Living in Portland Oregon - EVERYTHING You Need to Know
What is Living in Portland Oregon Like?
Wondering what it's like to live in Portland, Oregon? Portland, Oregon, has a thriving cultural scene, outstanding natural beauty, world-class dining, and efficient public transportation. The beginning of the 20th century brought secure lumber mill jobs and money from the California Gold Rush, stabilizing the economy. Where once a seedy waterfront stood, today, Portland's pedestrian-friendly downtown and limits on growth have made it a comfortable place to live.
Portland is renowned for its galleries, performance venues, and cinema. Pubs, coffee shops, farmer's markets, parks, and gardens, which are everywhere. Culture is relatively easy to find, as many cultural activities abound. The Portland Art Museum is one of the 25 most prominent museums in the country and includes centers for Northwest and Native American Art. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts hosts eight resident companies. The Oregon Historical Society has a collection of more than 85,000 artifacts and an extensive research library. The Oregon Zoo has about 1,000 specimens and is active in 21 Species Survival Plans. And the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, AKA OMSI, provides a dynamic, engaging environment for adults and children alike. Mix in some wonderful neighborhoods, an abundance of jobs, beautiful scenery, and a myriad of recreational options, and you might find living in Portland, Oregon, is for you. Read on to learn more about Portland neighborhoods, schools, cost of living, things to do, pro's and con's, and even answers to some FAQs about living in Portland, Oregon.
If you're considering a move to Portland, Oregon, or have questions on what living in Portland, Oregon, is like, reach out to a member of our Moving to Portland Oregon Team. We would love to help!
The Moving to Portland Oregon Team
Are you thinking of moving to Portland, Oregon, or anywhere else in the area? Let our team of trusted professionals help you with your move and getting settled in the city of Portland, Oregon. Their knowledge and connections to the town of Portland, the surrounding area, and Oregon as a whole will help make the transition easy and stress-free for you. Reach out to them today to make moving to and living in Portland a reality.
Skip Ahead to:
1. What is the Cost of Living in Portland Oregon?
2. Housing in Portland, Oregon
3. Best Neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon
4. Public Schools in Portland, Oregon
5. Top Business & Employers in Portland, Oregon
6. Top Destinations & Attractions in Portland
7. Pros and Cons of Living in Portland, Oregon
8. FAQs About Living in Portland Oregon
9. Videos: What it's Like to Live in Portland Oregon
What is the Cost of Living in Portland Oregon?
If you're having thoughts of moving to Portland, Oregon, the cost of living would be a significant factor in your decision-making. I calculated the REAL cost of living in Portland, Oregon, by factoring in today's costs for housing (rent and own), utilities, food, transportation, healthcare, and other necessities to live. To live in Portland, Oregon, and rent, you would need to make $42,000 a year. To live in Portland, Oregon, and buy a home, you would need to make $64,000 a year. The cost of living in Portland, Oregon, was calculated with the cost of owning/operating a car factored in. With the availability of public transportation in Portland, it might be possible to live without a car which would significantly lower your cost of living. To see how I calculated, check out my blog post, "The REAL Cost of Living on the Oregon Coast." I show how I calculated these $'s under the Cost/Summary Explanation section. The calculations for the cost of living in Portland, Oregon, were done the same way. I will soon release my blog post, "The Real Cost of Living in the Portland Metro Area." To sign up to be notified when my newest blogs are released, CLICK HERE.
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Housing in Portland
Portland is a big city and offers a broad range of home types you can purchase. If you are looking to move to Portland, Oregon, you'll find a good mix of condos, townhouses, single-family, and multi-family homes. There are more than 150,000 houses in the town, and a good portion of the housing inventory is comprised of single-family residences. Though some new construction homes are available, a majority of these homes are older, classic styles such as Bungalows, 2-story Tudors, Victorians, Ranch, Foursquare, and more. If you are drawn to older style/traditional homes, then living in Portland, Oregon, might be a good fit for you as you'll have a good selection of homes to choose from.
