Home to a sprawling urban forest, dozens of verdant public parks, gorgeous gardens and a sparkling river running through the middle of the city, there’s never a shortage of ways to explore Portland’s outdoors. Whether you’re a fan of flowers, tranquil gardens, urban hikes or just looking to get some fresh air, Portland has something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast. Read on for our guides to getting outside, then head to our events calendar to find even more things to do outdoors in Portland.
Just north of Portland's Belmont neighborhood sits Laurelhurst Park, one of the city's most scenic escapes with over 300 trees, a duck pond and an array of free public events.
Mount Tabor Park
Mount Tabor Park, a century-old public space, is known for its open-air reservoirs, forested hiking trails, sunset picnics, epic city views, its annual Adult Soapbox Derby, and, yes, its volcanic cinder cone.
Beyond picnics and verdant strolls, Washington Park offers up a zoo, two museums, a spectacular rose garden, an arboretum, one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in the world, all lined by one of the largest urban forests, Forest Park.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
This year-round wonder taking up an entire city block houses an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden built by Suzhou artisans. Lan Su Chinese Garden offers a peaceful escape in Portland's historic Chinatown district.
Portland Japanese Garden
A haven of meticulously maintained, tranquil beauty, proclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden offers meandering streams, intimate walkways and an unsurpassed view of Mount Hood.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Round out your floral explorations of the Rose City with a visit to Southeast Portland’s lush Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. The park boasts more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, with blooms from late February -June.
Escape the city without leaving Portland; with 70 miles of trails within Portland city limits, 5,156-acre Forest Park is a popular escape for runners, equestrians and hikers alike and supporting more than 112 bird and 62 mammal species.
Accessible Trails in and Near Portland
Portland and the Columbia River Gorge are filled with hiking opportunities for everybody, many of which have Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible trails.
Portland has numerous kid-friendly hiking spots with trails under 4 miles (6 km) close to the city and bursting with natural beauty.
Sunrise Hikes Near Portland
The secret is out: Oregon’s delivers some of the nation’s best hiking. Beat the crowds by heading out extra early to embark on a breathtaking sunrise hike.
Fall Hikes Near Portland
These fall hikes near Portland prove that autumn is an ideal time to explore Oregon wilderness, admire seasonal flora and fauna, and visit nearby farms.
Spring Hikes Near Portland
There’s something special about the first spring hike of the year. Enjoy wildflowers, bird watching and breathtaking scenery on these springtime rambles.
Experience nature not far from the city's hustle and bustle at these wildlife preserves.
Catch sight of 200+ types of birds at the Portland area's dozens of prime bird watching destinations, including sanctuaries, refuges and urban parks.
The Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary is a great starting place for hiking Forest Park and (of course) bird-watching.
Best Spots for Spring Flowers
Find your favorite blooms, from roses to rhododendrons and tulips to trilliums, with our guide to spring flowers in Portland.
Spend Spring Break in Portland
Plan an epic spring break in Portland with our list of activities for families, friends, couples and solo travelers.
Portland Picnic Guide
Nothing beats spreading out a picnic blanket on a sunny day, and Portland has no shortage of scenic spots where you can feast on local eats.
Portland’s Best Spots for Fall Color
Autumnal beauty abounds in Portland, and there are plenty of prime places to revel in leaf-crunching relaxation.
Apple Picking Near Portland
Freshly-picked Pacific Northwest apples are a local favorite, and many Portland-area orchards allow visitors to pluck the fruit right off the branch.
Snowshoeing on Mount Hood
Snowshoeing is a peaceful way to enjoy Mount Hood with friends and minimal gear and expense.
Where to Stand-Up Paddleboard Around Portland
Find out where to stand-up paddleboard in Portland, as well as where to find SUP lessons, paddleboard rentals, guided lake tours and SUP yoga classes.
Kayaking in and Around Portland
When the weather heats up, folks flock to the water. For paddlers, that typically means hitting one the many rivers in and near Portland.
Make a Splash in the Willamette River
When summertime heats up in Portland, cooling off is as easy as heading to one of the city's many riverfront beaches or docks for a refreshing dip or getting the gear for water sports such as kayaking, or SUP.
Whitewater Rafting Near Portland
Conquer rapids, spot wildlife and experience nature in a new way at these favorite spots for whitewater rafting near Portland.
Swimming Holes Near Portland
Stay cool all summer long at these serene swimming spots, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest — and all less than an hour away from Portland.
Waterfalls Near Portland
Some of the most picturesque waterfalls line the Columbia River Gorge, just a short drive from Portland. But these cascading natural wonders are even closer to Portland from the Willamette River to the Cascade Mountain Range.
Check out the incredible ParaNorman kid maze, designed by local Laika Studios. All proceeds support the regenerative farming practices on the farm. Over 130 acres on Sauvie Island, Topaz Farm is committed to no-spray, regenerative practices. Fresh local fruits and vegetables and delicious, seasonal farm foods such as house-made ice cream, grilled corn, hand pies,…
The Corn Maize, located on Sauvie Island north of Portland, offers visitors eight acres of physical and mental challenges in a cornfield.
This old-fashioned fall festival brings together more than 125 vendors offering local produce and food products, plus arts and crafts, wine, cider and beer tastings. Held along the scenic Hood River waterfront, this is the Columbia River Gorge’s biggest celebration of the region’s incredible fall bounty. Festival-goers can load up on boxes of Hood River…
Year-round on Saturdays, the Hollywood Farmers Markets hosts 50+ vendors, bringing you the best of the region’s agricultural bounty. In addition to amazingly fresh, local food, you’ll find live music, children’s activities, and fun events throughout the season. April through September, every Saturday 8 AM to 1 PM,October and November, every Saturday 9 AM to…
Lents International Farmers Market opens on Sunday, June 5, 2022, and is open every Sunday through November 20, 2020. The Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM) is the only one in Portland with an intentional international focus. LIFM provides fresh, affordable and culturally appropriate produce to the diverse community of Lents neighbors. Founded in 2006 by…
This annual race series consists of paddlers piloting a gaggle of gigantic gourds through a watercourse.
Join in for this fun, family-friendly Halloween-themed event on Saturday, October 29th. Dress in costume and join in for a Half, 10k, or 5k run/walk. 2022 theme: retro video games. All distances will start and finish at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge and mostly run along the flat, fast and paved Trolley Trail. There is plenty…
Join the annual BrewLights, a ZooLights brew festival experience just for the 21-and-over crowd, with dozens of local beer vendors to sample. Enjoy local food carts and dance to live music. BrewLights tickets include a souvenir cup and ten beverage tastings throughout the zoo. Guests can sample over 100 beer, seltzer and cider options from…
Kids and adults agree: it wouldn’t be the holidays in Portland without a visit to ZooLights. In addition to the classic walk through a dazzling display of 1.5 million lights, you can bring your family and friends to explore the lights by car with a drive-through experience on select nights. Plus, enjoy delicious treats! From…
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