If you’re planning on moving from Portland to Seattle, you probably have many questions about the big move and what it will be like once you get to your new city. 

Will it be as different as you thought? Is it worth the transition? While both cities are tech hubs in the Pacific Northwest, they each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

seattle mountains

Here are some pros and cons of moving from Portland to Seattle, so you can learn more about what life in Seattle is really like and whether or not it’s right for you.

Pros of Moving from Portland to Seattle

Seattle is a great place for people who are looking for great jobs, diverse communities, and plenty of spaces to enjoy outdoor activities. If you’re considering moving from Portland to Seattle, here are the top 6 reasons why it’s a good idea. 

1. Nature Scene

Seattle has a better nature scene than Portland. The Pacific Northwest is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, and Seattle is no exception. So whether you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors or just relax at home by the fire, Seattle has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy and entertained.

mountains in seattle

In addition to its stunning natural beauty, Seattle is also home to hundreds of parks and trails in every neighborhood. If you’re looking for something more active, Seattle also offers dozens of museums and galleries where you can learn about the area’s history while enjoying some culture.

Seattle’s proximity to the mountains makes it ideal for camping and hiking. There are over 100 miles of trails in the city alone! You can even get up close with wildlife such as bears, wolves, and elk (when they’re not hibernating).

2. Better Job Market

Seattle is a city that has been on the rise for quite a while now. As a result, the job market in Seattle has become one of the best in the country. This can be a great thing for those who are looking to move from Portland to Seattle because they will have more opportunities. There aren’t as many large corporations headquartered in Portland as there are in Seattle.

Compared to Portland, Seattle has more big corporations based there. It’s also home to many large technology companies like Microsoft and Amazon — both of which are critical for startups to have access to. There are also more opportunities for jobs in technology and engineering fields. 

3. Big City Amenities

Seattle is a beautiful city. There are so many things to do in the city, and it has a very active nightlife scene. There is always something going on downtown, whether it’s food trucks or concerts.

Seattle is also a beautiful, sophisticated city with many features. The downtown has skyscrapers, a grid system, reliable public transportation, and amazing views of the Olympic Mountains. The city is beautiful as the water surrounds it on all sides, and the city parks and public areas are also fantastic. 

seattle at night

It has everything from world-class museums and art galleries to top-notch sports stadiums and parks. Even if you’re not a sports fan, there are plenty of things to do in Seattle. You can visit the many large parks that dot the city or take a hike through one of its many forests.

The Emerald City has everything you could want from a city — great weather, tons of culture, and plenty of natural beauty (Mount Rainier is just an hour away). Seattle is a great place to live if you’re looking for a change of scenery and are willing to pay a premium for it.

4. Coffee Culture

If you love coffee, Seattle is the place to be. The city is known for its coffee culture, and there are many specialty coffee shops around the city. Although Portland has a thriving coffee shop scene as well, Seattle might be ahead of Portland in this aspect. 

There are many coffee shops in Seattle, so you may find a finely roasted drink on every specific block. There are also locally owned cafes spread throughout the city. The first Starbucks location, which is still open today at Pike Place Market, is where the giant coffee conglomerate Starbucks got its start. 

5. Plenty of Things to Do

Portland is a great city, but there’s no denying that Seattle has a lot more to offer than Portland. Not only does Seattle have more arts, entertainment, and outdoor activities, but it also has more restaurants, bars, and nightlife. 

Seattle has a lot more to offer than just the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. From Alki Beach to the music and arts scene of Capitol Hill, there’s plenty to do in Seattle.

public market center in seattle at night

The city of Seattle is home to more than forty museums and art galleries. From the Museum of Pop Culture and the Pacific Science Center to the Center for Wooden Boats and Chihuly Garden & Glass, there’s something for everyone, including those who love history and culture.

The city also has a thriving music scene with tons of live music venues across the city. You can find shows every night of the week at local venues like The Showbox or The Neptune Theater on Capitol Hill or at some of the many new music festivals that have popped up in recent years, including Bumbershoot and Northwest Folklife Festival.

6. More Diversity

Seattle is a much more diverse city than Portland. It’s not just because it has a larger population, but because it’s a more ethnically diverse city. Not only are there more people of color in Seattle, but there’s also a lot of variation in ethnicity, religion, and sexual identity.

