Checking In | NW Portland Hostel in Portland, Oregon

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If you are looking for an affordable place to stay in Portland, Oregon that still has character and even, dare I say, a touch of luxury, then boy do I have a place to share with you! I recently stayed at NW Portland Hostel in the trendy NW/Nob Hill neighborhoods of Portland and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s now one of my favorite hostels EVER!

NW Portland Hostel has something to offer most travelers. It even won an award as the third best mid-sized hostel in the world… and after my stay, it’s not hard to see why.

Read more about my stay below!

Disclaimer: Our stay at NW Portland Hostel was hosted in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own and I only partner with accommodations that I’m passionate about!

nw portland hostel in portland oregon
The pretty exterior of one of NW Portland Hostel’s buildings.

Review of NW Portland Hostel

NW Portland Hostel is quite special. It is actually a collection of five victorian-style buildings in one Portland city block, that have all been lovingly renovated over the years.

These days, the hostel is pretty big, although the separate buildings still make it feel quaint and homey. It currently has 160 dorm beds (in small rooms of 4-6 people maximum), 32 private rooms (where we stayed), and two apartments.

There are plenty of amenities – including two kitchens and an entire cafe – but I discuss those in depth further down in this post.

Whether you’re on a budget in pricy Portland and looking for a dorm room, or if you’re looking for privacy in a private room like we were, then this is really the hostel for you.

a sign outside nw portland hostel

The History of NW Portland Hostel

There is a ton of history behind NW Portland Hostel, that I think is important to mention here. This is not a cookie cutter hostel! When you stay here, you’re supporting an independent business and decades-long dream, and I think that’s so meaningful.

Jim Kennett opened the hostel in 1998, and now runs it with his wife Britta. They actually met when Britta came from Germany to visit the hostel in 1998 and they married in 2003.

The couple independently owns the hostel, although it’s affiliated with Hostelling International USA, a sustainable, well-respected travel brand that I personally love and have worked with for years.

Together, Jim and Britta have expanded the NW Portland Hostel over the decades. They are hostelers themselves and you can tell they really care about both the international traveler community as well as their local Portland community. You can read more about the hostel’s history here.

The actual buildings of NW Portland Hostel are also quite historic! Apart from their brand new reception and cafe building, the others are all on the National Register of Historic Places.

history plaques on the wall explaining the history of a hostel in portland
The hostel is full of signs explaining the history of the buildings and the hostel itself! It’s so interesting to read as you wander around the complex.

Our Private Room at NW Portland Hostel

Dan and I stayed in a private room during our time at NW Portland Hostel. Our room had a super comfortable queen bed, wardrobe, closet, desk, recycling and trash bins, complimentary towels, and SO MUCH space.

We had a shared bathroom in the hallway, that was really clean and never busy. I actually never saw anybody else using it while we were there.

There was also a small kitchenette in our building with a microwave, sink, and fridge. I like to cook when I travel because I have to eat gluten free (check out my gluten free Portland guide here!), and it was only a short walk over to the other building where there was a full kitchen.

Together, we’ve stayed in many private rooms at hostels and this is truly one of the best. It was so clean, comfortable, and spacious.

To be completely honest, this room was nicer than a lot of hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. We got privacy, space, and peace, but were just away from the benefits of hosteling (kitchens, common areas, events, other travelers to connect with, and helpful staff to name a few!). Plus, the price which is miles below hotels in Portland doesn’t hurt!

RELATED | Gluten Free Portland Oregon: The Complete Guide

queen bed in a private room at nw portland hostel

NW Portland Hostel Amenities

As I mentioned, there are a ton of extra amenities that you get at NW Portland Hostel, that made our stay even better.

