Top Portland Attractions

The Best Things to See and Do in Portland

Portland Oregon downtown from Vista Bridge with view of Mount Hood and city skyline. David Gn Photography/Getty Images

Portland Saturday Market
Every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from March through Christmas Eve, you can shop for beautiful crafts, from pottery and mosaics to jewelry and toys, made by local artisans. Plus there’s live music, an international food court, and craft-making for kids.

Under the west side of the Burnside Bridge
Saturdays & Sundays - check the website for specific hours

International Rose Test Garden
Stop and smell the blooms on over 8,000 rose bushes at this gorgeous garden.

This is the oldest official, continuously operated, public rose test garden in the United States. Roses are sent to the garden from around the world to be tested in our climate. Come on a clear day to experience glorious views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood.

400 SW Kingston Ave (inside Washington Park)
Open daily - check the website for specific hours

Oregon Zoo
Come see creatures from around the world, and take advantage of the zoo's nationally recognized educational programs. Explore 64 acres of wildlife, from penguins to primates, and be sure not to miss Packy, the zoo’s star Asian elephant. The Oregon zoo is recognized internationally for having the most successful breeding herd of Asian elephants of any zoo.

4001 SW Canyon Rd., Portland
Open every day of the year except Christmas.
Discounted Admission on the second Tuesday of every month

Portland Classical Chinese Gardens
Garden of Awakening Orchids
This Suzhou-style garden was built to honor the sisterhood between the city of Portland and the city of Suzhou, China.

The majority of the plants in the garden are indigenous to China, but they were grown in the United States. The garden is designed to awaken all the senses, yet it’s one of the most peaceful places in the city. Guided public tours are daily at noon and 1 p.m.

NW 3rd/Everett, Portland
Check the website for seasonal hours

Japanese Garden
Widely known as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, this meticulously cared for sanctuary is amazing to visit any time of the year. Take your time walking the various pathways and notice the fine details of the Strolling Pond Garden, the Tea Garden, and the Sand and Stone Garden. Stop to take in the beauty of the koi pond and Heavenly Falls. Daily guided tours are offered April through October a few times a day.

West side of Washington Park, above the International Rose Test Gardens
Check website for hours

Math, science, technology: It’s all part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. There’s so much to explore here. Permanent exhibits include the Life Science exhibit, which tracks how humans grow from conception to old age, and various labs where kids can do science experiments and learn about chemistry, biology, and more. Other attractions include the planetarium, OMNIMAX theater, and the USS Blueback Submarine, which was featured in the movie Hunt for Red October.

Check the website for rotating exhibits.

1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland
Adults, $9
Kids and seniors, $7
Admission to the theater, planetarium, and submarine are separate.

Pittock Mansion
Tour this incredible turn-of-the century treasure, home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock from 1914 to 1919. Not only is every room of the fully-furnished mansion stunning, but the grounds are lovely as well. Take a picnic and enjoy sweeping views of Portland and the Cascade Mountains. Call for tour information.

3229 N.W. Pittock Dr.,Portland
Daily June – August, 11am – 4pm
Sept – May, noon – 4pm
Closed November 17, 18, 19, and 23 and December 25 (2006)

Pearl District
Home to exclusive eateries, amazing shopping, and a high concentration of art galleries, the Pearl District is an excellent place to spend part of your day in Portland. If you time it right, you can experience First Thursday, a monthly celebration of art, urban culture, and the city itself.

The Pearl District is just north of downtown Portland. It's between Burnside and the Willamette River, and between I-405 and NW Broadway.

Powell’s Books

Visitors and locals alike flock to this literary haven, located on the edge of the Pearl District. The store takes up an entire city block, so it’s easy to get lost inside (not a bad thing, right?).

Grab a map on the main floor if it’s your first time to the store. Highlights include special events with authors and visiting the Rare Book Room. Check out the top five reasons to visit Powell’s City of Books.

1005 W Burnside, Portland
Daily, 9am – 11pm (They close early on holidays)

Portland Spirit
Enjoy the River city by boat. The Portland Spirit offers cruises down the Willamette River, complete with entertainment and a catered meal. Choose a lunch cruise, a dinner cruise, or a brunch cruise or simply take a sightseeing tour and enjoy beautiful city views.