Portland is the largest city in Oregon and is home to almost half of the state’s inhabitants. It is situated on both sides of the winding Willamette River. The “City of Roses” is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination in addition to being a very desirable location to live because of its vibrant yet relaxed ambiance, growing cultural scene, and abundance of beautiful gardens.
It used to be a seedy port city, but nowadays it’s renowned for its amazing craft brewers, coffee shops, and counterculture scene. Portland has several distinct districts, so there are always new things to do, plus there are beautiful parks and gardens dotted about the city.
It is no surprise that Portland is such a wonderful city to visit when you consider all the gorgeous countryside and nature that is found nearby, its outstanding food scene, and intriguing historic tourist attractions.
1. Washington Park
Washington Park in Portland is home to several tourist hotspots, such as the renowned International Rose Test Garden, a zoo, and museums. It is situated to the west of the city’s core and was formerly uninhabited wild territory that the city first acquired in 1871. The park’s attractions can be explored in depth over the course of a whole day, with time left over for a stroll through the interesting gardens.
New rose types are developed in the renowned International Rose Test Garden. The city’s warm environment allows roses to bloom well into the fall, but visitors should plan to attend the annual Rose Festival in May and June.
Another all-day escape is the Portland Japanese Garden, which is located in Washington Park. On the grounds of a former zoo, it is one of the biggest ones outside of Japan.
2. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River divides the states of Oregon and Washington, and its entire length is a spectacular tourist destination perfect for leisurely drives and enjoying the outdoors.
One of the most popular day trip destinations from Portland is the massive 292,500-acre Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which is situated along the region’s biggest river. The journey includes locks, vistas, and hiking routes.
Numerous travelers like pausing to take pictures of the waterfalls that line the path, such as the majestic Multnomah Falls (which is always flowing), the picturesque Oneonta Gorge, and the Latourell Falls at Guy W. Talbot State Park.
3. International Rose Test Garden
The Washington Park Rose Test Garden in Portland was established in 1917 and is the country’s first and oldest continually run public rose test garden. There are numerous interesting plants and areas to explore around the grounds, which are broken up into different sections. The Gold Award Garden, which also has a charming gazebo, is where the garden creates new rose kinds, even miniatures, and plants prior award winners.
Visitation is ideal in the late spring bloom. On clear days, the gardens provide a clear view of Mount Hood and the heart of Portland. The International Rose Test Garden has limited parking, but the city offers a variety of public transportation choices to get you there.
4. Forest Park
A convenient retreat from the city is offered by Woodland Park, which borders the west side of the city and offers more than 5,000 acres of Northwest forest to explore. It is one of the country’s largest urban parks, covering the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains. By vehicle, bicycle, or public transportation, the park is easily reachable.
There are more than 80 miles of hiking and walking paths throughout the park, many of which are among the best in the Portland area. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the area should bring a map. Due of its connections to other pedestrian pathways that circle the city, the 30-mile Wildwood Trail is well-liked.
5. Powell’s City of Books
This renowned used bookstore has more than a million volumes, which bibliophiles will enjoy perusing. Used and new books are mixed on shelves to create a slightly chaotic but pleasant atmosphere.
Choosing a book is made simpler by staff recommendations, creative displays, and enough of space to read while leaning against a corner. A spacious coffee shop with lots of area to sit and read your new book selection is also available at the Burnside location.
Powell’s Books offers a variety of author readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, and book clubs, among other events, almost every day of the week. The largest of the independent chain’s five sites in the Portland area is this store on Burnside Street.
6. Portland Japanese Garden
Portland’s Japanese Garden, a 12-acre space in Washington Park, is situated on the former grounds of a zoo. It was created to provide Portlanders with a peaceful retreat from their busy lives and to honor the expanding cultural ties between Oregon and Japan when it was initially made available to the public in 1961. Both sensations are still present today at the Japanese Garden, which is exquisitely designed in a variety of architectural styles to provide visitors with a particularly tranquil experience.
The Flat Garden, a picture-perfect setting, the Strolling Pond Garden, and a Tea Garden with a magnificent ceremonial teahouse are just a few of the garden areas. The park hosts cultural performances, lecture series, and mindfulness tours among other events. Japanese tea is available at the garden’s Umami Café.
7. Portland Art Museum – Things To Do In Portland Oregon
Having been established in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest. Since then, it has gathered a sizable and diverse collection. Over 50,000 artifacts are there, but just a limited selection of them are shown in the more than 112,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Highlights include Northwest art, graphic arts, English silver, Asian art, and Native American relics. Cart with Black Ox by Vincent Van Gogh is among the most significant works in the collection of the Portland Art Museum.
8. Lan Su Chinese Garden – Things To Do In Portland Oregon
Following the establishment of ties between the city and its sister city in Suzhou, China, the Lan Su Chinese Garden was established in 2000 to provide information on Chinese culture and history.
A city block, or about 40,000 square feet, of land in central Portland is home to this serene setting that combines gardens, a lake, rocks, plants, and other natural elements. Traditional structures and walkways were built by Suzhou artisans, and natural Chinese plants were brought.
A charming tea house completes the garden. There are both guided and self-guided tours offered, and frequent special activities like mahjong, tai chi, and tea tastings also take place. The gardens promote the use of personal cameras, however tripods are not permitted.
9. Oregon Zoo – Things To Do In Portland Oregon
The Oregon Zoo, which is housed in Washington Park, is home to hundreds of different species, many of which are birds and aquatic creatures including Steller sea lions and sea otters. These animals come from all across the planet, including the African savannah, the Amazon, and the Arctic. In the late 1800s, Richard Knight established a private collection of animals and founded the zoo.
As one of the Oregon Zoo’s main goals is to preserve the species of the Pacific Northwest, visitors may also want to spend some time learning about the organization’s conservation activities and research.
10. Portland Saturday Market
With over a million visitors annually, the 1974-founded Portland Saturday Market has grown to become one of the biggest open-air artist marketplaces in the city. The market now takes place in the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood near to the Willamette River from the beginning of March through Christmas Eve.
Each Saturday morning, more than 250 vendors assemble. These local vendors offer a wide variety of arts and crafts, from woodworking to jewelry, as well as illustrations, trinkets, and home furnishings. Except for parking, admission to the Saturday Market in Portland is entirely free. By bicycle or public transit, the market is easily reachable.
The Saturday Market in Portland offers more than just handmade goods. While a bustling food court emits the smells of coffee and morning meals, packaged foods like organic tea and handmade caramels lend their flavors to the stalls. Additionally, the market features live music, which gives the community gathering a nice background tune.