Where to stay in Portland Oregon without a car: 5 Best areas

Wondering where to stay in Portland Oregon without a car? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas to stay in Portland without a car along with a helpful map and the best hotels to stay in Portland for all budget travelers.

Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It’s known for its vibrant cultural scene, natural beauty, and unique atmosphere.

Located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, it is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, and more.

Getting around Portland, Oregon without a car is generally quite easy. The city is known for its extensive public transportation system, bike-friendly infrastructure, and walkable neighborhoods. 

Portland has a well-developed public transportation system known as TriMet, which includes buses, MAX light rail, and the Portland Streetcar. MAX light rail connects different parts of the city. The Streetcar primarily serves the downtown area and nearby neighborhoods.

You can consider renting a bike and explore certain areas of the city. it is famously bike-friendly, with dedicated bike lanes, bike-sharing programs, and a strong cycling culture.

Many neighborhoods in Portland are designed to be pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian signals. Exploring the city on foot is a great way to experience its unique neighborhoods, parks, and local shops.

Additionally, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft operate in Portland, providing an additional option for getting around when public transportation isn’t as convenient.

If you occasionally need a car, car-sharing services like Zipcar and Getaround are available in Portland. These services allow you to rent a car by the hour or day.

In addition to the Portland Streetcar, the city has a vintage trolley known as the Portland Vintage Trolley. It operates on weekends and some holidays, providing a fun way to explore the city.

To get from Portland International Airport to Downtown, you can take the MAX light rail’s Red Line from MAX station on the lower level of the airport terminal. The trip takes around 30 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the station or using the TriMet Tickets app. 

Where to stay in Portland without a car?

The best areas to stay in Portland without a car are Downtown Portland, Pearl District, NW 23rd Avenue, Lloyd District, and Central Eastside. These are popular and safe neighborhoods for tourists that offer easy access to public transportation, attractions, and amenities.

When booking accommodation, look for places that are close to public transportation stops or within walking distance of the attractions you’re interested in. Additionally, pay attention to guest reviews to get a sense of the accessibility and convenience of the location.

Remember that Portland’s weather can be quite wet, so it’s a good idea to pack appropriate clothing and footwear for rain and exploration on foot or using public transportation.

Overviews of best neighborhoods in Portland without a car

Downtown PortlandStaying in the downtown area puts you in the heart of the city’s cultural attractions, restaurants, and shops. You’ll have access to the MAX light rail, streetcars, and buses that can take you to various parts of the city and beyond.
Pearl DistrictThis trendy and upscale neighborhood is adjacent to downtown and offers a mix of boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. It’s walkable, well-connected to public transportation, and provides a vibrant urban experience.
NW 23rd AvenueOften referred to as Nob Hill or Trendy Third, this area offers a blend of shops, cafes, and historic architecture. It’s easily explored on foot, accessible by public transit, and offers a more relaxed atmosphere compared to downtown.
Lloyd DistrictLocated just east of the Willamette River, this area is home to the Convention Center and the Moda Center (home of Portland Trail Blazers). It’s well-served by public transportation and offers a range of accommodation options.
Central EastsideThis area has a distinct industrial feel and is known for its creative scene, with numerous art galleries, studios, and eateries. It’s serviced by buses, and the Portland Streetcar’s Central Loop connects it to other parts of the city.

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Portland without a car:

Map of best areas to stay in Portland Oregon without a car
Map of best areas to stay in Portland Oregon without a car

5 Best areas to stay in Portland without a car:

1. Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland is the best overall area to stay in Portland without a car. Downtown is known for its walkability, excellent public transportation options, and a wide range of attractions, restaurants, shops, and cultural activities all within close proximity.

Downtown is bounded by the Willamette River to the east, West Burnside Street to the north, Southwest Market Street to the south, and the I-405 freeway to the west. The downtown area is easily accessible and is the central business and cultural district of the city.

Downtown is very pedestrian-friendly, with well-maintained sidewalks and crosswalks. Many of the city’s popular attractions, parks, and landmarks are within walking distance of each other.

The city has an extensive public transportation system, including light rails, buses, and streetcars, making it easy to get around without a car. The MAX system connects Downtown Portland to various neighborhoods and suburbs.

Additionally, Downtown has dedicated bike lanes and bike-sharing programs, allowing visitors to explore the area on two wheels.

Downtown is home to numerous attractions such as Powell’s City of Books (one of the world’s largest independent bookstores), Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Portland Art Museum, and various theaters and entertainment venues.

The downtown area offers a diverse range of dining options, from upscale restaurants to food carts serving a variety of cuisines. The famous food cart pods are a unique culinary experience. 

Downtown has a mix of boutique shops, brand-name stores, and local markets, making it a great place for shopping enthusiasts.

You’ll find a vibrant cultural scene in Downtown Portland, with galleries, theaters, and live music venues showcasing local talent.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park runs along the Willamette River and offers a pleasant place to relax, jog, bike, or simply enjoy the scenic views.

