Blog, Portland Travel

5 Free (or almost Free) Attractions to Visit in Portland

Apr 02, 2012

Credit: Travel Portland

Want to take a grand tour of Portland without breaking the bank? Lucky for you, there are many ways to enjoy our city on the cheap! Here are 5 of our favorite ideas from the article, Portland on a Dime on Travel Portland.

You can even get to many of these attractions for free when you ride on The Free Rail Zone which includes most of downtown Portland (within the boundaries of the Willamette River, NW Irving and I-405), as well as MAX stations from the Rose Quarter to Lloyd Center.

1) Visit Powell’s City of Books: You will find a book lover’s heaven in the heart of downtown Portland. Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world. You can spend an entire day browsing their estimated 1 million titles. You are even allowed to bring up to 3 books into the coffee shop for perusing). Location: 1005 W. Burnside St. 503.228.4651 www.powells.com

2) The Grotto: This serene and beautiful sanctuary and gardens located on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 85th Avenue is filled with surprises and attracts over 175,000 visitors each year. There is no charge to see the lower-level gardens and structures. To access the upper gardens, each visitor must purchase an elevator token. Tokens are $4.00 for ages 12-64, ages 6-11 $2.50, and seniors over 65 $3.00. Children under 6 are free. 503.254.7371

3) Pioneer Courthouse Square: Located in the heart of Downtown Portland, this is a public space hosting more than 300 programmed events each year. With more than 26,000 people visiting the Square each day, it is the single most visited site in Oregon’s most visited city. Location: Bordered by Southwest Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and Yamhill and Morrison streets.

4) Visit the 24 Hour Church of Elvis: 3 words: Elvis, Quirky and Free. Need we say more? Location: 408 N.W. Couch St.

5) Portland Farmers Market & Saturday Market- Features locally grown and prepared foods, live music, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, artwork and more!

The Portland Farmers Market is held on Saturdays in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University, March-December. On Mondays, the market comes to Pioneer Courthouse Square (June-October), and Wednesday’s market is held in the South Park Blocks of the Cultural District (May-October).

Portland Saturday Market: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March through December 24. Location: Southwest Ankeny Street & Naito Parkway (in Waterfront Park, Skidmore Fountain MAX station) 503.222.6072

Five Great Places to Visit in Portland, Oregon

Feb 24, 2011

Image Credit: Travel Portland

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!

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