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

Should you visit Denver or Portland?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Denver or Portland, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.


Denver is a park-filled, suburban, and accessible city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, hiking, and shopping.


Portland is a laid-back, progressive, and quirky city. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife, live music, and hiking.

Denver and Portland: Pros and Cons

  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Less museums and historical sights

Is there more to do in Denver or Portland?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Denver. Although Denver and Portland are roughly the same size, Denver has more sights and attractions for tourists. Denver is very popular for its skiing and big city activities, while Portland attracts visitors for its music, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Portland is more touristy than Denver and is popular for its independent and vintage shops, thriving art scene, lush parks and gardens, progressive and quirky personality, and easy access to amazing natural beauty. Denver is famous for serving as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains and the many national parks that are in the area. It is also well known for Red Rocks Park.

How is Denver different from Portland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Denver or Portland Better for Skiing?


Denver is a city with good options for skiing and snowboarding. However, Portland is not a skiing destination.

Denver is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. Although there's no skiing in the immediate area, there is a huge list of world class ski resorts within an hour or two of town. Two of the closest are Echo Mountain Resort and Loveland Ski Area.

Portland is not a skiing destination.

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


Plenty of people visit the reasonable sights and museums in both Denver and Portland.

Denver offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Many people use Denver as a starting or ending point for their mountain and national park trip, but those who linger can visit some of the city's museums and sights. Popular museums include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the History Colorado Center, and the Forney Museum of Transportation.

While most people don't head to Portland specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. 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.

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


There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at reasonable restaurants in both Denver and Portland.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Denver. It's a pretty large city, so you'll find some nice local restaurants, but the foodie scene is still emerging in many neighborhoods. A number of restaurants offer outdoor seating, which is nice. You'll also find a growing selection of international restaurants. For something uniquely local, you should try the Bison steak and fried pickles.

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. 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 Denver or Portland Better for Nightlife?


Both Denver and Portland are nice when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Denver. The city has come a long way with its nightlife. There's a great craft beer scene and the downtown area has really come to life. Popular bars and clubs in town include the Grizzly Rose and 54Thirty Rooftop. Many places are concentrated in the Soco Nightlife District.

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 Denver or Portland Better for Music?


Portland is a nice place to visit for its live music scene. However, Denver is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep Portland active and fun. The town has a thriving live music and international folk dancing scene.

Denver is not a live music destination.

Is Denver or Portland Better for Hiking?


Portland is a well-known place for the nearby hiking options. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its hiking trails.

Portland is a popular spot for hiking. 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.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Denver. The city is very close to many beautiful parks and hiking areas in the Rocky Mountains. It's not hard to make a day trip from town and enjoy some great hiking. Nice options include the Trading Post Trail in Red Rocks Mountain Park, Bergen Peak near Evergreen, and Chimney Gulch Trail near the town of Golden.

Is the Shopping Better in Denver or Portland?


Both Denver and Portland are nice shopping destinations.

Denver offers some nice shopping areas. The city has many outlet malls that budget shoppers appreciate. There are also weekend farmer's markets, boutique shopping areas, and all of the major chains that you'll find in most larger cities.

Portland has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. 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 Denver or Portland Better for Families?


Denver and Portland are both nice destinations for the whole family.

Denver is a family-friendly place to visit. It is a family-friendly city with museums, playgrounds, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are also a few ropes courses near town that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Popular activities include the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus.

Portland is a family-friendly city. 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 Denver or Portland Better for Couples?


Denver and Portland are both nice to visit as a couple.

Denver makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are many beautiful and romantic outdoor activities in the area such as parks and botanical gardens. There are also spas, including the impressive Spa at the Brown Palace, as well as upscale restaurants and fun bars and clubs to explore.

Portland is a good city for couples to visit. 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 Denver or Portland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Portland is a well-known place for backpackers. However, Denver is not a good city for backpackers and budget travelers.

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

Denver is a good destination for this activity. Some backpackers fly into Denver to begin their national park tour. There is a hostel or two around town, and if you leave town quickly you'll find campgrounds not far away.

Is Denver or Portland Better for Students?


Denver and Portland are both nice destinations for students and younger travelers.

Denver is a good city to visit for students. There are a few students in the city, but there isn't a college town vibe that you'd get at other nearby university areas.

Plenty of students visit Portland. 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.

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


Both Denver and Portland offer nice public transit options.

Denver has a few public transit options. If you're not planning to leave town, the light rail and bus systems offer good access to much of Denver.

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

Is Denver or Portland a more walkable city?


Portland is a well-known place for its high level of walkability. However, Denver is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

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

Denver is not a very walkable city. While the downtown area is generally walkable, this is still a sprawling city where you'll really want to have a car to access areas outside of town.

Should I spend more time in Portland or Denver?

How long in Denver or Portland?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Denver and Portland. In our opinion, Portland has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Portland than Denver. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Portland than Denver 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 Denver or Portland? Ideal Length of Stay
    Denver 2-3 
    Portland 2-3

One day in Denver or Portland?