You can easily visit the Old Town historic district and iconic Portland signage as well as The Portland Saturday Market, which is the biggest continuously operated outdoor market in the USA. It features local artisans, crafts, food vendors, and live entertainment.

Downtown is home to the Voodoo Doughnut, a popular and iconic doughnut shop. You can indulge in unique and quirky doughnut creations at this restaurant.

There are plenty of accommodations in Downtown Portland, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly choices, catering to various traveler preferences.

It’s worth noting that while Downtown is a convenient area to explore without a car, it’s always a good idea to plan your transportation options based on the specific places you intend to visit.

Best places to stay in Downtown Portland without a car:

Luxury ($$$): The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland, 5-star hotel, centrally located in Downtown, ideal base for those traveling without a car. It is right next to Portland’s Pioneer Square, within walking distance from shopping, dining, and major attractions including the Portland Art Museum or the Japanese Gardens. A short drive from Oregon Zoo.

Mid-range ($$): Staypineapple, Hotel Rose, popular 4-star contemporary hotel in Central Portland, within walking distance to the Willamette River, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and East Morrison Street Station. Rooms come with a flat-screen TV, coffee machine, and work desk.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Lucia, a Provenance Hotel, 4-star hotel, located in downtown Portland, a 10-minute walk from Pioneer Place shopping center.  

Budget ($): The Paramount Hotel Portland, 3-star hotel in the heart of Portland, one of the best places to stay in Portland without a car on a budget. It is adjacent to Director Park and Fox Tower as well as only a short walk from the Portland Art Museum, Waterfront Park, and Providence Park.  


2. Pearl District

The Pearl District is often considered one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Portland without a car. The district is known for its walkability and excellent public transportation options, making it a convenient choice for travelers who prefer not to rely on a car.

The Pearl District is situated just north of downtown Portland and is bounded by the Willamette River to the east, NW Broadway to the west, W Burnside Street to the south, and NW Lovejoy Street to the north.

It is known for its vibrant atmosphere, artistic scene, and urban revitalization. Originally an industrial area with warehouses and railroad yards, the Pearl District underwent significant redevelopment in the 1990s and early 2000s, transforming it into a trendy and upscale urban neighborhood. 

The revitalization efforts led to the creation of mixed-use spaces, including modern residential buildings, art galleries, trendy boutiques, restaurants, and parks.

Many of the city’s major attractions, such as Powell’s City of Books (one of the world’s largest independent bookstores), the Portland Art Museum, and the Lan Su Chinese Garden, are within walking distance or a short public transportation ride away.

Additionally, the Portland Streetcar runs through the Pearl District, providing easy access to other parts of downtown as well as nearby neighborhoods. 

The district also features a network of bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets, making it a pleasant area to explore on foot or by bike.

The neighborhood is home to several parks and open spaces, including Tanner Springs Park and Jamison Square. These parks provide green spaces for residents and visitors to relax, socialize, and enjoy outdoor activities.

Best places to stay in Portland in Pearl District without a car:

Mid-range ($$): Hampton Inn And Suites By Hilton Portland-Pearl District, great popular 4-star hotel, ideal place for travel without a car, located in central Portland and 5 mins ‘ walk of Powell’s City of Books. Easy access to Voodoo Doughnuts and Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Budget ($): Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Downtown/Pearl District, 3-star hotel located in the city center. It has a free daily breakfast, pool and fitness center. It is within walking distance from the River, Jamison Square, Union Station. Cose to NW 10th & Northrup light rail station.

Budget ($): The Society Hotel, 3-star hotel, conveniently located in Downtown Portland, within a short distance from Lan Su Chinese Garden and Powell’s City of Books.


3. NW 23rd Avenue 

NW 23rd Avenue, also known as Trendy Third or 23rd Ave, is a popular street situated in the Northwest District of Portland and is known for its vibrant and trendy atmosphere. It is a great base to stay in Portland without a car.

NW 23rd Avenue is lined with a variety of shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and other establishments, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

The area is characterized by its charming, walkable streets, historic buildings, and a mix of local and national retailers. It’s a hub for shopping, dining, and people-watching. 

Visitors can find everything from clothing boutiques and home goods stores to art galleries and specialty food shops along this avenue.

The neighborhood surrounding NW 23rd Avenue is known for its older homes, tree-lined streets, and a distinct urban yet cozy feel. The street is often bustling with activity, especially during weekends and holidays, when people come to explore the various shops and enjoy the local cuisine.

Best places to stay in Portland’s NW 23rd Avenue without a car:

Budget ($):  Silver Cloud Hotel – Portland, 3-star accommodation, in a Northwest district, easy walk to lots of nice restaurants, shops, and public transportation. It has a bar, air-conditioned rooms, each with a private bathroom. Also a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage.

Budget ($): Inn at Northrup Station, 3-star hotel in the Northwest Portland district of Portland, great place for those with no car as it is conveniently located along the Portland Streetcar lines, and the hotel provides free passes to its guests.  

