Portland, Oregon is one of the most popular cities in the Pacific Northwest due to its wondrous natural surroundings, relaxed atmosphere, and the sheer variety of things to do. Here are five great places to visit if you happen to find yourself in Portland…
Washington Park. Portland is famous for its beautiful rose gardens which can be found in Washington Park. The Park is nestled in the city’s West Hills and you can see the roses in bloom in late spring/early summer. (June is when the city’s annual Rose Festival is held.)
The garden offers some of the best views of the city’s skyline and on a sunny day, you can see Mt. Hood as well. Washington Park is also home to some other attractions including the Hoyt Arboretum (a great place to hike), the Japanese Garden, and the Oregon Zoo which has an impressive exhibit called Steller Cove which features sea otters and sea lions.
Powell’s. No visit to Portland is complete without a trip to Powell’s City of Books. This is one of the biggest bookstores in the world (if not THE biggest) and it has an incredible selection to say the least. The store reportedly stocks over 1 million titles and offers used books right alongside the new ones. The store features a great reading series and carries a wonderful section of gift items including t-shirts, messenger bags, bookmarks, and journals. Even if you’re not a bookworm, Powell’s is worth checking out if only to say you’ve been there.
The Northwest District. One of the most popular areas in Portland is its Northwest District which can be found along NW 21st and 23rd Avenues. This is a neighborhood filled with vintage homes and apartments, great restaurants, boutiques, and even Cinema 21, the city’s premier art house theater. You can find virtually any type of cuisine in this neighborhood (Thai, Italian, kosher, vegan) and if you’re not in the mood for food, there are plenty of coffee shops you can visit instead. The neighborhood is very walkable (a good thing since parking is hard to find) and it’s served by TriMet buses and the Portland Streetcar which can take you downtown and to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Sauvie Island. Sauvie Island is to the northwest of downtown Portland, right in the middle of the Columbia River. This island is home to a wildlife preserve, numerous farms, and several beaches that are packed during warm summer days. Sauvie Island is perfect for biking and it can also be a pleasant place to take a Sunday drive. Chances are good you’ll see a variety of birds among other critters and in the summer, the fields are dotted with colorful flowers. Sauvie Island is a beautiful place and definitely one of the city’s best attractions.
The Portland Art Museum. Finally, the Portland Art Museum is a great place to visit, especially for art aficionados. In addition to their stunning collection of Native America and Asian art, the Museum has a wonderful modern art exhibit that includes 19th century and Pop Art masterpieces. The Museum often holds special events and exhibitions so depending on when you go, you might be able to view work from the Impressionists or the riches from a famous European family. There’s always something interesting to see at the Museum, so check it out.
Those are just a few of the great places you can visit in Portland, Oregon. They’re all enjoyable and there’s something for everybody. Have fun in the City of Roses!