Moving to Portland, Oregon: 2023 Must-Know Guide

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Are you considering a change of scenery and moving to Portland, Oregon, one of America’s most popular cities? If so, this 2023 must-know guide is your ultimate resource for getting to know the ins and outs of this vibrant city.

From the exciting food scene to the affordable cost of living, excellent schools, and a dynamic cultural scene, Portland has plenty to offer everyone. Check out the listings of homes for sale in Portland on eXp Realty to get a glimpse of your potential new home. This guide will equip you with all the necessary information to navigate your move smoothly.

Portland, Oregon

In the Pacific Northwest, Portland is the largest city in Oregon, nestled between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Known as the ‘Rose City,’ Portland is renowned for its green city parks, beautiful landscapes, and bike-friendly city streets. The city has a temperate climate, marked by cool, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. However, weather anomalies like the occasional ice storm may surprise newcomers.

The city’s history is as rich as its lifestyle, with its origin dating back to the 1840s during the end of the Oregon Trail. Today, Portland’s lifestyle is an eclectic mix of arts, craft beer, food trucks, and a vibrant nightlife scene. The city also has prominent educational institutions like Portland State University and Reed College.

The Comprehensive Guide To Moving to Portland, Oregon

In the following sections, you will find a detailed guide covering essential topics such as the real estate market, job opportunities, cost of living, and more.

Whether you are a professional, a student, or a family planning to move, this guide will provide insights to make your move to Portland seamless.

Portland Real Estate Market: Houses and Rentals

The Portland real estate market offers a variety of options, from apartments in the bustling city center to charming houses within the city limits. As of 2023, the housing market continues to be competitive, with housing costs varying based on location and property type.

The Pearl District and Nob Hill are some upscale neighborhoods known for their high-end condos and apartments. Areas like East Portland provide good alternatives if you’re looking for more affordable housing options. Here are a few highlights:

  • Pearl District: This neighborhood is known for its chic lofts and trendy boutiques. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Pearl District is around $2,000 monthly.
  • Nob Hill: Located close to downtown Portland, Nob Hill blends charming Victorian houses and modern apartments. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in this neighborhood is approximately $1,800 monthly.
  • East Portland: East Portland offers a mix of single-family homes and apartment complexes. It’s a more affordable area with an average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment of around $1,200.

The Portland real estate market offers many options, whether you’re looking for a place to rent or a property to buy. To find a home that fits your needs, you should chat with a local eXp agent who can provide expert guidance.

Career Opportunities: A Diverse Job Market

Portland boasts a robust job market with various opportunities across different sectors. The city is known as a tech hub, with many major tech companies establishing bases there. In addition to tech, Portland has a significant presence in the healthcare sector, with the Oregon Health & Science University being one of the city’s top employers.

The city also has a growing bioscience sector, contributing significantly to job opportunities.

Apart from these industries, Portland has a thriving food scene with many restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops providing countless job options. Here are some key aspects of the job market:

  • Tech Sector: Companies like Intel, Tektronix, and Puppet have a significant presence in the city.
  • Healthcare: Oregon Health & Science University, Providence Health & Services, and Legacy Health are some of the top healthcare employers.
  • Food and Beverage Industry: Portland is known for its craft brews, food trucks, and coffee shops, providing plenty of opportunities for food enthusiasts.

Traffic and Transit

Getting around in Portland is relatively easy, thanks to its efficient transit system and bike-friendly city streets. The city has a light rail system, the MAX Light Rail and a commuter rail service called the WES Commuter Rail. These systems connect major cities in the metropolitan area, including Beaverton, Gresham, and Hillsboro.

For those who prefer biking, Portland is a bikeable city with a vast network of bike lanes. It’s worth noting that the city is also known for its traffic during peak hours, so it’s advisable to plan your commute accordingly. Some key points about traffic and transit include:

  • Light Rail and Commuter Rail: The MAX Light Rail has five lines and 97 stations across the city. The WES Commuter Rail connects Beaverton and Wilsonville.
  • Biking: The city has over 350 miles of bike lanes, making it one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country.
  • Traffic: Like many major cities, Portland can experience heavy traffic, especially during rush hour.

Outdoor Lifestyle on the Oregon Coast

The Pacific Northwest is known for its beautiful landscapes, and Portland is no exception. The city is surrounded by nature, making it an excellent location for outdoor enthusiasts. Outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful, with the Columbia River to the east, the Oregon Coast to the west, and countless city parks like Washington Park and Forest Park within city limits.

Portland’s outdoor lifestyle extends beyond parks. The city has several beautiful golf courses and is a short drive from Mount Hood, where you can ski, snowboard, or hike, depending on the season. Here are a few highlights:

  • City Parks: Portland has over 10,000 acres of public parks, including the world’s smallest park, Mill Ends Park.
  • Proximity to Nature: The city is within a 90-minute drive of the Pacific Ocean, Mount Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, all offering various outdoor adventures.
  • Sports and Recreation: Whether you enjoy kayaking, hiking, or golfing, Portland offers a wide variety of activities for all outdoor enthusiasts.

