Seattle vs. Portland
Don’t compare your day one to someone’s day 100
I haven’t done a city comparison in such a long time that I thought it would be a great idea to get back to it! The last one I wrote was quite popular so let’s compare 2 American cities and see which one is worth your time; Seattle vs. Portland!
It goes without saying that it would be amazing to visit Seattle as well as Portland, but if you could only visit one city and had to choose, this article is for you!
Let me know in the comments which other cities you would like me to compare, as I love doing them and discovering new insides!
Table of Contents
The two cities are located in the Northwest of America and are only 3 hours away from each other by car if you were wondering how far is Seattle from Portland.
Here are a few differences between the cities before we dig deeper:
- Seattle has a lot more skyscrapers than Portland
- There are around 100K more people in Seattle compared to Portland in 2022
- If we compare areas, Portland is much bigger than Seattle, making it less dense for tourists.
Seattle vs. Portland Cost of living
Both cities have a lot to offer, from vibrant cultural scenes and beautiful natural surroundings to prosperous economies and diverse communities. However, one factor that may influence your decision is the cost of living in each city.
All the following data was taken from numbeo.com, and all the prices are in USD to make it easier to compare.
You would need around 7,245.6$ in Seattle, Washington, to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 6,000.0$ in Portland, Oregon (assuming you rent in both cities).
One of the costly expenses for anyone living in the city is housing. In Seattle, the median price for a home is around 814 000$, compared to 535 000$ in Portland. Rent is also expensive in Seattle, with the average one-bedroom apartment costing 2 300$ per month compared to 1 700$ in Portland.
Transportation costs in Seattle and Portland are similar, with Seattle being slightly more expensive. Both cities have comprehensive public transportation systems. However, many people choose to own or rent a car for more flexibility and convenience. Keep in mind that parking can be hard to find and expensive in many parts of both cities.
On all counts, Seattle is a more expensive city, whether we talk about restaurants, accommodations, markets, transportation, utilities, or childcare. But in that same line of thinking, their income is also 34% higher than in Portland.
In the cost of living index, Seattle is positioned 8th most expensive city in America, whereas Portland is 17th.
Culture and Diversity
Both cities have a lot to offer in terms of culture and diversity, with thriving arts scenes, diverse communities, and a rich history. However, each city has its own unique character and culture that sets it apart.
Seattle is known for its arts and music scene, which draws people from all over the world. The city is home to several world-class music venues and festivals, including the iconic Bumbershoot or the Capitol Hill Block Party. They are also home to many cultural institutions, such as the Seattle Symphony, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Seattle Art Museum, offering different exhibitions throughout the year.
Portland, on the other hand, is known for its quirky and alternative culture, with a thriving art scene that includes street art and many independent galleries and studios. The city has many annual events, including the Portland Rose Festival and the Portland Art and Film Festival, which showcase the work of local artists and filmmakers. Not only that, it has a few cultural institutions, such as the Portland Art Museum, which is the oldest art museum on the west coast.
Seattle and Portland are diverse and welcoming cities, with large immigrant populations and a massive commitment to inclusivity and social justice. They have a big LGBTQ+ community, with resources and events dedicated to supporting and celebrating this diverse group. Both cities are democratic and liberal, which is very nice for any marginalized groups to feel welcomed and accepted.
Attractions and sightseeing
One of the main reasons why people love to visit these two cities is their accessibility to nature. The landscape is absolutely insane and to die for. Not only that, but they also have big city vibes giving everyone a chance to make the best out of their trip!
- Space Needle
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Pike Place Market
- Museum of Pop Culture
- The Seattle Great Wheel
- Seattle Art Museum
- Sky View Observatory
- Woodland Park Zoo
- Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
A few of these attractions can be purchased through CityPASS. It gives you at least a 30% discount on the entirety of the attractions, if not more. The space needle, Chihuly garden, and Glass both make up 50% of the price of the Pass, so you should totally check it out!
I would also suggest you check out this website for the best hikes to do in Seattle and the best landscapes just an hour away from the craziness of downtown. It has 3 National parks in its surroundings, less than 3 hours away!
- Portland Oregon White Stag Sign
- Portland Art Museum
- Portland Japanese Garden
- Washington Park
- Jamison Square
- Salmon Street Springs
- Pioneer Courthouse
You can find some hiking trails in the surrounding areas; you can find the top-rated hikes right here. Not only you can find many forests, but the desert is not too far!
Food and drink
Being so close to one another, there are many similarities in the dishes and drinks you can get out of those cities. Located on the Pacific coast, you can always indulge in the best seafood there is. Also, Portland and Seattle have many restaurants that source their ingredients from local farms and use sustainable and ethical practices, and we all love that! Lastly, the beer scene is very present, with many microbreweries and brewpubs offering a wide range of beers to try.
- Starbucks coffee: The original Starbucks coffee shop is in Seattle and should be 100% visited!
- Sushi and Thai food: Seattle has a large Asian population, so it’s no surprise that sushi and Thai food are popular dishes. There are many excellent restaurants to choose from in the city.
- Voodoo Doughnut: A quirky doughnut shop known for its over-the-top and unique doughnut flavors. You can find them elsewhere in America, but Portland is the OG!
- Portland-style pizza
- Food carts: You can find hundreds of food carts, offering all types of cuisines and dishes. From Korean BBQ to Peruvian sandwiches, there’s something for everyone. It’s not just a New York thing!
- Portland-style coffee: The coffee culture is definitely present in the city, with many local roasters and coffee shops to choose from.
Seattle vs. Portland weather
Weather in Seattle, Washington
Weather in Portland, Oregon
From November to March, it gets pretty cold and dark in Seattle. It rains a lot, and that could be very daunting. And let’s not forget it could also snow any time during those months. The same can be said about Portland.
Both cities are located on the coast, and the temperature can be pretty similar. They are known to have a lot of grey days throughout the year, but that shouldn’t stop you.
And on the bright side, summers are pretty nice, with a cool breeze and warm sun.
I would visit the cities from May to September, so that I have all the nice weather on my side, lower the chances of rain, and participate in nice festivals… to pass the time and socialize with locals! Because let’s be honest, everyone is more social under the sun!
Needless to say, both cities are pretty amazing, and for a selfish reason, I would visit Seattle first and then make my way down to Portland! And if you were wondering what is the selfish reason… I have 2 words for you… Grey’s Anatomy. The actual hospital is in Los Angeles, but all other landscapes were filmed in Seattle, and I need to check them all!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop them below! I would love to answer them and make your decision-making process easier!
Until next time,