This 24.5-mile (39.5 kilometer) trail leads you through the city. Starting at the World Forestry Center, the trail strings together some of Portland's best nature attractions, Hoyt Arboretum, the Audubon Society and Forest Park. The terrain depends on what portion of the trail you tackle, from the very hilly area of Washington Park to the more gradual ten northern-most miles of the trail. Maps are available at the trail head. For outdoor lovers, a hike along these trail comes most recommended, as you are sure to capture scenic vistas along with occasional encounters of exotic plants and birds.
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. Enjoy the palatial digs on the Willamette River. The museum, through its various games and interactive displays, offers an opportunity to exercise the grey cells and leave with more knowledge and information. Buy a full museum package, which includes admission to the exhibits, the theater and a sub tour at a reasonable price.
Relief columns grace the formal entrance of this solemn site located at the south end of the Japanese Memorial at Waterfront Park. Haiku-engraved broken stones and 100 cherry trees line the walk. The plaza recalls the 110,000 Japanese-Americans who were put in internment camps during World War II, and the broken stones represent the broken dreams of these people. Although the stroll or bike ride is a sobering journey, the year-round beauty of the memorial is a testament that we may still learn from our mistakes.
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.
Before Pioneer Place, there was this plaza. The original center of downtown Portland, the plaza was alive with business and entertainment and had a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. It got a facelift in the 1980s when MAX, the local light rail, made tracks. The square is busy on weekends now, thanks to the Saturday Market, a city flea market and bazaar. The square, complete with Skidmore Fountain circa 1888, still has a bit of an historic feel.
Skidmore Fountain was willed to the city by local legend Stephen Skidmore for "horses, men and dogs." Inspired by his 1878 trip to France for the Paris Exposition, he returned with a vision of creating a fountain in Portland with the same beautiful appeal. Truly a fixture of the city, it is now a popular place to find Portlanders buzzing about or even cooling their feet in the summer.
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 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.