27 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Portland

Updated on April 14th, 2022

Reading Time: 8 minutes

If you’re thinking about moving to Portland, you’re probably aware of the amount of biking done here, and the number of vegan restaurants available. But, there are many things only a true local Portlander would know, and if you’re moving to the area, you will soon find out. We asked our local Redfin Agents Michael Morris and Matthew Brennan to tell us the ins-and-outs of living in Portland, and what you should know before moving there. 

1. You may find yourself considering biking naked through the streets 

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Image via: Flickr

“The Naked Bike Parade is a huge event worldwide, but has a special place in Portlanders’ hearts. It usually takes place in June and starts around 8 p.m. Thousands of people bike naked well into the night,” said Michael Morris, a real estate agent in Portland.

2. Chickens are the newest member of the family

Image via: Wikimedia Commons

Morris states, “backyard farms are really ramping up here. People have goats, beehives, chickens and other things all in their backyards. It’s becoming commonplace.” 

3. Your Tinder date will probably suggest Pok Pok for dinner; and it will probably be the best part of the whole night

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“Pok Pok is a delicious Thai restaurant on Division street. Andy Richter is the founder and chief chef, and really gave this place a name for itself. It is busy every night of the week, but the long line is very worth the wait,” said Redfin agent Matthew Brennan

4. Wearing a shirt that says “Show me your O face” is totally normal 

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“The University of Oregon Ducks are a town favorite, and have the biggest army of followers,” Morris says. “They barely edge out the Portland Blazers and the Portland Timbers.” 

5. At least half of your friends will work for Intel 

Image via: Wikimedia Commons

“The Intel headquarters are located in Portland and that drives a lot of traffic for people moving to the area. Everyone knows someone who works at Intel, or they know someone at one of the many tech startups that are throughout the city,” said Morris. 

6. The Portlandia Episode called “Is the Chicken Local” is actually pretty accurate 

Image via: Pixabay

Morris states, “people are really into organic, healthy, natural eating here. They really care about how their food is grown–maybe a little too much.”

7. Don’t give anyone the chance to bring up being vegan in a conversation 

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“People love to talk about being vegan. Portland is a major city for vegan eating, and there are vegan restaurants, and people everywhere,” said Brennan. 

8. Don’t be concerned if you meet someone who has an emotional attachment to the carpet in the airport 

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“The Portland airport is known for it’s loved teal green carpet. People love to take pictures of it and post them to social media,” Brennan states. “The airport recently replaced a large portion of the famous carpet and people were very upset about it.” 

9. The hipsters might be taking over the city 

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“This town is full of what I like to call Yipsters. Yuppie-Hipsters. They’re everywhere and have really given Portland a name for itself on the map of hipsters,” said Morris. 

10. Having no sales tax is great! Until you have to pay the bills 

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Image via: Pixabay

“My favorite part about having no sales tax is that when you pay for things, the numbers are all even. My least favorite part about having no sales tax is having to make up for the cost later when you pay your housing taxes,” said Brennan. 

11. Yes, the Voo Doo Doughnut line is always that long 

Image via: Wikimedia Commons

“Voo Doo doughnuts is a delicious and fun doughnut shop that people come to from all over, which makes it a major tourist trap,” said Brennan. “If you don’t want to wait in that line, a great alternative is Blue Star Doughnuts.” 

12. The “grunge look” actually takes a lot of work 

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Image via: GIPHY

“People here love the grunge look. They act like they don’t care and just threw their outfit together. But they actually do really care, and spent hours putting together their ‘carefree’ look,” said Morris. 

13. You should definitely know what RCTID means 

Image via: Wikpedia

“You’ll walk down the street and see RCTID on shirts, posters and used in conversation. RCTID stands for Rose City ‘Till I Die,” said Morris. “This is a term associated with the soccer team the Portland Timbers who we all love, and will love, ‘till we die.” 

14. You’ll quickly learn the difference between an ale and a lager 

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“Portland is also known as beer town and most everyone here loves beer.In fact, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world, so there is always access to a good beer at a local brewery or at a friend’s or neighbor’s house who brews their own; because we all know someone who is a home brewer,” said Morris. 

