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Portland, Oregon vs. Portland, Maine Which is better

Portland, Oregon vs. Portland, Maine: Which is better?

Let’s say you plan to visit or move to either of the two Portlands in the United States. Which one should you choose? 

These two locations could be on opposite sides of America, separated by more than 3,000 miles. However, both Portlands are either great places to live or the best places to visit. 

The thing is, which of these two is better depends entirely on the individual’s interests. To help you decide, this article will compare the two cities, including their differences and similarities.

Key Facts by the Numbers

Neither Portland, Oregon nor Portland, Maine is a particularly large city. 

The former may suit those who prefer a faster pace and urban pursuits such as the city’s live music scene and vibrant nightlife. Meanwhile, the latter has a more intimate, small-town feel.

To get a sense of the comparison between these two cities, let’s first compare them through the available compiled data sourced from websites such as Data USA, Numbeo, and WeatherSpark.

DataPortland, OregonPortland, Maine
Median Income$73,159$61,695
Cost of Living (monthly)$5,267.72$6,201.59
Median Property Value$438,500$302,700
WeatherWinter:  48°F to 54°F,
Spring: 54°F to 71°F
Summer: 71°F to 81°F,
Fall: 80°F to 48°F
Winter:  42°F to 37°F
Spring: 37°F to 67°F
Summer: 67°F to 74°F
Fall: 74°F to 42°F

Quality of Life

Now, it goes without saying that the quality of life brought by each of these two cities matters in choosing which of them is better. 

Here we will tackle the cost of living, the affordability of housing, as well as the quality of lifestyle one could get in each of these places.

Cost of Living, Safety, and Properties

Cost of Living, Safety, and Properties

Both Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine have a higher cost of living than the national average. 

However, according to PayScale, living expenses in Oregon’s Portland are higher than in Maine’s Portland. The former has a 30% higher cost of living than the national average, whereas the latter has a 15% higher cost of living.

There are truly several factors in each of the cities that can affect someone’s living costs. 

In Portland, Oregon, buying a house might cost you $688,025. This still varies in the neighborhood. 

Renting a house or apartment here is around $688,025 per month. That doesn’t even include the grocery prices (which are 8% higher than the national average) and the monthly energy bill that goes around $154.07 every month. 

On the other hand, Portland, Maine, being the smaller of the two cities, is likely going to have lower living expenses. Although Portland, Maine, has a cost of living that is 15% higher than the national average, it has lower rental rates than Portland, Oregon.

Rent in Portland, Maine, is expected to be $1,664 a month, with utility and energy costs coming in at $174.71 a month. While homes can be bought for about $544,603 each. 

Now, which of the cities is the safest to live in? According to Numbeo’s most recent data, Portland, OR has a moderate safety index of 46.95, while Portland, ME has a high safety index of 67.26.

Families and Young Professionals

Families and Young Professionals

Portland, OR and Portland, ME are ideal places for young professionals just starting out in their careers as well as growing families. The only difference between these cities is the level of access and amenities available to their residents.

There are numerous reasons why Portland, OR has quickly become one of the cities such sectors could live in, including consistent job growth, no sales tax, and a progressive community filled with a diverse mix of people.

The city’s Northwest District is a prime example. It’s one of Portland’s best millennial neighborhoods.

The Northwest District is a great place to socialize and meet new people, with a median age of 36 and over half of the district’s population currently single. 

Moving to Portland, Oregon, with your family is also an option. The Pacific Northwest’s second-largest city is a great place to settle down and raise a family, thanks to its friendly neighborhoods, outdoor recreation, and top-rated schools.

What about in Portland, ME? Well, this city has become a desirable option for young professionals seeking to escape the hectic pace of large East Coast cities without sacrificing the amenities and culture of a big city. 

Maine’s Portland is actually one of Livability’s top 100 best places to live in 2018 with its robust marketplace and having more restaurants per capita (230 total) than any other U.S. city. 

Trade, transportation and utilities, health services, government, and education are the city’s top employment sectors.

