Top 10 Places to Visit in Portland, Oregon

I lived in Portland, Oregon for fifteen years, and loved it. Portland has many wonderful and beautiful attractions to recommend it, however, these are my ten favorites. I hope they’ll become yours as well!

1. International Rose Test Garden, 400 SW Kingston, Portland, OR 97201-This garden is a must-see if you are visiting Portland for the first time. There are so many different types of roses in the many rows of flowers that you will find yourself going from one type to another just to get the varied scents. In the Spring and Summer when the gardens are in full-bloom, this is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Another great thing is that there is no fee to view these gardens, anyone can visit at any time of the year, although in winter there are often not any flowers blooming. Surrounded by Washington Park, there is a playground and picnic tables close by if you want to make a day trip of it. Want a souvenir to take back home? They even have a shop close by with all sorts of rose products. Also you have a fantastic view of the city from the garden, and on a clear day you can even see Mt. Hood!

2. Portland Saturday Market, 108 W Burnside, Portland, OR 97209-You simply cannot miss visiting this market if you come to Portland. While many of the stalls are outside and out in the open, there are also many regular and permanent shops clustered around them. The market specializes in hand-made arts and crafts, and you are sure to find something you like on a visit. Do you like to sample foods from different cultures? You can also find food booths at this market. The Portland Saturday Market runs from the first weekend of March until December 24th, after which there is a break. Another must-see in Portland.

3. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, Portland, OR 97209-This bookstore is the largest bookstore in America, and has an inventory of over 1 million books spread throughout its’ six locations. The address listed here is for the main bookstore and it is the one that has books on nearly every topic except for some specialty ones like technical or travel books for example. If you are visiting Portland, you don’t want to miss a visit to this store, particularly if you are an avid reader or know avid readers and are looking for something unique to take home as a gift. The different parts of this humungous store are color coded to make it easy to find whatever topic you are seeking, but if you get lost they have the friendliest staff around who will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

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4. The Pearl District, 404 NW 10th Ave LL1, Portland, OR 97209-The Pearl District is the art district for Portland, OR and very well known. There are a number of unique galleries, shops and restaurants to visit in the Pearl District. On first Thursday all of the art galleries open their doors wide to the public, and many people turn out for the event, hopping from one gallery to the next to check out the newest exhibits. This is an very fun and exciting event that even children can enjoy since there is a lot of walking involved!

5. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205-Built in 1892, this museum is the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest. The museum’s collection houses over 35,000 pieces of art, and their collection is constantly changing as some items go on loan to other museums, and others come to them. It is open from Tuesday-Saturday, and closed on Mondays. Admission is $15.00, but it is well worth the cost as they have European art and sculptures, African and Asian artworks, as well as photographs in their collection.

6. Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210-The Pittock mansion was owned by Henry Pittock and his wife Georgiana. Henry was the owner of the local newspaper, The Oregonian. While Henry and Georgiana only lived in the house from 1914-1919 when they passed away, the house stayed in Pittock family ownership until 1958 when one of their grandsons sold it. If not for the city of Portland and their willingness to come up with the funds to restore the mansion, this beautiful landmark would have been demolished. There are many tour options you can choose from when visiting the mansion, and you can even just wander the grounds if you like. The view from the mansion is spectacular and you can see all of Portland spread out before you.

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7. Oregon Zoo, 4001 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221-Need something that the whole family can enjoy? If so, the Oregon Zoo in Portland is the place to visit! The Oregon Zoo has 1,880 different species of animals, 270 species of mammals, reptiles and birds, making it the place to view exotic wildlife. During the summer there are concerts at the zoo, and in the winter there is the Zoo Lights Festival, making it a nearly year round opportunity!

8. Pioneer Square, 701 SW 6th Ave, Broadway between Morrison and Yamhill, Portland, OR 97204. Located in the heart of downtown Portland, many events happen throughout the year at Pioneer Square, a few of which are an outdoor Powell’s Bookstore sale, in the Summer, and a very large Christmas tree lighting in December. Another thing that recommends it is easy access to public transportation, so you can get anywhere you want in the city quickly, and lots of shops all around it, including Saks Fifth Avenue, and Office Depot to name a few.

9. Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97201-Located close to the International Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden is the perfect place to go to take a break from all your sight seeing. Calming and beautiful, the Japanese Garden is like another world separate from the rest of Portland. Replete with ponds, sculpture, and plants, serene is just one of the words used to describe how I felt when visiting it. The Japanese Garden is open 7 days a week, and opens at noon on Mondays. If you do not want to walk to the entrance of the garden, the Japanese Garden offers a free shuttle service that runs daily.

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10. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214-Finally, a visit to Portland just isn’t complete without a visit to OMSI. There is something for everyone at OMSI. They often have wonderful exhibits, some even interactive for the kids, and it is a great place to learn, as well as have fun. They have an Omnimax theater, where they show both educational and fun movies. They also have a planetarium, Kendall Planetarium. You can purchase tickets, check hours and find out what the featured exhibits are by visiting their website:

There are many wonderful places to visit in my former hometown. However, these are the places that I enjoyed visiting while I lived there and the ones I took relatives and friends to who were visiting me. I hope you enjoy visiting them as much as I have.