A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Aspen vs. Portland for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Hiking

Should you visit Aspen or Portland?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Aspen and Portland can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Aspen

Aspen is a vibrant, artsy, and outdoorsy ski town. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. Other reasons to visit include food, hiking, and shopping.

Portland

Portland is a laid-back, progressive, and quirky city. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include hiking, shopping, and nightlife.

Aspen and Portland: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food


Is there more to do in Aspen or Portland?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Aspen than Portland, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Aspen is better known for its skiing, food, nightlife, music, resorts, shopping, christmas markets, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Portland is more popular for its museums. Aspen is well known for its world-class skiing, many food, film, and music festivals, and its stunning mountain hikes. Also, Aspen is famous for The Maroon Bells. Portland is well known for its independent and vintage shops, thriving art scene, lush parks and gardens, progressive and quirky personality, and easy access to amazing natural beauty.

How is Aspen different from Portland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Portland and Aspen. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Skiing?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is very popular for skiing and snowboarding. However, Portland is not a skiing destination.

Visitors will find world class skiing in Aspen. Near the town, there are 4 separate ski resorts. In town you'll find Aspen Mountain, which is known for it's black-diamond runs. Aspen Highlands, a couple miles away, has a mix of slopes and is less crowded. Buttermilk attracts many freestyle skiers and Aspen Snowmass is considered one of the best family-friendly ski areas.

Portland is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Aspen or Portland?

Aspen
Portland

Portland is a city with a few options for its museums and landmarks. However, Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

Portland offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Visitors usually come for the city's outdoor recreation and eclectic personality more than the landmarks and museums. There are a few places to visit on a rainy day though including Pittock Mansion, the Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Aspen or Portland? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is very popular for its restaurants. However, Portland is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Many restaurants in Aspen have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The town hosts many food festivals and there is a growing selection of diverse restaurants. In town you'll find cafes and restaurants that cater to both the local crowd and the travelers who flock to the area during peak seasons.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Portland. The town is more famous for it's craft beer than it's food, but there are still a number of local restaurants that offer unique Oregon dishes. You'll find no shortage of vegetarian and vegan options on most menus. There is also a big farm-to-table scene with many farmers markets around town as well.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Nightlife?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is a very popular place for nightlife. Also, Portland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Aspen has a large number of nightlife venues. The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene includes craft beer, live music, and dancing. There's a local vibe, particularly during the off-season times when the tourist crowds are less.

Portland has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Famously, this town's nightlife is all about the craft beer and local breweries. Make sure you check out Bailey's Taproom, The Big Legrowlski, and The Commons Brewery.


Is Aspen or Portland Better for Music?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is a very popular place for live music. Also, Portland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its live music scene.

It's worth checking out the music scene in Aspen while you're in town. Popular music venues in town include Silver City Mountain Saloon and Belly Up Aspen.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Portland. The town has a thriving live music and international folk dancing scene.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Resorts?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Portland is not a resort destination.

In Aspen, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. Popular resorts in the area include The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome, and St. Regis Aspen.

Portland is not a resort destination.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Hiking?

Aspen
Portland

Both Aspen and Portland are destinations which offer great hiking.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Aspen. During the summer and fall seasons, hiking is a great way to explore Aspen's nearby beauty. Popular trails include the Ute Trail, the Lost Man Trail, and the famous Maroon Bells Scenic Trail.

Many visitors go to Portland for the hiking trails. Just outside of town you'll find amazing hikes and stunning natural beauty. In town there are many urban hikes through parks and gardens, but in just a short drive you also have access to Mount Hood and many of the region's most beautiful hikes around the Columbia River Gorge.


Is the Shopping Better in Aspen or Portland?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is a very popular place for shopping. Also, Portland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Aspen. There are many great local shops and art galleries where you can pick interesting items or fine art.

Portland offers some nice shopping areas. To fully experience shopping in town, head to the local vendors and thrift shops. There are many vintage clothing shops, book stores, and independent sellers around town. The city is also full of farmers markets. For some of the most interesting shopping, check out the Pearl District, Pioneer Place, Union Way, and Downtown neighborhoods.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Christmas?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is very popular for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Portland does not offer Christmas activities.

