Seattle vs. Portland: Clash of the Cascades

We're only a little biased when we say Seattle is the best. | Photo by @omkar_dixit_07

For Seattleites and Portlanders, it’s easy to look out at the majestic mountain peaks + never-ending forests, shake hands, and ask “how did we get so lucky?” But, that camaraderie can only go so far.

Things can get pretty contentious between the two cities — or at least very passive aggressive. When the Sounders and Timbers aren’t battling on the pitch for the Cascadia Cup, baristas are pushing the caffeine frontier to vie for the coffee town crown.

So with the help of our frenemies over at PDXtoday, we decided to put this rivalry to the test and go head to head in several categories.

In the upper left corner we have the tenacious Emerald City, facing off against the plucky City of Roses. Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuumble — oh no, sorry, didn’t mean to remind you about the Big One.

Being able to make Dick’s puns is reason enough for us to win. | Photo by @sparklin_cider_mami

🍔 Food

Look, we all know both cities have sensational restaurant scenes, with a bounty of PNW farms and produce in our backyards (literally). But it’s hard to beat Seattle’s sheer breadth of options, whether it’s the numerous sushi gems, fast food classics, special occasion icons, or pho for days. Oh, and DYK modern teriyaki was invented here? Maybe it’s no wonder that on the Portland edition of “Top Chef,” Seattle chef Shota Nakajima made the finals over all PDX contenders. Just sayin’.

(Gabe Guarente, SEAtoday)

🥾 Hiking

Netflix and chill? In the PNW, it’s more like, trail mix and hill. It’s no secret that Seattle + Portland are jumping-off points for world-class hikes — the kind that adventure influencers travel thousands of miles to post about on Instagram. But if we’re splitting hairs, Portland wins this category due to sheer numbers, with 198 trails compared to Seattle’s 82 on AllTrails. And not to rub it in, but PDX also has Forest Park — one of the largest urban forests in the country — where you can hike over 80 miles of trails without ever leaving the city limits. It’s easy to water-fall in love with Portland.

(Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday)

The Neptune celebrated its 100th birthday in November. | Photo by Christopher Nelson

🎸 Music

Do we even need to write this out? Seattle takes the cake regardless of what music metric you want to use. Not only is the Capital of Grunge responsible for head-bangers like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, but it’s home to a whole host of other bands that we’re sure grace your playlists with frequency. And if that wasn’t enough for you, the city provides endless opportunities to support live (and tons of local) performances at the music venues scattered around town — between the world-famous Crocodile, the century-old Moore, Neptune, and Paramount theatres, the tech-savy Climate Pledge Arena, and the dozens of homegrown stages

(Alina Hunter-Grah, SEAtoday)

The ale at Steeplejack Brewing Co. is heavenly. | Photo by PDXtoday

🍻 Craft Beer

In Portland, or should I say “Beervana,” IPA flows through our veins. Sure, Seattle has some players, but they’re pint-sized compared to the sheer number of beer options down south. As soon as Oregon legalized brew pubs in 1984, pioneers like BridgePort Brewing (pour one out) and Widmer Brothers Brewing began making waves in the industry, continuing the legacy of those who came before. You can enjoy a glass at church, in a train car, or on a bike or boat — they’re even talking about us across the pond. Cheers, guvnah!

(Ben McBee, PDXtoday)

There really only needs to be one gum wall in the world — for more than one reason. | Photo by @kopadoodle

🛸 Weirdness

Sure, Portland may think they have a claim to this title because of their little “Keep Portland Weird” slogan, but we know we’re ultimately champions of the freak show. What other city has a literal troll under their bridge? Name another place brave enough to not only put cream cheese on a hot dog, but then unapologetically claim it as their own. Would anyone else devote an entire wall to chewed-up gum? That’s right, we’re the only ones. No wonder Seattle was the first to be visited by flying saucers.

(Alina Hunter-Grah, SEAtoday)

Champion — Seattle, WA

Was this a fair fight, or did someone get the poky end of the pinecone? Let us know your favorite things about either city.