Portland’s International Rose Test Garden, unofficially known as the Portland Rose Garden, is the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States and features more than 10,000 roses. Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world enjoy the sights and scents of the gardens, including its spectacular views of downtown and Mount Hood.
Conceived by Jesse A. Currey in 1915 and approved by Portland Parks in 1917, it started as a safe haven for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I. Roses started arriving in Portland in 1918 and the garden and amphitheater were dedicated in 1924. It’s not surprising that this garden, located in Washington Park, is one of the City of Roses’ signature landmarks.
The garden is open daily and admission is free. While great city views are on offer year-round, the best rose-viewing months are May through September.
Rose garden tours
If you want more help navigating and understanding the 4.5 acres of parkland and 650+ rose varieties, Portland Parks offers free tours led by trained volunteers at 1 p.m. daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day. These tours meet at the sign outside the Rose Garden Store. Guided tours for groups of 10 or more are available during the year for a nominal fee ($5) per person. Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. Call 503.823.3664 to make arrangements.