The housing market is pretty competitive if you are looking to move to Portland, Oregon. It takes a good mortgage broker and realtor to navigate this challenging market. I can help you with the mortgage and connect you with a realtor if needed. Reach out today to get pre-approved for a mortgage and out shopping for your home in Beaverton. Together we can make living in Beaverton, Oregon, a reality for you.
Best Neighborhoods in Portland Oregon
One of the more significant challenges you'll face when moving to Portland, Oregon, is the choice of neighborhoods. Portland, Oregon, is home to some fantastic neighborhoods. Many are safe and walkable, with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options just steps from your front door. Below are some of the neighborhoods you should take a look at. For a complete summary of Portland neighborhoods, check out the Portland Neighborhood Guide:
Are you a young professional looking to be in the middle of the hottest area in Portland? Pearl District might be a good spot for you. This chic, artsy, and lively neighborhood gives you urban living at its finest! In this very walkable neighborhood, you're surrounded by great restaurants, brew pubs, shopping, art galleries, and an abundance of other entertainment options. If you're a young professional living in Portland, Oregon, you should definitely give this Portland neighborhood a good look!
Nob Hill/NW 21st & 23rd Avenue
If you're looking for luxury, shopping, walking, then the Nob Hill neighborhood could be a good spot for you living in Portland, Oregon. This walkable, busy, action packed, Portland neighborhood has a more European feel to it. NW 23rd, the main street running through this Portland neighborhood, is bustling with activity and littered with unique, upscale, one-of-a-kind restaurants and stores. If outdoor recreation is more your thing, this Portland neighborhood is close to Washington Park and Forest Park, where you'll find incredible views, forests, wildlife, and many hiking trails.
Located in Southeast Portland, the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood is one of the best if you want to move to Portland, Oregon. Bordered by the Willamette River and some other great neighborhoods, the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood has a neighborly small-town feel and is a great Portland neighborhood for someone who appreciates a less hectic pace of life.
With some of Portland's best schools, great restaurants, fun bars, coffee shops, a grocery store, an amusement park, a theatre, and many other great local businesses, all within walking distance in this beautiful Portland neighborhood, you'll find yourself leaving your car at home and walking/getting to know those in your community. For nature and outdoor recreation, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge gives you 170 acres of meadows, woodlands, and wetlands to explore. Or you can view the sunset from one of the many trails along the Willamette River. If you want to live in Portland, Oregon, it would be tough to beat this fantastic Portland neighborhood!
Located on the east side of the Willamette River, this very hip and popular Portland neighborhood sports trendy shops, wonderful cafes, and a ton of Food Carts. If you are a foodie and looking to move to Portland, Oregon, this could be the right Portland neighborhood for you. This young, urban, and hip neighborhood is bustling with bike traffic and foot traffic and is a short commute into downtown Portland. Besides the many food options, this neighborhood has many coffee shops, bars, live music options, and other great local businesses, all within walking distance. If you want to live in Portland, Oregon, and get the true Portland feel, this Portland neighborhood could be a good spot for you.
Buckman & Kerns
If you're looking for an abundance of entertainment options, a good microbrew, and many dining choices, the Buckman & Kerns neighborhoods might be a good spot for you. Located on Portland's east side, these fantastic Portland neighborhoods have beautiful tree-lined streets, peaceful parks and are surrounded by historic homes. With a nice mix of older home styles, condos, and apartments, these Portland neighborhoods have something for just about anyone who wants to live in Portland, Oregon.
If you're looking for slightly more affordable, vibrant Portland neighborhoods with a lot of personality, then the Hosford-Abernethy/Clinton neighborhoods could be a good spot for you! Located in Southeast Portland along the Willamette River, the Hosford-Abernethy/Clinton neighborhoods are some of Portland's best. Bordered to the North by Hawthorne Street and the famous Hawthorne District, these neighborhoods are just minutes away from downtown Portland by bus, bike, or car. These walkable, bikeable neighborhoods sport an array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. You can also take in some fantastic views of downtown Portland from high above at Mt. Tabor Park.