Aspen offers plenty of sights and activities around Christmas. There are a number of beautiful activities that will bring the holiday season to life in the town.

Portland does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Christmas Markets?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is a very popular place for visiting Christmas markets. However, Portland does not offer Christmas markets.

Aspen is a popular destination to visit Christmas markets. The town has a charming Christmas market that is fun to explore and has around 40 vendors.

Portland does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Aspen or Portland Better for Families?

Aspen
Portland

Both Aspen and Portland are notable to visit with kids.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Aspen. Families that enjoy skiing together, hiking, rock climbing, and having adventures will enjoy a visit to this town. Aspen Mountain is not a great option for beginning skiers, but further away, Aspen Snowmass offers good beginner slopes.

Portland offers lots of family activities. This is an outdoor city by nature, so families will appreciate the many parks and outdoor recreational activities around town. It's easy to fill a couple of days exploring and having fun with the kids. Kid-friendly activities include the zoo, the aerial tram, and several great museums.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Couples?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen is a very popular place for romance. Also, Portland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its romantic activities.

Aspen makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Aspen is both a popular ski destination as well as an established town. There are many great restaurants and activities that couples can enjoy and the setting is cute and very scenic, making it a beautiful and romantic destination.

Portland makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The laid-back, alternative vibe is fun to explore as a couple. There are independent bookstores, nice parks, and plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. Couples who enjoy an eclectic city, breweries, and nature, will find a lot to do in town.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Aspen
Portland

Portland is a great destination for backpackers. However, Aspen is a ski town with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Portland is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. The town has drawn young explorers for years, and backpackers who like to step away from the mainstream will feel right at home here.

Aspen is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Because it is both a town and a ski resort, there are a couple of more affordable accommodation options. Even so, this is an expensive destination that isn't always ideal for budget travelers.


Is Aspen or Portland Better for Students?

Aspen
Portland

Portland is a city with good options for students. However, Aspen is not popular with students.

Portland is popular with students. It's a young and relaxed city that attracts independent thinkers. There are many bookstores and breweries around town. The cost of living can be a bit high though.

Aspen is not popular with students.

Is Aspen or Portland Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Aspen
Portland

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Aspen and Portland.

You'll find some public transit in Aspen, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are several shuttle buses around the town.

While Portland offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. The town has a bus and light rail system as well the Aerial tram.

Is Aspen or Portland a more walkable city?

Aspen
Portland

Aspen and Portland both are great when exploring on foot.

Aspen is a very walkable destination. The town is compact enough that it can be explored on foot. If you're planning to head into the mountains to hike, you'll likely need a car.

Portland is very walkable. It is quite walkable, particularly in the tourist areas such as Downtown, Pearl, and Old Town Chinatown.


For even more information, also check out Is Aspen Worth Visiting? and Is Portland Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Portland or Aspen?

How long in Aspen or Portland?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Aspen and Portland. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Aspen than in Portland. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Aspen, and 2-3 days is enough time in Portland.

Families should spend more time in Aspen than Portland. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Aspen, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Aspen than Portland. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Aspen that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Portland than Aspen if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Portland.


  • How many days in Aspen or Portland? Ideal Length of Stay
    Aspen 3-5 
    Portland 2-3

One day in Aspen or Portland?

Aspen is a small town where visitors enjoy the shopping and skiing. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Portland, many people enjoy the nightlife and live music that this nature-filled destination offers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Aspen or Portland?

Aspen is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portland. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Aspen or Portland?

Aspen is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Aspen, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Portland is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting the destination of Portland. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Aspen or Portland?

Aspen is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This ski town offers something for everyone.

