You’ve tasted the cereal-coated treats at Voodoo Doughnut, gotten lost inside Powell’s City of Books and admired the breathtaking views from Pittock Mansion. Now it’s time to tackle the next batch of Portland’s top sights, including a vintage amusement park, a bridge-sized art installation, the city’s next big (but actually tiny!) doughnut and more.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Manicured Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is home to an eye-popping array of rhododendrons, azaleas and hybrids in full bloom from April to May, along with a year-round display of other plants and trees. The garden’s 7 acres (2.8 hectares) are nearly surrounded by the Crystal Springs Lake and boast three waterfalls, two picturesque bridges and almost 100 species of birds. For an extra treat, visit the first weekend of April or Mother’s Day weekend, when the garden hosts its annual flower shows and sales.
Admission is free from the day after Labor Day through the month of February. A $4 admission fee is charged between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, from March through Labor Day. Admission is free for children under 12 years old.
Oaks Amusement Park
Just a few miles south of downtown Portland, you’ll find Oaks Amusement Park, one of the oldest operating amusement parks in the country. This vintage jewel offers old-school rides, mini golf, a roller rink (complete with disco ball) and a historic dance pavilion hall, along with grassy picnic grounds and waterfront views. Bring a picnic basket or indulge in classic carnival treats like curly fries, soft-serve ice cream and cotton candy. Read more >>
Free parking and no entry admission charged. Ride discounts offered during summer months.
Mt. Tabor Park
At 630 feet (192-meters), this extinct volcano is one of the best spots in Portland to catch expansive views of the city and Mount Hood. Mt. Tabor Park features popular trails for bicyclists and pedestrians, along with picnic areas, an off-leash dog area, paved and natural surface paths, a playground, a stage and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts — not to mention three outdoor water reservoirs.
In September 2015, Bridgetown welcomed its latest addition: Tilikum Crossing. This bridge has the distinction of being the only one in the country dedicated to light rail, buses, bicycles and pedestrians — no automobile traffic allowed. Its striking design, meant to mimic the outline of Mount Hood, provides visitors a beautiful connection between the South Waterfront and Central Eastside districts. “Tilikum” means “people” in a local Native American language, hence the nickname “Bridge of the People.” LED lights set the entire bridge aglow, changing color and pattern based on how fast, deep and cold the river is flowing. Read more >>
Oregon Historical Society
Discover Oregon’s fascinating history at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland. The museum includes over 85,000 historical pieces, including Native American artifacts, memorabilia from Portland’s 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition and the “Portland Penny” — the very penny involved in the famous coin-toss between the city’s two founders (Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts and Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine) to determine which of their hometowns would give the new city’s its name. Learn about the Oregon Trail period and early settlements and industries, along with nationally focused exhibits.
Museum is open daily, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission fees between $5 and $11. Free admission for children under 5 years old.
St. Johns Bridge
The picturesque St. Johns Bridge is a steel suspension bridge connecting North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood to the Northwest Industrial District across the Willamette River. The striking, teal-colored structure is the only suspension bridge on the Willamette. On the north side of the bridge, visitors can also enjoy Cathedral Park (named after the bridge’s distinctive, cathedral-like Gothic towers), which includes a boat ramp and canoe launch, an off-leash area, paved paths, picnic tables, a stage and fishing areas along the river.
Pip’s Original Doughnuts
The community-focused Pip’s shop in Northeast Portland pairs delectable, made-to-order mini doughnuts with housemade chai. Visitors can order a tasting flight of five chai flavors, along with a plate of their famously tiny treats. The doughnuts arrive still warm from the fryer and bedecked with an assortment of toppings, including thick Nutella drizzles with pink Himalayan sea salt; Meyer lemon and pear butter; candied bacon and maple syrup; raw, local honey and more. Best of all? They’re so small, you can try them all!
Nestled inside of Washington Park in Southwest Portland, Hoyt Arboretum is a peaceful tree sanctuary that’s home to a magnificent array of over 6,000 specimens. The 189-acre (76-hectare) public space contains more than 2,000 species of trees from around the world, 63 of which are either vulnerable or endangered. Handy identification labels help visitors learn about each tree while they explore the arboretum’s 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails.
Tidbit Food Farm
Leave it to Portland to elevate a collection of food carts to the next level. Tidbit Food Farm and Garden on Southeast Division has all of the delicious eats you’d expect from the city’s legendary food carts, and adds a beer garden and boutique shopping for good measure. Sample from a staggering variety of global cuisine, including steaming ramen bowls, Filipino pork stew, candied bacon burgers, Scandinavian sausages, waffle sandwiches and more. Thirsty visitors can enjoy locally roasted coffee, Japanese bubble tea and craft beer before shopping for Portland-made jewelry, vintage fashion and beauty products.
A trip to Portland isn’t complete without a visit to the city’s oldest restaurant and bar, Huber’s Cafe. Locals have been coming in for their famous turkey dinners and signature Spanish Coffees since Huber’s opened in 1879. To make the cocktail, the rim of the glass is swiped with lime and dipped in sugar. The server then adds Bacardi 151 and Bols triple sec to the glass before setting it aflame right at your table. Kahlua is then added from great heights, followed by coffee, a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of grated nutmeg. (According to one server, “it’s like the Cirque de Soleil” of bartending.)
Tom McCall Bowl Beach
When temperatures rise, the perfect place to cool down in the summertime is conveniently located smack-dab in the center of the city: the Willamette River! Among the easily accessible swimming areas along the river, Tom McCall Bowl Beach at the southern end of grassy Tom McCall Waterfront Park is one of the most convenient. Bring your picnic basket, towels and swimsuits and spend the day playing at the park, jumping in and out of the sparkling river to cool down.