If you want more information on Portland neighborhoods, what living in Portland, Oregon, is like, or want information on homes in Portland, reach out to a member of our Moving to Portland Team. They would love to help with your move to Portland, Oregon, and can also help with picking the right neighborhood in Portland.
Public Schools in Portland, Oregon
With 81 schools and nearly 47,000 students, the Portland Public School District is the largest in Oregon. During the most recent school year, Portland Public Schools had an 85.7% graduation rate, higher than the state average, which was 84%. Portland Public Schools often get a bad rap. The truth is there are some excellent schools in the Portland Public School District. Whether your child will attend a good or bad school, living in Portland, Oregon, depends on the neighborhood you live in and the schools you attend. For instance, if you lived in the Sellwood neighborhood, your kids would attend Llewellyn Elementary School, Sellwood Middle School, and Cleveland High School. All of these are outstanding schools and got a B+ rating from Niche.com. There are many great neighborhoods and schools in Portland. Do your research if you plan to move to Portland and the quality of schools is important to you.
If looking to move to Portland check out the school links in the "Helpful Links for Moving to and Living in Portland, Oregon" section below for more information on Portland schools, rankings, and boundaries.
Top Businesses & Employers in Portland Area
If you are considering moving to Portland, Oregon, unless you're retired, a job will be an important consideration for you. Luckily, the job market in Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas is robust. Depending on your field of expertise, there's a decent amount of jobs available. Whether they pay enough to afford to live in Portland or the surrounding areas might be the bigger question. Either way, below is a list of the largest employers in the Portland Metro Area and the number of employees in the area at the time of writing, and where their main local HQ is located:
Intel > 22,328 regional employees > Hillsboro, Oregon
Providence Health & Services > 21,000 regional employees > Portland, Oregon
Oregon Health & Science University > 18,048 regional employees > Portland Oregon
Nike > 15,125 regional employees > Beaverton, Oregon
Legacy Health > 13,120 regional employees > Portland, Oregon
Kaiser Permanente > 11,163 regional employees > Portland, Oregon
Fred Meyer Stores > 9,525 regional employees > Portland, Oregon
Peace Health > 4,482 regional employees > Vancouver, Washington
Wells Fargo > 3,500 regional employees > Portland, Oregon
US Bank > 3,104 regional employees > Portland, Oregon
Top Destinations, Attractions & Events in Portland
Living in Portland, Oregon, there's no shortage of things to do. The largest city in Oregon has plenty of dining, entertainment, cultural, and community event options available to its residents. Below are some of the must see's if you're visiting or living in Portland, Oregon:
Portland Trail Blazers
If you're living in Portland, Oregon, or the surrounding area, you've got to check out Portland's NBA team, the Trail Blazers. Since 1970 the Portland Trail Blazers have called Portland home. In 1977 the team won their only NBA championship. Today they play their home games at the Moda Center. The games and attractions at the Moda Center make attending a Trail Blazer game a fun event for the whole family.
Nicknamed "Soccer City USA," Portland, Oregon, is home to the Portland Timbers, a men's pro soccer team that plays in the MLS, and the Portland Thorns, a women's pro soccer team that plays in the NWSL. Games are played at Providence Park in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland and are fun for the whole family. Soccer fans in Portland are well known for the passion/support they show their teams throughout the game. Warning though, if you've got young kids, do not sit amongst the Timbers Army. They can get a little rowdy. The MAX light rail train drops you right in front of Providence Park. You can ride the train from Hillsboro to the west or Gresham from the east.
If you're living in Portland, Oregon, or the surrounding area, you've got to check out the "Rose Festival." This civic event has been held in Portland every June since 1907. With three parades, fleet week, a fun center, and other events, the "Rose Festival," organized annually by the volunteer non-profit Portland Rose Festival Association, helps promote the Portland region. The Grand Floral Parade, the second largest all-floral parade in the US, draws around 500,000 each year and is considered the festival's centerpiece.
