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The 8 Hottest Neighborhoods in Portland for Young Professionals

  |  Featured Neighborhood, Market Trends, Neighborhood Insight, Portland

The secret’s been out for awhile: Portland is an extraordinary city for young professionals to call home. It has the ideal vibrant culture, exciting job opportunities and abundance of alluring features attractive to the younger crowd. In fact, Portland was included amongst Niche’s list of the Best Cities for Millennials in America for 2018.

Explore some of the best neighborhoods in Portland for young professionals. We chose them for their concentration of millennial residents, job opportunities, exciting events, access to bars, restaurants and shops, excellent Walk Scores, and relatively affordable housing options.


Pearl District

Pearl District Portland, OR

Photo Courtesy of the Pearl District Business Association

This hip and upscale district allows residents to be in the heart of it all. The Pearl District was once an area occupied by warehouses, light industrial businesses and railroad yards, and has since been transformed into an award-winning, internationally recognized example of urban renewal. The district attracts a diverse mix of young professionals, families, empty-nesters and those who simply appreciate the excitement of city living. The utilization of mixed-use space effortlessly blends residential, business and play, giving it city sophistication with urban historic charm. A number of creative small businesses, advertising firms and multimedia companies have settled in the area, attracting a slew of young professionals to the Pearl District.

Residents are never far from an assortment of locally owned boutiques, art galleries, acclaimed restaurants, vibrant bars and cozy coffee shops in the Pearl District. One of the oldest galleries, Blackfish Gallery, has been in operation since 1979, and Portland Center Stage at The Armory is one of the 25 largest theater companies in the country. Plus, The Pearl is home to the renowned Powell’s City of Books, which houses over one million books and takes up an entire city block. First Thursday is a popular community event each summer, attracting residents and visitors alike for a large outdoor art marketplace of sorts.

Housing in the Pearl District includes a mix of both new and old homes, apartments, townhomes and loft-style condos. Residents enjoy stunning views of the Willamette River, downtown Portland, and the West Hills.



Goose Hollow

Goose Hollow Portland, OR

Goose Hollow is particularly ideal for those who work downtown, as commuting to and from work is a breeze. In fact, residents of Goose Hollow may walk, bike or take the transit to work, even if they live on the western edge of the neighborhood, where the majority of homes are located. This beautiful enclave of homes boasts a unique mix of both modern and historic options. Although it is close to the shiny new buildings downtown, Goose Hollow provides a contrast of turn-of-the-century architecture and even has a number of homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is one of Portland’s best communities for a tour of history, as visitors and residents may pass through Goose Hollow from downtown all the way to the beautiful Portland Japanese Garden, located directly west of the neighborhood. Goose Hollow is also steps away from Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers.

The majority of homes in Goose Hollow are located on the western edge of the neighborhood boundary, providing a private and quiet feel separated from the busyness of downtown. But residents may easily access downtown and surrounding neighborhoods by foot, bike or by Trimet’s MAX lines that run through Goose Hollow and lead to anywhere in the city. This combination of proximity to attractions and a quiet neighborhood feel is a rarity that many young professionals are excited about.




Located just across the river from downtown between Northeast Fremont and Northeast Broadway, Eliot is a vibrant and well-connected neighborhood. The sense of community is particularly strong in Eliot, as residents take great pride in living in this desirable enclave. Many residents have lived in the area their whole lives, so it’s no surprise that the sense of pride is so strong!

Eliot is considered one of the best residential areas for those commuting to work in other parts of the city. It’s central, yet still a bit removed. Plus, you can venture into downtown for shopping, dining and entertainment, but you don’t have to leave the neighborhood either, as Eliot holds its own as an entertainment destination.

Eliot is home to a number of cafes, restaurants, two popular music venues (The Secret Society Ballroom and the Wonder Ballroom), the Matt Dishman Community Center, and much more. The neighborhood has bike corridors along North Williams and Vancouver, which provides a convenient pathway for bikers to get around town. Plus, there are Max and TriMet hubs in Eliot as well, making commuting even easier for young professionals. Eliot hosts two community gardens, Boise-Eliot and Patton, both of which offer gardening space for neighbors to plant food and flowers in the middle of this rapidly expanding urban area. Unthank Park is a favorite local park, as it contains sports fields, a playground, and plenty of paved walkways.




Downtown Portland, OR

Downtown Portland is an obvious choice for young professionals hoping to be a part of the excitement happening in the heart of the city. It has one of the best Walk Scores in the Portland area, as you can access Portland’s finest attractions with a short walk or an even shorter drive. You can choose from an array of independent retailers, shopping destinations, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other attractions in downtown Portland. Plus, for young professionals working downtown, living just minutes from their office is a dream come true. Portland has a number of creative businesses, startups and tech companies attracting professionals from all over the country.

