Good Portland OR neighborhood for AirBnB?
September 9, 2014 8:42 AM   Subscribe

On a whim, we booked a trip to Portland, OR for next month. Then I went to book hotels, and apparently it is marathon weekend, and there are very few hotel rooms available downtown, and all above $200/night. We are looking to AirBnb as an alternative, but it's unclear which neighborhoods are good and which are bad as a tourist base. Every single listing says it's in a great neighborhood with easy access to public transit, so any tips?
posted by smackfu to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Every single listing says it's in a great neighborhood with easy access to public transit

Well, that's because with great exception, this is pretty accurate. Portland transit is pretty great, especially along touristy lines. I would also consider renting a bicycle, as our bike lanes and bike avenues are sometimes easier, and quicker to navigate than the transit system. Portland has lots of pocket neighborhoods, with lots of little anchor businesses and wonderful spots spread evenly throughout the city. You'll need to be a bit more specific in terms of what you're looking for in terms of 'tourist base.'

If you're looking for a sort of 'traditional tourist' experience, I would stick to Northwest, the Pearl, or Downtown (which is split between NW and SW, Burnside being the dividing line). If you decide to venture to the East side of the river (which I totally recommend, its fantastic, and much cheaper to eat and drink over here) a general guideline I would suggest would be to stay below the mid 40's in terms of street numbers. You'll be close enough to the downtown area that it is a quick bus ride, and usually a straight shot with no transfers.

But again, you'll need to be more specific with your needs for a place before good neighborhood suggestions will be of any real use.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:02 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Uhm, yeah-- what do you want to do? Go to breweries? Distilleries? Restaurants? (if so, what price range? what kind of food?) Parks? Hikes? Wander around?

Solid neighborhood commercial areas with a mix of businesses, shopping and restaurants include (but is not limited to):
NW 23rd/21st area
The Pearl District
SE Belmont/Hawthorne (between about 20th and 40th especially)
NE Alberta (between about 10th and 30th especially)
N Mississippi

but this is not by any means a complete list! These are just neighborhoods that I've lived in/near that have a pleasant mix of things that I like. There are indeed oodles of great neighborhoods, and it really depends on what you want to do. If you stick near major streets and don't get much past the 40s as suggested, you will almost certainly have transit access. Check TriMet's website for route info and maps, and if you're bikers do consider renting a bike.
posted by Kpele at 9:13 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Find out the route of the marathon and avoid any adjacent areas (those places may be overpriced anyway) so you can avoid the traffic and road closures. I was in Chicago one year during a marathon and the staging area was nearly off limits for the entire day before the event.
posted by soelo at 9:26 AM on September 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, some great advice. For some more guidance, we're a younger couple with no kids, who like good restaurants (especially vegetarian) and quirky shops. Love breweries, but I think Portland has a lot of those. There's nothing tourist attraction-y that we really need to see, other than Powell's. And we won't have a car, and don't really bike.
posted by smackfu at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2014

In that case, stay away from downtown. Spend your time on the much cheaper, generally more awesome SE and NE quadrants….maaaaybe stay on NW 21/23rd.

The east side will get you cheaper food, at better prices, more cart-food, better coffee shops, and decent transit. The list the Kpele threw out there is probably the safest neighborhoods given your criteria, and you'll still be able to venture into downtown easily if you want to.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Definitely stay on the east side--I think the marathon is heavily west-side, and I don't think that the Portland people think of (like "Portlandia," etc.) is nearly as present on the west side of the. Stay in SE (somewhere between Division and Belmont, between 20th and 40th streets) or NE (Alberta/Killingsworth).
posted by c'mon sea legs at 10:48 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Which weekend? I had a good stay at the super cheap (because it's a common bathroom, like a dorm) White Eagle. Looks like they have rooms available every weekend but Columbus Day?
posted by maryr at 12:13 PM on September 9, 2014

Oh never mind, now it looks like only the weekend of the 17th has any availability. I guess they are booking as we speak? Or the reservations site is shitty?
posted by maryr at 12:19 PM on September 9, 2014

Best answer: The thing is, most of Portland's neighborhoods are awesome with good access to public transportation. There really are very few bad neighborhoods here and the ones the locals label as "bad" are no where near as bad as neighborhoods elsewhere.

The trick is to pay attention to the numbered cross streets and the directional indicators. The river separates the city East from West, with NW and SW being considered downtown (in most cases although there are some suburbs with SW addresses.) SE, NE, and North Portland are less fancy but fabulous, friendly neighborhoods. The lower the number of the cross street, the closer to the river. If I were visiting via airBnB, I would look for a house on the east side, with a cross street below 30, and close to Burnside (which separates the city North and South. However, if you want a fancier environments, consider a NW airBnB with a number in the teens or twenties.

I hope I've explained this well enough. To clarify: imagine a plus sign with the vertical line being Burnside St, and the horizontal line being the river. The numbered streets increase on either side of the river. Try to get as close as you can to the center of the plus sign.
posted by dchrssyr at 1:27 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Recommending the Alberta neighborhood, in NE! Easy bus access to other parts of the city, but you can have a lot of fun just staying right there. I miss it like crazy.
posted by mmiddle at 2:22 PM on September 9, 2014

I had a great stay near lloyd center and loved it. Restaurants, shopping all nearby plus either 6 min car ride to downtown or 15 min public transit(light rail). By the way the light rail in portland is fantastic , clean and cheap. Trimet also has 7 days passes which I highly recommend and the mobile app lets you buy and use it as a ticket.

Other recomendations
Portland Saturday Market
Gondola / Portland Aerial Tram
Stumptown - Started my coffee obsession and still to this day remains the best coffee ever.
Bolywood theater - very tasty indian food., best one is portland.
Salt and Straw - Ice cream shop right next to Bolywood theater . try the salted caramel
And.. If you are in neighbourhood might as well walk to McMenamins Kennedy School - Enjoy a cheap movie with food and beer.
posted by radsqd at 6:55 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We ended up staying in a nice cottage on 44th between Division and Hawthorne. Pretty great location, easy access to multiple bus lines and a lot of restaurants and bars. Thanks for all the help! Portland was amazing and very unseasonably nice according to everyone we talked to.
posted by smackfu at 9:36 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

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