Climate and Season

The climate in Portland is characterized by mild, wet winters and dry, warm summers, thanks to its Pacific Northwest location. The city is known for its rainy weather, particularly from November through April, but the precipitation rarely turns into heavy snow.

Cost of Living Study and Potential Salary Earnings

The cost of living in Portland is relatively high compared to the national average, with housing costs being the primary factor. However, the city offers a high quality of life that many residents believe offsets the increased cost. The job market in Portland is robust and diverse, offering competitive salaries in many sectors. Some key aspects to consider:

  • Housing: Median housing prices in Portland are higher than the national average.
  • Salaries: Job sectors like tech, healthcare, and biosciences typically offer competitive salaries that can help offset the higher cost of living.
  • Cost Savings: There is no sales tax in Oregon, which can save residents a significant amount over time.


Healthcare in Portland is excellent, with many top-notch medical facilities available. The city has some highly rated hospitals, including Oregon Health & Science University Hospital and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. These hospitals offer specialized services and employ some of the top healthcare professionals in the nation. Key points to remember:

  • Quality Healthcare: Portland has several renowned hospitals and healthcare facilities.
  • Major Employers: The healthcare industry is one of the city’s major job markets, contributing significantly to its economy.
  • Access to Care: Most residents have access to high-quality healthcare, with numerous clinics and medical centers throughout the city.


Portland boasts an excellent education system, with various public and private options for students of all ages. From top-rated elementary schools to renowned higher education institutions like Portland State University and Reed College, the city offers a range of opportunities for academic growth. Key points include:

  • Quality Schools: Portland Public Schools is the largest school district in the state, offering diverse curriculums and programs.
  • Higher Education: Home to several colleges and universities, including the highly respected Portland State University and Reed College.
  • Community Organizations: The city supports education through various community organizations and initiatives.

Living and Shopping Local

Portland is a city that values local businesses, from quirky coffee shops to independent grocery stores. This support for local business is seen throughout the city, where chain stores are the exception rather than the rule. Residents often favor shopping at local farmers’ markets and boutique shops. Key takeaways include:

  • Support for Local Businesses: Portlanders prefer supporting local businesses over chain stores.
  • Farmers’ Markets: The city hosts several farmers’ markets, providing local and organic produce access.
  • Unique Shopping: Each neighborhood offers unique shopping experiences with various independent stores.

The Food and Beverage Scene

Portland’s food and beverage scene is rich and varied, offering everything from street food trucks to James Beard award-winning restaurants. It is also famous for its craft beer scene, with plenty of breweries offering their craft brews. Furthermore, the city’s coffee culture is just as vibrant, with countless coffee shops serving locally roasted beans. Key highlights:

  • Diverse Food Scene: Portland is known for its various cuisines, especially food trucks and farm-to-table restaurants.
  • Craft Beer Culture: Portland is often called “Beervana” due to its extensive craft beer scene.
  • Coffee Shops: Portland’s coffee culture is robust, featuring many shops serving locally-roasted beans.

Nightlife and Coffee Shops

Portland has an electrifying nightlife scene with a wide range of options that cater to all tastes. From bars featuring local craft brews to popular music venues like the Mississippi Studios, the city’s nightlife promises memorable experiences. Simultaneously, the coffee culture in Portland is bustling, with artisanal coffee shops dotting the city streets. Key points include:

  • Nightlife: Portland’s nightlife scene features craft breweries, cocktail lounges, and music venues for all preferences.
  • Coffee Culture: The city takes pride in its coffee culture, offering many options, from hole-in-the-wall spots to established roasteries.

The City Vibe and Culture

Portland is an amazing city with a unique vibe and culture. Known as the “Rose City,” it is one of the greenest cities in the United States, with beautiful parks and community gardens. Its rich and diverse culture offers countless community events and cultural festivals. Key aspects include:

  • Unique Vibe: With its eclectic mix of people and cultures, Portland has a unique and vibrant vibe.
  • Culture: Portland’s culture is a blend of artistic, musical, and culinary influences that reflect its diverse population.

Vibrant Art Scene

Portland’s art scene is vibrant and diverse, hosting numerous art festivals, galleries, and dance troupes. The city has a thriving community of artists contributing to its rich culture. Furthermore, the Pearl District, known for its art galleries and studios, is a must-visit for art lovers. Key highlights include:

  • Art Festivals: Portland hosts several art festivals throughout the year, attracting artists worldwide.
  • Galleries and Studios: The city has numerous art galleries and studios, particularly in the Pearl District.
  • Performing Arts: Portland’s performing arts scene includes everything from classical music to contemporary dance troupes.