You'll find nightlife and live music around the scenic destination of Portland. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


Which place is cheaper, Portland or Aspen?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Aspen is $293, while the average daily cost in Portland is $180. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Aspen and Portland in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Aspen $170
    Portland $97
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Aspen $340
    Portland $194
Compare Hotels in Aspen and Portland

Looking for a hotel in Aspen or Portland? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Aspen


Hotels in Portland


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Aspen Hotel Prices and Portland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Aspen $56
    Portland $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aspen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Aspen:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Aspen Airport (ASE): $60
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Aspen Airport (ASE): $60
  • Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) - Private Transfer Arrival or Departure: $269
  • Aspen hotel or address to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $221

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portland

Also for Portland, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Arrival Business Class Private Transfer Portland Airport PDX to Portland City: $147
  • Departure Business Class Private Transfer from Portland Airport PDX to Portland: $108
  • Lake Oswego to Portland Airport (PDX) - Departure Private Transfer: $71
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $152
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $76
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Arrival Private Transfer: $71
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $143
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Arrival Private Transfer: $62
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $123
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $76
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $152
  • Portland Airport to The Summit at Snoqualmie Arrival Transfer: $187

Is it cheaper to fly into Aspen or Portland?

Prices for flights to both Portland and Aspen change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Aspen $85
    Portland $43

Typical Food Prices in Portland

For Portland, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Afternoon Drinks (for 2)
    $9.50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portland

For Portland, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Walking Pizza Tour: $75
  • Portland Pizza Tour : $75
  • Secret Food Tour with Local Guide: $95
  • Brunch on Mississippi Food Tour: $95
  • Brunch on Mississippi Food Tour: $95
  • Mississippi Avenue Walking Food Tour: $105
  • The Vibrant Kerns Hood Food Tour: $105
  • The Bustling Buckman Hood Food Tour: $105
  • Portland Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $109
  • All-Inclusive Downtown Portland Food Tour: $119
  • All-Inclusive Walking Food Tour: $119
  • 2.5-hour Dinner Cruise on Willamette River: $127

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Aspen $45
    Portland $24

Tours and Activities in Aspen

Here are a few actual costs in Aspen for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Aspen Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Aspen's DarkSide Ghost Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Past to Present Historic Tour: $40
  • City Highlights Walking Tour: $40
  • Dark History Ghost-Themed Guided Walking Tour: $40
  • From Past to Present History Walking Tour: $40
  • Highlights of Aspen Tour: $40

Tours and Activities in Portland

For Portland, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Downtown Portland's Outdoor Sculptures: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Portland Trail Blazers Basketball Game Ticket at Moda Center: $5.31
  • Self Guided Solo "Weird and Wonderful Portland" Walking Tour in Old Town : $6.50
  • Smartphone Old Port Portland, ME Audio Walking Tour APP/GPS: $6.75
  • Downtown Portland In-App Audio Tour (ENG): $9.00
  • Portland, Maine: Walking Tour Audio Guide: $9.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Portland OR by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Smartphone Audio Guide: $10
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Portland by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Golden Adventure Outdoor Escape Game in Portland Downtown: $11
  • Waterfront Scavenger Hunt Self-Guided Tour: $14
  • Downtown Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Walking Tour: $14

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Aspen $20
    Portland $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Portland

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Portland:

  • Power Through Portland Bar Crawl: $12
  • Weird Portland Pub Tour: $29
  • Portland Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Portland Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Oregon Priority Wine Tasting Pass: $40
  • Haunted Underground Shanghai Tunnel Tour with Brewery Tastings: $40
  • Haunted Pub Tour: $45
  • Guided Bike Tour with Brewery Visits: $49
  • Eastside Craft Brewery Walking Tour: $59
  • Weird Bar Crawl with Fanatical Local: $59
  • Distillery Row of Portland's Eastside Walking Tour : $75
  • Portland, Maine: Old Port Brewery & Pub Walking Tour: $87


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Aspen and Portland, we can see that Aspen is more expensive. And not only is Portland much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Portland would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Portland and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Aspen would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Aspen than you might in Portland.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Aspen Expensive? and Is Portland Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Aspen or Portland?

Portland has a larger population, and is about 90 times larger than the population of Aspen. When comparing the sizes of Aspen and Portland, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.