• Photo: St. Nick / Shutterstock


Technically, downtown Portland is in the city’s Southwest quadrant, as are most of the attractions included in the aforementioned West Hills section of town. But when locals mention Southwest, they’re generally referring to the area south and southwest of downtown, a mostly middle- to upper-middle-class residential district with a few commercial pockets. The most interesting section is the RiverPlace and, a bit farther south, South Waterfront development along the Willamette River. A formerly industrial tract, this area has been rapidly developed since the early 2000s into a contemporary mixed-use neighborhood of both mid- and high-rise glass-and-steel condos, office buildings, a huge expansion of prestigious Oregon Health and Science University, and a growing but still limited number of restaurants, hotels, and shops. RiverPlace begins just south of Hawthorne Bridge and is easily accessed from Tom McCall Waterfront Park—there’s a pretty pedestrian promenade along the river, with a handful of sidewalk cafés and boutiques.


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