Moving to Portland, Oregon? Here’s Everything You Need to Know First

If you’re considering a move to the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, you’re in for a treat. This vibrant and unique city is known for its stunning natural beauty, thriving arts and culture scene, and friendly community. However, you should know a few things before packing your bags and heading west. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about moving to Portland, Oregon, from the climate and cost of living to housing options, neighborhoods, and more. By the end of this article, you’ll understand what to expect when you move to the City of Roses.

Why people are moving to Portland

There are countless reasons why people are flocking to Portland. One of the main attractions is the city’s progressive and eco-friendly mindset. Portland is renowned for its commitment to sustainability, with a robust public transportation system, extensive bike lanes, and a focus on locally sourced products. The city’s emphasis on green living and environmental consciousness has made it an attractive destination for those seeking a more sustainable lifestyle.

In addition, Portland’s thriving arts and culture scene draws creative individuals from all over the world. From art galleries and theaters to music festivals and street performances, there is always something inspiring happening in the city. The vibrant culinary scene is another major draw, with many farm-to-table restaurants, food carts, and craft breweries. Whether you’re a foodie, an artist, or simply someone who appreciates a unique and diverse community, Portland has something to offer everyone.

Climate and weather in Portland

Before you move to Portland, it’s essential to understand the city’s climate and weather patterns. The Pacific Northwest is known for its mild and temperate climate, with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The city experiences abundant rainfall, particularly from late fall to early spring. However, don’t let the rain discourage you. Portland’s rainy reputation often overshadows the fact that it also enjoys many sunny days throughout the year.

During the summer, the city comes alive with long, sunny days and comfortable temperatures, making it an ideal time to explore the region’s outdoor offerings. Winters are generally mild, with occasional snowfall that rarely lasts long. The temperate climate of Portland allows residents to enjoy a wide range of activities year-round, from hiking and biking in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the nearby mountains during the winter.

Cost of living in Portland

When considering moving to Portland, it’s crucial to research whether the cost of living fits your budget. Portland’s cost of living is approximately  32 percent higher than the national average. However, the city boasts a per capita income that’s nearly 26 percent higher, which can offset some of these expenses. Comparatively, neighboring Seattle has a cost of living nearly 68 percent above the national average, making Portland a more affordable option overall.

One of the city’s highlights is its robust job market, offering opportunities in various industries such as technology, healthcare, climate tech, and outdoor apparel. Additionally, Portland thrives on its diverse range of local businesses, including cafes, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and hotels, which cater to the bustling tourism industry. This makes it an attractive location for those seeking work in hospitality.

Expect to allocate more of your budget to groceries, housing, and transportation in Portland. However, a significant advantage is the absence of sales tax, allowing you to save money on purchases, from unique vintage items to everyday essentials. This tax-free shopping perk can contribute to keeping more funds in your pocket.

Pros of Living in Portland

Portland boasts an array of advantages that make it an attractive destination for many individuals and families.

Stunning Natural Beauty

One of Portland’s biggest draws is its breathtaking natural beauty. The city is surrounded by lush green landscapes, including the iconic Forest Park, which spans over 5,200 acres and offers miles of hiking and biking trails. In addition to the park, Portland is just a short drive away from the stunning Columbia River Gorge and the majestic Mount Hood. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, or simply immersing yourself in nature, Portland offers endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors.

Diverse Neighborhoods

Portland is known for its diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and character. From the hip and trendy Alberta Arts District to the historic and picturesque Mississippi Avenue, there is a neighborhood to suit every taste and lifestyle. Portland has everything, whether you prefer a bustling urban atmosphere or a quiet suburban setting. Each area has its local businesses, restaurants, and community events, making it easy to feel a sense of belonging no matter where you live.

Progressive Values

Portland has gained a reputation for its progressive values and forward-thinking mindset. The city is known for its commitment to sustainability, strongly focusing on renewable energy, green building practices, and public transportation. In addition, Portland is a hub for social activism and civic engagement, with a strong sense of community and a dedication to social justice. Portland may be your perfect place if you value environmental consciousness and social progress.

Cons of Living in Portland

High Cost of Living

One of the most significant drawbacks of living in Portland is its high cost of living. Housing prices in the city have steadily risen, making it difficult for many residents to afford a home. Rental prices are also on the higher side, especially in desirable neighborhoods. In addition to housing, other expenses such as groceries, transportation, and healthcare can be more expensive than in other cities. If you’re considering a move to Portland, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your budget and ensure that you can comfortably afford the cost of living.