For the best neighborhoods for single people, South Portland, Maine, can be a great option. It’s ideal for those looking for nightlife while also having excellent public transportation and a low cost of living. 

It’s less expensive than living in downtown Portland, but it’s still charming and close to the Old Port and other major attractions. This Portland is also ideal for families seeking safety, education, single-family homes, and outdoor activities.

Our Verdict

This section clearly states that living in Portland, ME is significantly less expensive than living in Portland, OR, with the former being the smaller of the two cities, contributing to its affordability. This includes the cost of purchasing a home, renting an apartment, and other essential living expenses.

There is no significant difference between these two cities when it comes to choosing which is the ideal place for growing families or young professionals. Both can offer the best neighborhoods for individuals starting their careers as well as for couples starting their families.


Despite being on opposite coasts, Portland, OR and Portland, ME have pretty similar reputations. One of these is their concrete historical connections and cultural similarities. 

Both are known for their environmentally friendly upbringings, charming lifestyles, breweries, food scenes, and unique art scenes. Which Portland would you enjoy more?

Food, Brew, and Coffee Scene 

Food, Brew, and Coffee Scene

Oregon’s largest city is known for its innovative food scene. Perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Portland, Oregon, is to sample the quirky food-cart fare. 

The city is regarded as one of the best food cities in the world, with so many award-winning restaurants that it’s difficult to find one that hasn’t been lauded. Vegan cupcakes, Korean fusion, and fancier spots like tasting-counter and creative tapas are available. 

Brunch at Tasty & Alder is also a must, as are Voodoo Donuts’ famed confections, Olympia Provisions’ curated charcuterie boards, and Pine Street Market’s eclectic food court stalls. 

Portland, Oregon, is also home to a wide range of beers, with brewing powerhouses such as Hair of the Dog Hopworks and Deschutes at the forefront. 

Local coffee roasters who have mastered their craft artistically are also available for you to indulge in. In fact, the city is now known as the state’s coffee capital.

Meanwhile, Portland, Maine, is the best for sustainable food practices and regional specialties—but it’s very low-key in comparison to Oregon’s sea of high-end eateries. 

Nonetheless, their restaurant scene is much less crowded and much simpler, which is something some of us would love to experience, actually. Plus, they are a haven for seafood lovers. 

Their beer scene is perhaps the strongest link between these two Portlands. Maine’s Portland has the highest concentration of breweries, with names like Shipyard, Allagash, Rising Tide, Bunker Brewing, Fore River, Sebago Brewing, and many more.

City Charm and Lifestyle

City Charm and Lifestyle

Both Portlands are beautiful, but in very different ways, much like the opposing coasts they represent.

Portland, Oregon, can be characterized as a lover of all things punk and LGBTQI-friendly. This is another reason the city attracts a lot of hipsters and fans of punk and independent music. 

In this city, you’ll find just as many bike lanes and industrial-era bridges as you will vintage neon signs. 

Additionally, they are renowned for their independent bookstores, including the well-known Powell’s City of Books, which is regarded as the biggest and busiest bookstore in the world. Likewise, the city is home to many top-notch art museums and galleries.

Historic buffs will be enchanted by Portland, Maine’s neighborhoods. This vibrant port city has preserved its Brahmin roots through colonial homes and cobblestone alleyways, which now house vintage theaters, museums, and preserved buildings. 

With several factory outlets throughout the city, Portland, Maine, may also be the ideal city for shoppers looking for the best bargains on stylish and sensible clothing.

Our Verdict

Although both cities have their own food scenes, Portland, Maine’s is much more basic than Portland, Oregon’s. The latter is densely packed with food carts and restaurants serving international cuisines.

These two Portlanders are linked by their love of beer. Portland, Oregon has a diverse range of beer options, whereas Portland, Maine has a high concentration of breweries throughout the city. When it comes to coffee, the best place to get it is in Portland, Oregon.

Finally, Portland, Oregon, embraces weirdness and is the hippest of the two cities. In Portland, ME, on the other hand, it’s more like a vintage type of living.

