Your Destination Guide to Portland

Destination Guide Portland - Your Destination Guide to Portland, OR

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South Waterfront

South Waterfront
South Waterfront

© David Berkowitz

If you're fond of small but burgeoning neighborhoods, then South Waterfront, or SoWa, is the place for you. A mix of small town ambience and New York City-type high rises, the neighborhood is scenically located in South Portland along the Willamette River.

While the edges of the SoWa lead to some of Portland's oldest bridges and pathways along the Willamette, everything else in this area of Portland is new. In fact, ongoing construction is a common neighborhood complaint.. But for an evening stroll and a small but charming selection of shops, SoWa provides a low-key, clean, and crowd-free haven from the rest of the city. While most Portland neighborhoods feel the dinner rush followed by the throng of barflies hitting town, SoWa seems immune all things stressful and offers a respite for those who prefer the quieter, calmer side of life.

However, this area of abandoned industrial warehouses is one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country, so enjoy the proverbial calm before the storm. Portland's big plans for South Waterfront will turn it into a social Mecca and add to its currently small collection of apartment buildings and few restaurants. Already completed is the access to the neighborhood via streetcar, which now runs to and from SoWa and is the easiest way to get there.And don't forget the aerial tram for an alternate means of exit.

Future plans include a hotel and more high rises, as well as a park. The greenway SoWa currently boasts is well landscaped with a beautiful view, and leads north to Waterfront Park.

Further, sustainable architecture is at the core of SoWa, each high rise and shop is built to be sleek and environmentally friendly.

Visitors will enjoy seeing SoWa now and in the future, but enjoy a calm walk now to enjoy it the way it is, as well as take in its new future sights.

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