Portland is such a fun and quirky city and a popular place to visit in the US. There are great hotel options in the central area close to popular attractions. You can also discover quirky corners of town. The best places to stay in Portland, Oregon are conveniently organized in this handy guide (from a local!).
This guide is organized into neighborhoods to make it easy for planning. There is additional information included in the final section about unique accommodations. These accommodations exceptionally showcase Portland’s quirky character.
You can’t go wrong in any area of Portland. Though, where you choose to stay will dramatically impact your impression of this city. So, read on to learn about the best places to stay in Portland, Oregon.
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Portland’s Back Story
Portland is known as the “City of Roses.” It’s beloved for its many parks, gardens, and well-used outdoor green spaces. It’s also a very liveable city with mixed-use architecture. Portland features lively food, shopping, and entertainment districts in many neighborhoods. The best Portland hotels are located all over the city, both in the center and in the outlying areas.
The city’s history begins in 1845 with an infamous penny flip to decide the city’s name. (The other contender was Boston.) By 1905, Portland was positioned to host a Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Fair. It had become a leading population center of the Pacific Northwest.
Today, Portland is a mecca for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, and creative thinkers. The city is really easy to get around by foot and public transportation. It’s the perfect home base to explore Oregon, from ocean to mountains. Accommodation in Portland ranges from budget to luxury, with both standard and off-the-beaten-path options available.
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Best Places to Stay in Portland, Oregon: Accommodation Quick Guide
Need an easy go-to place to stay? These three choices are sure to please and deliver a true Portland experience.
- The Nines—The top nine floors of what was once the 1909 Meier and Frank department store is the city’s premier luxury hotel. Located steps from Pioneer Courthouse Square, The Nines has exquisite furnishings and incomparable attention to detail.
- River’s Edge Hotel—Stay in Portland’s newest section of town, the South Waterfront. What was shipyards has now become glitzy highrises. Located on the Willamette River, the River’s Edge Hotel delivers an affordable urban retreat experience. It features Scandanavian design and a 12,500-square foot onsite spa.
- Jupiter Hotel—A mid-century motor lodge given a breath of new life. It’s now an icon of artistic minimalism, which serves as ground zero for an indie music scene. The on-site Doug Fir Lodge is a top venue for nearly nightly live bands in a space reminiscent of a log cabin.
How to Pick the Best Area to Stay in Portland, Oregon
The best area to stay in Portland really depends on your personal style and what you want to accomplish during your stay. There’s no wrong choice here, but it will affect your overall Portland experience.
Portland uses a quadrant system. All of downtown has a southwest (SW) prefix added to its addresses. Burnside Street divides the westside into southwest and northwest. The Willamette River divides the west and east sides of town. Interstate 5 then divides North Portland, which is east of the river and west of the northeast part of town. There’s a new South Portland just south of downtown as well.
The Best Places to Stay in Portland, Oregon: Downtown Portland—Central and Convenient
First-time visitors are often best served staying in downtown Portland or the adjacent Old Town/Chinatown district. Being in the heart of the city center means the top attractions are all nearby. Places like Washington Park, Powell’s Books, Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Portlandia statue, and Voodoo Doughnut are within easy reach. Public transit options are also the most plentiful in this part of town.
Downtown Portland stays buzzing during evenings and weekends. It’s a great place to stroll and people-watch. This area is also easily navigated by foot. Saturdays offer an arts and crafts market in Tom McCall Waterfront Park (near the Burnside Bridge). There’s also a farmer’s market in the Park Blocks at Portland State University.
Budget: The Ace Hotel
A blend of history and hipster style, the budget-minded and personable Ace Hotel is a few short blocks from many downtown attractions. The Ace offers complimentary bicycles to meander the leafy and bustling West End corridor of Portland’s downtown. Food options include an onsite coffee outlet (local favorite Stumptown). It’s an eclectic yet comfort-inspired restaurant and a basement speakeasy lounge.
Mid-range: Staypineapple Hotel Rose
Base yourself right beside the Willamette River at the Staypineapple Hotel Rose (locally referred to simply as ‘The Rose’). This colorful and friendly accommodation is known for its bold and quirky style and ergonomic room design. Special touches include loaner bicycles and afternoon cupcakes served with local coffee.
