Around the Block: Exploring the Ritz-Carlton Residences and the Vibrant Heart of Portland’s West End

The modern glass facade of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Portland, the first for the brand in the Pacific Northwest, is a striking new addition to the city’s skyline.

Text by Marc Graser

The modern glass facade of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Portland, the first for the brand in the Pacific Northwest, is a striking new addition to the city’s skyline. But it’s also a symbol for a transformation that is energizing the fashionable West End neighborhood known for its beautiful historic Victorian-era homes and enthusiastically redefining modern luxury living while still embracing the beloved quirk of Rose City.

In fact, the new 35-story tower, the fourth tallest building in Portland with views of lush West Hills, and nearby Willamette River, is the centerpiece of the West End, which has long represented a mix of residential charm, diverse culinary options, and a focus on fostering a strong community spirit. Its three block radius has enjoyed more than $1 billion in investment to restore icons like the Alderway and The Galleria buildings, both on the National Register of Historic Places, and add new commercial, retail and residential, making it one of the most sought after places to live, work and play.

Only steps from Pioneer Place Mall, Pioneer Courthouse Square, or “Portland’s Living Room,” a light rail and streetcar stop, this part of the West End is steps from local favorites and high-end restaurants, bars, specialty coffee shops, boutiques, art galleries and more. 

Meadowrue, inside the residence, serves Coava Coffee roasters and the hotel’s signature “urban forest” blend.

Where to Dine

You’ll never go hungry in the West End. Locally sourced ingredients take center stage on creative menus, reflecting Portland’s renowned food scene, which boasts the most James Beard Award winners per capita nationwide, and a farmers market most days of the week.

Bellpine is the signature restaurant and lounge located on the 20th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland with panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. With a menu of New American cuisine with a Pacific Northwest influence, you’ll find highlights like albacore and wagyu beef tartare, a crab Berliner, and salmon crudo.

Nearby, Chef Simone Savaiano’s Mucca Osteria crafts perfect pasta dishes like the seasonal Tagliatelle al Coniglio with slow braised rabbit, mushrooms and pickled pomegranate seeds in an intimate setting. Rick Gencarelli’s Grassa also serves up heaping bowls of freshly made pastas. He is bringing Rhinestone, a Tex Mex-style smoked meat breakfast burrito eatery, to the neighborhood. 

The burrata “is out of this world, but the pizza is the real star” of Ken’s Artisan Pizza, which recently was named the third best pizzeria in America by Italy’s Top 50 Pizza organization, according to Pádraic Mulcahy, Director of Residences at The Ritz-Carlton Portland. He also highly recommends Ox, an Argentine steakhouse on the city’s east side that serves a perfect grilled asado, empanadas, “and the best milanesa on the west coast.”

For libations, Portland is a master at craft beers and creative cocktails that can be found at local bars and pubs with tons of character like 10 Barrel Brewery, Teardrop Lounge, Dirty Pretty, Sousòl, Blue Moon Tavern, Olive or Twist, Driftwood Room, and the Rum Club. Savor award-winning Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and méthode champenoise sparkling wines of Oregon’s Domaine Serene and France’s Château de la Crée and Maison Evenstad at Domaine Serene Wine Lounge.

The Multnomah Whiskey Library is at the top of Mulcahy’s list of favorite bars in Portland. “The member’s only restaurant and bar/lounge is one of a kind and houses the largest collection of whiskeys this side of the Mississippi,” he says. “Our Owners couldn’t be luckier as the MWL is just a block away from the Residences.”

Have a sweet tooth? Kristen Murray’s Måurice is a French-Scandinavian “pastry luncheonette” that whips up an otherworldly French toast. Grab a baker’s dozen from the original Voodoo Doughnuts, with its flagship store just blocks away.

You don’t have to leave the building to get some of Portland’s best coffee, with Meadowrue serving Coava Coffee Roasters and the hotel’s signature “Urban Forest” blend. But if you want to explore, “coffee shops are literally on every block of the city,” Mulcahy says. You’ll often find him at Umbria Coffee, a short walk away from the property. “It’s cozy and familiar, yet bursting with energy and the perfect flat white.”

In Portland, there are many things to discover right outside your windows.

What to Do

During the day, lose yourself in the endless stacks of Powell’s City of Books, a world-famous landmark. The Portland Art Museum and Oregon Historical Society offer enriching experiences showcasing history, fine art, and contemporary culture. Downtown Portland offers a variety of upscale shopping destinations, including designer boutiques, high-end department stores, and specialty shops in and around Pioneer Place and the Pearl District.

The West End boasts several upscale theaters and concert halls, like the Arlene Schnitzer Auditorium, offering a diverse range of performances, from classical symphonies to Broadway shows. Cheer on the Portland Timbers, a Major League Soccer powerhouse, at Providence Park, which hosts concerts, and also becomes electric when Thorns FC, a pro-women’s soccer team, plays. “Portland is a great supporter of female sports,” Mulcahy says.

Where to Go

Portland is also bursting with green spaces and curated gardens. Explore the fragrant blooms of the International Rose Test Garden. Nearby parks like Director Park and the South Park Blocks provide green spaces in the heart of the city. The Ritz-Carlton is also on the edge of the Green Loop, a planned six-mile linear park for biking and jogging that follows a safe and scenic path through Downtown, Old Town, the South Waterfront and other riverside neighborhoods. 

For pleasant day trips or weekend getaways, visit Oregon’s wine country, historic landmarks like the Pittock Mansion and the 5,200-acre Forest Park, the largest urban wild space in North America, with more than 80 miles of walking, hiking, and nature trails, as well as Tom McCall Waterfront Park, spanning the Willamette River. Locals are also less than a two-hour drive from the beaches of the Pacific Coast or the snow-capped mountains of Mt. Hood and the Cascade Range, and the countless waterfalls and hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge.

For avid hikers, Mulcahy recommends Angel’s Rest, an exposed blufftop with panoramic Gorge views. For those more experienced, Dog Mountain “is not for the novice with a steep 700-foot climb.” Purchase tickets in April or May to see the wild flowers on the mountain.

“Portland is an incredible place to live and work,” adds Marie Browne, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland. “It is a city that my husband and I immediately fell in love with when we moved here two years ago. The city is very welcoming and has a warmth unlike anywhere else that I have ever lived.”



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