Northwest Portland includes the part of the city north of Burnside and west of the river such as the Pearl District and the Northwest District.
Just to the north of Downtown is Old Town, which is where Portland was first settled and which has some historic buildings and is a nightlife center, but also contains a fair amount of social services for homeless and mentally ill. The neighborhood also holds the remnants of Chinatown which, despite a lovely archway entry at Burnside and 4th Avenue and some Chinese-inspired street decorations, is rather desolate and may prove a disappointment for visitors expecting the bustle of San Francisco's or New York City's Chinatown.
Just to the northwest of Downtown is the Pearl District, a very hip and trendy neighborhood on the streetcar line which was not long ago derelict warehouses and empty industrial space. The economic success of the Pearl has made it a frequently cited urban planning model, and it is an excellent place to hang out and people watch, eat in fine restaurants, and visit the famous Powell's Bookstore. Perhaps the best spot to people watch is Jamison Square, a city park at the heart of the Pearl that includes a popular fountain which fills a pool during the summer months that's popular with little kids. For a slightly more quiet retreat, Tanner Springs Park is just a couple of blocks north and built to resemble a piece of reclaimed wetland, with tall grasses and a nice pond. On the First Thursday of every month, all art galleries in the Pearl district open their doors for casual viewing, and many serve wine and cheese.
To the north of the Pearl, at the northern end of the streetcar line is the Northwest District, also known as Nob Hill and also on the trendy side and with a variety of retail shops, bars, and restaurants along with plenty of lovely Victorians and tree-lined streets. West of this is the West Hills, where the well-to-do of Portland have traditionally lived. Because of the geography, the streets in the West Hills are a bit of a maze, but they still make for an interesting trek; you'll find lavish mansions, ornate public staircases, and good views of Downtown.
Get in and around
If you come to Portland by bus or train, you will likely step off the vehicle in northwestern Portland. The Union Station and Greyhound terminals are located here.
See Portland (Oregon)#Get around for getting in from elsewhere in the city.
The southern portion of this district is just across Burnside St from Downtown. Streetcars go from downtown and nearby parts of Eastside to the Pearl District and Old town.
There are MAX lines serving the Old Town from many locations Eastside; the orange line from the southern Eastside near the Willamette River (via Downtown), yellow line from the Expo center, red line from the airport, blue line from Gresham, green line from Clackamas Town Center and the three latter from locations along Banfield Freeway.
Locations further north and west can be reached by bus (network map).
- 1 Lan Su Chinese Garden (formerly the Portland Classical Chinese Garden), 239 NW Everett St (at 3rd in Old Town/Chinatown), ☏ . Summer: 10AM-6PM daily, Winter: 10AM-5PM daily. A beautiful urban retreat in the heart of Chinatown with a pond, a teahouse, pavilions, and lots of gardens. If you are on a budget, you can peek in through the ornate open windows and see much of the gardens without paying admission. $9.50 adults, $8.50 seniors, $7 students, children 5 and under free.
- 2 Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, 724 NW Davis St, ☏ . Tu-Th 11AM-5PM, F 11AM-4PM, Sa-Su noon-5PM. Adults $8, students and seniors (62+) $5, 12 and under free.
- 3 Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Dr (Bus 20 from Downtown to NW Barnes, followed by a 15 min moderate climb), ☏ . Feb-Jun, Sep-Dec 11AM-4PM daily; Jul-Aug 10AM-5PM daily; grounds open 5AM-9PM daily. A stunning Victorian mansion in the hills of west Portland, dating back nearly a century now and preserved just as it looked then. The mansion also contains beautiful artworks and furniture collected by the original owners. $8.50 adults; $7.50 seniors above 65; $5.50 youth 6-18; free for children under 6.
- 4 Forest Park, ☏ . Located on the hills northwest of Downtown, Forest Park is one of the nation's largest urban parks at 5,000 acres. There are many great hiking and biking trails to be found winding through this natural forest setting. Free.
- 5 Blue Sky Gallery (Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts), 22 NW 8th Ave, ☏ . Free.
- Portland Chinatown Museum, 127 NW 3rd Ave, ☏ .
- 1 Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave (at Burnside), ☏ . Roseland Theater is a great place to go see a rock show or catch a hip hop concert. It is a good size venue but still gives you that crowded rock show feel. This venue is very fun to watch a show because the crowd always gets really into the music. It gets very crowded in some parts of the theater. This theater is standing room only. However there are seats in the upstairs to view the show from there.
