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  • Writer's picturePhil Evans

Top 10 Reasons To Live In Portland

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

The City of Portland, Oregon has so much to offer! Here we lay out our top 10 reasons to live in or near Portland that make it the best place to live in the U.S. of A. (in our humble opinion). When we talk about “Portland” we are not just talking about the city proper but the surrounding areas as well. If you are considering an urban environment where you can walk everywhere we recommend New York City. But if you are someone that is willing to travel an hour to get the best experiences life has to offer, year-round, then the Portland Metropolitan can definitely deliver. You’ll notice our list contains a lot of activities, restaurants, and lifestyle adds that are not in Portland but easily accessible from living here. Portland Metro to us includes: Multnomah County, Washington County, and Clackamas County. The major towns within Portland Metro include: Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Clackamas, Oregon City, Milwaukie, and Gresham. Also note there are no sources cited here, all of this is the opinion of two Native Portland Real Estate Brokers. Let’s get started in no particular order!

1.) Keep Portland Weird

One of the best things about Portland neighborhoods is how unique they each are. There’s something for everyone. Among our many green patches of parks and scenic mountains you’ll find neighborhoods with their own unique flavors, shops, restaurants, festivals, and more. There’s no Stepford-looking sameness here and that’s part of what keeps our city just how we like it.

Some of our coolest neighborhoods include The Pearl, Portland’s newest playground for high-rises, boutique shops, urban parks, and brewpubs; Nob Hill, beloved for Victorian homes, early 20th-century apartment buildings and a large choice of boutiques, restaurants, and bars on NW 23rd and 21st Avenue; and Multnomah Village, a Southwest neighborhood that is commonly defined as “quaint” and has several boutiques, restaurants, and galleries to explore.

2.) Get Outside

There’s so much natural beauty to explore in Portland that you can always find something to do. We have a very versatile scenery with waterfalls, beaches, mountains and about 257 parks you can explore, which is part of that laid-back vibe we’re known for.

The moment you step foot in the city you’ll be amazed by the striking sight of Mount Hood, our highest snowy peak. Mt. Hood National Forest has hundreds of hikes to cascading waterfalls and sparkling lakes, with thousands of hikers visiting each year.

Want to see waterfalls? Head over to the Columbia River Gorge, the country’s largest scenic area, and visit the 620-ft Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Oneonta Falls, Latourell Falls, and Fairy Falls. These are just a handful of the beautiful cascades you’ll find in the Gorge.

Maybe you prefer the beach. Portland is not a beach town, but it is only an hour away from the Pacific Ocean with endless spots to surf, hike, boat, fish, crab, or take in a gorgeous sunset. Sun-bathing is not on the list of things to do at the beach to be honest, but who has time to sun bath between taking part in the nation’s largest beach volleyball tournament, eating fresh seafood, and camping among redwoods? If you don’t have time to get to the beach, there are three rivers with beaches that offer many options in the summer, like Tom McCall Bowl Beach, Poet’s Beach, and North Unit Beach.

The Willamette River is a key part of our colorful history and there are plenty of recreational activities like wakeboarding, paddling, rafting and fishing.

Finally, we cannot forget to mention just some of the many parks that you can visit in the city to enjoy breathtaking views, like Washington Park, the Leach Botanical Garden, Terwilliger Boulevard Parkway, and Peninsula Park. Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country with 80 miles of trails over 5,200 acres.

3.) Never Be Bored

After taking in the scenery and enjoying the beaches and waterfalls, there’s always something to do in the many events around Portland. Here’s just a few suggestions:

Portland Expo Center, where you will always find many options for upcoming events. Some annual events include the Northwest Food Show, the Annual Portland Fall RV & Van Show, and Rose City Vintage Market, Christmas and Holiday Bazaar, and many more. Moda Center, a multipurpose arena hosting large concerts from Guns N Roses to Celine Dion. It is also the home of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland is home to three major league sports teams: the Portland Trail Blazers NBA basketball team, the Portland Timbers MLS soccer team, and the Portland Thorns FC WMLS soccer team. That’s not all, we are also big on mixed martial arts, roller derby, and hockey with our beloved Winterhawks. Venues to check out beside the Moda Center include Providence Park, and The Hangar at Oaks Park.