Some of these amenities include:

  • Two kitchens
  • On-site cafe
  • Included bagel breakfast with toppings, coffee, tea, and juice
  • Outdoor courtyard and BBQ
  • Free lockers
  • Free wifi
  • 24-hour access
  • Free luggage storage
  • Laundry (we took advantage of this! It’s coin operated but you can get coins at the front desk)
  • Bike storage
  • On-street parking for $5/day (we did this! It’s a bit hard to find available spots as it’s a busy area, but it’s doable for sure)
portland sign at the portland cafe in nw portland
the shared kitchen at a hostel in portland oregon

Events at NW Portland Hostel

Of course, the other great thing about hostels is they often organize events to get travelers immersed in the local culture and community. This is definitely one of the areas that NW Portland Hostel excels.

During my stay, I could easily tell that there is a lot of heart put into their events schedule. I’m pretty sure this is because it’s independently owned and Jim, Britta, and the other people who work at the hostel are truly a part of the community.

I definitely recommend the open mic night if you visit when one of these is happening. We grabbed a drink and sat on the patio at a table with some of the musicians and enjoyed the performances.

Ironically, I discovered that one of the musicians from the headlining band was from my small town in Michigan, went to the same elementary school as me, and had the same orchestra teacher! It is really SUCH a small world, and this is why I love travel. Thanks to NW Portland Hostel for fostering the kind of environment where I could make that connection!

Some of the other events that NW Portland Hostel puts on include:

  • Open mic night (Mondays)
  • Traditional American old time music jam (Thursdays)
  • Irish music jam (Sundays)
  • Portland Timbers soccer game outings
  • Walking tour of Portland (Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays)
  • Trivia night (Wednesday)
  • Blues happy hour (1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month)

The Details

What? NW Portland Hostel, an independently-owned hostel that’s affiliated with the sustainable, well-respected travel brand Hostelling International USA.

Where? The trendy Northwest/Nob Hill neighborhood of Portland.

Vibes? Relaxed, social, welcoming, community-oriented. It’s not a party hostel, but there are low key events where the Portland community intermixes with international travelers. The private rooms are almost hotel-esque with a community aspect.

Room types? Dorms (4 and 6 bed options), privates (with ensuite or shared bathroom options), singles, family, and studio apartments.

Cost? Prices range $36 (dorm bed) to $114 (private four person family room) per night. Check rates and available room types here.

Bathrooms? Private or shared options. The shared bathrooms are still single rooms with locked doors, so it feels private. They are really clean and when we visited, not crowded at all (I never waited for the bathroom).

Amenities? Shared kitchens, on-street parking for $5, on-site cafe, free breakfast, organized events, hand sanitizer throughout, lockers, wifi, luggage storage, coin-operated laundry, outdoor courtyard, bike storage, and more.

string lights outside in portland oregon
open mic night at a hostel in portland
the victorian mansion exterior of a hostel in portland
portland sign
cafe at nw portland hostel
outdoor courtyard at nw portland hostel
french press in a hostel kitchen
hostel kitchen in portland oregon
artwork in a hostel in portland
exterior of nw portland hostel
the staircase inside our hostel in portland oregon
bathroom in a hostel in portland
shared games at a hostel
kitchenette at nw portland hostel
queen bed private room at a hostel in portland
sarah giving the peace sign in a mirror in her hostel room
common area at a hostel in portland oregon
desk in a hostel room in oregon
artwork depicting the portland oregon skyline in a minimal way

I’m sure you can tell, but I was truly impressed with NW Portland Hostel. I can’t imagine returning to Portland and not staying here, regardless of whether I’m on a budget or not. This hostel has everything you could possibly need, including a great location and friendly staff!

Honestly, for me personally it has become the hostel that I compare other hostels to when I think of the best of the best.

If you have any questions about this NW Portland Hostel review, or about travel in Portland and Oregon in general, leave me a comment below.

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Looking for the best place to stay in Portland on a budget? Check out this review of NW Portland Hostel in the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood.
Looking for the best place to stay in Portland on a budget? Check out this review of NW Portland Hostel in the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood.

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Oh hey! I’m Sarah, the writer behind Endless Distances. When I’m not here, spilling all my gluten free travel and wellness travel tips, you can… find me on the floor at parties petting the dog.

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