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The 12 Most Beautiful Places in Portland You Have to See to Believe

Visiting Portland but don’t want to fall into tourist traps and endless artisan coffee shops? Believe it or not, that’s easy enough in good ol’ Rip City. There’s no shortage of places here that are as picturesque as they are peaceful, free of all the tourist and urban chaos.

To show you what we mean, our team compiled the most beautiful parks, gardens, and historical sites within the city. We skipped the commercial spaces and urban areas, so you’ll only find serene, breathtaking locations here!

South Park Blocks


Address: 1436 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97201, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-2525

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Set along 12 blocks of S.W. Park Avenue,, the South Park Blocks are among the most beautiful places in downtown Portland if you love greenery. This place is lined with trees, fountains, statues, and small gardens – a real breath of fresh air, basically.

As you stroll through the area, you’ll encounter some of Portland’s cultural gems like the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Historical Society. It’s also home to the Portland Farmers Market every week, where you can find fresh local produce and artisan goods. 

If you’re a fan of roses, visit during the peak season! The flowers are in full bloom, making it an awesome spot for photos. But if you prefer to relax, just pick a bench and enjoy coffee from a nearby café.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park


Address: 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-7529 

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM 

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a beautiful riverfront park within walking distance of downtown Portland. If you want to see the place in its best form, it’s especially stunning in spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!

The park hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, including the popular Waterfront Blues Fest and Oregon Brewers Festival. It’s also a great place for a leisurely stroll, jog, or bike ride along the waterfront path.

The park is also close to the bustling Saturday Market, making it a convenient spot to explore local crafts and food. And with grassy areas to relax and numerous food carts nearby, it’s perfect for a picnic or just relaxing by the river.

Portland Japanese Garden


Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-223-1321

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

If you’re ever in Portland, all you need is just 15 minutes from downtown to get to this stunning garden. It’s your best portal to a bit of Japanese culture, complete with a delightful music display by talented artists. 

If you want to visit the café in this garden, make sure to make reservations – it can be crowded during busy months. Parking costs $2 and it can be tricky as well with the crowd, so, you know, plan ahead!

For those feeling a bit adventurous, you can spend half a day here to try some of the uphill walks and stairs. For something more peaceful, there are also uncrowded paths for a leisurely stroll.

Leach Botanical Garden


Address: 6704 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97236, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-208-6030

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

What makes Leach Botanical Garden a great place to visit is that it’s very beginner and first-timer friendly. There are well-marked trails, plus the staff are super helpful – they make the modest $5 entrance worth it.  

One of the highlights is the skywalk that circles the Douglas Fir Grove – go here for that breathtaking overlook of the grounds! It’s a must-see for gardeners and native plant enthusiasts alike, especially during spring when the flowers are in full bloom.

The park is also perfectly sized – not too big, not too small. That’s why we think it’s great for families with kids going on a day out. The plants are just extraordinary, and there’s something amazing around each bend in the path. 

Forest Park


Address: Portland, OR 97231, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-4492

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Forest Park is a great spot for adventurous souls thanks to its numerous trails. It’s actually a pretty popular spot – the sight of both tourists and locals isn’t new here – but it still feels secluded and peaceful. 

Another great thing about this park is the cool temperatures, no matter what time of day or seasons of the year. Plus, there are charming homes surrounding the park, so you can take short breaks for that IG-worthy shot. 

The area is also pet-friendly so you can tag your dog along for your daily run – just make sure to keep them on a leash at all times. By the way, there aren’t any trash bins along the paths so you might want to hold on to that poop bag until you finish your run!

Hoyt Arboretum


Address: 4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 97221, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-865-8733

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

The Hoyt Arboretum is 190-acre park that features an extensive collection of trees from around the world. Each tree is labeled too, so it’s pretty much an educational experience as you wander the trails.

Speaking of trails, there are plenty to choose from, with varying lengths and difficulties. The paths range from paved and accessible to more rugged options that can get quite muddy in the winter, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.