Portland Destinations & Attractions
Dating back to 1891, Washington Park is one of Portland's oldest parks. Loaded with memorials, gardens, museums, wilderness, and even a zoo, Washington Park is a must-visit if you live in Portland, Oregon, or the surrounding areas. The MAX Light Rail train makes a stop here. So leave the car at home or in one of the park and rides and take the train!
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Don't want to visit China but enjoy the experience of a traditional Chinese garden? Check out the Lan Su Chinese Garden. One of Portland's sister cities is Suzhou, China. The Suzhou artisans came to Portland and recreated this Ming Dynasty Garden. With rare native Chinese plants, Chinese architecture, and a tea house, visitors can relax and enjoy some fantastic views in this harmonious setting.
Portland Saturday Market
From March through December, Portland's Saturday Market draws about a million visitors annually. The market, which has operated since 1974, has roughly 250 vendors who sell had made arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, and food each week. Though called Saturday Market, the market is open on Sundays as well. If you are living in Portland, Oregon, and you want to check it out, it's best to walk, ride your bike, or hop on the MAX Light Rail train to get there.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
If you're looking for something that the whole family will enjoy, you've got to check out the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, better known as OMSI. With exhibits and hands-on activities that teach about natural science, industry, and technology, it's a great way to learn and have a lot of fun. Some popular OMSI attractions include a planetarium, a submarine exhibit, and a Science Playground for young kids.
If visiting or living in Portland, Oregon, you need to check out Forest Park. One of the largest urban parks in the United States, Forest Park, overlooks northwest Portland and is located in the Tualatin Mountains. With more than 80 miles of trails for bikers, hikers, and horseback riders, you'll enjoy an abundance of excellent views, lush vegetation, and wildlife, traversing the trails of Forest Park.
Powell's Book Store
With 68,000 square feet, 10 rooms, three floors, and 3,500 sections, it would be easy to get lost in Powell's Book Store. Opened in 1971, today Powell's is the largest independent book store in the world. With an in-house coffee shop, cafe, plenty of events, and over one million books, you could spend a good month at Powell's and not get bored. If you're living in Portland, Oregon, and like to read, this is your spot!
The Portland Art Museum
The oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest can be found in Portland, Oregon. The Portland Art Museum was founded in 1892 and sits in the heart of downtown Portland. The museum has exquisite exhibitions of Native American art and galleries full of Asian artworks with masterpieces by Monet, Picasso, and Renoir also on show, among others. Today the museum encompasses more than 42,000 artworks. It would be a great way to spend an afternoon visiting or living in Portland, Oregon.
Pros and Cons of Living in Portland Oregon
Living in Portland Oregon, Pros
Walkability: For the most part, Portland is an extremely walkable/bikeable city. Downtown and many Portland neighborhoods have sidewalks and bike paths connecting to restaurants, shopping, and other businesses nearby. It's a city where you can often leave your car at home
Jobs: There are many large employers in Portland and the surrounding areas to go along with a strong economy. If you are moving to or live in Portland, Oregon, you should have no issues finding a decent job.
Entertainment/Recreation/Nightlife: Living in Portland, Oregon, you've got plenty of parks, rivers, trails, sports, arts, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other activities to keep you busy. You won't run out of things to do, see, watch, eat, or drink anytime soon living in Portland, Oregon.
Proximity to the Mountains, Coast, Gorge: Living in Portland, Oregon, you're close to Mt Hood and the Oregon Coast. So you'll have fantastic skiing, camping, hiking, and beautiful ocean and beaches at your fingertips. You are also a little over an hour away from the Columbia River Gorge and what is considered by many the best windsurfing/kitesurfing in the world.
MAX/Light Rail: With an annual ridership of more than 16 Million, the Metropolitan Area Express, better known as MAX, is the light rail system that connects the Portland City Center with Beaverton, Clackamas, Gresham, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, North/Northeast Portland, and the Portland International Airport. With almost 100 stations and 60 miles of track connecting the region, MAX makes it easy for those living in or around Portland to commute in and out of the city for work, events, or a night on the town.
