Where to Stay in Portland, Oregon → TOP 5 Areas & Hotels

Portland skyline at dusk with Mount Hood in the background

Portland, Oregon, commonly known as the ‘City of Roses,’ is a green city known for its friendliness, arts and culture scene, and gorgeous nature. The city has plenty to offer to different kinds of travelers, and one of the main questions that pop up among prospective visitors is where to stay in Portland. 

If you’d like an answer to that question, you’re in the right place! I’ve compared all Portland neighborhoods and highlighted the 5 best ones. 

When you’re visiting the city for the first time and want easy access to the top attractions, you should stay in Downtown Portland, with its lively atmosphere and buzzing dining scene. 

Portland also has a great selection of hotels – I know because I went through nearly every option and I carefully selected the best ones for each of the areas I’m recommending. And to make booking easy for you, I sorted them by price.

Don’t forget to book your hotel in advance, as spots are limited, and rooms can sell out pretty far in advance here!

Let’s go!

If you are in a hurry

Go through this list of the best hotels in Portland, all situated in the downtown area of Portland: 

Here’s a map of the 5 Portland neighborhoods featured in this post: 

1. Downtown Portland – best for first-time visitors

Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on a sunny day, with the historic courthouse in the backgroundPioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on a sunny day, with the historic courthouse in the background

Downtown Portland is situated on the West bank of the Willamette River, South of Old Town and the Pearl District (which I’ll chat about later). The area is buzzing with life and boasts some of the city’s most important sites. This is why I recommend it as the best place to stay in Portland for first-time visitors.

Here, you will find great food, green spaces, art museums, and galleries throughout the district. Downtown Portland has enough attractions to keep you busy for days and better yet, it’s a great place to stay without a car. There are plenty of transportation options in the area, and the main points of interest are within walking distance of each other. 

At the core of downtown, you’ll find Pioneer Courthouse Square (map), known as the ‘city’s living room’. This vibrant square is teeming with people and hosts regular events, but even if there’s nothing going on, it’s a great place to sit back and do some people-watching. 

Right next to the square, Pioneer Place (map) offers endless shopping opportunities. I highly recommend you make the most of it, as shopping is tax-free in Portland, so you’ll be saving quite a lot (and you’ll go home with plenty of new items!). 

FUN FACT: Portland is home to the world’s smallest park! Mill Ends Park (map) consists of a single tree, but it’s fun to visit and it’s a great photo op. 

During your time in Downtown Portland, I suggest you pay a visit to the Portland Art Museum, which hosts numerous art collections from all over the world. 

And if you want to spend some time outdoors, the best spot for it is Keller Fountain Park (map), where you’ll find artificial waterfalls, wading pools, and many incredible picnic spots. 

Luxury hotel

Guests at the Kimpton Riverplace Hotel will enjoy the comfort of modern, bright rooms with private bathrooms and gain access to a local fitness facility. Complimentary tea and coffee are offered each morning, and in the evening, you can attend the hotel’s wine reception. The hotel is also pet-friendly and doesn’t charge an additional pet fee for your furry friends. 

Other accommodation in Downtown Portland


During your stay at Residence Inn, you can enjoy the indoor pool and a fitness center, plus a free breakfast


This downtown hotel is a little lower-rated but offers affordable rooms and a hot breakfast buffet


Situated in a historic building, this apartment has been recently renovated and has 2 bedrooms, each with two queen beds

Downtown Portland is an extremely popular tourist destination, so securing a room in the best hotels can be a bit tricky, especially if you need one on short notice. So, if you don’t manage to secure a room in one of the accommodations recommended above, here are 3 additional options, all within the mid-range category:

  • Hotel Deluxe ($$) – if you want to stay in a downtown hotel that provides easy access to Providence Park, there’s no better choice than the Hotel Deluxe. All rooms at this upscale hotel have a sitting area and air conditioning. 
  • The Mark Spencer Hotel ($$) – a boutique hotel with a 24/7 fitness center, just a short walk away from Powell’s Books. Guests at the Mark Spencer Hotel can benefit from room service, ironing facilities, and private parking. 
  • Ace Hotel Portland – ($$) each of the rooms at the Ace Hotel is uniquely decorated with painted murals and luxurious sheets and blankets. You can dine at one of the 2 on-site restaurants and enjoy the delicious continental breakfast each morning. 

