City Cast

South Waterfront Is Portland's Most Recent High Rise Neighborhood

Rachel Monahan
Posted on September 13
Tilikum Crossing

Check out the Tilikum Crossing on foot or by bike. (Steve Morgan)

It wasn’t a residential neighborhood till the aughts. Not long ago the area was home to barge manufacturing. Developed from an industrial brownfield, South Waterfront is now full of sleek glass towers, many of them condos or apartments. It also hosts the preeminent medical research center Oregon Health and Science University.

It’s easily accessible, but tucked away south of downtown. Here’s where to go if you pay a visit.

Eat and Drink

It’s a good neighborhood to visit for a meal.

The Seattle chain has gotten high marks for some of the best dumplings in the metro area.

For special occasions (or if you’re ready to drop a lot of money on food), the restaurant serves high-quality seasonal Northwest cuisine with a Mexican influence. It’s a notably creative menu that’s new each week.

Pork with flat bread is a specialty at Lilia Comedor in Portland, Oregon.

Try the pork confit at Lilia. (John Notarianni/City Cast Portland)

Get yourself to the first restaurant of the massive chain. It’s got old-school flair and views of the river.

Recognized as one of the best coffee shops in the city, you can get your favorite brew here. (There’s tea too.)

Bike the Bridge and Waterfront

Go for a pedal. Tilikum Crossing — the country’s first bus, bike, train, and pedestrian bridge (no cars allowed) — is a good way to enter. The neighborhood has protected bike lanes along the main street and waterfront paths that are the envy of other neighborhoods. The neighborhood also has extraordinary access to public transportation: The Portland Streetcar, a MAX line, and bus lines all run through. And it’s got a unique form of transportation:

Take the Tram

Ride the OHSU tram like an out-of-towner. Avoid rush hour if you’re there for the views, so that doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff can get where they’re going (and you can be a little less crowded). [$8 round trip]

Marquam Bridge with RiverPlace and South Waterfront in Portland, Oregon

The Marquam Bridge lies at the northern end of South Waterfront. (Michael Montez)

Swim in the River

Proceed at your own risk: The city doesn’t have lifeguards at this location. But Poet’s Beach is a lovely spot under the Marquam Bridge.

Learn More

From the comfort of home, check out before-and-after photos of the neighborhood’s development. [Oregonian]

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