Luxury: The Dossier
One of Portland’s poshest accommodations is also one of its best situated. It’s located near shops and eateries along SW Broadway Street. The Dossier also offers easy access to the Max light rail system. Formerly a Westin property, the Dossier Hotel features modern, artfully decorated, spacious rooms with large windows and brilliant views.
Hostel: AAE Portland Hostel
Clean and convenient dorm-style rooms are the name of the game at the AAE Portland Hostel. This hostel is located by downtown Portland State University. Friendly staff ensures you’ll enjoy all Portland has to offer, just steps from your front door. (Note: this hostel is only available to those under 30 years of age and with out-of-state identification.)
The Best Places to Stay in Portland, Oregon: Portland’s Pearl District and Northwest Portland
Some of the best places to stay in Portland are just north of downtown Portland. Any address north of West Burnside Street is technically in Northwest Portland (centered on NW 21st and 23rd Aves) or the Pearl District. The latter officially stretches from NW Broadway to the 405 freeway.
Northwest 21st and 23rd anchor what is sometimes known as Nob Hill, or the Alphabet District. The streets ascend through the alphabet from Ankeny to York. This is the smallest quadrant of town. Just past 23rd, the city streets border the 5,000 wooded acres of Forest Park.
The adjacent Pearl was once a warren of warehouses. It has been transformed into an arts district filled with independent galleries. The Pearl is now ground zero for Portland’s signature mixed-use development due to a more recent revitalization. It’s an easy destination for walkable and trendy dining, shopping, and nightlife.
On the other side of the Pearl is the northern section of Old Town. Here you’ll find cast-iron facades that date to the late 1800s. Chinatown is in this section, centered around the Lan Su Chinese Garden, one of the most authentic outside of China.
Hostel: HI Portland Northwest Hostel
The perfect setting to call a temporary home, this hostel is a miniature village composed of five buildings. It’s part of Hostelling International and offers either dorm or private rooms with convenient public transit access. There are two on-site kitchens, an outdoor courtyard and garden, and laundry facilities.
Budget: Barzala at Koz
Blending the best of a private apartment rental and hotel amenities, the studios of Barzala at Koz are in an excellent location near the Portland Streetcar line. Staying here, you’ll be able to walk to eateries, brewpubs, and coffee outlets. And, you can enjoy the Pearl’s shopping and people-watching opportunities. The view from the rooftop terrace can’t be beat!
Mid-range: Canopy by Hilton
Hilton’s Canopy brand aims to be an extension of the surrounding neighborhood. The Pearl’s Canopy by Hilton fulfills this goal as it brings local art and products into the guest experience. This modern, boutique hotel offers free bike rentals and is one block from a light rail station. The front desk staff is highly rated and the 11th-floor terrace offers expansive city views.
Luxury: Harlow Hotel
For one of the best places to stay in Portland, Oregon that’s steeped in history, check out the brightly furnished and carefully appointed Harlow Hotel. This upscale boutique accommodation dates to 1882, making it the second oldest commercial building in the city. The rooms at the Harlow accentuate the building’s structure and let its natural beauty create a base for a serene urban oasis.
The Best Places to Stay in Portland, Oregon:
Some of the Best Hotels in Portland, Oregon are across the Willamette River from downtown. Originally, Portland was only west of the Willamette River, while the east shore sported a separate city of East Portland and Albina to its north. In 1890, the three cities consolidated into a new Portland. In 1930, the city was renumbered into the system we see today.
While many attractions are on the west side of town, most residents of Portland live on the larger east side (northeast, north, and southeast). The eastside is laid out in a numbered grid which lends itself to arterial streets each gaining its own neighborhood identity. Buses fan out with quick service to downtown, and there are many designated bike routes.
Many of the newest hotels east of the river are in or near the Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID), meaning they’re still in the central core. Another popular eastside area just to the north of CEID is around the Oregon Convention Center and Moda Center, the stadium for Portland’s NBA Trailblazers basketball team.
Ultimately, staying in the East Portland neighborhoods is a great way to experience Portland as locals do.
Hostel: Lolo Pass
The brand new Lolo Pass on East Burnside St is a hybrid offering traditional private rooms and shared hostel bunk spaces. The owners of Lolo Pass wanted to provide an authentic Portland stay at an affordable price while familiarizing Americans with the concept of hosteling. A rooftop bar inhabits the fifth floor, with views of the urban scene below.
