Which is a better retirement location Portland or Seattle?

Which city would you prefer to live in; Portland, OR or Seattle, WA?
Which city would you prefer to live in; Portland, Or or Seattle, WA?
Which city would you prefer to live in; Portland, OR or Seattle, WA?

Portland and Seattle are both popular urban cities that offer numerous attractions, great outdoor recreation, a diverse culture, four-season climate, and plenty of scenic beauty. Both cities also attract retirees who are looking for a retirement destination that doesn’t include a tropical or desert environment. While Portland and Seattle share many similarities, each city does have something unique to offer Baby Boomers in their own special way.

Portland, Oregon

Portland is the largest city in Oregon and is one of the eco-friendliest cities in the world due to its emphasis on low-carbon living. Retirees who seek a green lifestyle will love Portland’s events like their Earth Day festivities, neighborhood farmers markets, rose gardens, urban forests, Portland Rose Festival, and more than 10,000 acres of parks.

Portland also has a college-town vibe that offers plenty of continuing education courses from several universities in the area, including Portland Community College, which offers a 50% discount for residents 62 or better. Portland is also a highly walkable city, making it easy to get anywhere quickly without using a car. A majority of residents get around on bikes thanks to the city’s 315 miles of bikeways.

Seattle, Washington 

Seattle is also a bike-friendly city and has an urban trail system that lets riders travel through the city seamlessly. Seattle is known as the birthplace of the alternative grunge rock scene, quaint coffee shops (including being home to the original Starbuck’s storefront), and is one of the most literate cities in the country with about 80 percent of residents registered for library cards. This thriving urban center also provides breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains.


Portland also has a beautiful skyline that offers views of Mt. Hood and the West Hills in the distance. Many active adults are choosing to age in place instead of relocating to warmer climate regions like Florida or Arizona. That’s why Portland and Seattle are ideal retirement destinations for active adults who want to experience a four-season climate.

Seattle and Portland have generally mild winters with higher than average rain and occasional snowfall. Seattle is known for being a rainy city, getting about 36 inches of rain a year, but most of the rainfall occurs during the winter months when average temperatures are in the mid-40s. Summers in Seattle and Portland are pretty enjoyable with mild temperatures in the mid-70s to 80s. With a diverse climate, retirees can enjoy the distinct seasons in a beautiful and natural setting.


Whether you’re living in Seattle or Portland, each city has its own rich lineup of exciting attractions and cultural offerings. Portland’s culinary and cultural scene is thriving with farm-to-table and organic restaurants, microbreweries, and food trucks. The city is also home to cultural attractions like the Portland Opera, Oregon Symphony, and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Not to be outdone, Seattle also has a wide selection of attractions, including the famous Space Needle’s Observation Deck that offers unparalleled views of the city’s skyline. Retirees can take a ride on the Seattle Monorail, go on a whale-watching cruise on Puget Sound, or shop at Pike Place Market, which is the most popular farmers market in the country. 

Not as famous — but still great — is Portland’s Saturday Market, which is similar to Seattle’s farmers market but on a smaller scale. Other cultural offerings in Seattle include Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Chamber Music festivals, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and Seattle Opera.


Residents can also enjoy numerous outdoor green spaces and national parks in both cities year-round, which promote active living that attracts retirees. Seattle has the 535-acre Discovery Park, which is the largest park in the city, and is perfect for recreational activities. Boomers can hike or ski in the nearby Cascade or Olympic Mountains as well as kayak or sail in the waters of Puget Sound.

Portland also has great parks and green spaces for outdoor enthusiasts. Forest Park is one of the largest wilderness parks within a major city in the country and offers more than 5,000 acres of lush landscape. The city is also home to Mill Ends Park, the world’s smallest park. Washington Park is home to the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden.

When it comes to sports, both cities have their own teams to cheer on. Portland is home to two major league franchises: Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA and the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. Seattle is home to the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, Seattle Mariners of the Major League Baseball, and Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer.

Communities in Portland

Active adults looking to retire in Portland or Seattle will also find a great selection of 55+ communities in the area. Portland itself has three active adult communities within its city limits including King City, Claremont, and Summerplace. Each community features a variety of home designs, world-class amenities, and a welcoming social atmosphere that is sure to attract retirees. The surrounding area has several more 55-plus communities, sure to accommodate the wants and needs of active adults from all walks of life.

Communities in Seattle

The Seattle-Tacoma Area is also a vibrant region with 55+ communities like Trilogy at Redmond Ridge, which is an established age-restricted community with 1,574 homes. Jubilee at Hawks Prairie and Trilogy at Tehaleh are other active adult communities in the area that offer new and resale homes as well as resort-style amenities like lavish clubhouses, recreational facilities, and activities. Whether retirees decide to retire in Seattle or Portland, each city has something great to offer that will keep them active outdoors all year long.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

The entrance sign at the Polo Club at Mountain Island Lake, a 55+ community in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Small Active Adult Communities in Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina is a top retirement destination for adults 55+. With 72 active adult communities in the area, there’s a lot to choose from and think about. If you’re considering a move to Charlotte and already know you’re looking for a small community in size but big on options, then we’ve got you covered.

Cresswind Charlotte is a 55+ community near Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Communities for Downsizing in Charlotte, North Carolina

A smaller home has less space to clean and maintain–inside and out. They also typically come with a smaller, more affordable price tag. Fortunately for the 55+ crowd looking to downsize in the Charlotte area, there are several active adult communities that offer smaller floor plans at affordable price points.

A sunny day at Lake Walk Freedom Homes in Mooresville, North Carolina

55+ Communities Near Lakes in the Charlotte Area

Dreaming of spending your retirement on the water, boating, fishing, swimming, or just relaxing, soaking up the sun every day? Then, Charlotte, North Carolina should be on your radar.

The clubhouse at Village at Deaton Creek in Hoschton, Georgia

The Best Active Adult Communities in the Atlanta Area

The state of Georgia is a popular destination for 55+ active adults, and the Atlanta area is one of its hottest places to relocate. The city offers fine restaurants, diverse shopping opportunities, and impressive cultural attractions, as well as its own rich history and distinctive southern charm. If you are considering living near Atlanta, you’ll want to take a look at six of the area’s most popular active adult communities.

A happy group of elderly people living in a 55+ community meet the age requirements.

What Are the Age Requirements for a 55+ Community?

For many, the answer to “What are the age requirements for a 55+ community?” may seem obvious. You have to be 55 or older, right? No, that’s not always the case. In fact, there are many scenarios where there’s only one resident who is 55 or older. Also, there are rare cases when no residents is 55 or older. 

An older adult takes a continuing education course offered in his 55+ community.

Never Stop Learning: Continuing Education Programs in 55+ Communities

Many people look forward to retirement because they can finally stop focusing on work and start focusing on doing more of what they enjoy. Do you want to learn a new language, play an instrument, or try making a new craft? There are many benefits that learning something new can provide.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top