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Travel News Portland vs Seattle – How Do They Compare?

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Portland vs Seattle – How Do They Compare?

See how Portland and Seattle stack up against each other. We break down what its like to eat there, the music scenes, sports teams, and much more.

The Pacific Northwest is home to two of America’s finest cities, Seattle and Portland. While these two cities stack up comparably in some areas, there are definitely some differences, and each city has its own advantages should you chose to visit one.

Who’s got the better grub?

Both cities take a tremendous amount of pride in their local cuisine. There is even a bit of trash talk that happens when making comparisons between the two. Both cities have their highlights and hidden gems.

There is a lot on the menu. It seems only fair to break it down per food varietal.


The Pacific coast is a prime spot for seafood. Seattle and Portland both have accessible waterways to the ocean, which make them great spots for seafood enthusiasts.

Seattle wins. The direct access to salt water gives Seattle a competitive advantage.

Junk Food

Junk food comes in many different forms. Portland is home to some famous junk food tourist traps including Voodoo Doughnut.

Normally a doughnut wouldn’t be categorized as junk food, but when you are decorating your doughnut with M&Ms you easily fall into that category.

Seeing as how Seattle doesn’t have a doughnut calorie factory, Portland wins the junk food battle.

Food Trucks

On any given day downtown, you can catch a number of food trucks on 4th and Pike in Seattle, which unfortunately seems to be the high point. There are a number of food trucks in the Ballard neighborhood as well, but the sheer volume of food trucks in Portland give them the edge.

Food Truck
Portland has some of the best food truck options

There are over 500 food truck options in Portland, compared to roughly 100 in Seattle.

Fast Food

Sorry , Portland. Seattle has Dick’s hamburgers which are both tasty but also give a completely legitimate reason for telling someone to eat a bag of Dick’s.

Advantage, Seattle.

What Are They Known For?

Portland’s weirdness makes it hard to really pinpoint which cuisine is their staple. You could pick ten or more things that Portland could be known for. On any given night you

Seattle Dog
Seattle Dogs are a favorite amongst locals and tourists

Seattle however has what is a called a Seattle Dog. No, its a not a new K9 breed. A Seattle Dog is a premium hotdog covers in sauteed onions and more importantly, cream cheese. Might sounds a bit strange, but rest assured it is delicious!

This is a tie.

Both Have Scenic Attractions

The Pacific Northwest is an outdoor playground. Seattle and Portland both have extensive trails and opportunities to get out and get active.

From either city, if you haven’t visited the Pacific Northwest, the astounding mountain views will catch your eye. Each city has some truly breathtaking views, right inside their respective city limits.

In Seattle, you can see the Olympic Mountains to the West and the Cascades to the East. Mt Rainier is a view in itself and can be seen as though it is a part of the Seattle skyline.

Mount Rainer, seen with the Seattle Skyline
Mount Rainer, seen with the Seattle Skyline

Portland has some impressive mountain views as well.  Mt. Hood and the infamous Mt. St. Helen’s are clearly visible, weather permitting. Off in the distance, you will also be able to catch a glimpse of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Multnomah Falls, Oregon

It would be hard to give a clear winner in this category. You’ll just have to see for yourself. 

Staying In The City

Both cities have a lot of history behind them, as well as growth in their economies. This makes a a number of interesting places that you can rest your head when staying in either city.


If you are looking to stay in the heart of the city Portland definitely seems to be more competitive on price. On average hotels seem to be priced 15-20% less than hotels in Seattle.


Comparably, both cities have over 200 options for hotels that you can choose from. Seattle’s expansive growth has definitely helped to spring up more options in the downtown area. One of my personal favorites is Motif, located on Fifth Avenue downtown. They have a modern feel, and also an amazing rooftop lounge area that is great for get-togethers.

Sporting Events

Each city has excellent professional teams, and some serious fans that get behind them. Due to their proximity, they are also some exhilarating rivalry games you can grab some tickets to.  


Both cities have a large fan base for their respective soccer clubs. Soccer has been growing in popularity the United States, and a match between the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers definitely showcases this.

Seattle’s club has their matches at CenturyLink Field, and the Timbers hold theirs at Providence Park.

Both teams have a great atmosphere and fan base. This is a tie.


Seattle has seen plenty of success in recent years with their football squad. Seeing as how Portland does not have a professional NFL team, this is no contest. Seattle wins.


In similar fashion, Seattle has the Mariners and Portland unfortunately Portland doesn’t have a MLB team to call their own. Seattle wins again.


Portland gets their revenge. This is sore subject for some Seattleites. Their Supersonics playing in Key Arena had a major influence in the 90s on NBA basketball have since moved to Oklahoma City. There has been talks in recent years of bringing back the team, but for now Portland gets the edge with their equally as cool team, the Portland Trail Blazers.  

Music Festivals

Good music can be found in either city on a daily basis. Ankeny Alley is an excellent spot to see some live music while getting food and drinks.

Some large music festivals in the area are easily accessible from both locations, so it’s hard to say which is the clear winner. For instance Sasquatch at the Gorge are both reasonable distances to drive from. They also both have festivals within city limits.

The Gorge - George, WA
The Gorge – George, WA

With close to 2 music festivals happening within city limits every month it is hard to beat Seattle’s music scene. With festivals that cover chamber music to electronic to reggae there is something to be found for every music lover.

Because of Seattle’s easy to navigate city website, music festivals are very easy to find. 

How to chose where to visit

You really can’t go wrong when visiting either of these cities. And,  if you want to visit both, they are only 3 hours apart from one another down interstate 5. 

Find flights to see which ones suit your trip, and your price point. From there the adventure is up to you. 

Portland VS Seattle. Time to Explore!

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