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.
Walk through the grand plaza and step into Oregon's past. Located in Portland's cultural district, The Oregon Historical Society has bountiful collections of historical artifacts, photographs, moving pictures, maps and more. Many exhibits are interactive, and the atmosphere is friendly. The museum is very well-maintained and curated in a way to provide easy navigation, it appears as though you are living history as you navigate your way through the interior. The center's shop is full of Native American jewelry, baskets and pots. The book collection covers all of the Northwest's history for adults and children.
Another testament to Portland's cultural diversity, this museum has quite a collection of interesting historical material relating to Oregon Jews. Exhibits focus on Judaism in the state and around the world. In the Footsteps of Columbus is one of the many must-see permanent exhibits here, it narrates an account of the Jews of Greece. Reading material is also available at the on-site library. Many historians, as well as patrons who are fond of cultural experience, are sure to admire the collection at this museum.
A serene sanctum lying to the east of downtown Portland, this picturesque city park is unusual in more ways than one. Built on the grounds of an old volcanic cone, the park is a natural wonderland where trails and paved pathways wind through rolling meadows and dense forests. The park is also home to an amphitheater, a dog park, a horseshoe pit and courts used for various other sports. A delight for the avid hiker, Mount Tabor affords splendid views of the city's diverse landscape. Although much of the volcano's cinder cone has been paved, a part of it still remains, letting visitors in on the long-standing history and geological marvel it cradles in its depths.
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.
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.
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.
Opened in 1975, Blue Sky Gallery is one of the few and best photographic galleries in the city. Subjects of the photos range widely, from works by Paul Seawright, whose Irish descent led him to take award-winning photographs of the conflicts in Ireland, to local artists who have taken advantage of the Pacific Northwest greenery to create stunning pictures.