Things to do in Downtown Portland

Historic red brick building in downtown Portland with vibrant city life and clear blue skies.Historic red brick building in downtown Portland with vibrant city life and clear blue skies.
  • Check out Portland’s living room, Pioneer Square
  • Visit the Portland Art Museum
  • Go on a shopping spree at Pioneer Place
  • Learn something new at the Oregon Historical Society
  • Get some great coffee at Stumptown Coffee Roasters within the Ace Hotel 
  • Attend a performance at the Keller Auditorium
  • Stop by Mill Ends Park, the world’s smallest park
  • Have a picnic at Keller Fountain Park
  • Go on a guided day trip to the Oregon Coast

2. Central Eastside – where to stay in Portland for nightlife

Evening view of a popular street corner in Central Eastside Portland featuring eclectic dining spots like CartopiaEvening view of a popular street corner in Central Eastside Portland featuring eclectic dining spots like Cartopia

The Central Eastside neighborhood is situated on the East side of the Willamette River, across Downtown Portland, which is a 4-min drive away (a 30-min walk), and is part of the larger district of Southeast Portland. 

It’s an old industrial zone crisscrossed with train tracks, but it’s also a bustling hub of nightlife, making it the ideal place to stay in Portland for a weekend and do some partying.

Portland’s Central Eastside is alive all the time – not just after dark! Besides the clubs, breweries, and restaurants, the area features some museums and art galleries that will certainly be enough to fill your days. 

First on your to-visit list should be OMSI, i.e., the Oregon Museum of Science and Technology, which offers a variety of cool activities, including stargazing at the planetarium, rotating shows, and submarine tours. 

If you’re into trains, you should definitely check out the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, and if you like unusual art exhibits, then a visit to Hopscotch Portland is a must. 

Exterior view of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) with visitors gathering at the entrance on a cloudy dayExterior view of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) with visitors gathering at the entrance on a cloudy day

But now, let’s get into what you’re really here for – the nightlife! The first thing I’ll recommend is attending a show at the Doug Fir Lounge (map) at its new location. It was previously located within the Jupiter Hotel, but as of summer 2024, it’s moving to a different spot but offering just as many amazing performances

One of my favorite things about the Central Eastside is that it is conveniently located for exploring other neighborhoods. The Lloyd District is within walking distance, and it’s great to visit and see a hockey game at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (map). 

NOTE: if you’re in town for a game at Moda Center (map) or an event at the Oregon Convention Center (map), both located in the Lloyd District, you might want to consider staying here. In that case, I recommend Hotel Eastlund; here, you’ll enjoy dining at the 2 on-site restaurants, valet parking, a community workspace, and more! 

Another neighborhood worth exploring near the Central Eastside is the Alberta Arts District. The area is centered around Alberta Park (map) and Alberta Street. Get ready to see some amazing street art and discover quirky cafes and restaurants. 

Finally, if you’re on the hunt for some unique places to stay in Portland, then I’ll direct you a bit further East of the Central Eastside to the Kerns area and Tiny Digs. Essentially a tiny house, Tiny Digs is perfect if you’re looking for a more unusual stay. 

Luxury hotel

The title for the best hotel in the Central Eastside goes to the Hotel Grand Stark. It has an amazing restaurant serving Italian cuisine, a 24-hour front desk, and a concierge service. The guest rooms are spacious and clean, and they feature private bathrooms; I highly suggest getting a King room for maximum comfort. 

Other accommodation options in Central Eastside


A historic 3-star hotel featuring a bar, restaurant, and a sauna, and offering express check-in and check-out


Simple, clean, and affordable rooms are offered at this lodge, as well as free parking and Wi-Fi 


A 1-bedroom studio with a private entrance, a king bed, and a private bathroom, plus access to free street parking

Things to do in Central Eastside

  • Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • See the trains at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center
  • Try the delicious Thai food at Nong’s Khao Man Gai (map)
  • Enjoy the experiential art at Hopscotch Portland
  • Get a craft beer at Wayfinder Beer (map) and Loyal Legion (map)
  • Spend a fun night out at Revolution Hall
  • Go for a meal at Screen Door Eastside (map) and get dessert at Voodoo Doughnut (map)

3. Pearl District – where to stay in Portland for a cool vibe

Street view of McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop with people dining outside.Street view of McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop with people dining outside.

Pearl District is located North of Downtown Portland and between Old Town Chinatown (on the East side) and Nob Hill (on the West side). This is the newest and most fashionable area of Portland. It’s a great central location with all the downtown conveniences whilst still maintaining a trendy atmosphere

Until the mid-1980s, there was nothing but warehouses and industrial buildings here. Now, those warehouses are home to stylish and chic bars, restaurants, and world-class art galleries – an amazing example of the urban renewal era! 

