: Canopy by Hilton in the Pearl District

A Walking Guide to Central Portland

February 11, 2019 (Updated July 23, 2021)

Editor’s note: The Oregon Health Authority strongly recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings in public indoor spaces. It’s also wildfire season — plan ahead and do your part to prevent wildfires.

You don’t need wheels to explore Oregon’s biggest and most captivating city. Few cities in America are better explored on foot than Portland, with its distinct neighborhoods, clusters of culinary and entertainment venues, and uniquely small 200-square-foot blocks. Stay at one of the many standout Hilton Hotels located within walking distance of Portland’s urban core and find a whirlwind of eateries, breweries, galleries, boutiques, parks and history at your feet. Lace up those kicks — or buy new ones in town. Here’s your guide to exploring Stumptown’s remarkably walkable core.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown offers a stylish stay just three blocks from the riverfront, with dozens of restaurants and food carts in every direction.


Portland’s downtown area is for urban trekkers seeking designer boutiques, five-star cuisine and world-class art. A short jaunt to them all, the Hilton Portland Downtown is an urban gem with a lauded gastropub, HopCity Tavern & Market, that showcases local farmers, butchers and breweries. The nearby boutique Duniway Hotel is inspired by the bold spirit of pioneer Abigail Scott Duniway, a champion of the suffrage movement who helped Oregon women gain the ballot in 1912. ​Both hotels are a stone’s throw from Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, plus the Portland Art Museum. Try the sustainable scallops at Southpark Seafood or risotto with seasonal Oregon truffles at Piggins, the open-air bistro on the plaza outside the Oregon Historical Society, before the evening events. Or after a day of exploring the upscale shops of Pioneer Place, sit down to some of the Rose City’s most beloved Italian comfort food at Mother’s Bistro & Bar, now located at the Hilton Embassy Suites Downtown.

Portland's arts scene is back, with an exciting and diverse lineup. Check out upcoming shows at The Armory theater. (Photo by Robbie McClaran)

The Pearl District

Formally a sleepy industrial area just a 10-minute walk north of downtown, the upscale Pearl District is arguably Portland’s most coveted central neighborhood. The Pearl is defined by modern architecture, galleries in converted warehouses, trendy eateries, breweries, boutiques and a nationally recognized theater. Stay at the ideally located Hampton Inn & Suites Portland-Pearl District and peruse the local artwork in the lobby. Or choose the modern Canopy by Hilton, which makes for a cozy hangout, and mingle with Portland’s hip crowd. Regardless where you check in, check out the galleries near both hotels. Elizabeth Leach and PDX Contemporary Art offer a dynamic look into the modern art world. Start the morning off with French toast at the retro diner Fuller’s Coffee Shop or opt for fresh-pressed juice at Harlow after stretching out at Yoga Pearl. Next, top off with a slice of fresh chocolate babka at Lovejoy Bakers and browse the indie boutiques. House of Lolo offers luxe threads, Halo Shoes is a haven for boot lovers, and MadeHere PDX has locally made everything. Later, wander the aisles of Powell’s City of Books before grabbing a handcrafted pint at Von Ebert Brewing or Deschutes Brewery, or sip a craft cocktail while listening to live music at Sante Bar, a favorite local hangout that is women-, POC- and LGBTQ-owned. Sit down for Peruvian fare at Andina Restaurant, seasonal mezza at Mediterranean Exploration Company or modern Tuscan at Trattoria Gallo Nero. And catch an evening show at The Armory; get tickets in advance for shows including “Frida… A Self Portrait” (Oct. 9-Nov. 7, 2021) and “Hedwig and the Angry Itch (Jan. 22-March 6, 2022). The Amory offers a running lineup of shows ranging from hilarious and irreverent to explorations of social justice hot-button issues.

Soak up a bit of history, culture and tranquility in Old Town/Chinatown at the beautiful Lan Su Chinese Garden. (Photo by Susan Seubert)

Old Town Chinatown

Just east of the Pearl and stretching to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland’s Old Town Chinatown is a district is steeped in history. It is the city’s original downtown, and the historic center for Asian American families who settled here in the 1800s. Start your journey by grabbing an Instagrammable photo at the iconic Portland, Oregon sign from the sidewalk on the north side of the Burnside Bridge. Dive into the rotating exhibits examining race and culture at Portland Chinatown Museum and the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, and take a walk through the tranquil spaces at the Lan Su Chinese Garden — which is especially alluring when it rains. The stately, all-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and the perfect launchpad for a walking tour. Visit the hotel lobby for the historic Portland lowdown, and then head out to Voodoo Doughnut for a bacon-maple bar, stroll around Ankeny Square to the Skidmore Fountain. On Saturdays, the Portland Saturday Market will be happening here, as the largest outdoor arts and crafts market in continuous operation in the United States. Next, wander into Pine Street Market for buzz-worthy eats from Bless Your Heart Burgers, Kim Jong Smokehouse and several more culinary vendors. And then go on an underground tour of the Shanghai Tunnels. When you come up for air, hit happy hour at Senate and enjoy hazelnut ramen at Afuribrisket empanadas at the chic Lechon, or elevated American fare at Portland’s oldest restaurant, Huber’s. After dinner, catch a live set at Kells Irish Pub. Come morning, hit Portland’s namesake Stumptown Cafe for a serious brew.

The Duniway Portland makes a perfect basecamp for exploring the shops, culture and all the Rose City has to offer.

If You Go:

Whether you’re on foot or arriving by car, Hilton Portland Hotels put the city at your feet — but when your sneakers grow weary, hop aboard the Portland Streetcar or MAX Light Rail and get whisked from the Pearl to Downtown to Old Town on the cheap. (It’s $5 for an all-day Tri-Met pass, which covers busses, light-rail trains and streetcars.) You can also rent an orange cruiser at one of the many BIKETOWN stations and pedal around at your whim.

Choose from these close-in Hilton Hotels with impeccable amenities and put pep in your step:

Hampton Inn & Suites Portland-Pearl District

Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District

Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown

Hilton Portland Downtown

The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel

The Porter Portland, Curio Collection by Hilton

About The

Michelle Kehm
Michelle Kehm is a writer and author whose work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, AFAR, Vogue, Glamour and the NewYorker.com. She’s a native Portlander and is loving rediscovering the Pacific Northwest after a long spell of living in New York City.

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