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

Should you visit Durham or Portland?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Durham and Portland can help you decide which place is right for you.

Durham

Durham is a student-filled, sports oriented, and diverse city. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

Portland

Portland is a progressive, quirky, and eclectic city. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include nightlife, live music, and hiking.

Durham and Portland: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Durham or Portland?

You'll generally find more things to do in Portland than Durham. Portland is bigger than Durham, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Portland is better known for its music, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Durham is more popular for its museums and food. Portland is more touristy than Durham 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. Also, Portland is famous for Washington Park. Durham is well known for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team.

How is Durham different from Portland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Durham
Portland

Durham is a very popular place for its museums and history. However, Portland is lacking in good options for its museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Durham. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

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.


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

Durham
Portland

Durham is a city with good options for its restaurants. However, Portland is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Durham. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

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 Durham or Portland Better for Nightlife?

Durham
Portland

Both Durham and Portland are notable when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.

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 Durham or Portland Better for Music?

Durham
Portland

Portland is very good for its music scene. However, Durham is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Portland. The town has a thriving live music and international folk dancing scene.

Durham is not a live music destination.


Is Durham or Portland Better for Hiking?

Durham
Portland

Portland is a well-known place for the nearby hiking options. However, Durham is not a hiking destination.

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.

Durham is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Durham or Portland?

Durham
Portland

Both Durham and Portland are notable shopping destinations.

Many visitors go to Durham to go shopping. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Portland. 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 Durham or Portland Better for Families?

Durham
Portland

You'll find notable kid-friendly activities in either Durham or Portland.

Durham is a family-friendly place to visit. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.

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 Durham or Portland Better for Couples?

Durham
Portland

Both Durham and Portland are notable destinations to visit as a couple.

Durham is a good city for couples to visit. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.

Portland is a nice destination for couples. 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 Durham or Portland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Durham
Portland

Portland is a well-known place for backpackers. However, Durham is not a good city 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.

Durham is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. The student population means there are a number of parties and bars around town, but most backpackers overlook this city.

Is Durham or Portland Better for Students?

Durham
Portland

Durham is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. Also, Portland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for students.

Students come from all over to stay in Durham. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

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.


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

Durham
Portland

Portland is very good for its public transit. However, Durham is not a good city for times when you don't have a car.

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

Public transit is mostly limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Is Durham or Portland a more walkable city?

Durham
Portland

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

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

Durham is generally not a very walkable city. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.

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

Should I spend more time in Portland or Durham?

How long in Durham or Portland?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Durham and Portland. In our opinion, Portland has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Portland than Durham. In general, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Durham, and 2-3 days is enough time in Portland.

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

Couples should spend more time in Portland than Durham. 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 Durham 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 Durham or Portland? Ideal Length of Stay
    Durham 1-3 
    Portland 2-3

One day in Durham or Portland?

The city of Durham offers food and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. 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 Durham or Portland?

Durham 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 Durham, 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 Durham or Portland?

Durham 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 Durham or Portland?

Durham 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 scenic 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Portland or Durham?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Durham is $162, 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 Durham and Portland in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Durham $92
    Portland $97
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Durham $184
    Portland $194
Compare Hotels in Durham and Portland

Looking for a hotel in Durham 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 Durham


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: Durham Hotel Prices and Portland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Durham $33
    Portland $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portland

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

  • Waterfall Express -PDX: Waterfall Trolley Tickets + Transfer: $60
  • Lake Oswego to Portland Airport (PDX) - Departure Private Transfer: $72
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $76
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Tigard hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $76
  • Tigard hotel or address to Portland Airport (PDX) - Departure Private Transfer: $76
  • Private Transfer from Portland Airport (PDX) to Astoria Port: $88
  • Private Transfer from Portland City Hotels to Astoria Cruise Port: $88
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Lake Oswego - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $143
  • Portland Airport (PDX) to Beaverton hotel - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $152
  • Portland Airport to The Summit at Snoqualmie Arrival Transfer: $187

Is it cheaper to fly into Durham or Portland?

