Moving to Portland

Thinking about moving to Portland, Oregon?

Jump to any of the following sections to learn more about what to expect living in Portland.

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Portland, OR At-A-Glance

Portland is a city that needs no introduction, but we’ll give it one anyway: as the sacred city of America’s counterculture, Portland has been attracting beats, burnouts, hippies, artists, and yes, hipsters, for generations.

But culture has never been the only reason to move to Portland, which also boasts fantastic access to nature, great schools, a temperate climate, and a robust creative economy. These perks have attracted waves of new residents moving to Oregon: according to United Van Lines 46th Annual National Movers Study, the Beaver State was the second most popular state to relocate to in 2022. The company also cited customer data showing “younger millennials migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Portland, Oregon” as a top moving destination in the last year. 

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Portland: Lush Landscape, Enticing Eats and Best Brews

If you had to sum up the three best reasons to move to Portland, there would be an abundance of things to eat, drink and explore! It helps that for starters you have a beautiful green backdrop for any activity outdoors. Dozens of lush green spaces dot the city, each with a unique offering and vibe.

And you’ll never have a shortage of things to do. According to Landing, “one of the many joys of moving to Portland, Oregon, is getting to indulge in the city’s myriad fairs, festivals, performing arts events, and other fun happenings throughout the year.” Make plans to attend the Oregon Brewers Festival, a fun event celebrating the state’s top breweries and held every July. Or sign up for Pedalpalooza, which features free cycling events all summer long, including the World Naked Bike Ride, which is as “free” as it sounds (get bare if you dare).

When you’re done cycling, you can replenish yourself with a fresh, farm-to-table meal and wash it down with one of the city’s best brews. In Portland, it’s unheard of to have a bad meal or beverage. Creative chefs are constantly dreaming up inventive dishes that highlight eclectic cuisines and Portland’s fantastic food scene.  

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Portland Economy is Bracing for a Bounceback

Portland was a city that went through a huge transformation coming out of the Great Recession. As one of the 100 largest metros in the country, the city ranked in the Top 10 for high-wage job growth, median household income gains, and increases in postsecondary education. Portland has not fared as well this time around since the COVID-19 pandemic cratered the local and global economy.  

Industries expected to do well within the next year include construction, leisure, and hospitality. And regardless of how quickly the local economy bounces back, the area is still a hotbed for a number of other industries, including technology, athletic and outdoor apparel, healthcare and manufacturing. You’ll find apparel giants like NIKE, Inc., Columbia Sportswear Co. and adidas North America as well as technology stalwarts like Google and Oracle all with large offices located in Portland. 

    • Unemployment rate: 2.9 percent (as of April 2023)
    • Average weekly wages for all industries: $1,344 (as of June 2023)

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Close to Half of All Portland Residents Rent Their Homes

When it comes to housing in Portland, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you’ll pay significantly less than nearby Seattle. Median home prices have risen nearly 53 percent in the last decade, which means you’ll pay roughly $500,000 for a home (compared with $816,000 in Seattle and nearly twice the national average). 

Given the housing prices, it makes sense why close to half of Portland residents rent their homes. The averaged rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,375, which represents an 8 percent decrease from the previous year. Payscale ranks Portland’s cost of living as 29 percent higher than the national average but those numbers can vary, depending on a person’s desired lifestyle.

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Top Neighborhoods Bursting With Personality and Self-Expression

Bungalow says it best, “Portland is a city of neighborhoods bursting with personality and dripping in self-expression. With a relaxed vibe, a mad respect for the environment, and bike lanes for days, this city is home to artists, free-spirits, and the young-at-heart.” These are some of the trendiest neighborhoods in Portland.

Buckman & Kerns: Tree-lined streets, historic homes, peaceful parks, and a “banging beer culture,” Buckman & Kerns invites eclectic young professionals looking for an urban, artsy vibe. It’s perfect for those looking for a night out, a day in or quality time spent outdoors. 

Mississippi Avenue: If living for the famous Portland feel is the vibe you’re after, join the young families and hipsters who call Mississippi Avenue home. It’s one of the hottest neighborhoods in Portland loaded with trendy shops, hip cafes, and endless people watching. 

