is now home to a mix of boutique chains, loading-dock cafés, local-celeb condos, and even some affordable housing in among the glitz. 

Piedmont & Woodlawn

Take in peekaboo views of surrounding mountains from century-old homes with generous porches, picnic at Woodlawn Park, or plan a wedding, quinceañera, or emo photo shoot at Peninsula Park’s bandstand and rose garden. 

Pleasant Valley

Snuggled up against Powell Butte, the name is a misnomer: There is no valley, though it is quite pleasant out this way, with newer homes and some of the best views on the east side (but less-than-optimal public transit access).

Portsmouth & University Park

Catholic college students play beer pong in front yards on one end and the New Columbia public and affordable housing development anchors the other in this swath of North Portland. 


Mayberry in Portland, where some residents kayak to work in the summertime, plus easy biking or walking access to the Oaks Park roller coasters and skating rink. (Moreland is short for Westmoreland, and the dividing line is hotly debated but is somewhere around SE Rex.) 

South Portland

Sixth quadrant pride, are we right? The glossy condo towers and abbreviated riverfront walking paths here have never quite jelled into a fully vibrant neighborhood, but we stay optimistic; a supermarket would definitely help out. 


No need to cry in the H-Mart on Belmont; instead, scour side streets for gracious older homes converted into apartments, mixed with the occasional new and hypermodern structures. 

Sylvan Highlands

Nearly to Washington County, the midcentury modern homes and high-end new builds here sell quicker than you can say “good schools.” 


On the one hand, a bustling business district anchored by a high-end New Seasons that boasts a rooftop patio; on the other, still some unpaved, pothole-pocked streets in this tucked-away hood.