Unpredictable Weather

Portland is known for its unpredictable weather, frequent rain showers, and cloudy days. The city experiences a mild, temperate climate, but the constant drizzle can be challenging for those who prefer sunny and warm weather. If you thrive in sunshine and blue skies, the weather in Portland may take some time. However, it’s worth noting that the rainy weather contributes to the city’s lush green landscapes and vibrant natural beauty.

Traffic Congestion

Like many metropolitan areas, Portland has its fair share of traffic congestion, especially during peak commute hours. The city’s infrastructure is continuously improving, but rush-hour traffic can frustrate residents. If you rely on a car for your daily commute, you must factor in the potential for traffic delays and plan your schedule accordingly. However, Portland also offers a robust public transportation system, including buses, light rail, and streetcars, which can be a convenient alternative to driving.

Moving From Seattle to Portland, Oregon?

Are you considering a move from Seattle (known as the Emerald City) to Portland (dubbed the City of Roses)? Expect to encounter several resemblances to what drew you to Seattle, albeit with a more wallet-friendly appeal. According to NerdWallet insights, Portland boasts an approximately 17 percent lower cost of living than its Emerald City counterpart. This financial contrast tends to manifest notably in housing, translating to comparatively more accessible options for homes and apartments in Portland.

How Much Does It Cost to Move From Seattle to Portland, Oregon? 

Covering merely 175 miles, the journey from Seattle to Portland typically spans just under 3 hours by road. When contemplating the relocation of a moderately furnished 2- to 3-bedroom household from Seattle to Portland, the spectrum of costs varies notably, offering distinct options tailored to diverse needs.

Opting for a traditional mover to transport your belongings from Seattle to Portland presents a range of prices. These full-service movers, including transport and the meticulous loading/unloading process, typically quote between $1,837 and $3,995. However, the precise amount may fluctuate depending on specific locations, moving dates, the volume of possessions, and any available discounts. It’s important to note that these figures exclude insurance or tax considerations.

Another alternative for this relocation endeavor involves the utilization of rental trucks, which can be procured for two days at an estimated cost between $142 and $217, excluding fuel expenses. This option grants flexibility in managing the relocation timeline but entails the responsibility of personally loading, driving and unloading the belongings.

Secure Space containers offer a comprehensive solution for a more streamlined and convenient approach. The cost range for moving a moderately furnished 2- to 3-bedroom household from Seattle to Portland with Secure Space spans from $1,311 to $2,199. This inclusive rate encompasses both transportation and the provision of one month of storage. The storage duration can be accommodated in the comfort of your driveway or within a secure Secure Space Storage Center in either city. As with other options, variations in cost may occur based on specific locations, moving dates, the quantity of items to be moved, and available discounts.

It’s worth highlighting that these estimates are based on the bustling moving season, particularly during the summer of 2023. Deciding on the most suitable moving method involves considering individual preferences, timelines, and the level of involvement desired in the relocation process.

Portland Moving Options

Exploring options for relocating belongings from one place to another presents several avenues, each with distinct advantages and considerations.

Secure Space Portable Storage Containers

This method offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness. With Secure Space, you can select the container size that suits your needs. Packing at your own pace is convenient; if required, Secure Space professionals can assist with loading. Once packed, the Secure Space team will collect and transport the container to your new home in Portland or store it securely until needed. One advantage is the pay-as-you-go feature, allowing you to pay only for the space utilized. Additionally, you can explore assistance in sourcing moving supplies from places like local listings such as Facebook Marketplace.

DIY Rental Truck

Choosing a rental truck provides another avenue for moving to Portland. While it typically presents a more economical upfront cost, it demands a substantial time commitment. Packing all possessions, loading onto the truck (utilizing the help of friends or family can streamline this process), driving the truck to Portland, and unloading constitute the steps involved. Moreover, sourcing affordable or free moving boxes, attainable through platforms like Facebook Marketplace or nearby moving companies, can reduce expenses.

Full-Service Movers

Choosing full-service movers provides convenience but comes at a higher cost. This option involves professionals handling the moving process, from carefully wrapping your items to loading and transporting them securely to your new Portland residence. Despite the expense, the peace of mind and convenience might justify the investment. It’s advisable to conduct thorough research on multiple moving companies and commence your search at least three months ahead of your planned move, considering that reputable moving companies often get booked well in advance.

12 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Portland

Are you dreaming of living in a city with breathtaking natural wonders, a vibrant arts scene, and a unique culture? Look no further than Portland! Known as one of the best places to live on the West Coast, Portland offers a high quality of life, a thriving job market, and a welcoming community. In this article, we’ll explore 17 things about living in Portland.

