UWS Guide to Portland Suburbs

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Hecker

University of Western States is happy to call Portland, Oregon home. The city of Portland is a vibrant hub of arts, food, music and culture. It’s not surprising the surrounding suburbs offer a similar charm, all within 30 minutes of campus!

If you’re interested in moving to the Portland area, but do not necessarily want to live within city limits, check out some of the highlighted areas both in Oregon and across the bridges to Washington state.

View more details about highlighted suburbs of Portland with categories such as “Best for Families” and “Best for Young Professionals” with this list provided by Niche.

Check out this map to get a better idea of the suburbs discussed below in relation to the UWS campus located at 8000 NE Tillamook St in Portland, Oregon.

Neighborhood Map



Beaverton is located in Washington County and is considered by many to be one of the best places to live in Oregon. Living in Beaverton offers residents an urban-suburban feel. In Beaverton, there are a lot of restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and parks. Many young professionals live in Beaverton, due to the proximity to Nike and Intel. The public schools in Beaverton are highly rated (Niche).

Drive time to campus: 22 – 30 minutes

Other transportation options: TriMet Bus, MAX Light Rail

PRO: All the amenities of living in a suburb while remaining close to Portland. Great community building for young families.

CON: Traffic can be quite heavy during rush hours. The area is very suburban so you will have to drive most places.

Some of the top-rated neighborhoods include:

West Slope, South Beaverton, Central Beaverton, Raleigh West, Neighbors South, West Triple, Creek Greenway, Vose



  • Brooklyn Trattoria: NYC Italian with local NW Bounty-and Wine country vineyard. You won’t want to miss the freshly made pasta, seafood and gluten-free tiramisu.
  • Taste of Sichuan Beaverton: Americanized and more traditional Chinese plates.
  • Ikenohana: Offers the classic tick-the-sushi-boxes ordering style and beautiful presentations. The restaurant offers bento boxes and izakaya plates, from tonkatsu to udon noodles.
  • Yuzu: Counter seating and slightly hidden location, but the food in this hidden gem is some you won’t want to miss!
  • Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream: Indulge in the best ice cream in Beaverton. A fan favorite of children and adults alike, enjoy the many delicious flavors this shop creates fresh in-store.


Close to the Columbia River gorge and a little more than an hour to Mt. Hood, this area is a gateway to outdoor recreation. There are many historic sites to visit in Gresham and six major bike trails that run through it, connecting Gresham to Portland and other parts of Oregon.

Drive time to campus: 20 – 25 minutes

Photo Credit: PDX Movers

Other transportation options: TriMet Bus, MAX Light Rail

PRO: Close to the UWS campus and housing is more affordable.

CON: Traffic can be quite heavy during rush hours, since there is no a major highway directly to the city. The weather can be colder and windy in the winter due to the proximity to the Columbia River Gorge.



  • Nicholas Restaurant: Lebanese, Mediterranean Middle Eastern cuisine, vegetarian friendly, vegan options, gluten free options.
  • Sweet Betty’s Bistro: A great place to go for breakfast or lunch with vegetarian and Gluten Free options.
  • Boccelli’s Ristorante: Italian lunch or dinner options.
  • Barley Sprout: Made from scratch sourdough crust pizza, with gluten free and vegan dining options. Also, lots of local craft brews on tap.

West Linn

West Linn is considered part of the Portland metro area but has a comfortable enough distance to avoid the hustle and bustle of the big city. Residents enjoy a quiet lifestyle in a quiet community, with plenty of local amenities. Locals love the fact that West Linn has been ranked among numerous “Best Places to Live” lists over the years. West Linn is south of Portland and near the Willamette River for great hikes and water sports. Mary S. Young State Recreation Area is a highlight of the area. This large nature park offers off-leash dog runs, sports fields and eight miles of hiking trails.

Drive time to campus: 22 – 32 minutes

Other transportation options: TriMet Bus and MAX Light Rail

PRO: All the amenities of living in a suburb while remaining close to Portland. The area is suburban but greener and less strip mall heavy than other areas.

CON: There is a lack of apartments in this area. Fewer younger families and not a lot of affordable housing options. Geared to wealthier and more established families.  

Some of the top-rated neighborhoods include:

Barrington Heights, Tanner Woods, Hidden Creek, Bolton, Hidden Springs, Marylhurst, Parker Cres, Robinwood, Rosemont Summit, Savanna Oaks, Skyline Ridge



Lake Oswego

If we were to talk about the best suburbs in the Portland Metro, Lake Oswego, is the top of the list. Highlighted within Lake Oswego include top schools, nature trails, restaurants, golf courses, wineries, and, of course, an absolutely stunning lake. The city maintains 600 acres of parks and open spaces.

Drive time to campus: 21 – 30 minutes

Photo Credit: Apartments.com

Other transportation options: TriMet Bus, MAX Light Rail

PRO: All the amenities of living in a suburb while remaining close to Portland.

