A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Boston vs. Portland for Food, Nightlife, Families, and Backpackers

Should you visit Boston or Portland?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Boston and Portland. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Boston

Boston is a historic, traditional, and classic classic. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. It's a gorgeous place to visit. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and theater.

Portland

Portland is a tree-lined, nature-filled, and scenic city. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for nightlife, live music, and hiking.

Boston and Portland: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Cons
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable


How is Boston different from Portland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Boston or Portland Better for Food?

Boston
Portland

Most foodies will appreciate the restaurant options in Boston a bit more than Portland.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Boston makes for a great culinary experience. Famous local foods include New England Clam Chowder, lobster rolls, and baked beans.

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.


Is Boston or Portland Better for Nightlife?

Boston
Portland

Evening events are similar in both Boston and Portland.

Boston has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The city is known for its breweries, craft beer, and vibrant university neighborhoods. It also hosts regular outdoor movies and world class sporting events.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Portland. 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 Boston or Portland Better for Music?

Boston
Portland

Both Boston and Portland offer a variety of live music venues.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Boston. Popular music venues include Lizard Lounge, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, and The Middle East.

The music scene in Portland is active and vibrant. The town has a thriving live music and international folk dancing scene.

Is Boston or Portland Better for Shopping?

Boston
Portland

Both Boston and Portland are good shopping destinations.

Boston is a great destination for shopping. Head to Back Bay for some of the best high end shops.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Portland. To fully experience shopping in town, head to the local vendors and thrift shops.

Is Boston or Portland Better for Families?

Boston
Portland

Both Boston and Portland are family-friendly destinations.

Boston is a very family-friendly place to visit. Popular activities for all ages include the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, and exploring the history, gardens, and parks around town.

Portland is a family-friendly classic. Kid-friendly activities in town include the zoo, the aerial tram, and several great museums.


Is Boston or Portland Better for Couples?

Boston
Portland

Boston and Portland both fun destinations for a couple.

Boston is a nice destination for couples. Couples who enjoy history will enjoy exploring the city. Take a swan boat ride in the Public Garden and wander the unique route along the Freedom Trail.

Portland makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy an eclectic city, breweries, and nature, will find a lot to do in town.

Is Boston or Portland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Boston
Portland

Both Boston and Portland are popular destinations for backpackers.

Boston is a good classic to visit for backpackers. Like most larger American cities, the city has a handful of hostels to choose from.

Many backpackers visit Portland. The town has drawn young explorers for years, and backpackers who like to step away from the mainstream will feel right at home here.

Is Boston or Portland Better for Public Transit?

Boston
Portland

While Portland and Boston both provide public transit, overall the system in Boston is considered to be better.

Visitors in Boston can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. There's the T, which is the subway, as well as a trolley, bus, and water transportation system.

Portland has some public transit options. The town has a bus and light rail system as well the Aerial tram.

Is Boston or Portland a more walkable city?

Boston
Portland

Boston and Portland both are comparable when exploring on foot.

It is easy to get around Boston on foot. The many parks and compact neighborhoods are best explored on foot.

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


Should I spend more time in Portland or Boston?

How long in Boston or Portland?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Boston and Portland. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Boston than Portland.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Boston is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Portland is 2-3 days.


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

One day in Boston or Portland?

Boston is a big city with plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the live music and shopping when visiting the destination of Portland. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Boston or Portland?

Boston is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. 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.

Portland is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Boston or Portland?

Boston is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that museums is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Boston, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portland. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Boston or Portland?

