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.
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.
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.
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.
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.