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.
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.
Great entertainers such as Marvin Gaye, James Brown and the Grateful Dead have performed in this historic ballroom that is now owned by the McMenamin brothers. One thousand patrons can fit into the ballroom and it can be reserved for private events as well. Three on-site bars—including a popular nightclub, Ringlers - will satiate your hunger and thirst. It is worth a visit just to behold the local landmark's ornate chandeliers, picturesque windows and 7500-square -foot (696.7728 square meters) dance floor that floats on ball-bearings.
For more than 75 years, The Grotto has held a special place in the hearts of the locals. The 62-acre (25.09 hectares) site is a Catholic sanctuary that also features beautifully kept botanical gardens. Visit the shrine of "Our Lady's Grotto," which is not only spiritual, but a geological marvel since it's a cave carved into the base of a cliff with a replica of the Pietà sculpture in the center of the rock cave. After admiring the shrine, take the time to tour the grounds and marvel at the beautiful plants then visit the spectacular gift shop. Visitors are also welcome to attend mass. If you want a real treat visit during annual Festival of Lights. While the lower grounds and gift shop are free to visit, there is a small fee to enter the upper levels of The Grotto.
Set amid a scenic location of sloping, forested hills, Washington Park has a number of notable attractions, including the International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, Japanese Gardens and the Oregon Zoo. Plenty of different spots across the park offer sun, shade, and shelter from the rain, and views of the city. A brimming hive of activities like tennis, hiking and archery, this park is a brilliant, sprawling carpet of eternal and abundant natural beauty. A range of winding trails slice through acres of wild forests at this park, while motley jubilant fountains, plazas and memorials accentuate it further. An evocative canvas of vibrant wilderness, this sprawling park is a breathtaking nexus of nature, botany and recreation, being rather unsurprisingly, one of Portland's most beautiful symbols.
Mild-mannered Portland was once one of the toughest ports of the Pacific. In the 1890s, it was the "shanghaiing" - kidnapping a man and selling him into bondage - capital of the world. After passing-out at one of the many taverns lining Portland's waterfront, prisoners were held in a series of underground tunnels. 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.
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.
This vintage video game and pinball arcade is a trip through time– you will find a black lit wonderland of 80s video games that still costs a single quarter. DJs or bands entertain on most nights, with a small cover charge on band nights. Climb the ornate staircase to the largest collection of pinball machines in the area or try out iconic games like Mortal Kombat II and Pac-Man.
Housed inside the iconic confines of the Roseland Theater, Peter's Room offers a more intimate stage setting for concert bands. This sub-theater is located in the basement of the original Roseland Theater, consists of a fully-stocked bar and offers reasonably-priced bar eats such as meatball subs, burgers, nachos and chips. Admission is typically on a first come, first serve basis, so head here early to find a spot closer to the stage. Occasionally, Peter's Room at Roseland will also stream live ongoing concerts from the Roseland Theater stage for patrons who have settled at the bar.
Burnside Skate Park was originally built by skateboarders looking for a place to practice their sport and was then approved by the city council as a designated skate park. Today, you will see a lot of youngsters there at all times of day and night, performing some daredevil stunts in the slopes of the structure. The place also has some artwork and spray painted murals on the walls, giving it a prohibited and rebel like feel. Go with your own skateboard or just borrow one from the friendly locals.
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.