If you like fairs and festivals you’ll love Portland! Don’t miss the many street fairs in the Summer and Fall like the Division/Clinton Street Fair, Lents Street Fair, Alberta Street Fair, Hawthrone Street Fair, Multnomah Days, and the Oregon State Fair; Must do Festivals include the Dahlia Festival, the Rose City Comic Con, Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Portland Fashion Week, The Rose Festival, and the Greek Festival. Rodeos are another fun time in Oregon with a lot of pride and history for our Cowboys and Cowgirls. Don’t miss the Pendleton Roundup, St. Paul Rodeo, and Sister’s Rodeo. If those are too far from Portland for you, check out the Calackama County Fair and Rodeo and the Molalla Buckaroo. Yee-Haw!!

4.) Die Happy with a Full Belly

The very best thing about Portland’s food scene is its diversity, you can find Italian, Asian, and Mexican cuisine, a variety of food trucks, sandwich shops, cafe’s… You name it. And now that the COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, it’s time to go out and support our local businesses! Here’s a few suggestions:

· Toki (Korean restaurant)

· Gado Gado (Indonesian restaurant)

· Papi Sal’s (Food truck serving Puerto Rican and Philly food)

· Matt’s BBQ (Food cart)

· Langbaan (Thai restaurant)

· Rose VL Deli (Vietnamese cuisine)

· Demarco (Italian Sandwiches)

· Voodoo Doughnut

· La Perlita (Mexican restaurant)

You love pizza? OK, I already know your answer, but did you know Portland is the best place in America for pizza?? It’s true!

The authors of the Modernist Pizza, Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, ate almost 400 pies before giving Portland the title. Not to say that there isn’t amazing pizza everywhere but Portland has the largest number of pizzerias offering the freshest ingredients, the most innovative (and traditional) options, and most competitive culinary environment. So which pizzerias made the top of thier list? Apizza Scholls, Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty, Scottie’s Pizza Parlor, Red Sauce Pizza, Handsome Pizza, Sizzle Pie, and Nostrana. You can get New York Style, Chicago deep-dish, Detroit block, and the authentic Margherita all within a 20 minute drive of each other.

5.) Pay The Price You See

That’s right, Oregon is one of the only states with NO SALES TAX. What you see on the sticker price is what you get. This doesn’t exactly mean you’ll see rock bottom prices and it’s a balance with our higher income taxes, but it can help manage some of the costs of living in this beautiful city.

6.) A Tale Of Two… Libations

We are not shy about our love for beer. Our city is home to more breweries than any other in the world – 70 breweries – and here you can find brewery tours, beer-themed events, kid-friendly and dog-friendly breweries, and more.

This movement started to grow in the 80s and 90s, where many breweries opened in Portland and others moved from other parts of the state. Portland breweries have kept it fresh by innovating with ingredients like Willamette Valley hops and barley and Bull Run water. Again, we’ll leave you with some brewery options that are definitely worth the visit:

· Widmer Brothers Brewing

· Breakside Brewery

· Culmination Brewing

· Deschutes Brewery

· 10 Barrel Brewing

· McMenamin’s

· Cascade Brewing

· Hair of the Dog

· Level

· Migration

· I can’t stop listing them!

And of course, we also have beer festivals like Portland Beer Week, Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival, Portland Craft Beer Festival, IIPA Fest, and many more.

A bit less known but equally important in our culture is wine. Oregon’s wine country is one of the world’s premier pinot noir producing regions, thanks to our volcanic soils and mild climate. The Portland wine scene includes urban wineries and beautiful vineyards in the Willamette Valley where you can find hundreds of wineries big and small. Most are only 45 minutes from Portland and make a perfect get away for the day or weekend.

If a day in the vineyards is too time consuming, check out some of our best urban wineries include Erath, Adega Northwest, Archival Spirits/Ash Street Wine Co, Boedecker Cellars, Clay Pigeon, and Division Wine Company.

