Heralded for its eclectic urban culture, Portland is full of quirky-cool neighborhoods that boast great Walk Scores as well as loads of interesting and unique places. Redfin Portland agent Matthew Brennan gave us the lowdown on the ten most walkable neighborhoods in Portland, including his favorite haunts.
1. Pearl District – Walk Score 96
Next to downtown and north of Burnside, nearly every amenity is steps away. “You’ll find newly constructed condos and renovated warehouses,” Brennan said. The neighborhood has been revitalized in the past 15 to 20 years, in large part due to a government rebuilding program. Known for its great restaurants and unique boutiques, the Pearl District is also home to the largest used book store in the country, Powell’s Books.
2. Downtown – Walk Score 95
Next to the Pearl District is Downtown Portland, the center of the city and one of Portland’s most historic districts. Full of museums and monuments, it’s also home to Portland State University and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). Perhaps thanks to the collegiate vibe, there’s no shortage of shops and boutiques. Residents tend to live along Southwest Waterfront, where newer condos are plentiful, and near the fantastic farmers’ market on the weekends.
3. Old Town / Chinatown – Walk Score 95
Old Town, also known as Chinatown, is situated right next to Downtown. The oldest neighborhood in Portland, it has an array of beautiful historical buildings and the lovely Lan Su Chinese Garden, one of the most authentic Chinese gardens in the country. “A lot of young professionals are drawn to this neighborhood, specifically along Nato Park Way, where you’ll find an assortment of classic apartment buildings and Union Station, which makes travel in and out of Portland easy.”
“When you include a Walk Score of 95, a Transit Score of 92 and a Bike Score of 98, this neighborhood is the most accessible of any of the downtown a neighborhoods,” Brennan added. And there’s plenty to do, with galleries, dining, shopping options and some of the country’s best and most inventive doughnuts. “At any given time, you’ll find a line wrapped around the sidewalk in front of Voodoo Donuts,” Brennan said.
4. Goose Hollow – Walk Score 92
“A more affordable alternative to neighborhoods like the Pearl and Downtown, Goose Hollow is a place where many first-time homebuyers choose to put down roots,” Redfin agent Matthew Brennan said. “Not only does this neighborhood have a lot of great shopping and dining options, but it also has scenic spots and entertainment for the whole family.” Just east of Downtown, the neighborhood is home to the lovely Washington Park, known for its famous rose gardens, and also the Oregon Zoo.
5. Northwest District – Walk Score 92
The Northwest District has the most acclaimed ice cream in Portland. “Even in the dead of winter, people line up to get some local homemade ice cream at Salt & Straw,” Brennan said. “There’s a slew of fantastic shopping options, especially along 23rd. If shopping isn’t your thing, head to Forrest Park to take in the verdant views. This park has one of the largest urban forest reserves and covers more than 5,100 acres. Stroll along some of the residential streets off 21st and 23rd Avenues, and you’ll find distinguished Victorians peppered throughout.”
6. Hollywood – Walk Score 91
This well-established Portland neighborhood, not unlike its sunnier SoCal namesake, is known for having all your necessary conveniences and also great films at The Hollywood Theater (which is how the neighborhood got its name). “The district’s main arterial road is Sandy Avenue and has a variety of shopping and dining locations,” Brennan said. “The neighborhood certainly isn’t lacking in grocery stores, with a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s.” Residents living here tend to occupy bungalows and craftsman homes.
7. Sunnyside – Walk Score 91
Sunnyside is actually made up of two smaller neighborhoods, Belmont and Hawthorne. Hawthorne, known also as Funky Hawthorne, has an array of vintage stores, while Belmont is known for its boutique-y, hipster feel. Zupan’s, the neighborhood’s main grocery store, was featured on Portlandia, and Stumptown opened its second cafe on Belmont Street. Between these two areas, residents and visitors can walk to pretty much everything they might need. This neighborhood is also close to Mt. Tabor Park, featuring the eponymous extinct volcano and miles of hiking trails.
8. Hosford-Abernethy – Walk Score 89
This area is home to Ladd’s Addition, one of the only neighborhoods in Portland not on a grid. The streets here go diagonally and feature a beautiful rose garden in the center, and the neighborhood is full of older homes and long-time residents. “The six corners, especially near Division and 20th, has great restaurants and there’s always new stuff popping up, especially in the many newly-remodeled warehouses,” Redfin agent Matthew Brennan said. “Homes here tend to be old homes and bungalows, built in the early 1900’s to 1930’s. In addition to having a really high Walk Score, this neighborhood also boasts fantastic public transportation, and has a Transit Score of 98.”
9. Boise – Walk Score 88
“This North Portland neighborhood has seen a lot of revitalization and it’s really become an in-demand area,” Brennan said. “Mississippi Street is adorable. There’s kind of a cool-funky vibe, but it’s still really picturesque.” Along Williams & Vancouver, there’s a lot of new development including new condos, grocery stores and various other construction projects. The neighborhood certainly has its fair share of sparkling apartments and condos, as well as hip breweries and boutiques.
10. Buckman – Walk Score 88
If you’re itching to meet one of the more famous musicians or artists who populate Portland, head to Buckman. This neighborhood — especially Burnside Street — also has a nice mix of shopping and dining; make sure to check out the Doug Fir restaurant and lounge where you can get good food and catch a show.
In terms of accessibility, this neighborhood is one to watch. New urban-planning initiatives and renovations will bring public-transit-only routes to the neighborhood, with additional lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists. Ultimately, the new project will connect four of Portland’s five quadrants. Plus, the neighborhood already boasts a public transit score of 99, only the best in the city!