Navigation Jump Links
- Portland at-a-glance
- What it’s like to live in Portland
- Economy and job outlook in Portland
- Real estate, cost of living in Portland
- The top neighborhoods in Portland
- How to get around in Portland
- School and education snapshot
- Weather and climate in Portland
- 10 can’t-miss things to do in Portland
Home to artists, writers, hipsters and hippies, the City of Roses is well known for its counterculture—or maybe it’s just known for its weird. (You’ll see the slogan “Keep Portland Weird” on bumper stickers, signs and painted across a building in Old Town.)
But if you’re considering making Portland your new home, the eclectic atmosphere is just one of the city’s many great attributes. Living in Portland means access to stunning natural beauty and a balance of rural vibes with industrial convenience. Of course, the mild weather is a bonus feature.
Read on for a few things to know before moving to Portland.
Portland is a Haven for Foodies and Art Lovers
Portland is never far from the top in any national ranking when it comes to food, even being named the Best Foodie City in America by WalletHub. Are we surprised? Portland benefits from its proximity to the world-class wines of Willamette Valley and has plenty of fresh produce available.
The culinary scene here is made up of everything from diverse, gourmet restaurants, to a wealth of food carts, craft breweries and wineries. When you’ve worked up an appetite from moving, you may want to think about grabbing tapas at Bar Casa Vale, creamy hummus from Lil’ Shalom or a bowl of pho from Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen—or maybe just a drink from Culmination Brewing or Breakside Brewery.
Of course, you’ll want to round out your fun with some art and culture. Because Portland takes its art scene seriously, you’ll find plenty of art galleries, museums, music venues, live theater and indie bookstores in and around the city. You could take a stroll through the Portland Art Museum and Blackfish Gallery, or catch a show at the Portland Center Stage at The Armory or the Third Rail Repertory Theater.
Or, if you want to make a day of it, check out one of the city’s many festivals and events, such as the monthly art walks, open studio events, film festivals, book festivals or storytelling days.
Networking is Your Best Bet for Finding the Right Job in Portland
In 2022, Portland’s rapid job growth was among the best in the country, bouncing the city back a bit from the harsh effects of the pandemic before leveling off. In June 2023, the unemployment had climbed back up just slightly to 3.3 percent.
As part of the growth, construction saw the most jobs added, mirroring a trend throughout the rest of Oregon, followed by travel and leisure. The city’s major industries, though, are still healthcare, manufacturing, design and media, food and beverage, bioscience and, of course, high tech.
Wondering who the major players are when it comes to employment? Intel, Nike, Boeing, Tektronix and Wells Fargo are all big employers in and around Portland.
In terms of landing the job, the market is still competitive, so networking will be the way to open the right doors.
Expect High Housing Costs in the PNW
Portland’s natural beauty and unique, fun neighborhoods are wonderful, but they do come with a big price tag. The cost of living here is 24 percent higher than the national average, with housing coming in at a whopping 62 percent higher. The good news is that the median household income is nearly $10,000 higher at $78,476.
While the city did see a slight dip in the median home sale prices between 2022 and 2023, the median sale price is still hot at $530,000. Homes are quick to go off the market, with the average about 1 percent above asking price, making it a somewhat competitive market.
This is likely why just under half the residents in Portland are renting rather than owning their own home. Rents here have cooled down following a spike over the last couple of years, with the median rent just below the U.S. average. As of September 2023, the median cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Portland was $1,231, with the median rent of a two-bedroom at $1,437.
Quirky Neighborhoods Full of Color, Great Food and Fun
There are few places that do charm quite like Portland. Whether you’re looking to be surrounded by art, delicious cuisine, natural beauty or you’re just looking for that quiet life, you’ll find a neighborhood that’s right for you. Check out these highly recommended neighborhoods for those moving to Portland:
If you’re looking for hip and lively, this is where it’s at. Perfect for young professionals and singles, this industrial area features the highest concentration of art galleries in the city, alongside great breweries and cuisine.
Like the Pearl District, Hawthorne is known for being hip, but it’s the food and boutiques that make it shine. You’ll find the best restaurants, food trucks, cafes and bars in this chic neighborhood.
Those seeking a small-town vibe will love this affordable neighborhood. You’ll still have plenty of restaurants and shopping to enjoy, and families will also have access to some of the city’s best public schools.
MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT (AKA BOISE)
Boasting the whimsy and color fans of Portlandia may associate with the city, Mississippi Avenue features trendy boutiques, quaint cafes and famous restaurants. This walkable neighborhood is beloved by young families and professionals.
Love to walk or bike wherever you’re going? Despite its bustling atmosphere, Nob Hill is all about safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, many of whom are likely to enjoy its many trendy shops and bars.
Other neighborhoods to include in your Portland home search:
- Goose Hollow
- Downtown Portland
- Alberta Arts District
One of the Best U.S. Cities for Biking and Public Transportation
Portland was one of the first cities in the U.S. to develop a pedestrian-first transportation strategy, although you’ll still find some neighborhoods easier to travel by foot than others. Thankfully, it’s also one of the country’s best places to bike and boasts a great public transportation system.
TriMet provides bus, light rail, modern streetcar and commuter rail services to Portland and the surrounding area, all on an easy one-ticket system. With over 80 bus lines and 60 miles of Light Rail track, it’s no wonder Portland’s public transportation nabbed a top 10 spot in national rankings.
Some of the Top Public Schools in Oregon
Although Oregon’s education falls low in national rankings, Portland and its suburbs boast higher proficiencies in math and reading, with average test scores falling within the top 5 percent of Oregon public schools. For parents moving to Portland who would rather check out a private option, there are more than 130 private schools to choose from.
Of course, those interested in higher education can check out Reed College, the University of Portland and Warner Pacific University.
Portland Sees Four Seasons of Pleasant, Mild Weather
Portland residents enjoy their outdoor time, no doubt thanks in part to the city’s overall moderate four seasons and beautiful greenery. There’s a misconception that the city is very rainy due to the number of rainy days it gets—but the showers are usually short lived and contribute to that gorgeous landscape.
The summers are dry and warm, with average high temperatures of only 81 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August. Winters are cooler with average lows in December of 35 degrees, but rain is more likely than snow, with some years going without any of the white stuff.
10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Portland
Portland is known for its easy-going vibe, food carts, indie spots and of course the gorgeous natural beauty of the region. However you enjoy spending your time, Portland has a spot for you. Here’s a list of 10 must-dos in Stumptown:
- Slow down with a relaxing stroll through the Portland Japanese Garden, one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in the country.
- Find your next read at the beloved Powell’s City of Books, a four-floor bookstore where many famous writers have made their mark (literally: check out its pillars for some famous signatures).
- Visit the Portland Art Museum, the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest and home to European, Japanese and contemporary American artworks.
- Explore the French Renaissance-style Pittock Mansion, well preserved and featuring original furniture from the period in which it was built (bonus: if you visit at Christmas they go all out with their decorations).
- Learn a little something with interactive exhibitions at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry or check out the museum’s 21+ OMSI After Dark event each month.
- Ski the slopes of Mount Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon and a favorite spot for skiers.
- Check out the cherry blossoms and Saturday Market at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
- Enjoy cute boutiques, delicious food and stunning murals in the Alberta Arts District neighborhood.
- Take a short hike up to the Witch’s Castle in Forest Park, a Portland rite of passage.
- Get your photo with the iconic Keep Portland Weird sign, another rite of passage that speaks to the city’s atmosphere and lifestyles.