- 1 Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St (W Burnside & NW 10th), ☏ . 9AM–11PM daily. Powell's is a landmark in Portland, and most residents are proud to let you know that this is the biggest independent new and used bookstore in the world while visitors make a point in seeing the place as an attraction whether they buy a book or not. Covering an entire city block, the store stocks over a million books in 3,500 sections. And that's not counting the four other branches in Portland: Portland Airport, Hawthorne—including the Home and Garden bookstore—and Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton! The store can be imposing (get a map from the front desk), but it's a don't-miss for even the most casual reader.
- 2 Compound, 107 NW 5th Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-6PM. In the Old Town district, this Asian inspired version of Urban Outfitters is truly a funky place to get some t-shirts, bags, sneakers, comic books, vinyl toys, artwork, and more. Friendly staff. Upstairs is an amazing free gallery, with works available for purchase from cutting edge artists. Prints available too since the originals are quite pricey.
- 3 Upper Playground, 23 NW 5th Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Across the street from Compound, this streetwear brand has a store and gallery located in Old Town. Known for their iconic walrus symbol, they often have some more "hip" local and Portland-themed goods that make good souvenirs. A good place to grab music flyers as well as check out some amazing contemporary urban artists.
- 4 Popina Swimwear, 318 NW 11th Ave, ☏ . M-W 11AM-6PM, Th-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-5PM. Retro Swimwear brand Popina is located on the Portland Streetcar line in the Pearl District. Popina offers the Popina Swimwear Brand which is designed by Pamela Levenson and made in Oregon. Popina is known for Retro or Vintage Inspired Swimwear akin to the styles of Jantzen Swimwear which put Portland on the map as a swimwear powerhouse in the 1920s. Popina is one of 25 swimwear brands sold in the boutique.
- 5 Pearl District. Just meandering through the neighborhood, you're sure to come across many boutiques, gift shops, and furniture stores housed in buildings that were once warehouses and factories. The areas around Jamison Square and the intersection of Lovejoy Street and 10th Avenue have the highest concentration of these fabulous shops. The neighborhood is bounded west by I-405, south by W Burnside, north by NW Quimby and east by NW Park, just northwest of downtown Portland.
- NW 23rd & 21st Avenues, north of Burnside. Part of the Northwest/Nob Hill District and one of the most densely populated shopping districts, with some funky and eclectic shops along NW 23rd & NW 21st (parallel to 23rd a couple blocks east) from W Burnside up to NW Marshall St. There are some bars, restaurants along NW 23rd north of Marshall.
- 1 Dockside Saloon and Restaurant, 2047 NW Front Ave, ☏ . M-F 5AM-9PM, Sa 6AM-4PM, Su 7AM-3PM. Probably the best classic breakfast in Portland: perfect eggs to order, great bacon and world class golden hash browns. Pleasant waitresses, good coffee and excellent value.
- 2 Grand Central Bakery, several locations; Northwest location at 2249 NW York, ☏ . M-F 6:30AM-4PM, Sa-Su 7AM-4PM. Artisan breads, pastries, soups, sandwiches and salads.
- 3 Cha! Cha! Cha! – Pearl District, 1208 NW Glisan St, ☏ . 11AM-10PM daily. A restaurant of a local chain, see Portland (Oregon)#Local chains for description.
- 4 Cha! Cha! Cha! – Northwest, 305 NW 21st Ave (at Everett), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM.
- 5 Little Big Burger, multiple locations all over the city; Pearl location at 122 NW 10th Ave, ☏ . 11AM-10PM daily. A local chain of burger restaurants featuring a simple In-and-Out style menu with a Portland twist. Little burger for a big price.
- 6 Taqueria Los Gorditos – Perla, 922 NW Davis St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Taqueria. Slightly larger menu than the other locations. A restaurant of a local chain, see Portland (Oregon)#Local chains for description.
- 7 [dead link] Marrakesh, 1201 NW 21st Ave, ☏ . 5PM-10PM daily. Great food and the atmosphere is wonderful, with the guests sitting on long, ornately decorated couches or on huge pillows on the floor and Moroccan tapestries hanging on the walls. They also make sure you get your money's worth as $18.50 buys a five-course meal.