Budget ($): Park Lane Suites & Inn, 3-star family-friendly hotel, one of the great bases for families traveling without a car. Its location offers easy access to lively 21st and 23rd streets with plenty of shops and restaurants. 

Hostel($): HI – Portland Northwest Hostel, excellent hostel in central Portland, one of the best places to stay in Portland without a car for backpackers and budget travelers. Only a 10-minute walk from the Pearl District. It has mixed dormitory rooms, female-only dormitory rooms, male-only dormitory rooms, as well as private rooms.


4. Lloyd District

The Lloyd District is a convenient area to stay in without a car due to its accessibility and public transportation options. The district is well-connected to the MAX light rail system and bus routes, making it relatively easy to get around using public transportation.

The Lloyd District is located in the northeastern part of Portland, just across the Willamette River from downtown Portland. The district is known for its commercial and business-oriented character, as well as its proximity to various cultural, educational, and medical institutions.

It is the location of Oregon Convention Center, a large convention center that hosts various conferences, trade shows, and events throughout the year. It is a significant contributor to the economic activity in the district.

It is also home to Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden, a major sports and entertainment arena that hosts basketball games, concerts, and other events. It is the home venue for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.

In the heart of the Lloyd District lies Holladay Park, a public park, providing a green space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Nearby is the Lloyd Center, a shopping mall that has been a central feature of the district for decades. It offers a range of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Lloyd District has several hotel options including 3-star and 4-star hotels, located close to public transportations and offers easy access to the Oregon Convention Center.

Best places to stay in Portland in Lloyd District without a car:

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Eastlund – Best Western Premier Collection, 4-star hotel situated across the street from the Oregon Convention Center, featuring 2 on-site restaurants, a fitness and business center. It is adjacent to Convention Center MAX Station and Portland Streetcar, offering easy access to all of Portland without the need of having a car.

Mid-range ($$): Crowne Plaza Hotel Portland, 4-star hotel located within walking distance from Oregon Convention Center and The Rose Garden Arena, providing a complimentary shuttle from the airport to the hotel. It has an indoor pool and a rental car desk. MAX Light Rail and Streetcar stops in front of the hotel and offers easy city exploration without a car.

Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, 4-star hotel located a few steps from Oregon Convention Center, a short drive from Moda Center, Lan Su Chinese Garden and Portland Union Station.

Budget ($): Courtyard Portland Downtown / Convention Center, 3-star hotel located adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center and Moda Center. It is a short drive by Uber from Lloyd Center shopping mall, Oregon Zoo and Hoyt Arboretum.


5. Central Eastside

Central Eastside is a great neighborhood to stay in Portland without a car. It is located just across the river from the downtown area and is accessible via several bridges, including the Hawthorne Bridge, Morrison Bridge, and Burnside Bridge. 

It’s just east of the Willamette River and is bounded by the Buckman and Hosford-Abernethy neighborhoods. It is also close to the trendy neighborhoods of Hawthorne, Division, Mississippi, and Alberta Arts District.

The Central Eastside is known for its industrial and creative vibe, with a mix of warehouses, art galleries, breweries, restaurants, and tech companies.

The Central Eastside is characterized by its industrial history, with many warehouses and former industrial buildings now repurposed for various businesses and creative endeavors.

Over the years, the neighborhood has attracted a significant number of creative professionals, artists, and tech startups. This has contributed to the neighborhood’s unique blend of creative and industrial atmospheres.

The area is home to several breweries, distilleries, and taprooms, making it a hub for craft beer and spirits enthusiasts.

The Central Eastside boasts a variety of eateries, from upscale restaurants to food carts. This diversity of food options is a significant draw for residents and visitors alike.

The neighborhood features numerous art galleries and studios, making it a destination for art enthusiasts. The First Friday art walk is a popular event where galleries open their doors to the public.

Best places to stay in Portland in Central Eastside without a car:


Other places to consider to stay in Portland without a car are Hawthorne District, Division Street, and Alberta Arts District. They are well-connected with public transportation but not having many choices in accommodations.

Hawthorne District is a bohemian neighborhood on the east side of the river and is known for its eclectic shops, vintage stores, and diverse dining options. It’s a little farther from the downtown core but still accessible via public transit.

Division Street is located on the east side and is known for its food scene, with numerous restaurants and food carts. It has a laid-back atmosphere and good transit connections.

Alberta Arts District is the artsy neighborhood featuring galleries, boutiques, and unique street art. It’s a bit further from downtown but accessible by public transportation.

See more: Where to stay in Washington DC without a car

Summary – Where is the best place to stay in Portland without a car?

In conclusion, Downtown, Pearl District, NW 23rd Avenue, Lloyd District, and Central Eastside are some of the best places to stay in Portland without a car. They are easily explored on foot, well-connected to transportation, and offer plenty of accommodations for all budget travelers.

Downtown Portland is the best overall area to stay in Portland without a car for first-timers. It is the heart of the city, providing easiest access to major attractions, restaurants, and shops. It also has the highest concentration of hotels that suit all budgets.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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