1. Enjoy a High Quality of Life

Despite the relatively high cost of living, Portland offers an excellent quality of life. In contrast to Seattle, Portland boasts a 26.7% lower overall cost of living and a median home sales price of 53% lower. In addition, you can take advantage of tax-free shopping and a commitment to green energy and sustainability. Portland is also known for its diverse and inclusive population, with a thriving LGBTQ community that provides a vibrant nightlife, community organizations, and queer-friendly businesses.

2. Home to the Silicon Forest

Portland has earned the nickname “Silicon Forest” due to its thriving startup culture and the presence of tech giants like Intel, Xerox, and Airbnb. The local job market also includes a growing bioscience sector, with institutions like the Oregon Health & Science University employing thousands of people. Other significant industries in Portland include healthcare and athletic and outdoor apparel, thanks to the city’s proximity to recreational opportunities. So whether you’re looking for a career in tech, healthcare, or the outdoor industry, Portland has plenty of options.

3. Embrace the Weirdness

“Keep Portland Weird” is more than just a slogan—it’s a way of life. Portland is known for its eccentric shops, bars, restaurants, and art galleries, where you can fully embrace the city’s quirkiness. Watch for the Unipiper, who rides a unicycle and plays the bagpipes in costume. Visit Mill Ends Park, the world’s smallest park, which is said to be inhabited by a leprechaun colony. Explore the Portland Troll Bridge and contribute your troll to the collection. And don’t miss the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, a gallery of oddities and interactive art installations.

4. A Hub for Higher Learning

If you’re looking to further your education, Portland has a range of quality universities and colleges. The University of Portland offers degrees in various fields, while Portland State University is known for its eco-friendly campus. Lewis & Clark College is a popular choice for psychology studies, and the Oregon Health & Science University is a leading institution for medicine and biomedical science. Additionally, the National University of Natural Medicine offers programs in naturopathic medicine. Whatever your educational goals, Portland has the institutions to support you.

5. Portland Is Green

Portland has a long history of sustainability and environmental consciousness. It was the first city to launch a mandatory bottle deposit law in 1971. The city also has a higher rate of renewable energy usage than other U.S. cities. With zero-waste stores and a commitment to combating climate change, Portland has earned its place among the greenest cities in the country.

6. Stellar Public Transportation & Walkability

When it comes to public transportation, Portland excels. The city consistently ranks among the best in America for its public transportation system, which includes buses and streetcars. The TriMet system provides approximately 690,000 weekly rides on buses powered by 100% renewable energy. The Max light rail system offers further accessibility throughout the city. In addition to eco-friendly transportation options, Portland is known for its walkability, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and commitment to reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

7. Welcome to Biketown, USA

Portland is a haven for cyclists, with over 350 miles of bikeways and trails to explore. The city even has a Biketown Bike-Share program sponsored by Nike, where you can rent classic and electric bikes to navigate Portland’s streets. With its cycling-friendly infrastructure, it’s no wonder that Portland is considered the most bike-friendly city in the U.S. Join one of the significant bike rides in the city, such as The Worst Day of the Year Ride or Pedalpalooza, and experience the joy of biking in Portland.

8. Discover the Willamette River

The Willamette River is a defining feature of Portland, earning the city the nickname “Bridge City” due to its 12 distinct bridges. Beyond its maritime importance, the Willamette River offers numerous opportunities for water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and boat tours. Events like The Big Float unite hundreds of participants for a day of floating and fundraising. Take a walk or bike along the Eastbank Esplanade for stunning views of the river and the Portland cityscape.

9. Rose City: A Love Affair with Roses

Although roses are not native to the area, Portland is deeply connected with these beautiful flowers. The city is full of roses, and they play a significant role in local events, team names, and businesses. Visit the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park, where over 10,000 rose bushes bloom yearly. Peninsula Park Rose Garden in North Portland is another stunning location to enjoy the beauty of roses. During the summer, the Portland Rose Festival offers parades, races, and singing competitions for locals and visitors to enjoy.

10. Outdoor Adventures Abound

One of the highlights of living in Portland is the proximity to outdoor adventures. With over 200 parks, there’s always somewhere to hike, picnic, or enjoy nature. Forest Park offers lush greenery and calming hiking trails within the city limits. Washington Park is home to the Oregon Zoo, where you can see over 230 animal species. The Hoyt Arboretum boasts over 6,000 trees worldwide, creating a living museum of natural beauty. To taste Chinese art and design, visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden. And don’t forget to take a day trip to Mount Hood for skiing and snow adventures.

11. Explore Distinct Portland Neighborhoods

Portland’s diverse housing options are reflected in its distinct neighborhoods. From vintage apartments to Victorian-style homes, there’s something for everyone. Downtown is perfect for those seeking an active nightlife scene, while the Pearl District and Richmond offer eclectic shopping and entertainment. Hillsdale and Forest Park are family-friendly neighborhoods with safe streets and outdoor recreation. Each neighborhood has its personality, so explore and find the one that suits your lifestyle.

