18 Best Things To Do In Portland – Attractions, Tours & Sights

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2023)

Portland is the largest city in Oregon and the 26th largest city in the United States.

The city is located on the Willamette River in the north-western part of the state, near where it meets with the Columbia River.

Portland has many lovely parks and gardens to explore, as well as trendy neighborhoods and districts like the Pearl district, Alberta arts district and North Mississippi Avenue.

When visiting Portland, the city also has a thriving art, theater and music scene.

With so many things to do in Portland, this city is well worth a visit!

Things To Do In Portland

1. International Rose Test Garden

International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden is located within Washington Park in the West Hills of Portland.

It features more than 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties.

This urban oasis was established in 1918 by the City of Portland and the Portland Rose Society.

It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States.

The garden is open to the public year-round and is also home to the annual Portland Rose Festival held every June.

Some of the notable roses that were developed at the International Rose Test Garden include: ‘Peace’ (hybrid tea), ‘Mr. Lincoln’ (hybrid tea), ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (grandiflora), and ‘Black Magic’ (floribunda).

There is also a miniature rose garden.

The International Rose Test Garden is a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike and is a beautiful place to stroll through and smell the roses, or to sit and enjoy the view.

Address: International Rose Test Garden, 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

2. Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden

Located in Washington Park, the Portland Japanese Garden is one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in North America.

It consists of five distinct garden styles spread over 12 acres, including a traditional strolling garden, a tea garden, and a bonsai terrace.

The Portland Japanese Garden was designed by world-renowned Japanese landscape architect Dr. Koichi Kawana and completed in 1967.

Today, it is considered one of the top three most authentic Japanese gardens in the world and is a popular tourist destination for both local residents and visitors from around the globe.

In addition to its stunning gardens, the Portland Japanese Garden also features a Cultural Village with several authentic buildings imported from Japan, including a teahouse and a drum bridge.

The garden also hosts a variety of events and educational programs throughout the year, making it a truly unique and special place to visit.

Address: Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

3. Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo opened on June 1, 1888, and was originally known as the Washington Park Zoo.

It covers 64 acres and is home to more than 2,200 animals representing over 230 species.

The zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and participates in Species Survival Plans.

Oregon zoo is located in Washington Park, just west of downtown Portland.

The zoo is great for families and most people spend 2-3 hours visiting, however if you plan to ride the zoo railway or stop for a snack, allow extra time.

Another great feature of the Oregon Zoo is the festive Concert Lawn, surrounded by plenty of food trucks.

Address: Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221

4. Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion is a historic home in Portland, Oregon, USA. The house was built in 1909 for newspaper publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana.

The mansion is now owned by the city of Portland and operated as an Oregon museum.

The house has 36 rooms and nearly 13,000 square feet of living space.

The exterior of the mansion features carved stone lions guarding the entrance, leaded glass windows, terraced gardens, and a view of downtown Portland and Mount Hood.

The Pittock Mansion is open to the public for tours and special events.

Address: Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, Oregon, 97210

5. Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of the most authentic Chinese gardens in the USA, located in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The garden was built in 1999 by a team of Chinese artisans from Suzhou, China, using traditional techniques and materials.

The garden covers one acre and features pavilions, bridges, ponds, rockeries, and stroll gardens.

It is the largest Ming Dynasty-style garden outside of China and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portland.

Lan Su Chinese Garden is open to the public year-round and offers a variety of educational programs and events.

Address: Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209

6. Salmon Street Springs Fountain

Salmon Street Springs Fountain

Located in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Salmon Street Springs has been attracting visitors and locals alike since 1988.

The ever-changing fountain overlooks the Willamette River and has nice views of the water.

A bike path, the Waterfront Park Trail, runs past the fountain, making a convenient stop for bikers.

The best pictures of the fountain are taken from a slight distance, with the fountain in the foreground against the waters of the river or the buildings of downtown Portland.

No visit to Portland is complete without a splash in Portland’s most iconic outdoor water fountain.

Address: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1000 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204

7. Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley is a region in Oregon that is well known for its wine industry.

The valley is home to more than 600 wineries, making it one of the most important wine regions in the United States.

The Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is the largest in Oregon, covering more than 4,000 square miles.

The valley is also home to the state capital, Salem, as well as the cities of Eugene and Corvallis.

The Willamette Valley has a long history of viticulture, dating back to the early 1800s when settlers from the east coast arrived in the area.

The first commercial winery in Oregon was established in 1858, and by the early 1900s there were more than 100 wineries operating in the state.

Today, Oregon is the third-largest producer of wine in the United States, behind California and Washington.