Budget: Eastside Lodge
Affordable, comfortable, and convenient, the Eastside Lodge is a no-frills classically-styled mid-century motor lodge in the heart of Lower East Burnside. This stretch of Portland’s longest street has recently become a mix of shiny new buildings and trendy eateries. Yet the new is intermingled with gritty older establishments—overall, a true slice of Portland!
Mid-range: Hotel Grandstark
This 1906 building started as a hotel then became a furniture manufacturer for eighty years. It has recently returned to life as a hotel with a focus on local inspiration and community connection. Airy, light-toned rooms are individually decorated to invoke a residential feel.
Luxury: Hotel Eastlund
The fashionable and mid-century modern Hotel Eastlund is definitely the poshest accommodation in the convention and stadium area. Large windows let in natural light. Designer furnishings create a boutique atmosphere that is retro and hip yet elegant and sophisticated.
Experience the Offbeat Side of Portland: Unique Hotels in Portland, Oregon
While many of the best places in Portland, Oregon do a fine job of showcasing the city’s culture and independent spirit, there are a few accommodations that can be labeled as especially unique.
The McMenamin brothers have been renovating historic buildings around the Pacific Northwest since the 1980s. Dilapidated structures have begun new lives as restaurants, breweries, music and movie venues, and accommodations. Historic Hotels in the McMenamin’s group include the Kennedy School, formerly a 1915 elementary school, where you can literally sleep in a classroom.
Portland is home to several tiny house hotels. These properties feature a cluster of tiny homes (under 200 square feet!) arranged around a central courtyard. Caravan Tiny House Hotel in the eastside Alberta Arts District was the country’s first tiny house hotel. They have been operating since 2003. Others that have joined the scene are Slabtown Village in NW Portland and Tiny Digs, also on the east side.
A 1922 carriage house has become Kuza Garden Cabin, another interesting Portland place. It’s inside a Japanese garden located steps from Yakuza Ikaya restaurant and lounge on NE Alberta St. There’s also the Kuza Loft, a serene getaway space directly above the popular eatery.
Division Inns maintains two interesting properties, Bluebird Guesthouse and Evermore Guesthouse. They’re located near trendy SE Division St. Both accommodations are in 1910-era Arts and Crafts homes with shared spaces to facilitate social interaction. These unique lodgings combine aspects of a B&B, a boutique hotel, and a vacation rental to create an authentic Portland experience.
If you’re looking for a unique rental space for events and productions, check out the Colony Collective in North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood. It offers two furnished rental apartments as well as the Hide Away—a refurbished 1970’s era travel trailer.
Top Things to do in Portland
All the best places to stay in Portland, Oregon are near these amazing things to do in the city. Make sure to explore the fun and weird side of Portland, as well as the most common attractions.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Pioneer Courthouse Square functions as the city’s unofficial central meeting spot. It was slated to become a parking facility in the 1950s, but citizens acted to save it for public use. The square is home to the city’s first Starbucks coffee outlet and hosts a variety of civic events.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is located between SW 6th Avenue and SW Broadway St and between SW Yamhill and SW Morrison Sts. Trimet’s light rail train, MAX, travels on three sides of the square and is a major transfer point.
Designed by Michael Graves, the Portland Building is best known for its beloved statue, Portlandia, the country’s second-tallest hammered copper statue. Crouching on a post-modern building that resembles a pastel gift box, Raymond Kaskey’s Portlandia is 34 feet tall with skin the thinness of a dime.
The Portlandia statue is located on the west side of the Portland Building on SW 5th Avenue, between SW Main and SW Madison Streets. The best view is usually from across the street, where there is an information placard showing the original placing of the statue.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Covering thirteen city lots, Tom McCall Waterfront Park is on the western shore of the Willamette River. Always a working river, the Willamette once contained a seawall and docks in this spot. The riverfront became a park in the 1960s. Every Saturday, the nation’s oldest continuously operating arts and crafts market, Saturday Market, is held in the park under the Burnside Bridge with over two hundred vendors.
Saturday Market operates every Saturday from 10 through 5 between March and December. The official address is 2 SW Naito Parkway, but the market extends for several blocks along the waterfront and near Skidmore Fountain.