Travel and Leisure

Both cities are committed to keeping their outdoor spaces open for a variety of activities, hence the plenty of leisure options. 

The top attractions in these two places largely contribute to the tourists’ and residents’ access to a lot of fun and exciting things you can do. Find out about it below. 

Top Destinations

Top Destinations

Portland, Oregon, is a nature lover’s dream. Oregon’s largest city straddles the Willamette River, and its proximity to other major Pacific Northwest destinations contributes to its popularity.

Many green spaces, from colorful plantings of roses and rhododendrons, to a classical Chinese garden, a zoo, and museums, all located in Washington Park, are among the city’s top attractions. 

Epic Portland, Oregon adventures are less than two hours away in any direction, from the Oregon Coast to Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. By the way, don’t miss Multnomah Falls, the Gorge’s tallest waterfall, which can be seen up close from a footbridge about halfway up the rushing falls. 

The City of Roses is actually a combination of creative culture and flourishing city attractions that draw flocks of tourists and soon-to-be residents.

Portland, Maine is the place to go if you want to explore the outdoors with fewer people. Portland, on the East Coast, has remote mountains, the secret Casco Bay islands, and remote waterways. 

Tourists can stroll the Old Port neighborhood’s cobblestone streets; explore the wharf, which is still bustling with activity; or spend days enjoying the cultural attractions in the Arts District, which include museums, galleries, performances, and antique shops. 

The Victoria Mansion, Portland Museum of Art, Portland Observatory, Portland Head Light, and Fort Allen Park are just a few of the top attractions.

Fun Activities 

Fun Activities

You will never run out of things to do in Portland, Oregon, with its luscious parks and natural areas; museums covering every imaginable subject; exciting events and festivals; and countless other top-notch locations. 

The same goes when you are in Portland, Maine, and this is due to the city’s long history of agriculture, handicrafts, and maritime culture.

Portland is Maine’s largest city, and its location on the southern coast along Casco Bay provides many opportunities for water-based activities such as kayaking, sailing trips, swimming, and sightseeing tours of the bay.

It’s almost the same in the case of Portland, Oregon. With a major river smack-dab in the middle of the city, it’s no surprise that the place offers an abundance of water-centric fun, from whitewater rafting and swimming to fishing and windsurfing.

Hiking is another exciting activity that both cities can provide. Portland, Oregon is an urban oasis with numerous hiking trails throughout the city. 

Forest Park, the country’s largest urban forest, spans over 5,000 acres in this city. Aside from the 80-plus miles of trails here, there are several other hiking areas scattered throughout the city. 

As it turns out, Portland, Maine, with its mountainous terrain, is an excellent place to go hiking as well. Outdoor enthusiasts will love getting out and exploring some of the state’s best trails which range from easy, flat walks in the woods to summiting mountaintops and climbing cliffs.

Our Verdict

Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine have similar recreational opportunities given by each other’s top destinations. Both can provide you with access to water-centric and natural activities. It’s just that traveling in Portland, Maine is less crowded than traveling in Portland, Oregon.

Conclusion: Is Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine better?

It is extremely difficult to choose between Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine. The two Portlands undoubtedly have more in common than differences, particularly when it comes to lifestyle and leisure activities. 

However, there are still other factors to consider, and they’re largely personal.

Say, you don’t want a crowded place. Between these two cities then, you would likely want to move to Portland, Maine.

On the other hand, if you like restaurant-hopping in your free time, consider Oregon’s Portland.

Don’t get us wrong, Maine’s Portland does deliver too in terms of food (especially with those lobsters!), but the City of Roses has a stronger reputation when it comes to the food scene.

Cost of living and overall culture differ a bit too. If you have the money and embrace weird stuff, head over to Portland, OR, for instance. 

On a tighter budget but still thinking of living a quality life? Portland, ME it is.

That aside, both cities are great places to live in, so it really just depends on what type of life you prefer or what resources are available to you.

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