CON: Apartments and affordable housing may be limited in this area.

Some of the top-rated neighborhoods include:

Birdshill, Blue Heron, Bryant, Childs, Country Club North Shore, Evergreen, First Addition


  • Farmers Market: Open from June through October
  • Adorn: Women’s clothing boutique, built around the real-world, body positive attitude.
  • Grapevine: Sought after brans and elevated modern styles.
  • Simply Posh: Consignment shop for men’s and women’s designer clothes.


  • Nola Donuts: beignets and coffee, if you go you must try one of their la’ssants – it is their take on a cronut, flaky pastry layers in a variety of flavors.
  • Lake Theater and Café: Outdoor, lakeside dining and an inventive menu. Their selection of indie and art-house films (plus a few blockbusters thrown in for good measure) make this an ideal place to see a movie.
  • Bamboo Sushi


Troutdale has anchored the eastern end of the Portland metropolitan area for more than 100 years. Living in Troutdale offers easy access to the breathtaking natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered by the Columbia River Gorge. Troutdale’s park system includes almost 20 parks, many of which contain playgrounds, athletic fields, hiking trails and community gardens.

Drive time to campus: 18 – 20 minutes

Other transportation options: TriMet Bus, MAX Light Rail

PRO: Quieter suburb and closer to the Columbia River Gorge. Quaint downtown area.

CON: Weather can be colder and windy during the winter with the east winds through the gorge.



  • Bandits Bar & Grill: Are you looking for a casual, cowboy bar to rest your spurs? You do not have to leave Oregon to find a place that caters to cowgirls and cowboys, or for someone looking for some Cajun or Creole-influenced food.
  • McMenamins Edgefield –Black Rabbit Restaurant: Wandering around 74 acres with a drink in hand is a great way to take in this historic property.
  • Ristorante Di Pompello: the best authentic Italian restaurant in Troutdale.



When attending UWS in Portland, Oregon, you may consider a move across the bridges to Vancouver, Washington. The city has a small town feel with access to big city amenities, has relatively affordable housing, and is situated near some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the country. Vancouver is the fourth-largest city in Washington state, which means its residents have easy access to all the amenities needed for everyday life and entertainment. There has been a recent revitalization movement of the local arts and culture scene, providing plenty of festivals, markets and annual events to choose from. 

Drive time to campus: 19 – 23 minutes

Other transportation options: C-Tran

PRO: All the amenities of living in a suburb while remaining close to Portland.

CON: There is not a lot of public transportation from Vancouver to Portland, so driving is recommended. Traffic can be busy on both bridges. Living in a different state than where you go to school may affect taxes and other administration processes.  

Some of the top-rated neighborhoods include:

Fisher’s Creek Neighborhood, Felida Neighborhood, Shumway Neighborhood, Esther Short Neighborhood, Arnada Neighborhood, Lake Shore Neighborhood, Cascade Highlands Neighborhood


  • Vancouver Mall has more than 75 stores and 25 places to eat at, as well as the area’s largest luxury theater and a selfie studio.
  • Vancouvers Farmers Market is nationally recognized running from mid-March to the end of October on weekends. From local musicians, freshly fried doughnuts, fresh cut flowers. If you are looking for handmade gifts around the holidays the Night Market Vancouver at Terminal 1 on the waterfront is your next stop.


  • Rally Pizza: Some of the best pizza in the Portland area and to top it off they have delicious custard dessert options
  • Little Conejo: Authentic, minimalist tacos and numerous mezcal and tequila drink options.
  • 4 Caminos: authentic Mexican restaurant; try the street tacos or one of their most popular dishes: menudo, birria, ceviche, and pozole.
  • Amaro’s Table: modern American dining experience to downtown Vancouver. The restaurant’s highlights include its steaks, seafood, and craft cocktails.
  • Arawan Thai Cuisine: Classic Thai dishes in a friendly environment and is committed to making your dining experience a memorable one.


Camas is a suburb of Vancouver, Washington with a population of 23,200 and is located in Clark County. Living in Camas offers residents a suburban feel and most residents own their homes. The public schools in Camas are highly rated. East of Camas is the entry to the Washington side of the gorge, with great hiking and camping destinations. There are many public parks and bodies of water in Camas, and even an extinct volcano vent, Prune Hill. Lacamas Park and Heritage Park are highlights that provide playgrounds, hiking trails, boat launches and access to the Camas Potholes and Camas lily fields. The school system is one of the best in the whole Portland area.

Drive time to campus: 20 minutes

Other transportation options: C-tran bus system

PRO: All the amenities of living in a suburb while remaining close to Portland. Walkable downtown with small-town vibe. Great community for young families. Great schools!

CON: Traffic can be quite heavy during rush hours.Living in a different state than where you go to school may affect taxes and other administration processes.  

Some of the top-rated neighborhoods include:

Deer Creek, Parker Estates, Holly Hills, Sunningdale Gardens, Downtown Camas