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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Portland Japanese Garden includes waterfalls, koi filled ponds, a wisteria arbor and even a tea-house that was built in Japan with ancient construction techniques. It features five unique gardens. The Strolling Pond contains the five-tiered stone pagoda lantern given to Portland in 1963 by Sapporo, Portland's sister city in Japan. Many events are observed in the gardens, including Children's Day, the Tanabata Star Festival and the Obon Spirit Festival. Garden curators also offer classes in Japanese culture and gardening techniques.
Mild-mannered Portland was once one of the toughest ports of the Pacific. In the 1890s, it was known for being a trafficking hub. Although historians have questioned the veracity of these claims, the tunnels remain a source of intrigue. The Shanghai Tunnels are open for tours every week, so be sure to get the right date and time to explore this nugget of Portland's dark history.
Biking is a great way to get to know a new city. Pedal Bike Tours, the Portland-based tour service offers several, diverse bike tours throughout Portland and Hawaii. In Portland itself, they have daily bike tours that shed light on various facets of the Rose City. One one hand there are historic downtown tours that delve into historic facts of Portland, while on the other, they also have food-centered tours that cover the culinary delights that the city has to offer. For a fun, unique way to see Portland try one of the Pedal Bike Tours.
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.
Is there a certain art to the way you clean a room? Can a machine have historical significance? You could survey the janitors and housekeepers of the world, or you could just stop at this museum and see for yourself. Attached to the vacuum cleaner showroom of the same name, this establishment, which has kitsch written all over it, is filled with vacuums dating all the way back to the turn of the century. Check out the Hoovers, Kirbys, Royals, Eurekas and more. Admission is free.