12. Pro Sports and More

Sports fans will find plenty to cheer for in Portland. The city is home to the Portland Timbers (MLS) and the Portland Thorns FC (NWSL), both attracting passionate fans. Hadlock Field hosts the Portland Sea Dogs (MiLB), and Providence Park is the venue for the Portland Nitros (AUDL). At the Moda Center, basketball enthusiasts can watch the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) in action. Whether you’re a soccer, baseball, or basketball fan, Portland has a team to support.

The Best Portland Neighborhoods (and Suburbs)

1. Laurelhurst

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,750
Average home value: $839,800
Great for: Families with young kids, singles, modern apartments, older homes, walking

Located in the heart of Portland, the Laurelhurst neighborhood offers modern apartments and charming older homes. Named after the picturesque Laurelhurst Park, this neighborhood is known for its leafy streets, vibrant community, and easy accessibility to amenities. Whether you’re walking your dog in the park, exploring the diverse range of restaurants and bars, or browsing through vintage stores, everything you need is within walking distance.

The neighborhood also has top-notch schools, making it an ideal choice for families with young children. The lively yet family-friendly social spots, quiet streets, and relatively low crime rates are reasons why Laurelhurst is consistently ranked as one of the best neighborhoods in Portland.

2. Goose Hollow

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,775
Average home value: $385,900
Great for Soccer fans, college students, vegans, schools, and outdoor enthusiasts

Nestled in Portland’s Southwest District, Goose Hollow is a neighborhood with a rich history and a vibrant community. This upscale neighborhood is home to historic mansions, modern apartment buildings, and various amenities. Its proximity to Washington Square Park and the entrance to the Portland Rose Garden and Japanese Garden make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Goose Hollow is also known for its strong sense of community, with a high concentration of college students and soccer fans, thanks to its proximity to Portland State University and the sports stadium. With various restaurants, bars, and shops, there’s always something to do in this lively neighborhood.

3. St. Johns

Average rent (one-bedroom):  $1,800
Median home sale price: $397,000
Great for Couples, older singles, people searching for community

Located in North Portland, the St. Johns neighborhood offers a slower pace of life and a strong sense of community. Once classified as a town of its own, this neighborhood has a unique charm that attracts young couples, older singles, and those searching for a close-knit community.

St. John is known for its vintage movie theaters, park picnics, and laid-back atmosphere. The area features a selection of gift shops, clothing stores, and antique shops, offering a wide range of options for residents and visitors alike. With its access to nature and a short commute to downtown Portland, St. Johns is a hidden gem for those looking for a sense of community and a slower pace of life.

4. Hawthorne District

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,600
Median home sale price: $650,000
Great for: Students, young professionals, artists, foodies, walkability

If you’re looking for a hip and trendy neighborhood in Portland, look no further than the Hawthorne District. This neighborhood, situated in the southeastern part of the city, is known for its lively atmosphere, diverse community, and a collection of distinctive shops and restaurants.

Hawthorne Boulevard serves as the main artery of the neighborhood, lined with cafes, food trucks, eateries, bars, boutiques, and vintage stores. This walkable neighborhood is a haven for students, young professionals, and artists, with its blend of historic charm and modern amenities. Whether you’re catching a show at the Hawthorne Theater or exploring the local boutiques, the Hawthorne District offers a vibrant and eclectic atmosphere.

5. The Pearl District

Average rent (one-bedroom): $2,075
Average home value: $535,500
Great for: Young professionals, students, singles, walkability

Adjacent to Downtown Portland, the Pearl District offers a perfect blend of trendy and walkable living. This neighborhood is known for its contemporary apartments, lofts, and condos housed in revamped warehouses, giving it an industrial-chic vibe.

The Pearl District is a popular choice for young professionals, students, and singles because of its proximity to Portland’s public transit system and its wide range of amenities such as shopping, restaurants, art galleries, and bars. While parking may be hard to find, the neighborhood’s walkability makes it easy to explore everything that Portland offers.

6. Hillside

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,750
Average home value: $1,009,700
Great for: Retirees, families with kids, professionals, seclusion without isolation

Tucked away on the hillside of Washington Park, the Hillside neighborhood offers breathtaking views and a secluded atmosphere. This neighborhood ranked as the second-best neighborhood in Oregon and Portland by Niche, is known for its beautifully designed homes and access to parks and trails.

