Best Things To Do in Portland, OR
If you're looking to pub crawl, try the excellent bars and breweries. If you travel in June, take part in the annual Portland Rose Festival at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park or stop by the International Rose Test Garden to see why Portland is known as the City of Roses. For sightseeing, rent a bike and tour the storefronts in the St. Johns neighborhood. To catch up on your reading, try Powell's City Books. In the winter, the area is an ideal ski and winter sports destination, especially around Mount Hood.
Updated August 30, 2018
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Many critics, travelers and locals agree that of all of Portland's parks (and they are numerous), Washington Park is perhaps the best. Home to such notable landscaping feats as the Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden, as well as the World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum and several memorials dedicated to pivotal points in Oregon's history.
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Not until you visit these sprawling gardens will you fully understand the reasoning behind one of Portland's nicknames, the City of Roses. Established in 1917 by the American Rose Society, it began as a sanctuary for European grown hybrid roses during World War I and is now the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States.
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When the hustle and bustle of Portland start to get the best of you, you can seek out the Zen-like tranquility at the Japanese Garden within Washington Park.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Portland, ORParks and Gardens, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Occupying an entire city block, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is among some of the only authentic Chinese gardens in the country. Modeled after China's Ming dynasty gardens, the Lan Su Chinese Garden aims at being a place where people can escape the hustle of everyday life and connect with nature. In addition to featuring plants and trees native to China as well as an 8,000 square feet lake, the garden also hosts a variety of Chinese cultural events, ranging from tai chi to tea tastings.
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Whether or not you're an avid reader, Powell's City of Books is worth checking out. It occupies a square city block and rises three stories high; in fact, this bookstore is so large that exploring it actually requires a map.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Portland, ORMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Whether you need to keep the kids entertained for a few hours or just need a way to spend a rainy day, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is the place to go. This interactive museum (referred to by residents as the OMSI) makes learning fun with five halls and eight labs filled with hands-on exhibits devoted to physics, chemistry, paleontology, and more. Other interactive offerings include a science playground specifically designed for young children. Recent visitors said that the museum is fun and educational for all members of the family, though some do gripe about the price of admission. If you've got kids in tow, past visitors said you'll want to spend several hours here.
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As the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum set the bar high for its followers. It is home to Oregon's most prestigious collection, including works from the European masters, Japanese screen prints and contemporary American pieces. There is also a sculpture garden and an area devoted to photography. But the museum's Native American gallery – which houses more than 5,000 ancient and modern objects from more than 200 different tribes – is not to be missed.
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The 16,000-square-foot Pittock Mansion is one of Portland's few historic attractions and definitely one of the most unique. Commissioned in 1912 by Henry Pittock – the owner of The Oregonian newspaper – and designed after the French Renaissance style, this 23-room mansion contains a Turkish smoking room, a library, a music room, and two sleeping porches, among other features.
- #9View all PhotosfreeForest Park#9 in Portland, ORHiking, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
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Named for a former Oregonian governor, this 30-acre park stretches alongside the Willamette River in downtown Portland and provides some of the best views of the city's skyline. Because of its prime location, it hosts many of Portland's special events – including the ever-popular Oregon Brewers Festival and the Portland Rose Festival.
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Towering over the Portland skyline is Mount Hood, the region's prime skiing area. When the snow begins to fall, grab your gear and head east, where numerous powdery downhill and cross-country trails await. Test your skills on the expert slopes at Mt. Hood Skibowl or conquer your vertigo at the Timberline Lodge, which sits at 6,000 feet. You can also spend the night here if you plan on enjoying the slopes for more than a day.
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