Moving to Portland, OR: A Newcomer’s Guide

A view of St. John's Bridge over the Willamette River from Cathedral City Park in Portland, OR.

If you’re looking for a city nestled in the mountains that offers natural beauty, an array of amenities, and a strong sense of community, Portland, OR, could be an excellent destination for you to relocate to. There are so many amazing things about this city. However, moving to Portland can be intimidating as there is a lot to learn and know before relocating.

This guide provides essential information on finding your ideal neighborhood, understanding local lifestyles, and enjoying Portland’s unique attractions. Discover insider advice on city navigating, from public transportation to the best dining and outdoor spots. Designed to ease your transition, this guide offers tips for living in Portland and will help you quickly feel at home in Portland’s vibrant community, ensuring a smooth start to your new life.

Finding the Ideal Portland Neighborhood

One of the best things Portland offers is its variety of neighborhoods. Whether in the city or the nearby suburbs, each neighborhood has its personality, perks, and sense of community to fit all kinds of local lifestyles.

Although there are dozens of neighborhoods to choose from, here’s an overview of some of the most loved neighborhoods in Portland, OR.

North Portland

  • St. Johns. Known for its small-town feel, historic charm, and proximity to Cathedral Park along the Willamette River
  • Overlook. Offers views of downtown Portland and easy access to parks, shops, and cafes

Northeast Portland

  • Alberta Arts District. A vibrant area with art galleries, boutiques, and cafes
  • Irvington. Known for its historic homes, tree-lined streets, and proximity to restaurants and parks
  • Grant Park. Offers a mix of residential streets, parks, and access to amenities along Northeast Broadway
A side view of a bench in a beautiful Portland park overlooking the Willamette River.

Southeast Portland

  • Hawthorne. A lively area with a mix of vintage shops, cafes, and restaurants
  • Division/Clinton. Known for its food scene and walkable streets with shops and eateries
  • Sellwood-Moreland. Family-friendly area with parks, shops, and a farmers market

Southwest Portland

  • South Waterfront. Offers modern apartment living with waterfront views and easy access to downtown
  • Multnomah Village. Known for its small-town charm, local businesses, and community events

Northwest Portland

  • Pearl District. Trendy with upscale dining, art galleries, and a mix of condos and lofts
  • Nob Hill. Historic homes, boutiques, and dining options along Northwest 23rd Avenue

Navigating the City and Using Public Transportation

Traffic can be difficult because of bridges and drawbridges. Choosing a neighborhood close to your workplace or activities can save you time, allowing you to enjoy more time outdoors and around Portland rather than being in your car. Suburbs don’t have easy access to public transportation, so choosing a neighborhood with easy access may be beneficial if you prefer public transit.

If you travel often through downtown, you have many options for public transit. While having a car will be the most convenient option for families and people with lengthy commutes across the metro, Portland has many options for those who want to take advantage of public transportation.

The Portland Max Light Rail offers five different routes traversing the city from around 4:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. A rider can purchase a 2.5-hour ticket for $2.80 or a day pass for $5.60.

Portland also boasts a robust bus system with 75 lines covering the metro. Riders can pay their fare using various convenient methods, including credit card, cash, or Hop Fastpass. Buses also offer options for bicyclists to bring their bikes along for the ride—racks are available on the front of the buses for those who need to use them.

Front view of Cycle Portland storefront—a bike rentals and tours business in Portland.

Dining and Outdoor Spots

Good news for coffee enthusiasts: Portland, OR, is home to dozens of local roasteries that serve quality brews and lattes. Seattle might boast that it’s home to the first Starbucks, but Portland takes pride in its independent coffee shops and cafes that dot the metro.

Portland also offers residents a variety of unique spots to visit and enjoy. Washington Park is home to the International Rose Test Garden, which has 10,000 rose bushes for sightseers to admire. If you’re interested in more mysterious locations to check out, spend an hour or two hiking around the Witch’s Castle, which is an abandoned stone structure hidden in the trees in Forest Park. It’s also a fun place to take spooky pictures with scenic surroundings.

McMenamin’s is an institution throughout the PNW and offers various locations to visit. However, one of their coolest venues is the Kennedy School, a renovated elementary school with multiple restaurants, bars, and a place to watch live music.

Portland offers many activities for families to enjoy, surrounded by natural beauty that can be easily accessed in minutes. Whether you want to spend the day skiing at Mt. Hood, fishing or swimming in the Willamette or Columbia rivers, exploring The Gorge, or visiting the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find plenty of ways to appreciate the surrounding area. If you feel like staying in the city, there are 300 parks where you and your loved ones can enjoy the day.

Utilize a Trojan Storage Unit During Your Move to Portland, OR

We’re so excited for you to make a home for yourself in Portland, Oregon. Trojan Storage has locations throughout Portland, so no matter what neighborhood you settle in, we have a convenient location near your new home. Whether you’ve got boxes, outdoor equipment, kayaks, or an RV to store, we’ve got storage solutions that can keep your belongings secure. Contact one of our professionals today, and we’ll help you find a storage unit to make your relocation as easy and smooth as possible.

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