A full block (68,000 square feet!) of new and used books await you at Powell’s Books. This bookstore has been a city institution since 1971. Powell estimates its collection at a million volumes, organized into 3,500 sections.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Anchoring Portland’s Chinatown District is the Ming-dynasty-styled Lan Su Chinese Garden. It was designed to depict a traditional scholar’s courtyard. Constructed in partnership with Portland’s sister city of Suzhou in China, the name combines sounds from Suzhou and Portland and translates to “Garden of Awakening Orchids.”
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is located on NW Everett Street between NW 2nd and 3rd Avenues. It’s open weekdays except for Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors, and $9.95 for students. (Under age 5 is free.)
International Rose Test Garden
Portland’s first city park purchase is home to the renowned International Rose Test Garden. It’s this incredible garden that gave Portland the nickname, “city of roses.” You’ll find 10,000 rose bushes and over 650 cataloged varieties on 4.5 acres. The garden was established in 1917 to protect roses from Europe’s World War I and is the world’s oldest rose testing site.
The 400 acres of Washington Park also contain the Japanese Garden, Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, and Hoyt Arboretum. The popular Wildwood Trail connects Washington Park to Oregon Health Sciences University, the Pittock Mansion, and Forest Park.
The International Rose Test Garden is located at 400 SW Kingston Ave. It’s possible to walk up from downtown along SW Salmon St., or you can access it from W Burnside St. at SW Tichenor. There is also a seasonal, periodic shuttle bus from the Oregon Zoo-Max Station.
Day Trips from Portland
There are several great day trips from Portland. Two of the most popular are visiting the Columbia River Gorge to the east or Willamette wine country to the southwest. The Columbia River Gorge is a mecca for weekend adventurers. Its waterfall corridor has the largest concentration of waterfalls in North America. The most spectacular is Multnomah Falls, at 620 feet tall. Other gorge attractions include Bonneville Dam and the town of Hood River, a cute community that’s a hotspot for windsurfers.
The ancient river floods deposited well-drained topsoil perfect for planting Pinot Noir grapes. Willamette Valley now boasts upwards of 700 wineries. Most of them are small, family-run operations. Take Highway 99 out of town, but make sure to get onto the county backroads to explore thoroughly.
The Columbia River Gorge is easily accessed by Interstate 84, which heads directly east of Portland. A scenic option is Historic Highway 30, which is a direct route to many waterfalls but does not allow for parking at Multnomah Falls. Multnomah Falls frequently requires advance reservations at peak visiting times.
The Northern Willamette Valley wine country encompasses the communities of Newberg, Dundee, Dayton, Carlton, Yamhill, and McMinnville. For some guidance on which wineries you might wish to visit, check out the Willamette Valley Winery Association’s comprehensive site here. Reservations are strongly advised, especially on weekends.
How to Get to Portland, Oregon
Portland’s international airport is well known for its 80’s-style carpet, and many major airlines serve it. The airport is within the city limits. It’s only 20-30 minutes to downtown by taxi, rideshare, or light rail. Portland is served by Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses from all directions. Interstate freeways, I-5 and I-84, also connect to Washington, California, and eastwards.
How to Get Around Portland
Small blocks and a pedestrian-friendly culture make it easy to experience central Portland on foot. Attractions in the city are easily accessible by public transit (bus, light rail, and streetcar). Biketown rents dockless orange bikes at many locations around town by the minute, hour, or day.
When to Visit Portland
Portland tends to enjoy good weather from about April through October. It does get a lot of rain, and the most reliably non-rainy months are July and August. A popular time to visit is for the big Rose Festival. It starts Memorial Day and goes through mid-June. But if you’d prefer to avoid crowds, consider the shoulder seasons in the spring and fall.
Why You Should Surely Visit Portland, Oregon
Portland is always a fun place to visit, whether as a quick getaway or part of larger travels to the Pacific Northwest. Whether you come to eat, hike, or simply smell the roses, the best places to stay in Portland, Oregon are all around you. This fun and quirky city is ready to welcome you anytime.
This post was contributed by Jill Watkins. She is a Portland, Oregon-based travel writer and certified tour guide. A natural explorer who has led groups throughout the western states, Jill believes you can find wonder wherever you might be.
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