In the heart of downtown is a sanctuary of rock, water, and plants: the Chinese Garden. Surrounded by an ornate wall, the city-block-sized garden houses living collections of plants brought in from China and arranged in a way that induces tranquility. As a testament to its mission of offering a peaceful sanctuary, one of the garden's most popular respites is its teahouse, located in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections.
Set atop a hill overlooking Portland and Mount Hood, the rose garden encompasses 4.5 acres of an Eden-like setting. Rooted in the garden are roughly 10,000 rose bushes, representing varieties from around the world. The garden is the longest continuously operated public rose garden in the nation. In fact, during World War I, roses from Europe were sent here to keep them safe from the ravages of war. The garden is open year-round, but lucky visitors meander down manicured lanes in early May through late September, when the flowers are abloom in a myriad of colors.
Voted one of the 10 most notable design achievements in the country by Time magazine, Pioneer Square has gained widespread, and well-deserved notoriety. This amphitheater-like setting is sometimes referred to as "Portland's living room" and with good cause. The steps of the square are often filled with Portlanders reading, writing, and catching up with old friends. Look for the bronze sculpture of a well-dressed man holding an umbrella for a fun photo opportunity.
Found near the rose garden, the Portland Japanese Garden is often seen in tandem with a visit to the roses. The garden was created to maximize the unity of man and nature. Cherry blossoms, babbling brooks, wooden bridges, and sweeping views of the city below add to a meditative experience. Once a month, the garden opens up its teahouse for demonstrations of an intricate Japanese tea ceremony.
The Pacific Northwest is a well-forested region, so it may come as no surprise that one of the leading discovery centers on the subject is found in Portland. The World Forestry Discovery Center's exhibits explain the importance of forests in maintaining a healthy environment and how people can harvest what they need in sustainable ways.
Dance on air at the Crystal Ballroom. Like a bouncing castle for kids, the dance floor of this live-band venue is on springs, so when the crowd starts thumping, the whole house shakes - literally. This popular place is small enough to be considered intimate, but large enough to lure popular bands.
The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is home to Portland's finest music, theatre, dance, lectures and more. Located in the Cultural District in downtown, going out for a night-on-the-town couldn't be easier!
Once a vaudeville house, a family movie emporium, and a porn institution, the Aladdin Theater now stands as one of the shining lights of Portland's music venues. The theater has won numerous awards as Portland's favorite live music venue.
Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The Museum's collection of 42,000 objects reflects the history of art from ancient times to today. The collection is distinguished for its holdings of arts of the native peoples of North America; modern and contemporary art; Asian and American art; photographs, prints, and drawings; and English silver.
On this full-day tour, you'll see the best of the Portland area including downtown's Pioneer Square, the famous food carts, eclectic neighborhoods and the beautiful waterfalls of Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. Along the way, learn about Portland's interesting history and modern-day culture from your guide.
On this half-day wine-tasting tour from Portland, travel by luxury Mercedes to Willamette wine country, where you'll take behind-the-scenes tours of several boutique wineries. Sample everything from floral pinot to smoky zinfandel as you meet the winemakers and learn about local winemaking from your expert guide. Also enjoy a gourmet lunch of local meats and cheeses.
Experience one of the Pacific Northwest's most dynamic cultural hubs on this small-group Portland sightseeing tour. As you travel by luxury Mercedes van with your naturalist guide, explore green parks and diverse neighborhoods and stop by one of the largest independent bookstores in the world. You'll be treated to morning tea and pastries, as well as scenic views, with round-trip hotel transport included.
Travel from Portland to the Columbia River Gorge for a fun biking and hiking adventure! Soak in this beautiful Pacific Northwest landscape as you follow your guide on an easy bike ride and stop at several gorgeous waterfalls for nature hikes. Round-trip hotel transport is included.
On this tour from Portland, head to Mt Hood National Forest, featuring Oregon's highest mountain, and enjoy a scenic, fun and educational snowshoe adventure. Admire views of forests, lakes, waterfalls and wildlife in this winter wonderland as you learn about the surrounding landscape and ecosystem. Then, warm up at the cozy lodge with some hot chocolate or wine and a picnic lunch.