Parking is convenient with spots available near the visitor center, though it’s always wise to hide your valuables to avoid any theft. The parking kiosk charges $4 for two hours, which is usually enough time to explore the highlights of the Arboretum. 

But if you’re lucky, you might even snag some free street parking nearby!

Pittock Mansion


Address: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-3623

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The Pittock Mansion, built in 1914, is a charming historical gem in Portland. It’s pretty much a self-guided tour, with informational signs that make it easy to learn about the house, the Pittock family, and its history.

Buying a ticket grants you access to the mansion and another nearby building, so it’s not much to pay if you can spend a day. The mansion itself features a French Renaissance style, intricate woodwork, and beautiful stained glass windows. 

The views from Pittock Mansion are also some of the best in Portland, with breathtaking sights of Mt. Hood and the city skyline on clear days. You can bike to it for a challenging ride or get there through a peaceful 30-minute stroll. 

Peninsula Park


Address: 700 N Rosa Parks Way, Portland, OR 97217, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-2525

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Like most Portland parks, Peninsula Park is a wonderful place to relax. At the south end, you’ll find a beautiful garden with benches and fountains. It also has a nicely shaded path around its perimeter, perfect for a stroll or a jog.

At the north end, there’s plenty to keep you active with a playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, and even a calisthenics park and horseshoe pits. In the middle, there’s a spacious open field, ideal for picnics or playing catch. 

For a touch of culture, there are art sculptures on the west side of the walking path. And of course, the park features a rose garden that you really can’t miss!

International Rose Test Garden


Address: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-3636 

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

The International Rose Test Garden is a must-visit spot for nature lovers. Even if you visit when the roses aren’t in bloom, the garden’s pleasant atmosphere and lush greenery still make for a stunning sight

The garden features different sections such as the Test Garden, Gold Medal Garden, and Shakespeare Garden – each showcasing unique varieties of roses. 

You can easily spend 1 to 2 hours admiring the flowers and learning about the different types. Just remember not to disturb the plants or bees!

Even though parking can be a bit tight on nice days, it’s worth the visit. Parking is $2 per hour, and while it can fill up quickly, it’s actually easy to find and the short walk to it is pretty pleasant. 

Mount Tabor Park


Address: SE 60th Avenue and Salmon Street, Portland, OR 97215

Contact Details: +1 503-823-7529

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Mt. Tabor Park is one of the best in Oregon, perfect for walking, running, and exploring with friends. It has everything you could want in a serene park –  designated routes, fresh air, and beautiful, gigantic trees.

If you enjoy hiking, Mt. Tabor Park offers plenty of dirt trails for an adventurous trek. You can either walk from the neighborhood or drive to the top for a shorter journey. 

The park’s layout makes it easy to navigate – you might actually circle back to your starting point without realizing it! 

The view from the top is definitely the highlight, as it’s also a perfect spot for a picnic or a quick workout (the climb already has your blood flowing!). The park’s size and many visitors make it safe, but it’s always good to stay with a buddy, especially as the sun goes down.

The Grotto


Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-254-7371

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

The Grotto has multiple spaces that you can visit for various purposes. The lower section is free and features lovely walking paths, a gift shop, and a beautiful cathedral that’s open to the public. 

One of the highlights of The Grotto is the amazing elevator that takes you up to the upper gardens with incredible structures in sight. Although it costs $10 for adults and $5 for kids, the upper gardens are well worth the price. 

The place also has this beautiful chapel that many photographers in Portland love using as a background. So, if you’re ever tying the knot in the city, consider this as a great wedding shoot spot!

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden


Address: 5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-267-7509 

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Crystal Springs is perfect for couples, families, and even elders and children, thanks to its walkable paths and manageable size. While dogs on leashes are allowed, you might want to leave them at home to fully enjoy the peaceful garden.

For those interested in learning more about the flora, there’s a learning center within the park. Restrooms and drinking fountains are also conveniently located, and there’s a gorgeous grassy area perfect for picnics. 

Entrance fee to the park is only $5, giving you access to the park’s trails if you prefer to hike or run. The best time to visit is when the flowers are in full bloom during spring although March, with its pleasant weather, is a great time as well.

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