15. A raincoat is your best friend for at least nine months of the year 

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“Portland has a similar amount of rainfall to Seattle, but Seattle seems to get a worse rep for its weather. Somehow Portland escapes the stereotype and no one seems to know what Portland weather is really like in the winter,” said Morris. 

16. But the summers are the greatest kept secret 

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“People don’t realize how great the summer is in Portland. It’s sunny, dry and 80 degrees. People are always outside and often go hike one of the many nearby trails like Washington Park Loop. With the coast and mountains being so close to the city, everyone takes full advantage of it during the warmer months,” said Morris. 

17. Two wheels are better than four wheels 

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“A lot of people commute to work on their bike, and use it as a main form of transportation. Since there are so many environmentally conscious people here, biking is a really big deal and Portland is a very bike-friendly city.” 

18. Restaurant leftovers are your favorite home-cooked meal

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“No one really cooks that much here. Everyone goes out to eat and then eats leftovers at home. If someone were to cook, it would just be the basics, nothing too fancy,” said Brennan. 

19. You’ll come to love street meat 

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Image via: Flickr

“Portland is known for the food trucks that can take over an entire block of our city in areas described as Food Cart Pods, which are sprouting up all over the city. These pods have such a large variety of food, and a great atmosphere. Some of the best carts are the Bing mi, DesiPDX and Koi Fusion,” said Morris. 

20. Portland is a complainer’s paradise 

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“Some Portlanders love to complain, about the weather, about the traffic, about the Californians; really anything,” said Brennan. “Any time you want to let off some steam, you can find someone to listen and join in on the complaining too.”

21. Throw out your suit and buy a pair of skinny jeans 

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Image via: Pixabay

“Everyone here dresses very casual. You can pretty much wear the same thing to work that you wear around your house. Jeans are very common, and you rarely see a suit,” said Morris. 

22. If you’re not wearing jeans, you’re all decked out in Nike 

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Morris states, “since Nike is headquartered in Portland, and was founded by University of Oregon track athlete, Phil Knight, everyone feels a special connection to the company. Especially the fans of the Oregon Ducks football team. The team is given brand new Nike jerseys for every game they play.” 

23. If you want to fit in, get a Prius or a Subaru 

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“People are very eco-friendly here, and if they aren’t biking, then driving a Prius is the only alternative. Those who live for the outdoors, opt for the Subaru. Either way it’s a safe bet to look like a local with one of these,” said Morris. 

24. If you want to really fit in, your Prius should be covered in muddy dog prints; so you will likely need to get a dog

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Image via: Pixabay

“Portland has so many off-leash dog parks, it’s great! Everyone loves to take their dogs to any of the parks and get outdoors. A favorite for many is Fernhill Park, or the 1000 Acre Dog Park,” said Morris. 

25. You may want to invest in an emergency pack 

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“Portland hasn’t had an earthquake in a long time, and we know it’s coming; and we know we’re not prepared,” said Brennan. “With last year’s release of the New Yorker article called, “The Really Big One,” about the anticipated earthquake hitting the west coast, the topic has been on the top of people’s minds.” 

26. I hope you’re not from California… 

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“Portlanders love to hate on Californians. It’s a favorite topic of conversation. We even have bumper stickers about it!” Said Brennan. 

27. You start thinking about your Halloween costume in July

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“Portland isn’t the most religious city, so as far as holidays go, Halloween is a top favorite. Everyone dresses up, trick or treats, goes through haunted houses, and it’s not just a one-day thing, it is celebrated for multiple days,” according Morris. 

For all the Portlanders out there, which “signs” did you like the best, and what did we miss? Tell us on Twitter, or in the comments below. And if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Portland, be sure to get in touch with our local Redfin real estate agents, or check out what’s on the market on Redfin.com.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Alexandra Almeleh

Alexandra is Redfin’s public relations and social media intern. She writes content for the Fun & Fabulous and Local News sections of Redfin Real-Time. Her dream home would be near the water, and have a big kitchen for entertaining and cooking. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our “Why Redfin?,” page.

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