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While Portland might not be the most affordable city to raise a family, it’s a hip city with tons of great features single parents will appreciate.

Portland’s endless recreational opportunities encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. Plus, Portland’s self-contained neighborhoods mean work, school, and the grocery store are never further than around the corner if you choose the right area. This is especially helpful for those working from home with kids.

But how do you know where it is best to live, and what do you do once you get there? Whether you’re new to Portland or a native taking a fresh look at your city, Village Portland outlines what you need to know.

Choosing the right neighborhood

A lot goes into making a neighborhood a great place to raise kids. As a single parent, your list of needs is even longer. Like all families, you want safe streets, clean parks, and high-ranking schools and daycares. But parenting alone means you also need a neighborhood that makes day-to-day life as convenient as possible, because you can’t afford to spend hours running errands.

Here are three neighborhoods we think are perfect for single parent households:

* Hosford-Abernethy: Nestled across the Willamette Riverfrom Downtown, this inner Southeast neighborhood is home to Abernethy Elementary School, a small public school that’s one of the highest-ranked in Portland, two grocery stores selling locally-sourced wares, and convenient access to light rail.

* Irvington: The Irvington neighborhood is loved by single parents for its easy commute to downtown and active community. It’s easy to drop into cafés, shops, movie theaters, and the library in this walkable neighborhood. It’s also home to Irvington Elementary School, which ranks above average, and Irving Park.

* Sellwood-Moreland: If proximity to Downtown is less of a concern, consider Sellwood-Moreland. This Southeast neighborhood boasts a top-ranking elementary school, Llewellyn Elementary, a farmers market, a convenient shopping district, and tons of green space. In fact, 95 percent of Sellwood-Moreland residents live within a half mile of a park.

Of course, the right neighborhood for you depends on your family’s unique needs. Using Niche’s ranking of family neighborhoods and GreatSchools’ reviews of local schools, you can easily weigh options while shopping around. 

Getting active and social

Portland is an incredibly family-friendly city, so it’s easy to get out with your kids. That’s perfect for the single parent trying to navigate a social life in a new city, because you can connect with other parents while your kids burn off energy.

Here’s what you can’t miss in Portland:

* Jamison Square: In the heart of the Pearl District, Jamison Square is a favorite on hot summer days. Little ones can splash around in the interactive fountain while parents sip coffee and catch up on the sidelines.

* Portland Farmers Markets: With seven farmers markets around the city, families don’t have to travel far to find fresh food, live music, and fun family events. And since four markets offer Double Up Food Bucks, single parents can stretch their SNAP dollars on nutritious fruits and vegetables.

* Oregon Zoo: For kids, the zoo never gets old. Thankfully, the Oregon Zoo makes it easy to go again and again with $5 admission on the second Tuesday of each month and reduced admission for income-qualified families.

* Pools & fountains: Portland is known for its rainy, blustery winters— but it can also get very hot in the summer. Enjoy the many rivers nearby, or if you’re not able to leave the city, consider visiting some of the City’s interactive fountains and / or pools. To beat the heat or get some year-round exercise, visit one of the four indoor and seven outdoor pools (listed here) Portland owns and operates.

Visit this interactive site for more information and the locations of these unique fountains.

* Portland Saturday Market: This outdoor market (which closes Dec. 24!) features something for everyone and is incredibly family-friendly. With more than 250 art and craft vendors, you’re sure to find something worth checking out.


These suggestions are only a taste of all Portland has to offer families. With sprawling parks, awesome libraries, and engaging museums, you could easily spend an entire day exploring— so why not do just that? When it’s time to get to know your city, put your cell phone on silent, hire a dog walker, and spend a day or two discovering your kid’s new favorite places.

When you’re a single parent, your city means more than your zip code. It represents your support system, your social network, and your children’s future. With its cozy neighborhoods, awesome amenities, and strong community, Portland is a great homebase for anyone parenting alone.


Want to get more involved in Portland’s bustling community? Village Portland provides a forum for enterprising neighbors and early career journalists to spread their wings. Find out more today!


As a former librarian, Diane noticed that a lot of people would come in looking for more information on various health and medical conditions whether it was for their own personal research or after the diagnosis of a family member or friend. This is what inspired her to begin her writings.