Living in Portland Oregon, Cons
Rain/Weather: Portland is a beautiful city with abundant green space, trees, plants, and flowers spread throughout the city. The beautiful scenery you get living in Portland is partly because it rains a fair amount. Portland receives some sort of precipitation 164 days a year, averaging 36 inches of rain. From June through September, the weather in Portland is primarily dry and sunny, and the temperature is usually delightful. Rarely getting above 90 degrees.
Vandalism/Crime: Portland has gotten a lot of bad publicity of late. The vandalism and crime, in downtown Portland and other sections of the city has gotten worse. Many businesses have left downtown due to safety and crime issues. That said, Portland is a big city and there are many safe areas and neighborhoods with little crime throughout the city. If you're thinking about moving to Portland, Oregon, do your research. Don't just listen to the news or read about the crime in Portland and think it applies to the whole city, because it doesn't.
The Homeless: It is well known Portland has a homeless issue. More than 5,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Portland, according to Multnomah County's 2022 Point-in-Time of Homelessness. If you drive through downtown Portland, you'll see what was once a thriving, beautiful, vibrant downtown littered with tents and people sleeping. That said, there are some fantastic neighborhoods throughout Portland that are very safe and aren't experiencing this issue. Do your research, look about, and find the area/community that is right for you and your family if you consider moving to Portland, Oregon. It is a beautiful, safe city with abundant amenities if you're in the right spot.
Lack of Available Housing: Available housing is in short supply and it's very competitive if you are thinking of moving to Portland, Oregon, and buying a home or renting. If you want to buy a house, you need to be prepared and work with a good mortgage broker to get pre-approved, as well as a good realtor. Reach out to the Moving to Portland Oregon Team we would be honored to help you move to Portland, Oregon, and buy a home!
FAQs About Living in Portland Oregon
What is Portland known for?
Portland is known for many things - great beer, food, bridges, and being the home of the Portland Trail Blazers. But for more than a century, Portland has been known as the "City of Roses."
What cities are nearby Portland?
The cities of Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Gresham, Happy Valley, Milwaukie, Gladstone, and Scappoose are all located a short drive from Portland. The proximity to large suburbs and a great mass transit system, makes living outside of Portland and commuting to work very popular. Click here for a list of all the Portland Metro Cities.
Does Portland Oregon have good public schools?
Portland Public Schools get a bad rap. I don't think it's totally fair. Overall they rate pretty high. Niche.com gives them a B. Test scores and graduation rates are above the state average. Some neighborhoods have excellent schools, some not so great. If you're looking to move to Portland, do your research if schools are a significant factor in your decision.
Is Portland Oregon safe?
Portland is a big city and has a lot of big city problems, like homelessness, drugs, crime, and vandalism. Overall, Portland is a pretty safe city, though. You shouldn't fear getting out, walking around, and enjoying the beauty of this amazing city. Some areas are safer than others. If you want to move to Portland, Oregon, look around and research.
What is there to do living in Portland, Oregon?
There's so much to do in and around Portland, Oregon. Mt. Hood, the Beach, and the Gorge are all within an hour and a half. You'll find excellent restaurants, museums, sports, beautiful parks, and many other attractions in the city. Mix in many local events such as the Rose Festival, Blues Festival, Portland Marathon, and many others, and you'll find you have plenty to do living in Portland, Oregon.
I want to relocate to Portland. How do I make it happen?
You've come to the right spot if you're looking to move to Portland. There’s a lot of information on this website to help including some helpful links below. If you want to ask questions, try our Facebook Group > Moving to Oregon where we have broad group of locals to answer any question you might have. If you’re looking to buy a home in the Beaverton area, getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be your first step. For Mortgage Info, reach out to me. I would love to tell you more about what living in Portland is like as well as help with your mortgage if you decide to purchase a home.
For FAQs about moving to Oregon or living in Oregon, check out my blog, 31 FAQs About Living in Oregon. For more information about living in Oregon, check out the homepage of LIVING IN OREGON.