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Old 05-09-2013, 06:45 PM
 
Location: New London
1,671 posts, read 1,737,714 times
Reputation: 1399

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I think there was another thread on this a year or two ago, which I found by searching, but it only got 4 comments. Maybe people don't feel like comparing these two cities, well oh well...

They seem petty similar. Portland is twice the size of Providence, and I'm pretty sure it is much healthier economically as well. Still, they're both mid-sized, artistic (according to reputation) cities. Providence is probably much denser. Providence, I think, also has better schools.

Is there anyone out there who has been to both cities?

So here are some possible [generic] categories:

-food

-diversity

-parks/natural beauty

-skyline(is this a legal category? "the cap on skyline conversations" says that one should search for skyline threads, but the only Portland v providence skyline thread is closed)

-arts(break into subsections if necessary)

-weather

-nightlife

-more cosmopolitan

-downtown/neighborhoods

-culture

-other?



vs




Anyone have any thoughts this time around, haha

Last edited by iAMtheVVALRUS; 05-09-2013 at 07:03 PM..
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Baltimore / Montgomery County, MD
1,196 posts, read 2,006,833 times
Reputation: 504
Providence.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:01 PM
 
Location: New London
1,671 posts, read 1,737,714 times
Reputation: 1399
hmmm....probably should've put a poll
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:10 PM
 
Location: In the heights
20,109 posts, read 21,722,272 times
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One thing to note is that for both density (favoring Providence) and population size (favoring Portland) is that those are based on city boundaries and not particularly reflective of how big the cities feel. Portland is somewhat bigger than Providence when it comes to the metro area, but Providence also abuts much larger metros including the Boston metro.

-food: Portland probably in terms of more current fare, but Providence has a stronger billing in terms of ethnic cuisine due to its very diverse population (Portuguese, Brazilian, Italian, and others)

-diversity: Providence

-parks/natural beauty: Portland for the most part, but it depends on what you prefer. If you love salt water and especially if you're willing to travel further out, then in terms of the ocean front, Providence wins. Portland has the much more beautiful forests and mountains in its vicinity.

-skyline(is this a legal category? "the cap on skyline conversations" says that one should search for skyline threads, but the only Portland v providence skyline thread is closed): Neither are great in terms of skyline.

-arts(break into subsections if necessary): Portland, though Providence, thanks to RISD, is quite good as well. The thing with Providence is that the large metros around it do end up poaching some of its talent, but in the early stages Providence is still great.

-weather: Providence gets colder in the winter, Portland is somewhat gloomier.

-nightlife: Portland

-more cosmopolitan: Portland seems more aware of the world, but Providence has much greater diversity which also makes it cosmopolitan, but not in the way that people equate with sophistication.

-downtown/neighborhoods: Portland as far as I can tell

-culture: depends on what you want
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:45 AM
 
1,108 posts, read 1,819,029 times
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Despite Providence being denser overall, I'd argue that Portland actually feels more walkable and lively in its core, with a far greater density of bars, restaurants and other amenities. Overall, Portland just has a more bustling downtown and inner neighborhoods. The food scene and nightlife goes to Portland by a fairly wide margin.

However, Providence is much more diverse racially, ethnically, and culturally and I'd argue it has a better art scene (after all, it does have the best art college in the country and one of the best in the world within its city limits). The architecture in Providence is much better as well.
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Syracuse, New York
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Providence is a brain drain city while Portland, Oregon is a brain gain city.

Gotta go with Portland.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Boston
7,336 posts, read 15,298,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orzo View Post
Despite Providence being denser overall, I'd argue that Portland actually feels more walkable and lively in its core, with a far greater density of bars, restaurants and other amenities. Overall, Portland just has a more bustling downtown and inner neighborhoods. The food scene and nightlife goes to Portland by a fairly wide margin.

However, Providence is much more diverse racially, ethnically, and culturally and I'd argue it has a better art scene (after all, it does have the best art college in the country and one of the best in the world within its city limits). The architecture in Providence is much better as well.
I agree with everything here. Providence is definitely a walkable city, but I think one of the weak points is that it seems that many of providence's best places to be are outside of the downtown core (College Hill, Federal Hill, etc.). Portland definitely has a more cohesive urban core. Despite the population figures, Providence feels much smaller than Portland. Especially downtown.

I think the nightlife definitely goes to Portland, but I think food is a bit closer. To be fair, I've eaten my way through much more of Providence than Portland, so my frame of reference is limited. However, both are great "foodie" cities. Portland probably still has the edge, but I wouldn't say the gap is that wide. In many categories, Providence is better (many types of ethnic food, pizza, and seafood in my opinion). Providence punches well above it's weight in terms of food.

I do think Providence has a better art scene. If you exclude major museums, (MFA is obviously one of the best in the country), I would argue that Providence has the best art scene in New England. Providence's lower cost of living, proximity to Boston, and collegiate population lends itself to being a more "creative" city than Boston. There's an edgier vibe to Providence than there is to Boston though not nearly as "hip" as PDX.

-food- Slight edge, Portland.

-diversity- Providence. Easy.

-parks/natural beauty- Portland by a mile.

-skyline- Portland by a mile.

-arts- Visual- Providence, Performing- Draw, Music- Portland.

-weather- Providence (this can go either way, but I prefer PVD's climate)

-nightlife- Portland. Providence has some good bars but can be surprisingly douchey.

-more cosmopolitan- Portland has an "awareness" that borders on being smug. Providence is more multicultural. Draw. Maybe a sight edge to Portland.

-downtown/neighborhoods- Downtown goes to Portland. I think Providence has great neighborhoods (College Hill, Federal Hill, Blackstone, Wayland Square, etc.).

-culture- Portland has a more definitive local culture than Providence. Providence is a real melting pot. You have everything from super educated elite to hipsters to New England blue bloods to 4th generation immigrants of Portugal and Italy to FoB Guatemalan. Still, Portland is more cohesive in that sense.

If I had to put my bias aside and pick which one I think is better overall, I'd pick Portland. If I were picking for myself, I'd go with Providence. I think Providence is a city that has a lot of room for improvement and I think it will reach its potential in the near future. It's a cool little city.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:06 PM
 
8,638 posts, read 8,771,906 times
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Providence has more of a feel of place than Portland. each nieghborhood is its own community, while Portland is so transiet that it doesn't it just feels like a bunch of people who happen to live near each other.

In terms of economy, Portland is in better shape than Providence.
Providence has better food IMO.
Portland has superoir Inter-city transit while Providence has far better regional and Super regional (amtrak) service.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Better half of PA
1,391 posts, read 997,058 times
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I may be walking into a buzz saw here, but doesn't Providence kind of get lumped into the Boston csa and as such overlooked?
I was there as a teenager and saw The Exploited play at a place called The Living Room. Great place. I would like to visit the city again.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Boston
7,336 posts, read 15,298,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayid Linus View Post
I may be walking into a buzz saw here, but doesn't Providence kind of get lumped into the Boston csa and as such overlooked?
I was there as a teenager and saw The Exploited play at a place called The Living Room. Great place. I would like to visit the city again.
ahh, the living room. The roof fell in and it's long since closed, but it was a fun venue.

Providence is part of the Boston CSA and there's definite overlap there. Providence to Boston is similar to the distance between SF and San Jose. Like SF and SJ, they're definitely distinctly separate cities, but there's certainly major overlap. A lot of the suburbs are shared.
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