- 8 Mio Sushi, multiple locations; Northwest location at 2271 NW Johnson St (near NW 23rd St), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su closed. A great and constantly crowded place to eat sushi. It's also pretty reasonably priced. The sushi is fresh and even when crowded the service is pretty quick.
- For New York-style pizza, it's hard to beat 9 Escape from New York Pizza at 622 NW 23rd (+1 503-227-5423), and New York New York at 7737 SW Barbur Blvd uptown (+1 503-768-4408). The restaurants are shrines to New York, unlike their chain-restaurant counterpart, Pizza Schmizza, which is also quite good with locations spread throughout Portland.
- 10 Kornblatt's Delicatessen, 628 NW 23rd Ave, ☏ . M-Th 7AM-8PM, F 7AM-9PM, Sa 7:30AM-9PM, Su 7:30AM-8PM. Serves up a mean corned beef sandwich, better than most you'll get on the West Coast, not to mention their famous bagels. Outside tables in the summertime add to the pleasure.
- 11 Andina, 1314 NW Glisan St, ☏ . Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM daily; dinner Su-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-10:30PM. A Peruvian restaurant with a good selection of platas (like Spanish tapas) as well as contemporary and traditional Peruvian entrees. Live music is performed most evenings in the lounge, a popular date destination.
- 12 [dead link] Bastas Trattoria, 410 NW 21st Ave, ☏ . M-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-11:30PM, Su 5PM-10:30PM. Serves excellent Italian food in a rustic-style decor. The wine list is extensive, and the menu is long but not overwhelming.
- 13 Papa Haydn, two locations; Northwest location at 701 NW 23rd Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight, Su 10AM-10PM. If you like dessert, this is the place to go. Although the entrees aren't all that impressive, sometimes there are four different lemon desserts, not to mention a wide selection of chocolates of every kind.
- 14 Ringside, 2165 W Burnside St (in downtown), ☏ . M-W 5PM-11:30PM, Th-Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 4PM-11:30PM. Portland's original steakhouse. Autographs from famous musicians, athletes and movie stars line the walls. Great steak, dimly lit and excellent service.
- 1 Bartini, 2108 NW Glisan St, ☏ . M-Th 4PM-midnight, F-Sa 4PM-1AM, Su 4PM-11PM. A cocktail bar with an extensive and interesting drink list, it has excellent atmosphere and good Happy Hour prices. As for food, they have a wide variety of fondues (including a scrumptious chocolate fondue) and other great dishes.
- 2 Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave, ☏ . A non-chain, non-McMenamins owned cinema brew pub showing more foreign, documentary and experimental film. $9 general admission, $8 students, $6 students.
- 3 Rogue Distillery Public House, 1339 NW Flanders St, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM. Best burger and fries downtown, and more beers than you can handle.
- 4 Teardrop Lounge, 1015 NW Everett St, ☏ . M-Sa 4PM-close. One of the more upscale, inventive cocktail spots in PDX. The great drink concoctions have been written about in many national publications.
- 5 Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, 511 NW Couch St, ☏ . Noon-2:30AM daily. Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade preserves and updates the classic arcade experience with 100 of the most popular video games and pinball tables in a multi-level space in downtown Portland. A full bar and food menu is available from 5PM-close nightly, along with recurring events such as twice-monthly Free Play Parties and Rock Band Tuesdays. All ages are admitted noon-5PM. At 5PM, the bar opens and adults 21+ are welcome.
- 6 World Cup Coffee and Tea, 1740 NW Glisan St (second location in Powell's City of Books downtown) (on 18th and NW Glisan), ☏ . M-F 6:30AM-8PM, Sa-Su 7AM-7PM. Great locally owned company whose on-site coffee roasting has won awards. Serves organic, sustainable coffees in a great and comfortable atmosphere. One of the best coffee shops in Portland.
- 1 Hostelling International Portland-Northwest, 425 NW 18th Ave (at NW Glisan St), ☏ . A lovely and clean hostel in a couple of pleasant old buildings. Kitchen, internet access, and the staff are very friendly and relaxed. You can't beat the location for the price; a fairly quiet side street in a nice neighborhood near downtown. Dorms $22-28, private rooms $59-76.
- 2 Inn at Northrup Station, 2025 NW Northrup St, ☏ . Boutique all-suite hotel with modern decor, a rooftop deck, and kitchens. $150-200.
- 3 The Hoxton, Portland, 15 NW 4th Ave (Along NW 4th between Burnside & Couch), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: Noon.