Portland is an attractive and vital place for both natives and visitors, packed with all kinds of fun things to see and do. The unique character and planning of each district have earned urban Portland both national and international acclaim. Public green spaces and clean and convenient public transportation serves as a shining example of a progressive and vibrant city.
Washington Park is a large complex of attractions, including the popular Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden, the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, the Portland Japanese Garden, the Portland Children's Museum, and the Hoyt Arboretum. At the Oregon Zoo, you'll have a chance to see critters from around the world and from the Northwest. Washington Park is a great place to enjoy spending outdoors with friends and family.
You'll learn all about Oregon's history at this downtown museum. The OHS collection includes the Oregon My Oregon exhibit, which covers every aspect of Oregon's natural and human history. The Northwest Art Gallery features the work of prominent Oregon artists and also offers special exhibits. Special exhibits come and go throughout the year, so each visit is a unique experience.
This downtown Portland landmark covers an entire city block. Powell's City of Books is the largest new-and-used bookstore in the US. Powell's provides customers with maps so that they can avoid getting lost amongst the nooks and crannies. Bibliophiles will relish spending a few hours browsing through the 122 major categories of books. The Coffee & Tea Room provides refreshment so that you may renew your energy and continue perusing Powell's color-coded rooms.
The Portland Art Museum, or PAM, is one of the finest art museums in the west. The museum offers a world-class permanent collection of European, American, Native American, and Asian art. PAM also hosts many of the major traveling exhibitions. The Portland Art Museum is located across the way from the Oregon Historical Society Museum.
This hands-on science museum is fun for children, families, and anyone who is curious about the world around them. Exhibits include a number of labs where you can learn about chemistry, life science, and earth science. OMSI facilities also include an IMAX theatre, a science store, and the Kendall Planetarium. Special events and exhibitions are held throughout the year.
Parks and public plazas occupy several of downtown Portland's city blocks. The largest of these green spaces is the Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which stretches for 22 blocks along the Willamette River. Always a beautiful place worth visiting, the park hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the summer. Hiking and biking trails, fountains and public art, and scenic resting spots are just a few of the many reasons to visit this urban jewel.
Located under and around the Burnside Bridge, at the north end of the waterfront park, is the Portland Saturday Market. Open each year from March through Christmas Eve, it is the largest continuously operating open-air market in the US. You'll find a tempting array of handcrafted items, as well as food, entertainment, and lively people watching.
Portland's major urban plaza is the Pioneer Courthouse Square. The bricks that pave the entire city block include 63,000 inscribed with the names of Portland citizens. The money earned from this "brick sale" financed the construction of the park space, including two amphitheaters, a fountain, and whimsical art and structures. The site hosts many special events throughout the year, the Rose Festival's Festival of Flowers among them.
Portland worked with its Chinese sister city, Suzhou, to create a Classical Chinese Garden. This walled garden is the largest Suzhou-style garden outside of China.
The garden was formally known as the Portland Classical Chinese Garden until it was renamed in honor of its 10th anniversary in 2010.
You don't have to leave the city to explore the forest or watch wildlife in a natural setting. The Portland area is home to thousands of acres of parks, nature preserves, and wildlife refuges. You can hike for miles (or just stroll a short way) through dense green forests, along rushing creeks, and around lively wetlands.