Columbia River Gorge
Things to Do
Washington Park Recommended by a local!
This 400 acre park includes gardens, attractions, and 15 miles of trails for exploration. The International Rose Test Garden has over 7,000 rose plants – Portland is the City of Roses, after all. Across from the Rose Garden is Portland’s Japanese Garden, considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum is a 20,000 sq ft museum engaging visitors in learning about sustainability of forests around the world. Or visist the Hoyt Arboretum – a museum of living trees. The Oregon Zoo is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi, founded in 1888. The Oregon Zoo is the birthplace and home to Packy, first famous for being the first elephant born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years, now the oldest living elephant (52) and one of the tallest in the U.S. The zoo is connected to the Rose Test Garden via railway – a fun 2-mile excursion. If you’re traveling with children, the Portland Children’s Museum is a popular destination in Washington Park.
Saturday Market Recommended by a local!
Since 1976, Portland’s Saturday Market has become a thriving community of over 350 artisans. Experience this cultural landmark in the heart of downtown Portland. Open Saturday and Sunday in Waterfront Park.
Lan Su Chinese Garden in Chinatown – Photo Op! Recommended by a local!
Portland’s sister city in China, Suzhou, is famous for its Ming Dynasty gardens. Chinese artisans helped create Lan Su – one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. Experience the melding of art, architecture and nature. Local’s tip: you can stop in the tea house for a cup of tea and mooncakes! Open daily.
Powell’s Bookstore Recommended by a local!
Get wonderfully lost in the rows and rows of books at Powell’s! The Burnside location is referred to as the City of Books, taking up an entire city block, with 68,000 sq ft packed with books to explore! Browse 122 major subject areas – follow the color-coded signs to find the section that’s right for you. Art and Photography is in the Pearl Room, third floor. Second floor houses Travel in the Rose Room and Pacific Northwest and History in the Purple Room. Street level has six rooms with too many sections to mention, but more importantly: the coffee room! Open daily from 9am-11pm.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden – Photo Op! Recommended by a local!
Explore seven acres of rare and hybrid rhododendrons, azaleas, and other related plants, as well as companion plants and trees. Wander the shaded paths over two bridges and past three waterfalls to get to Crystal Springs Lake. Minutes from downtown, take your stroll after dinner to enjoy the sunset! Throughout the year, 94 species of birds are seen visiting the garden. $4 admission fee charged between 10am-6pm, Wednesday thru Monday. The Garden is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Pittock Mansion – Photo Op! Recommended by a local!
Two people from different parts of the country found each other in Portland and fell in love. He was a businessman, who eventually took over the Weekly Oregonian newspaper. She dedicated her time to the lives of women and children in the community. They eventually built the mansion high on the hill, overlooking the city of Portland that had become their home. The mansion was built by Oregon artisans with Northwest materials. The Pittock family continued to live in the house until 1958, and the City of Portland bought it 6 years later. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of Pittock Mansion. Join them in celebration of a century of Portland history. Open 11am-4pm daily.
Waterfront Park – Photo Op! Recommended by a local!
In 1903, Olmsted Report wanted to preserve greenways alongside the river for future generations. Unfortunately, the city didn’t listen and continued to build a seawall and eventually a freeway blocking the public from the river. It wasn’t until 1978 that the Waterfront Park was dedicated and became an instant local gathering point. Local’s Tip: take the path around the park. It’s three miles of flat walking, with great views of the Willamette River!
Places to Eat
Portland has quickly become a destination for foodies, which means there are too many options for excellent food! Here’s a few favorites to get you started:
Stanford’s Restaurant & Bar $$ Recommended by a local!
Gourmet burgers, fresh seafood, or a perfect steak – this is your place for lunch or dinner. Try one of their special cocktail recipes, like the Huckleberry Rain Drop, while you relax in the comfortable atmosphere of wood and low lighting. A tip from a local: Friday nights they serve smoked salmon chowder with dinner! Locations at Jantzen Beach and PDX airport.
Food Carts $
Portland has over 500 food carts, organized into pods. With so many to choose from, there is a website that contains a map to every cart. You can download the iPhone or Android app to find the current location of carts or the closest pod. SW 3rd and Washington is a great place to start, with 20 carts on site and a variety of international cuisines including Indonesian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Thai, Greek and more. SW 9th and Alder is one of the largest concentrations of “street food vendors” in the country – 60+ carts!
Salt & Straw $$
With unlimited trial-size scoops, you’ll enjoy tasting all the unique flavors they have to offer! This farm-to-cone ice cream shop creates their own flavors with local, organic ingredients. The cousins who run the shops are joyfully trying new flavors all the time. Three Portland locations, open 11am-11pm daily.
Voodoo Doughnuts $
Does it live up to the hype? Yes, it does. This is a fun visit, and definitely for those with a good sense of humor. Stab a donut with a pretzel. Enjoy a maple bar with strips of bacon on top. The doughnuts (and their clever names) will make you giggle – and the doughnuts taste good, too!
Jake’s Famous Crawfish $$$ Recommended by a local!
For more than 110 years, Jake’s Crawfish has been a Portland Landmark, considered one of the best seafood restaurants in the nation. Enjoy local seafood like Chinook salmon and Oregon Dungeness crab. Open for lunch and dinner Monday thru Saturday, 3-10pm on Sunday. Reservations recommended.
Mother’s Bistro and Bar $$ Recommended by a local!
Traditional homemade cooking, like mom’s, has now been given a classical refinement by Mother’s chefs. From-scratch cooking with the finest ingredients makes Mother’s a popular downtown destination. Open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Tuesday thru Sunday. Reservations recommended.
Original Hotcake House $ Recommended by a local!
This 24-hour restaurant is fulfilling breakfast cravings all day, every day. Fresh, made-from-scratch hotcakes served with home-made maple syrup are what this restaurant on the map, but there are also highly rated hamburgers and very popular omelets. Fresh, home-made hash browns, fresh-cut French fries… this is how you want your breakfast.
Riyadh’s Lebanese Restaurant $ Recommended by a local!
Secret family recipes and the warm family atmosphere is what makes Riyadh’s a popular Portland eatery. Watch them bake your perfect pita in one of the few viewable ovens in Portland. Great vegetarian options available. Open for lunch and dinner.
Saint Honoré Bakery $$ Recommended by a local!
St. Honoré is a rustic French boulangerie – just as a master baker, Dominique Geulin imagined when he came to Portland. Stop in for a meal of fresh salads and savory entrees, or grab a pastry or dessert to go. Two Portland locations. Open daily from 7am-8pm.