7.) Support for the Arts

Portland is a very creative city. We love art in all its forms, and that’s why you’ll see a very active music scene, art galleries, a variety of museums and theaters, art fairs, and much more. So here are a few highlights and suggestions for anyone who wants to get to know and enjoy our city’s art scene, starting with some music festivals:

Reel Music Film Festival (part concert series & part film festival), Portland Jazz Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, PDX Pop Now, Pickathon Music Festival, Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival, Oregon Country Fair, and the Oregon Jamboree.

Art lovers also have plenty of options to take a tour around the city’s museums, starting with the Portland Art Museum, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. History and science lovers can also enjoy the Oregon Museum of Science and History, Oregon Historical Society, World Forestry Center – Discovery Museum, and of course, there’s always space for the quirkier visits like the Portland Puppet Museum, the Hat Museum, and the Pecularium. For kids you can’t beat OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) where family friendly exhibits of a day of fun and learning.

Theatre lovers should check out Keller Auditorium to enjoy amazing shows like Hamilton, Jesus Christ Superstar, Anastasia, and more, or the Moda Center, where you can catch bigger acts like a comedy show by Trevor Noah or a performance by world-renowned Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Of course, we can’t forget about literature, our city is home to the world’s largest independent book store, Powell’s City of Books, and an annual book festival that you should definitely check out. Other bookstores include Green Bean Books, Mother Foucault’s Bookshop, and the SW very own Annie Bloom’s Books.

8.) Mild Weather With All Four Seasons

Portland is probably best known for our rainy weather, but our showers are mostly gentle and short-lived. Many of our clients who move to Portland ask about the weather and we always tell them, “Yes, it rains nine months of the year but that counts six months where it rains for an hour between 2-5am. We’re not really spending our lives soaking wet.” Besides, Portlanders know that those rains are what keeps our many parks and gardens looking beautiful. The rain is such a non-issue for locals that most don’t even bother using umbrellas. Average temperatures in the summer range between 77° - 87° though getting a little warmer each year it seems. You’ll see a lot of rain in the winter, but temperatures are not as extreme as in other interior states in the country and will mostly range between 40 - 60° with a little snow if we’re lucky for a week.

9.) Public Transportation

Not only is it a breeze getting in and out of Portland, with our international PDX airport ranked as one of the best in the world, but we also have many transportation options that make it easier to get around the city. The TriMet System is one of the best ways to get around. It offers MAX light rail service as well as bus and streetcar service, with fares at $2.50 for adults for 2.5 hours of travel on any method of TriMet public transportation, or $5 per day. Let’s not forget that Portland is a very bike-friendly city, and many users combine bikes and public transportation. Also, there’s some really great bike and scooter share programs and 385 miles of bikeways.

10.) Silicon Forest

The Silicon Forest is the nickname given to the group of tech companies located in and around Portland. It most frequently refers to the industrial corridor between Beaverton and Hillsboro. Some of the biggest companies in this boom include eBay, Airbnb, Intel, InFocus, Techtronix, and Xerox. This is especially relevant because of the plethora of job opportunities it brings for the state. In fact, Intel is the largest private employer in the Portland area. We also have Nike and Adidas in Portland as well as many other major employers (the airport and universities, etc.) that keep the local economy very stable for housing and employment. This has helped create a growing environment of entrepreneurs and startups in and near the city.

Overall the Portland Metro area is one of the best places in the country (world?) to live and raise a family, dog, or dream. People are catching on to the riches that the Pacific Northwest offers but Portland still offers a small town, slower-paced vibe with all the big city benefits of culture, diversity, and arts. If you are considering buying a home in the Portland Metro area and would like to talk with us in more detail about where to buy, how the local real estate market is, or anything else, please reach out to us at

If you don't know where to start with your Portland home buying journey, we recommend taking a Home Buying Class. We offer one every month so you can learn about the local real estate market, the neighborhoods, architecture, purchasing and financing process, and so much more! You can sign up for the next one here:

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