Main Attractions

Portland is a city teeming with attractions. From outdoor adventures in its expansive city parks and beautiful landscapes to fascinating museums and amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. Providence Park, home to Portland’s soccer team, is a popular spot, while the Columbia River offers opportunities for boating and fishing. Key attractions include:

  • Providence Park: This outdoor sports arena is popular among locals, particularly soccer fans.
  • Columbia River: Columbia River is a popular fishing, boating, and sightseeing destination.
  • City Parks: Portland is renowned for its beautiful parks, offering ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Music Scene

Music is at the heart of Portland’s culture. The city is home to several iconic music venues, record shops, and annual music festivals catering to various genres. Mississippi Studios is particularly popular, offering a diverse lineup of acts in an intimate setting. Key aspects include:

  • Music Venues: Portland has a wealth of music venues, from large concert halls to small, intimate spaces.
  • Record Shops: For vinyl enthusiasts, the city offers several record shops selling both new and used records.
  • Music Festivals: Portland hosts various festivals throughout the year, catering to fans of all genres.

Best of Portland Suburbs

Moving to Portland, Oregon, also provides access to its beautiful, thriving suburbs. Each suburb offers unique charms and different lifestyle options, making it a perfect fit for various types of residents.

Pearl District

The Pearl District, known for its trendy boutiques, art galleries, and upscale residences, is often the top choice for young professionals and artists. With a lively nightlife scene, countless community events, and countless dining options, it’s no wonder this district is a magnet for urban explorers.

Nob Hill

For families, Nob Hill offers excellent schools, a safe community, and proximity to city parks, making it an ideal place to raise children. The area is also home to numerous grocery stores, chain stores, and various housing options to fit any budget.

Lake Oswego

Finally, for those seeking a quieter lifestyle, suburbs like Lake Oswego offer plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, upscale dining, shopping, a serene environment, and larger properties.

Each of these suburbs represents a different facet of life in the Portland area, offering a range of opportunities and experiences for those moving to Portland, Oregon. All provide convenient access to the city center and the vibrant city life, making them excellent choices for anyone considering moving to the Rose City.

Plus, you’ll never be stuck for something to do. With good Portland traffic, you could road trip all the way to San Francisco in ten hours. Before making the trip, check out Portland’s food scene to grab a few travel-worthy snacks.

And don’t let the ‘going home blues’ get you down. When you get back, great attractions like the Portland Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden, and Oregon Zoo are waiting for you.

The Portland metro also gets you around the city with ease. With many parts of the city serving as stops for the Portland metro area, you can easily access any Portland neighborhood.

Eco-Friendly Portland

Portland is consistently ranked as one of the greenest cities in the United States. It has a citywide initiative to support eco-friendly businesses.

The city’s comprehensive public transit system, including the light rail and bike lanes, is also part of Portland’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable living.

Portland’s dedication to environmental preservation extends to its city parks and community organizations, making it an oasis for nature lovers. Its various city initiatives have effectively minimized waste, promoted renewable energy, and enhanced its urban green spaces. Bottle deposits are common here, further encouraging recycling among residents.

For those considering moving to Portland, this commitment to eco-friendly living is part of the city’s appeal.

Benefits and Downsides of Moving to Portland

As with any major life decision, moving to Portland, Oregon, comes with its advantages and challenges. Below we have compiled a balanced look at what you can expect when you relocate to this vibrant city in the Pacific Northwest.

Benefits of Moving to Portland

  • Mild Weather: Portland is known for its mild, temperate climate. You’ll also get to experience the beauty of all four seasons.
  • Living With Nature: Portland is renowned for its beautiful landscapes, beautiful parks, and easy access to outdoor adventures. With the Columbia River and the Pacific Coast just a short drive away, residents can enjoy countless activities.
  • No Sales Tax: Shopping in Portland can be a dream come true for those used to paying high sales tax. With no sales tax, the price you see on the tag is the price you pay.
  • Job Market: Portland has several major companies and a thriving bioscience sector, which means plenty of job opportunities. It’s also a great city for startups and entrepreneurs, with plenty of options for creative and tech industries.
  • Casual and Friendly Vibe: Known for its laid-back atmosphere, Portland’s vibe is casual and friendly. People here value individuality, creativity, and community.