Spend a day along Oregon's gorgeous coastline, filled with dramatic headlands, beaches and historical lighthouses, on this tour from Portland. Visit the quaint town of Astoria, the site of one of the first American settlements west of the Rockies, and explore Cannon Beach, where you'll explore tide pools at Haystack Rock and enjoy free time to peruse shops and art galleries. You'll also learn about Oregon's maritime history and logging industry at two interesting museums with your guide.
Experience Portland's world-famous beer culture on this fun bike tour - the perfect way to explore this gorgeous city. Following your local guide on easy bike ride, visit several top-notch microbreweries such as Bridgeport and Deschutes to sample several beers, with all tastings included.
Enjoy an exciting outdoor adventure on this day trip from Portland to Mount St Helens, one of the Pacific Northwest's best-known natural wonders. Your expert guide will take you in a cave and lead you on several educational nature walks to discover the unique landscape and abundant wildlife surrounding this active volcano.
At Andina, they are proud to feature a native Peruvian cooking staff representing both the traditional culinary styles and their latest incarnation in the 'Novoandina' cuisine. The Peruvian equivalent of Portland's own Northwest Regional cuisine, Novoandina aspires to revive native, pre-colonial ingredients and techniques and incorporate them into a modern presentation beholden to the highest international standards.
With more than 65 years of continuous family ownership, RingSide Steakhouse is a legend in the world of steakhouses. Start with RingSide's world famous onion rings - a recipe that is a closely held family secret. Then select a steak from a menu offering USDA include lamb, pork loin chop, fried chicken and seafood.
Urban Fondue offers a unique perspective to fondue dining. From the indulgent cuisine, and boldly delicious and extensive martini selections, to the chic and smoldering decor and expert and personable service, Urban Fondue is a feast for the senses. Enjoy house made cheese fondue, succulent meat entrees cooked "fondue" style and delectable dessert fondues accompanied with side dishes such as polenta and grilled artichokes.
Wildwood Restaurant is located in Portland's beautiful Northwest neighborhood, near Forest Park's 17-mile long Wildwood Trail. Founded in 1994 by Executive Chef Cory Schreiber, Portland native and James Beard Award winner, Wildwood Restaurant celebrates a return to the land Schreiber knew as a child. Our seasonal menus showcase the wealth of premium ingredients found only miles from the restaurant in the lush Willamette Valley, coastal mountain ranges and diversified farmlands of Oregon and Washington. Daily offerings include a sumptuous diversity of meats, seafood, pastas, vegetables, salads, pizzas from the clay oven, and luscious desserts. Our regional wine list constantly evolves to showcase the best local producers. The Pacific Northwest theme continues in the slate floors and wood-lined ceiling, giving Wildwood's dining room a casual, contemporary feel. Seating options include intimate booths, chef's counter, bar, patio and two private dining rooms.
Nathan Bates (chef at Lucy's Table for the last 6 years) just joined the once-crowned "Best Seafood Chef in Canada" Mark Potovsky in the kitchen of Uptown Billiards Club in 2009. Working together, UBC now provides some of the best food to be found in Portland.
Oba's cuisine mirrors the exuberance of the South American marketplace, the Mexican hacienda, and the Cuban sizzle. The Chef interprets and defines this cuisine, while at the same time introducing it to the local bounty of Oregon produce, seafood, and meats.
Located on the street level of the Hotel Vintage Plaza in picturesque downtown Portland, Pazzo Ristorante features savory regional Italian cuisine in a setting emphasizing conviviality and contemporary vitality.
Located just 10 miles from downtown Portland, the 26,000-acre Sauvie is the largest island in the Columbia River. Composed of exceedingly fertile land, the island is primarily used for agricultural purposes. Because of this distinction, it is a treasure-trove of U-pick farms, including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and even pumpkins.
The undulating trials of Tryon Creek State Park weave through a sun-obscuring forest of evergreen and ash trees, among others. Hikers, mountain bikers, and general nature enthusiasts are often excited by the amount of wildlife that surrounds them. The twitters and chirps of birds such as quail, pheasant, and starlings add to the relaxing feel of being in nature, though it's only a few short miles from Portland proper.