Great to put on your Portland itinerary, there are many Willamette Valley and wine tasting tours that can be booked online.

Address: Willamette Valley, Portland, Oregon

8. Forest Park

Forest Park

Forest Park is a large urban park that covers more than 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) of land, making it one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

Forest Park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, as well as hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and scenic viewpoints.

The park is also home to the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden, and the Hoyt Arboretum.

Forest Park was established in 1948 and is managed by the city of Portland’s Bureau of Parks & Recreation.

The park can also be accessed from several points in the Northwest Portland neighborhood.

Address: Forest Park, 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221

9. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a urban oasis, located within the Crystal Springs Creek watershed.

The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden was founded in 1950 by George Tabor, a local businessman and plant enthusiast.

The first plantings were made in 1951, and the garden has been expanded and improved over the years.

Today, it covers more than 40 acres and contains more than 8,000 rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as many other types of plants.

The garden is open to the public year-round, and admission is free.

Address: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, 5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202

10. Portland Art Museum

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest district, and one of the leading art museums in the United States.

Covering 2.5 blocks of the city center, the Portland Art Museum was founded in 1892.

The Museum features a collection of more than 45,000 works of art from around the world.

The Museum’s main campus is located in downtown Portland, Oregon on 10 acres of land bounded by Southwest Park Avenue, 12th Avenue, Jefferson Street, and Mill Street.

Portland Art Museum also operates a satellite campus, the Cathedral Park Fine Arts Center, which houses an exhibition space and classrooms used for educational programs.

The Portland Art Museum is internationally recognized for its collection of Native American art, as well as its collections of Asian art and modern and contemporary art.

The Museum’s holdings of European art include paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by some of the most renowned artists of the past four centuries.

The Museum is a center for the study of art history with a research library containing more than 125,000 volumes.

Address: Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205

11. Hoyt Arboretum

Hoyt Arboretum

The Hoyt Arboretum is a living museum with more than 12,000 trees and shrubs from around the world.

The collection is displayed on 189 acres in the west hills area of Portland, Oregon.

It is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the United States.

The arboretum was established in 1928 with a donation of land by timberman Ralph W. Hoyt.

It is operated jointly by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Parks & Recreation.

The mission of Hoyt Arboretum is “to conserve and enhance a diverse array of Pacific Northwest native plants and cultivate an appreciation for all trees.”

The arboretum has more than 12,000 trees and shrubs, representing 1,100 species from Africa, Australia, Asia, North and South America.

In addition to the living collection, the Arboretum has a herbarium with more than 60,000 specimens of Pacific Northwest plants.

Address: 4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 97221

12. St. Johns Bridge

St. Johns Bridge

St. Johns Bridge is a steel suspension bridge that spans the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.

The bridge was built in 1931 and it is one of the most iconic bridges in the city. It is also one of the few remaining suspension bridges on the West Coast.

The St. Johns Bridge is 1,207 feet long and it has a main span of 740 feet.

The bridge’s towers are 328 feet tall and they are located on either side of the river. There are two sidewalks on the bridge that are wide enough for pedestrians and cyclists.

The St. Johns Bridge is one of the most popular spots for photography in Portland.

The views from the bridge are stunning, especially at sunset. The bridge is also a popular place for weddings and other special events.

Address: 8435 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

13. Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a beautiful park, named after former Oregon governor Tom McCall, who was instrumental in its creation.

The park stretches along the Willamette River for nearly five miles, from the Steel Bridge to the Marquam Bridge.

It is one of the most popular parks in Portland, and is used for a variety of activities including walking, biking, picnicking, and fishing.

There are several notable features within the park, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which honors those who served in that conflict; and the Japanese American Historical Plaza, which commemorates the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the history of Portland and Oregon.

Address: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon, 97209

14. Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls

Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls

The Columbia River Gorge is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

The gorge is located in the Pacific North-west region of the United States, and extends for over 80 miles along the Columbia River.

The area is known for its stunning scenery, with towering cliffs, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

There are over 90 waterfalls located within the Columbia River Gorge, making it one of the most popular destinations for waterfall lovers.

Many of these waterfalls are easily accessible from popular hiking trails, making them perfect for a day hike or an afternoon stroll.

Multnomah Falls is perhaps the most famous of all the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls.

This majestic cascade plunges 620 feet over a tiered cliff, making it the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.

The Columbia River Gorge waterfalls are easily accessible from the historic Columbia River Highway, and there is a viewing platform at the top of the falls that offers stunning views of the gorge.

Address: Columbia River Gorge waterfalls, Oregon 97031

15. Portland Saturday Market

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is the largest continuously operating open-air arts and crafts market in the United States.