Downsides of Moving to Portland

  • Rainy Weather and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): While Portland’s weather is mild, it can also be quite rainy, especially during the fall and winter. This can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression related to seasonal changes.
  • Lower Salary Expectations: Compared to other major cities, Portland salaries can be slightly lower. The lower cost of living can balance this out, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re moving from a city with higher salaries.
  • Meeting People: While Portland is a friendly city, many newcomers find it can take some time to form a close-knit community. This phenomenon, known as the “Portland Freeze,” might make it a bit challenging to make friends initially.
  • Increasing Cost of Living: Although Portland remains more affordable than many major cities, housing costs have risen. However, for many, the benefits of living in such an amazing city outweigh the increased costs.
  • Traffic: As with many popular cities, Portland faces traffic congestion challenges, especially during peak commuting times. However, the city’s excellent public transit system, including light rail and commuter rail, can help to alleviate some of these concerns.

Every city has its strengths and weaknesses, and Portland is no exception. However, with its natural beauty, a strong sense of community, and commitment to sustainable living, many find that moving to Portland, Oregon, is a decision that brings about plenty of opportunities and a unique lifestyle that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Considering the pros and cons will help ensure you make the best decision for your needs and circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions: Moving to Portland, Oregon

This section will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about moving to Portland, Oregon.

Is it a good idea to move to Portland?

The decision to move to Portland is highly subjective and depends on your circumstances. The city offers a diverse job market, a strong cultural scene, plenty of outdoor recreation options, and a vibrant food and craft beer scene. However, like any city, it has challenges, such as increasing housing prices and the potential for seasonal affective disorder due to the rainy climate.

The city’s commitment to green living is noticeable in its city streets, parks, and urban planning. Portland is one of the greenest cities in the U.S., encouraging residents to live sustainably and promoting a bikeable city.

What do I need to know before moving to Portland, Oregon?

There are several factors to consider before moving to Portland. The city is known for its progressive and eco-friendly environment, with excellent public transit options like light and commuter rail.

Living costs are relatively affordable compared to other major cities, but housing costs have been rising. It’s also important to note that Oregon has no sales tax, which can lead to significant savings.

Portland, often known as the “Rose City,” is the largest city in Oregon and one of the most popular cities in the Pacific Northwest. A rich cultural scene and a thriving food and arts scene complement its vibrant city vibe. Home to numerous food trucks, craft beer breweries, coffee shops, and the famous Mississippi Studios, it offers plenty of entertainment opportunities.

Is Portland, Oregon, expensive to live in?

Compared to other major cities, Portland has a relatively affordable cost of living. However, housing prices have increased over the years, making it more expensive for potential homeowners and renters. Despite this, many people find the cost of living in Portland is offset by the city’s high quality of life, plentiful job opportunities, and unique culture.

What salary do you need to live comfortably in Portland?

The salary needed to live comfortably in Portland can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle, family size, and financial goals. Generally, budgeting around 30% of your gross income for housing is recommended.

With the median home price in Portland around $500K, a comfortable living salary would be around $80,000 to $100,000 annually. However, this can change depending on your circumstances and financial commitments.

Portland’s job market is diverse and growing, offering job opportunities in the tech, bioscience, and manufacturing sectors. The city is also home to renowned educational institutions like Portland State University and Reed College, providing excellent opportunities for further education.

What month is best to move to Portland?

The best time to move to Portland would likely be late spring or early summer. This time offers the most favorable weather conditions, with less rain and milder temperatures than winter. However, moving companies might be busiest during this period, so early booking is recommended.

Is Portland or Seattle more affordable?

Both Portland and Seattle have similar living costs, with housing being the most significant expense in both cities. However, as of 2023, Portland is generally considered more affordable than Seattle, especially regarding housing costs.

The real estate market in Portland provides various options, from affordable apartments to luxury homes. Despite rising housing prices, living costs remain relatively affordable, especially compared to other major cities.

What is the average electric bill in Portland, OR?

The average monthly electricity bill in Portland is approximately $100, but this can vary greatly depending on the size of your home, your usage habits, and the time of year. Portland residents often spend more on heating during the winter months.

Why do people like living in Portland?

People are attracted to Portland for various reasons. Its natural beauty, vibrant city vibe, eco-friendly policies, and thriving food and arts scene are all drawcards. Portland is also known for its friendly residents, access to outdoor recreation, and the lack of sales tax. In addition, the city’s emphasis on community involvement and sustainability appeals to many people.

Portland is a unique, vibrant city with a high quality of life and a strong sense of community. As with any city, it has its pros and cons, but for many, the benefits of living in Portland far outweigh the drawbacks. Portland welcomes you with open arms, offering a dynamic, eco-friendly lifestyle with plenty of opportunities for growth and enjoyment.

Parting Thoughts on Moving to Portland

The weather in Portland is fairly mild, although the occasional ice storm can occur. Despite this, the city’s beauty shines through all seasons, offering stunning landscapes and outdoor adventures.

If you’re considering moving to Portland, Oregon, it’s worth exploring the properties available on eXp Realty. You can sign up to get alerts on new property listings as they come on the market. Moreover, contacting a local eXp real estate agent can help you navigate the housing market and find the perfect home to suit your needs.

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