The city has a diverse crowd, with a large number of African Americans, Native Americans, Scandinavians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Seattle is also home to a large LGBTQ+ community. 

Seattle is one of the country’s most vibrant cities, with lots of cultural diversity. The city also has a reputation for being progressive and welcoming to people of all backgrounds, making it an attractive place for many immigrants. 

Cons of Moving from Portland to Seattle

Seattle is a beautiful city, with tons of things to see and do. But there are some downsides to living here too. Here are some of the cons of moving from Portland to Seattle.

1. Traffic and Parking

Traffic is worse in Seattle than in Portland. So if you live in Portland and you’re thinking about moving to Seattle, take that into consideration. Traffic is a huge part of life in the Pacific Northwest and will not get any better anytime soon.

seattle night time

Parking is also notoriously difficult in the city. Finding parking is one of the biggest problems you’ll face when moving to Seattle. There are lots of public garages, but don’t expect to find one on every street corner.

If you live close enough to downtown, chances are there will be some parking structure or garage you can use. But if you live further away, chances are your only options will be surface lots or metered street parking — which is much more expensive than regular parking at an office building or commercial center.

2. Higher Cost of Living

One of the cons of moving from Portland to Seattle is that it will be more expensive, making it difficult for people who are just starting out in their careers or still paying off student debt. 

According to Nerdwallet, rental prices are about 23% higher in Seattle than in Portland. The average 2-bedroom apartment in Seattle costs $2,724 per month, while the same size apartment in Portland costs $2,679. The median home value in Seattle is $826,200, compared to $615,500 in Portland.

Additionally, the cost of entertainment and healthcare is about 11% higher. Food costs are 13% higher, and transportation costs are 7% higher in Seattle than they are in Portland.

3. High Sales Tax

One of the biggest downsides of moving to Seattle is the sales taxes. Sales taxes in Seattle is 10.25%, while Portland doesn’t even have any. This is going to be a huge adjustment, especially as you begin to make more money.

seattle activism

In addition, it is also important to note that Seattle’s sales tax rate is applied to almost all products, including prepared food and clothing. That means you have to spend more money on shopping because the state adds another 10.25% to your bill. 

This amounts to hundreds of dollars in taxes that could have been used on new furniture or other items purchased while in Seattle.

4. Seattle Freeze

While Portland is a very friendly city, Seattle is not. The people are less friendly and less welcoming. People in Seattle tend to keep their distance from others and don’t offer much direction or help. People in Seattle also don’t interact with each other in line, on the bus, or basically anywhere else. 

In contrast, people are more inclined to talk to you in Portland. Your neighbors in Portland are also interested in getting to know you. After you move to Seattle, people generally try to ignore others by plugging themselves into their phones and leaving each other alone. 

5. Colder Weather

Weather is the biggest advantage to Portland over Seattle. The weather in Seattle can be rainy and gray, while Portland’s weather is sunny and warm. The weather in Seattle is cloudy and rainy most of the year. Sure, there are some beautiful days here and there, but they’re few and far between. It also gets pretty cold in Seattle during the winter months.

seattle weather

Seattle has more rain than Portland, so it’s not surprising that Seattle is also colder than Portland in the winter months. The average annual rainfall for Seattle is around 50 inches, compared with 40 inches for Portland. This makes it challenging to enjoy outdoor activities in unfavorable weather, including cycling or hiking.

6. Higher Density

Seattle is also much more crowded than Portland, which means more people are walking around, more people in the streets, and more people waiting at bus stops and in the aisles of the grocery store. 

If you’re used to living in an area where there aren’t many people, then moving to Seattle might feel like a big change. Portland is a small city with a population of just over 650,000. Seattle has over 741,000 people living within the city limits. 

In a sense, Portland can feel more like a small town compared to Seattle where it’s easier to get around. On the other hand, Seattle is much more crowded and has more traffic, which can be frustrating if you’re used to Portland’s easygoing lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about moving from Portland to Seattle, there are a few things you should consider. The cost of living is higher in Seattle, and traffic can get really bad. The weather is also a factor to consider since it rains a lot in Seattle.

However, there are many advantages to living in Seattle as well, such as the vibrant city life and the many outdoor activities available. You also get good coffee and access to the mountains. Just be careful as you weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.


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