You may have heard of Portland, Oregon – and the adage, “Keep Portland Weird,” but have you heard about its sister city just across the river? Vancouver, Washington, is located just a short drive across the Columbia River. The two cities share many similarities but also can be quite different.

Vancouver, WA vs. Portland, OR

One of the biggest differences between Vancouver and Portland is the sheer size. Vancouver has around 186,000 people located on just 52 square miles. On the other hand, Portland is 145 square miles with a population of about 645,000. As a result, Vancouver has more of a small-town feel with a much more compact downtown.

Both cities share a love of farmer’s markets, beer, and the quirky. However, with Portland being a much bigger city, you’ll find more opportunities to indulge in the above (and more!).

Cost of Living in Vancouver, WA vs. Portland, OR

aerial image of house | portland and vancouver portable toilet rentals

One of the most noticeable differences in the cost of living between Vancouver and Portland is that they are in different states and subject to different tax laws. For example, Washington state has zero income tax but a sales tax. Whereas Oregon has no sales tax but does have an income tax. When in Vancouver, keep this in mind because a 15-minute drive can make your groceries that much cheaper!

The cost of housing is another substantial difference between the two cities. Overall, Vancouver, WA, will be a little bit cheaper. According to, the average rent in Vancouver is $1,543 for a 924 square foot apartment, whereas the average rent in Portland, Oregon is $1,667 for an apartment averaging 755 square feet. The differences are more apparent in the median home prices where in Vancouver it’s $450,000 versus an extra $100,000 in Portland at $557,000. It’s not uncommon to see people live in one state and commute to the other for work.

Things To Do in Vancouver, WA vs. Portland, OR

people toasting with glasses of red wine | portable restrooms vancouver

As we mentioned before, because Portland is a larger city, there will be more opportunities for things to do. Still, both cities offer many opportunities for individuals, couples, and families. Both cities have excellent wineries and breweries as well as great hiking and outdoor activities. Vancouverites might escape for a hike to Mount St. Helens, while Portlanders will explore Mount Hood.

The city of Vancouver offers lots of unique cultural and family events. Take a look at their calendar by visiting the City of Vancouver’s website. You can also learn about other activities by visiting

Which City is Best – Vancouver, WA vs. Portland, OR?

woman viewing a map | vancouver wa porta potty rentals

So which city is best? Honestly, we can’t say. We love them both so much, and they each have their own unique charm. There are lots of things to enjoy in both cities, and with only a 15-minute drive between downtown Portland and downtown Vancouver, you don’t have to choose!

Give us a call at 503-252-0550 or email us at We provide standard, ADA-compliant, and wheelchair-accessible portable restroom rentals to individuals and businesses throughout Portland and Salem, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington, and surrounding areas in Washington and Oregon. Contact us today to learn more about our different types of portable restroom rentals, or visit our portable restroom products page to learn more!