Sellwood-Moreland: Families looking for a more relaxed area that is both safe and oozes with community pride should look into Sellwood-Moreland. You’ll get a quieter pace of life that still has all the conveniences of living in a city as great at Portland. 

Pearl District: Art. Culture. Cuisine. The Pearl District has got it all, which means it’s the hippest and hottest area where young professionals flock to live. There’s no shortage of things to do and places to frequent, it’s urban living at its finest. 

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Portland: One of the Country’s Top Biking Cities

There’s a reason Portland has maintained a reputation for being one of the most bike-friendly cities in America. In 2016, Portland launched the Biketown bike-share program which brought more than 1,500 bikes to 100 stations. 

If you’re not hip to explore the City of Roses on two wheels, you have plenty of other options for getting around. Portland’s TriMet public transportation system provides MAX light rail services as well as bus and streetcars. The MAX light rail system has 97 stations and 60 miles of track that connect riders from the airport to all outlying areas of the city. Utilize the bus for areas the MAX doesn’t service and reserve the streetcar for getting around downtown, the Pearl, and the inner east side.

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No Shortage of Options to Receive a Quality Education

Portland is home to a strong and dedicated school system. In fact, the Portland Relocation Guide says, “The region boasts a highly educated workforce. According to recent U.S. Census data 44 percent of Portland residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree. Outpacing the national average of 28 percent, while more than 90 percent of residents are high school graduates.”

And there are no shortage of options to continue receiving a quality education in Portland. Interested students can pursue postsecondary educational opportunities at the Portland State University, the largest public university in Oregon or numerous other two- and four-year institutions. 

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Portland’s Rainy Reputation is Misleading

There’s a huge advantage to Portland’s rainy climate: the city’s abundance of gardens, green spaces, and wildlife preserves. But locals say the rainy reputation is misleading. The rain showers are typically short lived and mild. 

Although Portland does enjoy all four seasons, the weather is mild at best. You’ll experience dry, warm summers and cool, wet winters that bring little of the white stuff. Portland’s average annual rainfall clocks in at 36 inches, which is less than nearby Seattle. And surprisingly, neither city is in the top ten rainiest U.S. cities! 

If you’re hoping for endless sunshine, Portland may disappoint you. The city averages 144 sunny days annually, which is well below the national average of 205 sunny days per year. 

Summer average (June – Aug): 81°F high, 63°F low

Winter average (Dec – Feb): 46°F high, 35°F low

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10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Portland

Trendy craft breweries are a given in Portland. But this quirky little city is so much more than brewskis. From music festivals to bike rides and doughnuts the size of your head, pencil in these 10 activities you don’t want to miss in Portland.

  1. Feast upon the world’s largest doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut, which is a pastry lover’s dream come true complete with 50 artisan flavors to choose from. 
  2. Pro tip: Book a bike tour of Portland which is arguably the best way to see the city. There’s even one where you pedal between the city’s best microbreweries. 
  3. Stop by the Portland Art Museum, which was founded in 1892 and is the oldest in the Pacific Northwest and one of the oldest galleries nationwide. 
  4. Book lover’s should plan a stop at Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world. 
  5. Browse the Portland Saturday Market, the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the U.S. that sells a huge variety of arts and crafts. 
  6. Take a hike through Forest Park, a 5,200-acre forested natural area that has 80 miles of accessible trails and beautiful views of the Willamette River. 
  7. Walk across the Willamette River bridge to snap a pic with the white stag sign, a large neon sign atop the White Stag Building that has become a symbol of the city. 
  8. Learn about Portland’s unique history by visiting the Pittock Mansion, a mansion-turned-city-owned historical destination that tells the story of the city’s growth. As a bonus, the views are breathtaking so perch upon the lawn and bring a picnic lunch.
  9. Sample food from a food truck. Portland is home to more than 500 food carts but Nong’s Khao Man Gai is a must-try. 
  10. Line up a tour of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Not only can you see the submarine from The Hunt For Red October as a permanent floating exhibit, but the planetarium also hosts Laser Pink Floyd shows. 

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Plan Your Move to Portland With SpareFoot

Planning a move to Portland? SpareFoot can help. Use SpareFoot to find special deals and discounts on Portland Moving Truck Rentals. If you need a storage unit as part of your move, SpareFoot makes it easy to find storage units in Portland too.