The city of Denver offers skiing and nightlife. 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 Denver or Portland?

Denver 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. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Denver, a weekend is sufficent for most. 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 Denver or Portland?

Denver 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.

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 Denver or Portland?

Denver is a great place to explore. 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.

Travelers enjoy the live music and shopping when visiting the laid-back 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 place is cheaper, Portland or Denver?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Denver is $218, 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 Denver and Portland in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Denver $87
    Portland $97
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Denver $174
    Portland $194
Compare Hotels in Denver and Portland

Looking for a hotel in Denver 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 Denver

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: Denver Hotel Prices and Portland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Denver $101
    Portland $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Transfer in Private Car from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Downtown: $72
  • Private Departure Transfer to Denver Airport (DEN): $44
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Denver Airport (DEN): $44
  • Private Arrival Transfer - Denver International Airport (DEN) : $40
  • Denver Airport to Vail Transfer: $599
  • Denver Airport (DEN): Private Transfer to Denver hotels: $252
  • Bergen International Airport: Private One Way Transfer: $100

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): $40
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Portland Airport PDX: $40
  • Arrival Business Class Private Transfer Portland Airport PDX to Portland City: $147

Is it cheaper to fly into Denver or Portland?

Prices for flights to both Portland and Denver 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
    Denver $42
    Portland $43
Typical Food prices in Denver

Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:

  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

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

  • Downtown Denver Food Tour: $75
  • RiNo Arts District Food Tour: $75
  • Arts District Walking Food Tour: $75
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver, CO: $82
  • Dinner with Artists David Griffin: $175

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:

  • Walking Pizza Tour: $65
  • Portland Pizza Tour : $75
  • Portland Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $95
  • Secret Food Tour with Local Guide: $119
  • All-Inclusive Downtown Portland Food Tour: $119
  • All-Inclusive Walking Food Tour: $119
  • 2.5-hour Dinner Cruise on Willamette River: $126
  • Willamette River 2.5-hour Dinner Cruise: $126

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Denver $52
    Portland $24

Tours and Activities in Denver

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

  • Small-Group Cocktail Tour in Denver: $99
  • 2 Hour Guided Segway Tour: $69
  • 2 Hour LoDo Historic Walking Tour in Denver: $28
  • 3 Hour Whiskey and History Tour: $99
  • 7 Day Tour from Denver with Yellowstone Grand Teton and Salt Lake: $1,211
  • Best of Denver Tour: $30
  • Best of Denver Tour: $27
  • Bicycle Tour of Downtown Denver.: $79
  • Bike and Brew Tour: $79
  • Breckenridge Ultimate Full Day Mountain Tour from Denver: $129
  • Breckenridge: Ultimate Mountain Tour from Denver: $138
  • Cheesman Park Ghost Tour: $28

Tours and Activities in Portland

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

  • 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
  • Portland Downtown Outdoor Escape Game: The Golden Adventure: $8.65
  • Portland, Maine: Walking Tour Audio Guide: $8.99
  • Downtown Portland In-App Audio Tour (ENG): $9.00
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Downtown Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Walking Tour: $13
  • Waterfront Scavenger Hunt Self-Guided Tour: $13
  • Portland (Downtown) Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Tour: $14
  • Portland (Along the Waterfront) Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Tour: $14
  • Self-Guided Sightseeing Driving Audio Tour: $15
  • Portland Exploration: Self-Guided Driving & Walking Tour: $17

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Denver $5.31
    Portland $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

Also in Denver, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • 4-Hour Downtown Denver Pub Crawl: $25
  • Half-Day Pub Crawl Through Denver RiNo Arts District : $30
  • California Vs. Colorado Wine Tasting: $30
  • Denver Terrors Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Terrors Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Haunted Denver Ghost & Pub Walking Tour - Lower Downtown (LoDo): $38
  • South Broadway (SoBo) Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $38
  • Golden Ghosts & Spirits Haunted Pub Crawl: $45

Sample the Local Flavors in Portland

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Portland:

  • Weird Portland Pub Tour: $29
  • Portland Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Haunted Pub Tour: $37
  • Haunted Underground Shanghai Tunnel Tour with Brewery Tastings: $40
  • Portland Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Guided Bike Tour with Brewery Visits: $49
  • Eastside Craft Brewery Walking Tour: $59
  • Portland, Maine: Local Brewery & Spirits Bus Tour: $80
  • Portland, Maine: Old Port Brewery & Pub Walking Tour: $87
  • Portland Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105
  • Full-Day Mt Hood Waterfall Tour with Lunch and Wine Tasting: $170
  • Willamette Valley Wine Tour: A journey for the senses: $179

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

Which is Bigger, Denver or Portland?

Denver is bigger, and its population is about 3% larger than the population of Portland. When comparing the population of Denver vs. 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 and the activities that interest you.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Denver vs. Portland Travel Comparison

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