The Pearl District’s most distinctive landmark is Powell’s City of Books (map), the largest new and used bookstore in the world! Powell’s Books spans over an entire city block and stores more than 1 million books organized in color-coded rooms. Sounds like every book lover’s dream, right? 

The Fields Park (map), with its paved trails and playground, and Jamison Square (map), with its wading fountain, are both incredible spots if you want to spend time outdoors. Both these parks are family-friendly as well as dog-friendly, so the whole family can go and have fun! 

If you’re looking for ways to spend your evenings, the McMenamins Crystal Ballroom (map) live music venue hosts a wide variety of events. But if you’re looking for something more laid-back, 10 Barrel Brewing Portland (map) is a very cool brewpub and a great place to sit down for a craft beer and a pretzel (they’re incredibly good). 

FUN FACT: Pearl district got its name in 1985 thanks to one of Portland’s gallery owners. He said that the neighborhood’s artists in crusty old buildings were like pearls inside oysters. Another version is that this same gallery owner already called the area Pearl’s District in honor of Pearl Marie Amhara, his friend who traveled the world raising money for the poor. Which one do you think is true?

Below is a list of recommended hotels to stay in the Pearl District:

Luxury hotel

Within walking distance of Powell’s City of Books, you’ll find this modern hotel with exposed brick, abstract art, and a chic design. Each of the rooms at the hotel has air conditioning and a private bathroom stocked with designer toiletries. Among the facilities, you’ll find a fitness center, bicycle rentals, and a business center.

Other accommodation options in Pearl District


Some of the perks of staying at this hotel include valet parking, a grab-n-go breakfast, and an indoor pool


The hotel is in a great location in the Pearl District and has a 24-hour front desk and air conditioning


Charming Airbnb for 2 guests with a parking spot located on a very quiet street yet super central

Things to do in Pearl District

  • Explore the extensive book offer at Powell’s Books
  • Spend a relaxing afternoon at Fields Park
  • Enjoy the fountain at Jamison Square 
  • See a play at Portland Center Stage
  • Relax in the Tanner Springs Park (map)
  • Get tickets for a live music performance at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
  • Grab a drink and a quick bite to eat at 10 Barrel Brewing Portland
  • Go on a spooky walking tour of Portland

4. Old Town Chinatown – where to stay in Portland for history

Portland's ornate Chinatown gate with pedestrians walking by in daylightPortland's ornate Chinatown gate with pedestrians walking by in daylight

Old Town Chinatown is the city’s oldest neighborhood. It is situated on the West Bank of the Willamette River, North of Downtown and East of the Pearl District. Although the neighborhood is actually part of Downtown Portland, it has its own distinct character and atmosphere and is steeped in history. 

Both Downtown and Old Town have a lot to offer, but the historic area in the latter reveals the story of Oregon’s most significant town from its beginnings to the present. And seeing as this is the city’s Chinatown, you can enjoy some of the best Asian cuisine in the Pacific Northwest! 

One of the focal points in the neighborhood is Tom McCall Waterfront Park (map), a gorgeous riverfront park lined with cherry trees. I highly suggest visiting during the cherry blossom season – this is when the park truly comes alive, and walking below the blossoms is a magical experience. 

But there’s more to this park, and it’s actually one of the best things about the city – the Portland Saturday Market (map)! Even though it’s called a Saturday market, it also operates on Sundays and offers the most delicious street food and unique arts and crafts. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the live music from the very talented locals.

Another unmissable thing to visit in this part of the city is the Lan Su Chinese Garden (map), a very serene green space where you can see some very rare and unique plants that are native to China. And while you’re there, you should definitely have a relaxing cup of tea at the teahouse on the premises. 

When it comes to evening entertainment, there are quite a lot of things to enjoy in Old Town Chinatown. The Star Theater and Starlight Lounge (map) and Dante’s (map) are cool music venues, and the Roseland Theater (map) is a standing-only concert hall – all great spots for a night out! 

In case you want something more unusual, head to Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade and Bar (map), where you play retro pinball machines and vintage video games. Finally, before you leave, be sure to snap a photo of the Portland Oregon White Stag Sign (map), one of the city’s top landmarks. 

Luxury hotel

Situated a short walk away from many cool attractions, The Hoxton is a stunning upscale hotel. It offers numerous entertainment options, including a speakeasy bar serving craft cocktails inspired by the neighborhood and 2 great dining spots. The hotel is very nicely decorated, but better yet, it’s pet-friendly (no pet fee) and offers valet parking. 

