Portland, Oregon sits at the northern part of the state at the head of the great Willamette Valley. It’s the largest city in the state of Oregon and the second largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The town emerged in the early 1800’s as folks ventured to the end of the Oregon Trail. They were mesmerized by the astounding beauty of the area as well as the rich soils and bountiful plant life. The Columbia River flows on Portland’s northern edge and as been a huge port area for hundreds of years. (The Native Americans used the Columbia River as a port area long before American settlers came into the region.)

The city is known for its support in “going green”, bicycles, walking trails, coffee and roses. In fact, Portland is referred to as the “City of Roses”. If you’re a lover of roses, then you’ll enjoy the many rose parks held within the city. The environment is perfect for growing roses, and the city is laden with them!
If you’re visiting Portland, let’s take a look at the many things to do there!

Washington Park

Speaking of roses, while visiting Portland, you need to go to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. Portland takes their roses seriously! It’s here that folks can visit and literally smell the roses. The Rose Test Garden invites you to sniff each rose of many different varieties. There are roses of all colors and sizes! You name it, it’s there! They make it especially interesting by naming the roses. For example, be sure to seek out the rose named, “Walking on Sunshine”. You’ll love the scent!
This is the oldest public rose test garden in the country. It attracts thousands of visitors every year as it has over 8,000 roses! No wonder Portland is known as the “City of Roses”. The best time to view the roses is from the months of May to September.

Pittock Mansion

Nestled in the hills of Portland is the grand Pittock Mansion. It sits a scenic 1,000 feet over the city. This place boasts of history and represents the city’s old, humble beginnings. The mansion was erected in 1909 and was owned by Henry Pittock. Sitting on 46 acres, the mansion has a whopping 46 rooms! The decor is beautiful and intricate while also showcasing the time period from a century ago. The rooms are filled with century old treasures that offer a sneak peak into the city’s past. In fact, the mansion is often showcased in television and movies. From this mansion, you can view the great Columbia River, bridges, forests and the majestic mountains that stand off in the distance.

Portland Japanese Garden

Sitting above the well-loved Washington Park is the Japanese Garden. It’s a tranquil place in the middle of the city and sits on 13 acres of serene garden space. There are a total of 12 gardens that include a Japanese Tea House. The tea house is such a peaceful place with soothing brooks and gentle pathways. Even better? The brilliant peak of Mt. Hood stands tall in the far distance.
It’s a very harmonious garden with plenty of Japanese culture, crystal clear ponds and brooks, lovely trees and foot bridges. There are guided tours that can teach you about the culture, beauty and history of the Japanese Garden.

World Forestry Center

Also located in Washington Park is the World Forestry Center. This place is huge! It’s a massive museum that is devoted to teaching visitors about trees and the importance of them. You can learn about the great Redwood trees that reside in the Oregon area as well as the Douglas Fir trees and so many more. You will learn the importance of lumber in our everyday lives and the multiple ways that trees provide important resources. In addition to the forest education, you can also take a ride on a water raft that offers you a view of the forest from the eyes of a flying bird. It’s incredible. (It’s a virtual ride, so don’t worry!) It also takes you on rides through the countries of China, South Africa, Russia and more! You can see how trees from all over the world play a part in our everyday lives.

USS Blueback Submarine

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the USS Blueback Submarine has served its time in the United States Navy. It served from the late 1950’s to the early 1990’s and was the last of the submarine to join the Navy that wasn’t nuclear. You can visit the USS Blueback at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and tour the inside of it. It’s a spectacular exhibit that showcases what life was like for the underwater sailors. They have torpedoes on display and have even restored the communications room. The periscopes are in working order as well and provide an insight to how the underwater sailors navigated and lived. The guided tours are available at several different times throughout the day.

Stumptown Coffee

Are you a coffee lover? Many people think of coffee when they think of Portland. It’s the coffee central of the country! If you’re looking for a good roast, then check out the famous Stumptown Coffee located in downtown Portland. This place puts other famous coffee chains to shame. It’s worth standing in line for a caramel coffee latte or for just a classic cup of joe. They have many different flavor varieties with their coffees. They’re known for creating the infamous latte art that is often displayed on Instagram posts. Not only does the coffee look pretty, it tastes pretty too! Be sure to stop by Stumptown Coffee!

Pioneer Courthouse Square

While you’re in Portland, you have to check out the Pioneer Courthouse Square! This place is often considered to be the city’s living room. It’s downtown and huge! With over 40,000 square feet, it has plenty of space for folks to hang out. There’s cool features as well! If you play chess, you’ll enjoy the unique outdoor chess table. Close by, there’s the large fountain that resembles that of a white roaring waterfall. And in the direct center of the square? There’s an amphitheatre that provides an incredible platform for performers of all kinds. With 24 steps to sit on, it’s a great place to listen to a band, watch a theatrical performance and more. What makes this place very special is the names that are engraved on the bricks. The local citizens each chipped in to have their bricks paid for and donated to the construction of the site. It’s a great place to congregate and to sip on your latte.

The Oregon Zoo

One of the most popular places to visit is the Oregon Zoo. It was founded in 1888 when a citizen donated his unique collection of animals. The city took great pride in hosting the unique animals and sharing them with the public. Today, there’s about 2,000 animals that take up residence in the zoo. With over 64 acres to roam, visitors enjoy walking through the pathways to view the elephants, tigers and more. In fact, the zoo has 21 animal species that are either endangered or close to it. They are enrolled in breeding programs that are helping their kind to survive. For example, one breed of elephants is enrolled in the program. They’ve successfully pulled out of the endangerment period due to the breeding program. The Oregon Zoo takes great pride in caring for the animal species of the world as well as showcasing it’s beautiful residents. Be sure to visit the Oregon Zoo while in Portland. You won’t regret it!

Enjoy Visiting Portland, Oregon!

This list is small in comparison to all of the sights to see in the city of Portland. However, we hope that it gives you a start for your trip itinerary! Whether you’re wanting to experience Portland’s classic coffee latte, smell the roses, or learn about the city’s history, there’s plenty for you to do! Sitting at the northern part of the Willamette Valley and bordered by the Columbia River, it’s a great place to experience the history of the Oregon Trail. The magnificent Mt. Hood also stands tall in the distance. It’s a beautiful place to experience!

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