Prices for flights to both Portland and Durham 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
    Durham $44
    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:

  • Portland Delicious Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $70
  • Walking Pizza Tour: $75
  • Secret Food Tour with Local Guide: $81
  • Brunch on Mississippi Food Tour: $95
  • Downtown Portland Food Tour : $99
  • Downtown Food Tour: $102
  • 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
  • Mississippi Avenue Walking Food Tour: $110
  • All-Inclusive Downtown Portland Food Tour: $118

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Durham $26
    Portland $24

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

  • Downtown Durham Historian-Guided Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • Durham NC: Art Walking Tour: $20
  • True Crime Tour: $13

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
  • Golden Adventure Outdoor Escape Game in Portland Downtown: $8.25
  • Portland, Maine: Walking Tour Audio Guide: $8.99
  • Downtown Portland In-App Audio Tour (ENG): $9.00
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Smartphone Audio Guide: $10
  • Uncover the Past: Minnehaha Falls In-App Audio Tour: $11
  • Waterfront Scavenger Hunt Self-Guided Tour: $13
  • Downtown Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Walking Tour: $13
  • Portland (Downtown) Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Tour: $13
  • Portland (Along the Waterfront) Scavenger Hunt & Self-Guided Tour: $13
  • Portland Exploration: Self-Guided Driving & Walking Tour: $14

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Durham $34
    Portland $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Portland

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Portland:

  • Weird Portland Pub Tour: $35
  • Oregon Priority Wine Tasting Pass: $40
  • Portland Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Haunted Underground Shanghai Tunnel Tour with Brewery Tastings: $40
  • Haunted Pub Tour: $45
  • Weird Bar Crawl with Fanatical Local: $59
  • Guided Bike Tour with Brewery Visits: $65
  • Portland, Maine: Old Port Brewery & Pub Walking Tour: $89
  • Portland, Maine: Local Brewery & Spirits Bus Tour: $99
  • Afternoon Tour in Columbia Gorge Waterfall with Free Wine Tasting: $111
  • Waterfalls, Mt Hood, and Wine Tour (Tasting Fees Included): $135
  • Willamette Valley Insiders Wine Tasting Experience: $195


When comparing the travel costs between Durham and Portland, we can see that Portland 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.

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


Which is Bigger, Durham or Portland?

Portland has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Durham. When comparing the sizes of Durham 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.


When is the best time to visit Durham 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 Durham or Portland in the Summer?

Both Portland and Durham during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Durham for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Portland in the summer for the hiking, the small town charm, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Durham is a little warmer than Portland. Typically, the summer temperatures in Durham in July average around 79°F (26°C), and Portland averages at about 68°F (20°C).

In Portland, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Durham. In the summer, Durham often gets less sunshine than Portland. Durham gets 259 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Portland receives 338 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Durham. Durham usually gets more rain in July than Portland. Durham gets 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Durham 79°F (26°C) 
    Portland 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Durham or Portland in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Durham and Portland. Many visitors come to Durham in the autumn for the shopping scene. Also, most visitors come to Portland for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Durham is generally a little warmer than Portland. Daily temperatures in Durham average around 61°F (16°C), and Portland fluctuates around 55°F (13°C).

In Durham, it's very sunny this time of the year. Durham usually receives more sunshine than Portland during autumn. Durham gets 211 hours of sunny skies, while Portland receives 155 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Durham usually receives around the same amount of rain as Portland. Durham gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 2.6 inches (67 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Durham 61°F (16°C) 
    Portland 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Durham or Portland in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Durham as well as Portland. Most visitors come to Durham for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Portland because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Portland can be very cold. Durham can be very cold during winter. Durham is around the same temperature as Portland in the winter. The daily temperature in Durham averages around 40°F (5°C) in January, and Portland fluctuates around 40°F (4°C).

In the winter, Durham often gets more sunshine than Portland. Durham gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Portland receives 86 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Portland. Durham usually gets less rain in January than Portland. Durham gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 5.2 inches (132 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Durham 40°F (5°C) 
    Portland 40°F (4°C)

Should I visit Durham or Portland in the Spring?

Both Portland and Durham are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Also, the small town charm and the natural beauty are the main draw to Portland this time of year.

In the spring, Durham is a little warmer than Portland. Typically, the spring temperatures in Durham in April average around 60°F (16°C), and Portland averages at about 51°F (11°C).

It's quite sunny in Portland. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Durham. Durham usually receives more sunshine than Portland during spring. Durham gets 251 hours of sunny skies, while Portland receives 231 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Durham usually receives more rain than Portland. Durham gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Portland receives 2.4 inches (61 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Durham 60°F (16°C) 
    Portland 51°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Portland and Durham

Durham Portland
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 40°F (4°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Feb 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Mar 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Apr 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
May 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Jun 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1 inches (25 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)
Oct 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Nov 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 46°F (8°C) 5.4 inches (136 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 40°F (5°C) 6.1 inches (156 mm)