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

Should you visit Boulder 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 Boulder 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.


Boulder is a biker-friendly, outdoorsy, and nature-filled city. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, live music, and food.


Portland is a tree-lined, nature-filled, and scenic city. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the shopping, nightlife, and live music.

Boulder and Portland: Pros and Cons

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

How is Boulder different from Portland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Boulder or Portland Better for Food?


Foodies will appreciated the dining options available in Boulder a bit more than Portland.

Boulder has a huge number of terrific restaurants. This is an often overlooked foodie town, with great farmer's markets and restaurants to try.

Portland may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. 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 Boulder or Portland Better for Nightlife?


If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between Boulder and Portland.

If you're looking for night time activities Boulder has a few options to choose from. The town has breweries, craft beer, and plenty to do in the evening. Check out The Bitter Bar or License No. 1 for a local vibe.

There's a variety of activities in the evening 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 Boulder or Portland Better for Music?


Boulder and Portland are both destinations where visitors can find live music.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Boulder. During the summer months there are often outdoor concerts. Head to Pearl Street for open air stages or see a concert at Boulder Theater.

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

Is Boulder or Portland Better for Families?


Both Boulder and Portland are family-friendly destinations.

Boulder offers lots of family activities. The city has parks, playgrounds, a planetarium, and climbing gyms that are fun for kids of all ages.

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

Is Boulder or Portland Better for Couples?


Boulder and Portland both fun destinations for a couple.

Boulder makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. This is a great city for couples who love outdoor adventures, hiking, rock climbing, and cycling.

Portland is a good city for couples to visit. Couples who enjoy an eclectic city, breweries, and nature, will find a lot to do in town.

Is Boulder or Portland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


For backpackers, both Boulder and Portland are fairly comparable places to visit.

It's common for backpackers to visit Boulder. There are a number of backcountry areas in the area that are perfect for backpackers.

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.

Is Boulder or Portland Better for Public Transit?


Portland has better public transit to get you around.

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.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Boulder. There are buses that run around town.

Is Boulder or Portland a more walkable city?


Boulder and Portland are similar when it comes to walkability.

Boulder is a somewhat walkable place. The city has some nice walkable areas and it is very bike friendly.

Portland is a very walkable destination. 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 Boulder?

How long in Boulder or Portland?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Boulder and Portland. You can spend similar amounts of time exploring each one.

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

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

One day in Boulder or Portland?

The city of Boulder offers nightlife and live music. 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.

In Portland, you'll find shopping and nightlife. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Boulder or Portland?

Boulder is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Boulder, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

In Portland, you'll find nightlife and live music. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Portland has to offer.

Five days in Boulder or Portland?

Boulder is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Portland is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Boulder or Portland?

Boulder is a great place to explore. 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 city offers something for everyone.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portland. Many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting Portland. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Which city is cheaper, Portland or Boulder?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Boulder is $153, 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 Boulder and Portland in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Boulder $82
    Portland $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Boulder $164
    Portland $152
Compare Hotels in Boulder and Portland

Looking for a hotel in Boulder 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 Boulder

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: Boulder Hotel Prices and Portland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Boulder $41
    Portland $23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portland

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

  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $281
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $281
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $281
  • PDX - Portland Airport Transfer - Chauffeured Round Trip in a Luxury Sedan/SUV: $267
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $204
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Arrival Private Transfer: $141
  • PDX - Portland One Way Airport Transfer in a Chauffeured Sedan/SUV: $133
  • Transfer from Portland International Airport to Portland: $109
  • Portland downtown to Portland Airport (PDX) - Departure Private Transfer: $102
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Portland downtown - Arrival Private Transfer: $102

Is it cheaper to fly into Boulder or Portland?

Prices for flights to both Portland and Boulder 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 Meals for one day
    Boulder $43
    Portland $35
Typical Food prices in Boulder

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Boulder:

  • 2 Coffees
  • Nice Dinner for Two

Typical Food prices in Portland

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

  • Afternoon Drinks (for 2)

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 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Boulder $26
    Portland $19

Tours and Activities in Boulder

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Boulder.

  • A natural healing experience in a private epsom salt bath.: $16
  • Amazing Boulder Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Astronomy Tour: $41
  • Best of Boulder E-Bike Tour: $104
  • Boulder Backroads: E-Bike Dirt Road Tour: $200
  • Denver/Rocky Mountain National Park Tour: $139
  • Downtown An audio tour around this weird and beautiful town: $5.00
  • Electric Cruiser Fat Tire Bike Tour - Best of Boulder: $97
  • Half-Day eBike Mural Tour in Boulder: $90
  • High-Vibes Foodie Tour: $106
  • Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Boulder: $173
  • Holistic & Medicinal Tour: $42

Tours and Activities in Portland

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

  • 1-Hour Private Air Tour of Mount Hood and Columbia Gorge: $430
  • 2-Hour Champagne Brunch Cruise Through Downtown Portland: $78
  • 2-Hour Lunch Cruise Through Downtown Portland: $69
  • 20-Minute Columbia River Gorge Air Tour: $65
  • 20-minute Private Gorge Air Tour for 3: $130
  • 30-minute Multnomah Falls & Columbia Gorge Air Tour: $128
  • 40-minute Aerial Tour of Portland: $184
  • 40-minute Private Downtown Portland Air Tour for 3: $286
  • 5 Lighthouse Bike Tour with XL Lobster Roll: $132
  • A Walk Through Time Tour in Portland: $40
  • Afternoon Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland: $65
  • All Day Northern Oregon Wineries and Forest Bike Tour: $245

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

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 comparing the travel costs between Boulder and Portland, we can see that Boulder is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Boulder vs. Portland Travel Comparison

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