| Portland is divided into five sections. Burnside Street is the north/south split. The Willamette (pronounced will-LAM-et) splits Southeast and Southwest, but the river takes a turn north of Burnside. Since mother nature wasn't smart enough to use straight lines in her planning, the city decided to split what would be the Northwest quadrant into Northwest (West of the river) and North (East of the River), then divide North and Northeast at Williams Avenue. All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) This will make it easier to figure out where things are. If you hear Portlanders talking about the Southwest or the Northeast, they're probably talking about the section of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts. |
• St. Johns, near the confluence of the Willamette and the Columbia, is more like a small town than a neighborhood. It has a nice line of storefronts.
• Albina and Mississippi Avenues host a lively little neighborhood.
• Sellwood once was a rival of Portland. It was later annexed and is now a thriving little neighborhood of its own along with West Moreland.
• Hawthorne Blvd. has a good collection of shops as well as a branch of Powell's Bookstore and the ornate Baghdad Theater.
• Belmont St., while not as major as Hawthorne, also has a decent collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment. The greatest concentration of businesses is around 34th Ave.
• Division St. also has a good deal of sites and activities.
• The Clinton District, on Clinton St. at 21st and 26th, is a nice little neighborhood center with some decent food and a theater.
• The neighborhood along Woodstock Blvd., centered around 45th, is more oriented towards residents.
• 82nd Ave. is definitely one of the seedier parts of Portland, but is a good place to go for anything ethnic, especially Asian.
• Hollywood is a dense little neighborhood centered around the ornate Hollywood theater on Sandy Blvd. Ironically, the Hollywood Theater kind of goes against the Hollywood grain, and frequently shows great movies that you might not get a chance to see at more Hollywood oriented theaters. During warm months, the Hollywood Saturday Market offers fresh produce and community events.
• Alberta St. has a thriving arts district between Martin Luther King and 30th.
• Beaumont is a nice little neighborhood along Fremont St. in the 40s
• Downtown, the heart of Portland, lies in the Southwest
• The West Hills, also stretching north of Burnside in the Northwest section, are where the well-to-do of Portland have traditionally lived. You can see pretty large mansions suspended on stilts above the hillside. Because of the geography, the streets in the West Hills are a bit of a maze. If you think you won't get lost, though, the West Hills might be an interesting trek. You'll find lavish mansions, ornate public staircases from several different time periods, and a few good views of downtown. You might also want to see the Vista Bridge. This bridge was once nicknamed the "Suicide Bridge" because of the people that jumped from it during the Great Depression in the 1930's
• Goose Hollow lies west across I-405 from downtown. This neighborhood is sort of a quieter, more residential extension of downtown.
• Lair Hill is another quiet but attractive neighborhood south across I-405 from downtown. Look for the Great Northwest Bookstore in an old church in this neighborhood.
• Multnomah Village is a nice little neighborhood in hilly SW Portland.
• Chinatown and Old Town lie north of Burnside between the Park Blocks and the river. This area has a sort of old, seedy feel. However, as the Pearl District expands its tentacles outward, the fringes of this neighborhood are experiencing some regentrification. True to the name, this is really the oldest section of Portland.
• The Pearl District lies between I-405, Burnside and the Park blocks. This is where you want to go if you want to get your trendiness in. The Pearl was once a half abandoned warehouse district, but in recent years has been given a fresh new coat of make-up by those wanting to live in a more urban environment close to downtown.
• NW 23rd and NW 21st have a good deal of shops and the like. Like the Pearl, this area is a bit more on the trendy side. You will sometimes hear this area referred to as the Alphabet District (because the east-west streets run alphabetically), although most people seem to call it simply "Northwest".