Boston is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that museums is why people visit. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This classic offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the live music and shopping when visiting the nature-filled destination of Portland. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Portland or Boston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Boston is $203, while the average daily cost in Portland is $143. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Boston and Portland in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Boston $132
    Portland $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Boston $264
    Portland $152
Compare Hotels in Boston and Portland

Looking for a hotel in Boston 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 Boston


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: Boston Hotel Prices and Portland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Boston $28
    Portland $23
Typical Local Transportation prices in Boston

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Boston are as follows:


  • Taxi
    $35
  • Subway Daily Pass
    $9.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Boston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Boston:

  • Transfer in private vehicle from Boston City Downtown to Boston Airport (BOS): $69
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Boston Airport (BOS) to City Downtown: $69
  • Transfer from Boston Logan International Airport to Boston: $85
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Boston Airport: $30
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Boston Airport to Hotel: $30
  • Round trip transfer in private vehicle from Boston city -to Boston Airport (BOS): $138
  • Round trip Airport Transfer: Logan - Boston: $181
  • Private transfer: Boston to Boston Airport (BOS): $622
  • Private transfer: Boston Airport (BOS) to Boston: $622
  • Private transfer from or to BOS Boston, MA: $113
  • Private arrival OR departure transfer in Boston (hotel OR airport pick-up): $132
  • Private Transfer from Boston City to Boston (BOS) Airport: $117

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portland

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

  • Private Departure Transfer to Portland Airport (PDX): $32
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Portland Airport PDX: $32
  • Portland International Airport One Way Transfer: $69
  • Arrival Business Class Private Transfer Portland Airport PDX to Portland City: $75
  • Departure Business Class Private Transfer from Portland Airport PDX to Portland: $75
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Portland Airport PDX to Oregon, West Linn or Tigar: $82
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Arrival Private Transfer: $102
  • Portland downtown to Portland Airport (PDX) - Departure Private Transfer: $102
  • Transfer from Portland International Airport to Portland: $109
  • PDX - Portland One Way Airport Transfer in a Chauffeured Sedan/SUV: $133
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Arrival Private Transfer: $141

Is it cheaper to fly into Boston or Portland?

Prices for flights to both Portland and Boston 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
    Boston $40
    Portland $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Boston

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Boston.

  • Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and Freedom Trail Walking Tour: $49
  • Boston's North End Small-Group Walking Food Tour: $71
  • Fenway Neighborhood Food Tour (Boston): $79
  • Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on Boston Harbor: $81
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Boston North End: $103
  • Spirit of Boston Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet: $105
  • Boston Odyssey Dinner Cruise: $118
  • Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey: $122
  • North End Neighborhood Food Tour: $150

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:

  • Arts District Food Tour: $84
  • Portland's Art District Food Tour: $84
  • Walking Food Tour in Downtown Portland with Brunch: $86
  • Downtown Deluxe Food Tour: $89
  • Tastes of Downtown Portland Walking Food Tour: $89
  • 2.5-Hour Dinner Cruise Through Downtown Portland: $108

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Boston $26
    Portland $19
Typical Entertainment prices in Boston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Boston are as follows:


  • Two Tickets to Celtics Game
    $101
  • Duck Tour
    $32

Tours and Activities in Boston

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Boston are as follows:

  • 2-Day Trip Philadelphia City Tour from Boston: $519
  • 6-Day Economy East Coast Tour ( Boston Departure) ( BOAP6E): $448
  • 6-Day Economy East Coast Tour (Boston departure)(BO6E): $448
  • 6-Day Tour East Coast Tour ( Boston Departure) ( BOAP6D): $560
  • 6-Day Tour East Coast Tour (Boston Departure)(BO6): $560
  • 6-Day U.S East Coast Tour (Boston departure) BO6U: $560
  • 7-Days Tour US east coast and Canada tour (Boston Departure) (BO7C): $706
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: Boston Harbor: $44
  • Beer Tour: $80
  • Best of Boston Tour - Private Safe Tour: $185
  • Boston Back Bay Tourist Scavenger Hunt: $36
  • Boston Chocolate Tours w/ Private Tour Option: $204

Tours and Activities in Portland

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

  • The Eastern Promenade: Explore the sounds and vistas on an audio walking tour: $5.20
  • Downtown Portland's Outdoor Sculptures Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.20
  • Portland Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Portland Old Town Ghost Tour: $22
  • Intro to Portland Small Group Walking Tour: $29
  • Pink Trolley City Tour of Portland - 2pm: $29
  • Pink Trolley City Tour of Portland - 10am: $29
  • Underground Donut Tour: Portland's Only Donut Tour: $30
  • Portland's Only Underground Donut Tour: $31
  • Vintage Fire Truck Sightseeing Tour of Portland Maine: $35
  • Private Tour: Downtown Portland and City Highlights: $38
  • Essential Portland Bike Tour: $40

