An oasis of greenery in the scenic environs of Northwest Portland, this municipal park's topography is defined by the slopes and opaque old-growth forests that are sustained by the Tualatin Mountains. A large establishment as far as urban parks go, these protected lands are spread over 5,100 acres (2,064 hectares) that are dotted with relatively-even pathways and trails for hiking and bicycling, which make virtually every nook and corner of the park easily-accessible. A landscape of diverse and complex ecosystems, these forests are home to the hairy woodpecker, Pacific jumping mouse, orange-crowned warbler, northern pygmy-owl among many others. A paradise for plant lovers, the park grounds are bejeweled with exotic Hooker's fairy bells, evergreen violets and English ivy.
Henry Pittock, founder of Portland's Oregonian newspaper, built this spectacular mansion in 1914 and lived there until his death in 1919. This stately mansion was created in the style of a French Renaissance chateau and boasts three floors plus an incredible view of the city. The mansion is now a museum and showcases local history through artifacts and exhibits. Guests can tour the mansion and even book space for private functions.
Portland is called the "Rose City" for a reason. These public gardens were established in 1917 and set above the cityscape of Downtown Portland. They are the oldest official public rose gardens in the United States and the only place in North America that can officially issue recognized awards for hybrid roses grown around the world. The best time of the year for viewing is during the summer, when the fragrant blooms begin to appear and continue until frost.
The Oregon Zoo houses animals from all parts of the world. Spread over 64 acres of land, there's always something to see. Here one can observe animals in their natural habitats, including elephants, bears, penguins and monkeys. Hop aboard the train for a zoo tour or rent a special stroller wagon for the kids. After a busy day of animal watching, enjoy a waffle ice cream cone from the snack bar, dine at the on site cafe or enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) offers halls dedicated to earth science, life science, computers, chemistry, traveling exhibits and hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, the Empirical Theater, a submarine to tour, a motion simulator ride and a cafe. The museum, through its various games and interactive displays, offers an opportunity to exercise the grey cells and leave with more knowledge and information.
Created in 1892 primarily to promote visual arts, the museum is set up with several large and open viewing rooms. Do not miss the Native American collection, and the artists' works featured in the European collection will also surprise you. Also check out the North Wing's Jubitz Center, which houses modern and contemporary art. In the spring, the museum's Northwest Film Center hosts the annual Jewish Film Festival.
Officially named Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but known to Oregonians as just Waterfront Park, this is often the center of activity in Portland. Festivals, parades, performers and more make it truly a taste of Rip City. Walk along the Willamette River at lunch and you're sure to brush shoulders with the city's workers. There is always something interesting to see here at Portland's answer to Venice Beach in California. There are basketball courts and lots of open, green spaces along the west bank of the Willamette River. The need for additional parks and green spaces in the city led to construction of the park.
Get a glimpse of the oriental culture right in the heart of Portland at Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. Established in 2004, this center works towards conserving and promoting the glorious history of Japanese immigrants in the city. The museum has a vast space dedicated entirely to 'Issei immigration' (first generation). Named after the Japanese term meaning 'descendants', this museum traces the origins and cultural changes that the community has seen through the years. Thriving on donations and the meager admission fee, this museum has maintained its exhibits with great care.
Resembling a community garden you would find in Suzhou, Portland's sister city, Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful green space near the bank of the Willamette River. The garden is complete with winding pathways, gorgeous plants, a lovely tea-house and a gift store. You can take a tour to get insider knowledge of the garden and try to come during one of their many interesting events, including exhibitions and lectures. This place is a must-visit for its unique beauty. You can even hire this garden for private events such as weddings and receptions.
Portlandia flows to the sea as you visit this piece of Rip City's past. Step on board the only remaining operational steam sternwheel tug in the country to learn all about boating while admiring all of the artifacts and exhibits. Take the tugboat tour and hear how old seafarers battled the river currents. If you want to learn more visit their library, the cheerful staff will give provide some interesting bits of information. Visit the gift store and check out the books and nautical themed gifts. The view of the city aboard the ship is an added proposition that Oregon Maritime Museum offers.
Portland is a sternwheel steam tug, built for the Port of Portland in 1947. The tug is now docked at the Williamette River near downtown Portland and also houses the Oregon Maritime Museum. This historic tug uses paddlewheels to provide propulsion, one of the last few boats built with such a system. Tours of the tug and the museum within are available and the tug also has a library, a gift shop and a children's corner.