It is located in the historic Old Town Chinatown neighborhood in downtown Portland, Oregon, and runs every Saturday and Sunday from March through December.

With over 250 vendors selling everything from handcrafted jewellery to paintings to pottery, there is something for everyone at the Portland Saturday Market.

The market also features live music and entertainment, food trucks, and a variety of other family-friendly activities.

The Portland Saturday Market was founded in 1974 as a way to support local artists and craftspeople, since then, it has grown into one of Portland’s most popular attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world.

Every year, the market welcomes over one million visitors.

Address: 2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, Oregon, 97204

16. Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square is a public square located in the city center of downtown Portland, Oregon.

The square is sometimes referred to as “Portland’s living room,” as it is often used as a gathering place for events, concerts, and other activities.

The square is also home to a sculpture garden and public artworks.

Pioneer Courthouse Square was built in 1984 on the site of the former City Hall. The square was designed to be a gathering place for the community, and it has since become one of the most popular places in Portland.

Every year, the square hosts over 300 events, including the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the Oregon Brewers Festival, and the Bite of Oregon food festival.

Address: Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, Oregon, 97204

17. Pearl District

Pearl District

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, the Pearl District is best known for its wide array of restaurants, breweries, galleries and shops.

The Pearl District is also home to a number of high-rise residential buildings, making it one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city.

The neighborhood takes its name from the pearl buttons that were once manufactured in the area.

The Pearl District was historically an industrial area, but it underwent a major transformation in the 1990s and 2000s, when many of the old warehouses and factories were converted into office space, apartments, and hotels.

Today, the Pearl District is one of the most desirable places to live in Portland, with a mix of old and new architecture, and a lively urban atmosphere.

The Pearl District is a great place for good food and great beer. There are places for everyone’s taste.

Address: Pearl District, Naito Pkwy & NW 10th Ave, Portland, Oregon, 97209

18. Powell’s City of Books

Powell's City of Books

One of the best things to do in Portland for book lovers is a visit to Powell’s City of Books.

Powell’s City of Books is a world-famous bookstore located in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The store occupies an entire city block and is the largest independent bookstore in the United States.

Powell’s City of Books sells new, used, and out-of-print books, and boasts a collection of over one million volumes.

The store also has a cafe and an events space.

Today, Powell’s City of Books is a Portland institution, and a mecca for book lovers from all over the world.

Address: Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, Oregon, 97209


What is Portland well known for?

Portland, Oregon, is a vibrant and scenic city in the USA’s Pacific Northwest.

The largest city in the state, it’s famed for its huge expanses of green space, from parks and forests to breath-taking mountaintops.

What is the best month to visit Portland Oregon?

The best time to visit Portland is from June to August, when consistently warm weather allows the city’s outdoorsy culture to thrive.

Plus, summer is when the city’s roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom.

What is Portland, Oregon’s famous food?

Portland restaurants serve a good range of delicious food.

Some of the most popular are: Le Pigeon Burger, Marionberry pie, Blue Star Donuts: Blueberry Bourbon Basil & Orange Olive Oil, Fried Chicken Combo, Dumplings and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Where is the Witch’s Castle in Portland?

The Stone House, also known as the Macleay Park Shelter and the Witch’s Castle, is a two-story structure in Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park.

Where is The Oregon Maritime Museum?

The Oregon Maritime Museum is housed on the historic steam-powered sternwheel ship-assist tugboat, the PORTLAND, which is docked on the foot of Pine St and Naito Parkway.

Guided tours take you through the entire boat, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is Portland adult soapbox derby?

The annual Portland Adult Soapbox Derby pits grown-up kids against each other, with each team designing and assembling their own downhill racers in pursuit of maximum speed or big laughs.

The competition consists of three timed runs.

The car and team that achieve the fastest single run is declared the winner.

What area is Southeast Portland?

Southeast Portland stretches from the warehouses along the Willamette River through historic Ladd’s Addition to the Hawthorne and Belmont districts out to Gresham.

What’s weird about Portland?

Keep Portland Weird is about supporting local business in the Portland Oregon area.

“Keep Portland Weird” is a popular slogan that appears on bumper stickers, signs, and public buildings throughout Portland.


  • Tamara M

    Hey there! My name is Tamara, welcome to my little world! I’m a 20-something-year-old from Toronto, Canada (though I’m rarely there) and I’m super passionate about exploring the world, photography, and cooking delicious plant-based recipes. I created this blog to share my favorite places, adventures, restaurants, accommodations, and travel tips with all of you and keep a bit of a travel diary for myself.

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