For more ideas for your next trip, check out Free Things to Do in Boston, Must-See Monuments and Memorials In Boston, and The Best Things To Do in Boston with Kids.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Boston $22
    Portland $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Boston

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Boston:

  • Haunted Boston Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Historic Pub Crawl Tour along the Freedom Trail: $56
  • Sip of Boston Guided Brewery Tour: $90

Sample the Local Flavors in Portland

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Portland:

  • Power Through Portland Bar Crawl: $12
  • Oregon Priority Wine Tasting Pass: $40
  • Weird Bar Crawl with Fanatical Local: $49
  • Eastside Craft Brewery Walking Tour: $55
  • Portland Brewery Bike Tour: $71
  • Oregon Famous Wine Country Wine Tasting Adventure: $75
  • Brews & Bites - Food Carts & Brewery Tour: $94
  • Views and Brews, Portland Brewery Bike Tour: $118
  • 5-Hour Willamette Valley Wine Tour with Tastings: $120
  • Oregon Coast Brewery Tour: $130
  • Willamette Valley Wine Tasting from Portland: $139
  • Full-Day City & Oregon Wine Tasting Tour: $140


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Boston and Portland, we can see that Boston 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 Boston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Boston than you might in Portland.


When is the best time to visit Boston or Portland?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Boston or Portland in the Summer?

Both Portland and Boston during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Boston for the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Portland because of the hiking, the small town charm, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

Boston is a little warmer than Portland in the summer. The temperature in Boston is usually 73°F (23°C) in July, and Portland stays around 68°F (20°C).

In Portland, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Boston. In the summer, Boston often gets less sunshine than Portland. Boston gets 304 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Portland receives 338 hours of full sun.

Boston usually gets more rain in July than Portland. Boston gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Boston 73°F (23°C) 
    Portland 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Boston or Portland in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Boston and Portland. The autumn months attract visitors to Boston because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Portland this time of year.

In the autumn, Boston is around the same temperature as Portland. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Boston in October are around 54°F (12°C), and Portland is about 55°F (13°C).

Boston usually receives more sunshine than Portland during autumn. Boston gets 194 hours of sunny skies, while Portland receives 155 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Boston usually receives more rain than Portland. Boston gets 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 2.6 inches (67 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Boston 54°F (12°C) 
    Portland 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Boston or Portland in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Boston as well as Portland. The museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine are the main draw to Boston this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Portland for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Portland. It's quite cold in Boston in the winter. In January, Boston is generally much colder than Portland. Temperatures in Boston average around 29°F (-2°C), and Portland stays around 40°F (4°C).

In the winter, Boston often gets more sunshine than Portland. Boston gets 153 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Portland receives 86 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Portland. Boston usually gets less rain in January than Portland. Boston gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 5.2 inches (132 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Boston 29°F (-2°C) 
    Portland 40°F (4°C)

Should I visit Boston or Portland in the Spring?

Both Portland and Boston are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Boston for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Portland in the spring for the small town charm and the natural beauty.

Boston is cooler than Portland in the spring. The temperature in Boston is usually 48°F (9°C) in April, and Portland stays around 51°F (11°C).

It's quite sunny in Portland. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Boston. Boston usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Portland during spring. Boston gets 225 hours of sunny skies, while Portland receives 231 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Boston usually receives more rain than Portland. Boston gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 2.4 inches (61 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Boston 48°F (9°C) 
    Portland 51°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Portland and Boston

Boston Portland
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 29°F (-2°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 40°F (4°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Feb 30°F (-1°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Mar 38°F (4°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Apr 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
May 58°F (15°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Jun 68°F (20°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Aug 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1 inches (25 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)
Oct 54°F (12°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Nov 45°F (7°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 46°F (8°C) 5.4 inches (136 mm)
Dec 33°F (1°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 40°F (5°C) 6.1 inches (156 mm)


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Boston vs. Portland Travel Comparison

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