Other accommodation options in the Old Town


This boutique hotel features a rooftop that offers amazing views of the city, a restaurant, and comfortable, minimalist rooms


A comfortable hotel offering a variety of services, including a concierge, a tour desk, laundry facilities, and 24-hour reception


A 1 bed/1bath condo offering river views, free parking, and access to a hot tub, pool, and high-speed Internet

Things to do in Old Town Chinatown

  • Have a picnic at Tom McCall Waterfront Park
  • Explore the offer at the Portland Saturday Market 
  • Embark on a tour of the underground Shanghai Tunnels
  • Find your sense of zen at Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • See a music performance at Star Theater and Starlight Lounge or Dante’s
  • Attend a concert at Roseland Theater
  • Play vintage games at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade and Bar
  • Snap a photo of the Portland Oregon White Stag Sign

5. Nob Hill / Northwest District – where to stay with family

Charming bungalow-style homes in Nob Hill's residential area with intricate architectural details and lush landscapingCharming bungalow-style homes in Nob Hill's residential area with intricate architectural details and lush landscaping

Located just a 5-min drive Northwest of Downtown, Nob Hill is a largely residential upscale neighborhood – a small village in its own right. It is also known as the Northwest District or the ‘Alphabet District.’ Nob Hill is the safest place to stay in Portland for families as it is quiet and laid-back, and there are tons of transportation options, including biking. 

Charming, quirky Victorian houses and elegant early 20th-century apartment buildings make Nob Hill recognizable—do check out the tree-lined streets and 23 Northwest Avenue while you’re here! The Northwest area is a grid with numbered streets running North to South and East to West. They are in alphabetical order, a pretty exciting way to avoid getting lost here!

Nob Hill is Portland’s most fashionable area, full of sophisticated and cozy cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s a mix of old Portland charm and new Portland chic. After eating and shopping, go to the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and Museum for what will probably be the weirdest museum experience of your life. 

If you’re looking for places to enjoy a meal with your family, Elephants Delicatessen (map) is an amazing deli serving delicious food prepared from local ingredients. For dessert, you can head to Salt & Straw (map) for some ice cream and try some of their quirky flavors. 

In case you want to explore more of the city, you should check out the nearby Slabtown neighborhood with its cool cafes and bars. However, when in Nob Hill and traveling with kids – whether you’re with a toddler or a teenager – you have to plan a visit to Washington Park (map). 

Colorful row houses with vibrant facades and decorative trim in PortlandColorful row houses with vibrant facades and decorative trim in Portland

The park covers a huge area and houses multiple attractions; here, you will find the International Rose Test Garden, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Gardens, and the Oregon Zoo – all of which are perfect for a family outing. 

Lastly, if you’re looking for more family-friendly activities, I’d recommend a day trip to Oaks Amusement Park, a 20-min drive from Nob Hill, on the opposite bank of the Willamette River. There’s a roller rink, thrill rides, and mini golf, so you can spend the entire day here. 

Seeing as Nob Hill is a bit further away from the city center than the other neighborhoods recommended in this post, it’s the best place to stay with a car. Plus, finding street parking here is much easier compared to Downtown, so even if you didn’t drive there, I suggest renting a car to make the most out of your visit.

NOTE: you won’t find any luxury hotels in Nob Hill, so if that’s one of your criteria for the Portland trip, consider staying in the neighboring Pearl District. If luxury is not that important, check out the list below with some of the best (and safest) hotels in Portland, Oregon:

Other accommodation options in Nob Hill


Offering rooms with a comfy double bed, a sitting area, satellite TV, and a private bathroom with free toiletries


A boutique hostel offering accommodation in private rooms or dormitories, a complimentary breakfast, and free Wi-Fi


A lovely apartment featuring a living area and a bedroom with a queen bed and couch, and a kitchenette

Things to do in Nob Hill

  • Have a fun time at the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and Museum
  • Venture out to the Pittock Mansion (map) and admire the gardens
  • Visit the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Gardens
  • Spend a few hours at the Oregon Zoo
  • Go for a hike at the Hoyt Arboretum
  • Have lunch at Elephants Delicatessen, then grab dessert at Salt & Straw
  • Take a day trip to Oaks Amusement Park

BONUS: best airport hotels if you’re staying in PDX

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Portland: An elegant hotel lobby with ornate bookshelf partitions, a straightforward bedroom with neutral tones, and the modern blue and white facade of the hotel with a welcoming entrance.A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Portland: An elegant hotel lobby with ornate bookshelf partitions, a straightforward bedroom with neutral tones, and the modern blue and white facade of the hotel with a welcoming entrance.