Hillside is a great choice for retirees, families with children, and professionals seeking a peaceful and secluded environment. Despite its seclusion, the neighborhood is just a short drive from downtown Portland, making it a perfect balance between tranquility and accessibility.

7. Hollywood

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,750
Average home value: $510,100
Great for Students, singles, and families on a budget

Hollywood is one of Portland’s historic districts, offering a glimpse into the city’s past. This neighborhood, which has undergone some gentrification in recent years, attracts residents on a budget who appreciate its unique charm.

Victorian homes, landmark buildings, and a mix of long-standing mom-and-pop businesses and newer establishments can be found in Hollywood. With its proximity to popular attractions like the Hollywood Theater, Antique Alley, and Chin’s Kitchen, this neighborhood is perfect for those who enjoy a mix of old and new. Despite its rough-edged appearance, Hollywood has a vibrant and historic feel that sets it apart from other neighborhoods in Portland.

8. Northwest District (Nob Hill)

Average rent (one-bedroom): $2,025
Average home value: $598,800
Great for: Young professionals, professionals, walkability, city-like vibes

Nob Hill, located in the Northwest District, offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere compared to the quieter residential neighborhoods in Portland. This part of the Alphabet District is known for its upscale eateries, boutiques, brew pubs, bars, and specialty stores.

With its bustling grid layout and amenities, Nob Hill attracts young professionals and those who appreciate city-like vibes. The streets are busy with traffic and pedestrians, giving the neighborhood an air of big-city bustle. If you’re looking for a neighborhood that combines a historic and community feel with diversity and inclusiveness, Nob Hill is the place to be.

9. Ladd’s Addition

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,725
Median home sale price: $1,045,000
Great for Families, idyllic scenery, quiet residential vibes, large historic homes

Ladd’s Addition is a neighborhood that stands out on any city map with its unique “X” shape. Located between Buckman and Hosford-Abernethy, this neighborhood offers a quiet and residential atmosphere with idyllic scenery.

The tree-lined streets, historic homes, and beautiful public rose gardens give Ladd’s Addition a nostalgic and picturesque feel. This southeast Portland neighborhood is perfect for families looking for a quiet residential vibe and large, historic homes. While it may be a bit more expensive than other neighborhoods, the charm and tranquility of Ladd’s Addition make it worth the investment.

10. Alberta Arts District

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,500
Median home sale price: $535,000
Great for: Artists, young families, walkability, Black History

The Alberta Arts District is a neighborhood with a rich history and a vibrant arts scene. Formerly home to Portland’s Black community, this neighborhood has become more diverse and gentrified in recent years while still preserving its cultural heritage.

Colorful street art, galleries, restaurants, small bookstores, and coffee shops throughout the Alberta Arts District. The neighborhood is known for its monthly “Last Thursday” street fair, where residents and visitors can enjoy live music, food trucks, and unique artwork. With lower-than-average rent prices and a range of housing options, the Alberta Arts District is a great choice for artists, young families, and anyone who appreciates a walkable neighborhood.

11. Sellwood – Moreland

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,575
Median home sale price: $687,500
Great for Families, professionals, retirees, suburb feel, excellent river views

It is located just south of the city. The Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood offers a suburban feel with excellent river views. This neighborhood is characterized by its characterful homes, a range of amenities, and a strong sense of community.

Sellwood is known for its walkability, with various food options, cafes, and brewpubs all within reach. The neighborhood also has great green spaces, including the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Sellwood Park, and Sellwood Community Garden. With its proximity to downtown Portland and various housing options, Sellwood-Moreland is a popular choice for families, professionals, and retirees.

12. Mississippi

Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,950
Median home sale price: $452,500
Great for: Local makers, food carts, diversity, students, young professionals

The Mississippi neighborhood, located on the east side of the river, is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood known for its diverse community and thriving arts scene. This neighborhood has undergone significant transformation over the years, making it one of the trendiest areas in Portland.

Local makers, food carts, and independent businesses are the backbone of the Mississippi neighborhood. From colorful street art to a wide range of restaurants and shops, there’s always something new to discover. With its lower housing prices and excellent affordability, Mississippi is a popular choice for students, young professionals, and anyone who values diversity and a vibrant community.


Moving to Portland, Oregon, is an exciting adventure that offers a high quality of life, stunning natural beauty, and a vibrant community. From the mild and temperate climate to the diverse range of neighborhoods and housing options, there’s something for everyone in the City of Roses. Portland has much to offer: a strong job market, excellent educational opportunities, and a thriving arts and culture scene. However, it’s essential to consider the cost of living, potential traffic congestion, and the weather before moving. By following these tips and embracing all that Portland offers, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and fulfilling life in the Pacific Northwest.

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