Let's face it, getting kids excited about a museum is about as easy as getting them excited about the dentist. Luckily, the Portland Children's Museum offers a break from that prejudice. This museum was built specifically for young minds that enjoy doing rather than just looking.
Renowned for its elephant-breeding program, the Oregon Zoo sets the standard for animal welfare and exhibition. The zoo does more than just showcase strange and magnificent animals; it also takes great pride in creating and maintaining some of the most animal-friendly enclosures in the industry. If little feet get too tired to walk the entire 64 acres to see 1,029 animals, consider seeing the zoo by rail - a diminutive steam locomotive powers through the zoo grounds as well as surrounding Washington Park.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a museum that knows no age barriers. Hands-on activities and immersive exhibits find an audience with everyone. Consider a tour of the USS Blueback submarine, the U.S. Navy's last non-nuclear, fast-attack submarine moored in the Willamette River. Other exhibits educate visitors on life sciences, Earth sciences, and various types of engineering.
Enjoy fine dining in a modern tavern atmosphere. Inspired Northwest cuisine is served in a historic Portland landmark. High ceilings showcase the massive Doug Fir beams, walnut floors and original brickwork. A full bar and over 100 selections of wine focusing on Northwest producers, showcases the bounty the Northwest has to offer. Three distinct dining areas offers guests a quiet dining experience in the main dining room or livelier setting in the tavern. Located in the heart of Old Town, Davis Street Tavern is an essential Portland experience.
McMenamins is a name synonymous with Oregon's brewing as well as its creative spirit. The Kennedy School, one of the many McMenamin pubs in the region, is perhaps the most shining example. This grade-school-turned-brewery/gym/movie theater/eatery has 5 restaurants and bars. In addition to serving its own food and beer, the Kennedy School also shows movies and offers hotel rooms for extended stays.
Movies, beer, and pizza - three things nearly everyone enjoys. The Baghdad, another piece in the McMenamins empire, is an old movie house retrofitted as a restaurant/bar/pizza joint. The theater has been outfitted with tables and bar stools, and servers take orders during the theater's second-run showings. Heckling or cheering along with the movie is encouraged.
The Goodfoot Pub & Lounge wears the distinction of dive bar like a badge of honor. The main floor of this east-side hangout supports a full bar and multiple pool tables, but the basement level is where the action takes place. Hosting everything from old-school break dancing to live local bands, it's the place to bump elbows with the true Portland bar scene.
Upstairs, Andrea's is a sneeringly fun karaoke bar, but a tiny dance floor downstairs holds its real charm. Beneath the strains of amateur renditions of Journey songs lies a steamy, rhythm-infused salsa club. The dance floor is admittedly small, but that doesn't stop true salsa dancers from flocking to this club to infuse a little Cuban motion into the night.
Dante's has found its calling by reviving the nearly forgotten art of cabaret and burlesque. Dante's is a venue for everything that gets your adrenaline going. When not hosting fan dancers or go-go girls, the stage thumps with live rock and roll.
Portland's epicenter of boutique shopping is in Nob Hill. You won't find many brand-name stores in this trendy haven, but you will find some of the most creative clothing in the city. Spas, delicatessens and coffee shops make shopping in this neighborhood an all-day affair.
Pioneer Place is the heart of Portland's shopping experience. Located in the thick of downtown, this four-block shopping district caters to urbanites in search of haute couture. Thanks to the state's zero sales tax, visitors shop with much less guilt at Pioneer Place's high-end stores.
Want a hand-blown piece of glass art? How about a handcrafted lamp made from tin cans? Or perhaps you want a piercing right here and now. Well, Portland's Saturday Market, which is also open on Sundays, is the place to go. Open from March until it gets too cold, the market is a gathering place for artists, chefs, musicians, and free spirits who share their talents with the world at large.
Once a less-than-noteworthy area, the Pearl District has undergone a renaissance and is now one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods. Boutiques, art galleries, and cafes are now the norm in this previously industrial area. Artists make themselves available to chat on the first Thursday of every month during the neighborhood's monthly art walk.
The mother of all outdoor stores, the Columbia Sportswear flagship store is located in the historic United Carriage Company Building in downtown Portland. The building's basalt columns and timber beams all add to the company's mystique as producer of the most practical, durable, and fashionable outdoor gear in the industry.