Denver vs Portland | Travel & Living Comparison

Weighing up Denver vs Portland? What are the differences between Denver and Portland in terms of travel and living? Here is a comparison of the two cities to help you decide which is the best fit for you.

Denver and Portland are two of the most popular cities in America. They are both well-known for their thriving economies, good weather, and great nightlife.

When considering a move to a new city, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each location.

This is especially true when comparing two cities that are as different as Denver and Portland. Below is a comparison of these two cities in the areas of travel and living to help you make a more informed decision.

Denver vs Portland | Cost of Housing

Denver was founded in 1858 and has grown into a major metropolitan area located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver’s population is estimated to be over 600,000 people.

Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon and the 27th largest city in the United States.

It is located in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

Portland and Denver are far higher than the national average when you factor in the cost of living. 

Portland’s living cost index is around 130.8, while Denver’s lies at 128.7.

For perspective, an average American pays an average of $100 for their needs.

People in Denver pay around $128.70 for similar things, while those in Portland have to pay around $130.80 for their necessities.

Denver’s average rent price is $1451 per month, and if you would like to buy a house in the city, it will cost you around $463 245.

Housing and rent are relatively more expensive in Portland. The city’s average rent might cost you around $1945 a month, and buying a house can cost as high as $620 783.

It is worth noting that they are both above the country’s average living costs. Denver is cheaper than Portland.

Denver vs Portland | Cost of Transportation

Bicycles are quite a thing in Portland; in fact, the city is known as the bike capital of the USA, as 7% percent of its residents commute to work and school by bike. The cycling community makes up the highest percentage of bike users in the States.

You can also use TriMet, the city’s accessible and comprehensive public transit system. It normally runs every twenty minutes during rush hours.

In Denver, the regional transportation district (RTD) is the most used option for public transportation.

It comprises city trains and buses that offer several fare packages such as day passes, one-way passes, monthly passes, etc. Denver is also bike-friendly, with a lot of bike rentals.

As with the booming city, Portland and Denver experience serious traffic, too, especially during the metro rush hour. Both cities average around 25 to 26 minutes in terms of commute time.

Denver vs Portland – Demographics and Diversity

Both cities are relatively young. Their populations are close enough, with Denver home to over 700k people while Portland is home to more than 600k residents.

However, in terms of other aspects of demographics and diversity, they are different. Denver is a strongly diverse city.

About 53% of Denver’s total population is white. Aside from its diversity, Denver is also known to be a city with several cultures and has attracted people from all over.

The city is known for many ethnic events, festivals, and other celebrations.

Portland, on the other hand, is majorly white, with a 72% population rate. It is said to be one of the least diverse big cities in the United States. In 2018, about 27% of the population was identified as people of color.

Denver vs Portland | Travel

Regarding travel, both Denver and Portland offer much to see and do. However, Denver may be a better choice for those who want to experience a more varied landscape, as it is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

On the other hand, Portland is situated along the Oregon coast, making it a great choice for beach lovers.

Fun Facts About Denver

1. Mile High City is the nickname given to Denver due to its high altitude. This city sits at an elevation of about 5,280 feet above sea level.

2. Denver International Airport (IATA: DEN) is the primary airport serving Denver and is located approximately five miles from downtown. The airport serves as a hub for United Airlines and American Airlines.

3. Denver Botanic Gardens is a botanical garden that is home to over 10,000 species of plants. It is open daily, and admission is free.

4. Cherry Creek State Park is a state park near Denver. It features a large lake and many recreational activities.

5. Coors Field is a baseball stadium located in Denver. It is the home field of the Colorado Rockies.

Denver has seen a lot of growth in terms of population, jobs, and business opportunities. This has led to an increase in the cost of housing and other necessities.

Denver vs Portland | Weather

Portland sees a lot of rain, with an average annual rainfall of 42.8 inches. The Northwest is known for its drizzle or mist that usually lasts the whole day.

If it ain’t precipitating, you can expect overcast skies for most times of the year.

Different from Portland’s 144 sunny days, Denver sees about 300 days of sweet sunlight. Summers are notably hot, and winters are really snowy and cold.

It’s also interesting to know that the air is thinner in Denver. The lower oxygen levels can take a toll on the body of those not used to higher altitudes or with medical conditions.


There you go! I hope this post on Denver vs Portland, looking at how both cities compare and contrast each other, was helpful. Drop a comment and share because we’d like to hear from you.

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