Portland International Airport (often called PDX) is the main city airport and one of the most important airports in the Pacific Northwest. If you have a layover there, or you need to catch an early morning/late night flight, it’s a good idea to book accommodation near the airport.

If you decide on staying in the PDX area, these are the 3 best hotels in each price category: 

  • Embassy Suites by Hilton ($$$) – the best hotel near Portland Airport, situated right by the airport entrance, offering access to a swimming pool and a fitness center, as well as an amazing free breakfast and a complimentary airport shuttle.
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites ($$) – located 1.3 miles (2 km) from the airport, this 3-star hotel offers a free shuttle service and free breakfast. There’s also a 24-hour front desk, a business center, and a pool. 
  • Comfort Suites ($) – the hotel is situated 3.2 miles (5 km) from the airport and provides a free shuttle service. During your stay, you can enjoy the hot tub and the indoor heated saltwater pool. 

FAQs about where to stay in Portland

Portland's downtown skyline as seen from across the Willamette River with the Hawthorne Bridge in the foregroundPortland's downtown skyline as seen from across the Willamette River with the Hawthorne Bridge in the foreground

💯 What is the best part of Portland to stay in?

The best place to stay in Portland is Downtown Portland, featuring important landmarks such as Pioneer Courthouse Square and Portland Art Museum, as well as amazing hotels like the Kimpton Riverplace Hotel and the Residence Inn

❌ What area in Portland to avoid?

Some of the Portland areas you should avoid include Centennial, Sunderland, and Powellhurst due to the higher rates of street crime and the larger concentrations of homeless people. 

🚶🏽 Is Portland a walkable city?

Yes, Portland is a very walkable city. In fact, it’s one of the top 5 US cities when it comes to walkability, so you easily explore Portland on foot. 

✔️ Is it safe to walk around downtown Portland?

Downtown Portland is quite safe, and you walk around freely. However, like in most major cities, you need to exercise caution, especially if you’re walking alone and/or at night.

🚗 Do you need a car in Portland?

No, you don’t need a car for your stay in Portland. You can get around the city on foot, but even if you’re tired, you can rely on public transport – there are buses, a streetcar, and a light rail. 

📅 How many days do you need in Portland?

To see the top Portland attractions, you’ll need between 3 and 4 days. However, if you’d also like to visit Mount Hood or explore some of the wineries in Portland wine country, then you should plan a week-long trip. 

🤔 Should I stay in the Pearl District or Downtown Portland?

If you want to be close to all the action and easily get around the city, stay in Downtown Portland. However, if you want to experience a more local, cooler vibe and spend time in nature, it’s better to stay in the Pearl District

👩‍❤️‍👨 Where to stay in Portland for couples?

If you’re going to Portland for a romantic getaway, stay in Downtown. Here, you’ll find some of the most romantic hotels, like the Kimpton Riverplace Hotel and Ace Hotel Portland, and you’ll be close to many dining spots for your night out. 

😎 What is the coolest neighborhood in Portland, Oregon?

The coolest Portland neighborhood is the Pearl District, where you’ll find the incredible bookstore, Powell’s City of Books, great coffee shops, and many breweries and pubs. Plus, you can stay in amazing hotels like the Canopy by Hilton and Hampton Inn And Suites.


A tranquil view of Mount Hood bathed in pink alpenglow at dawn, seen from a forested areaA tranquil view of Mount Hood bathed in pink alpenglow at dawn, seen from a forested area

So there you go – my full guide on where to stay in Portland. I hope that my insights were helpful and you decided on an area and booked a hotel. 

Just in case you can’t make up your mind, here are my 2 favorite hotels in downtown Portland:

  • Kimpton Riverplace Hotel – an upscale, eco-friendly hotel in a great location with a fitness center and an incredible breakfast
  • Residence Inn – a comfortable hotel with spacious, private rooms, a pool, and an on-site restaurant offering a happy hour

Whether you choose one of these 2 hotels or another one from my list of recommendations, be sure to make reservations in advance. Hotels tend to sell out quickly in Portland, and you don’t want to miss out on everything this incredible city has to offer!

P.S. If you’re continuing your travels in the Pacific Northwest, make sure to book one of the best treehouses in Oregon for an unforgettable stay! 

If you have any questions about your stay in Portland, leave me a comment below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! 

Happy travels! 


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