While the entire downtown area is dotted with businesses throughout, the northern portion has an intense concentration of places to eat, drink, shop and explore. Downtown Portland has a variety of housing options, including new construction condos, in addition to traditional apartment and loft-style condos with modern amenities and upgrades. Residents of downtown trade a yard for unparalleled city views, and seclusion for unlimited access to local hotspots. This is an exciting place for young professionals to be!




Situated just across the river from downtown, the Buckman neighborhood is a vibrant residential area particularly attractive to young professionals. It is connected to downtown by three bridges, making it easy to access the many attractions in the heart of Portland. The transit runs north-to-south through the western edge of Buckman, making travel convenient no matter where you’re headed. However, Buckman is quite self-sufficient, as it has an independent spirit entirely unique to the neighborhood. It has been classified as being a more “hippie” neighborhood, especially along Hawthorne Boulevard just south of Buckman. The Hawthorne area has a plethora of eclectic shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. There is no shortage of vintage, antique or thrift stores in this trendy, offbeat area. Plus, Buckman has a beautiful community garden and the popular Colonel Summers Park, providing a space to play and relax in the heart of the neighborhood.

Buckman has a mix of both old and new homes for sale, with varying styles, sizes and price points. But one thing’s for certain — Buckman provides an idyllic setting for those looking for both a laid-back residential feel and proximity to city amenities.



Northwest District

Northwest District Portland, OR

By AtlasPDX82 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The vibrant Northwest District is a popular area for young professionals to put down roots. The large district has some diverse scenery — from the lush greenery found in Forest Park to the urban core of the Nob Hill/Alphabet District. Wherever residents live in the district, they may easily access 405, which runs along the eastern border of the neighborhood. But the Northwest District has so much in store, including restaurants, shops, bars and coffee shops, most within walking distance. The concentration of businesses along 21st and 23rd Avenues provides a popular place for residents and visitors alike to visit. Access to local hotspots, both in the district and just down the street in downtown Portland, make this a popular area for young professionals to call home.

On the other hand, residents in the Northwest District may easily retreat from the hustle and bustle of city living at Forest Park bordering the neighborhood to the west. This is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the country, as it spans more than 5,100 acres of land.

There are a myriad of homes in the Northwest District, from new construction properties to historic gems. The beautiful, tree-lined streets on either side of 21st and 23rd are filled with historic Victorians and other picture-perfect homes.




Situated just north of Buckman on the eastern side of the Willamette, Kerns is a vibrant and popular area for young professionals living in the area. It isn’t far from downtown activity, yet it maintains its own spirit and community feel. Homes in Kerns are nearly surrounded by a number of streets hosting local businesses, eateries, bars, shops, theaters and a popular doughnut shop. Most of the neighborhood activity centers on Burnside Street, SE 28th Avenue, and NE Sandy Boulevard, which runs diagonally through Kerns. You will find a lot of foot traffic along these streets, as residents visit their favorite local coffee shop or restaurant, or simply circle the block for a walk with the dog. Kerns is home to one of Voodoo Doughnut’s two Portland brick-and-mortar locations and the renowned Laurelhurst Theater, a historic art deco movie theater built in 1923.

The western portion of Kerns is filled with a number of industrial buildings and the eastern side is primarily residential. In this area, the neighborhood has an abundance of gorgeous historic homes surrounded by canopies of trees and well-maintained landscaping.




Hosford-Abernethy is another desirable area for young professionals, for its proximity to downtown and myriad of attractions in its boundaries. This vibrant neighborhood has a particularly interesting layout you won’t see anywhere else in Portland! It is home to Ladd’s Addition, which is not laid out on a grid. Instead, the streets travel diagonally, centering on a beautiful rose garden in the center. This residential area is considered the heart of the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood, as it is completely surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and other conveniences (like a New Seasons Market!) to the north and south. SE Hawthorne Boulevard is a particularly popular destination, as it has an array of eclectic shops, vintage stores, consignment shops, creative eateries, and other unique options.

You will find an abundance of gorgeous historic homes in Hosford-Abernethy, many of which were built between the 1900s and 1930s. The community holds a number of long-term residents who have seen the area develop and grow in front of their eyes, but new residents are continuously moving into the neighborhood.



Still searching for your dream neighborhood?

…Or your dream home? We can help with all of your real estate needs, whether you are a young professional or a retiree. Contact us if we can help make your move to Portland a little easier.

You might also be interested in exploring the more affordable neighborhoods in the Portland area and the neighborhoods in Portland with the best Walk Scores, two qualities which are attractive to many — especially young professionals!

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About the Author

Courtney Itami

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