Categories > Guides and Tips

15 Stunning Viewpoints in Portland You Need to See

15 Stunning Viewpoints in Portland You Need to See

It’s no secret that Portland is rich with natural scenery. Despite its relatively flat downtown, it is surrounded by foothills and mountains. 

With a setting that straddles the Willamette River and borders the beautiful Columbia River, and has the stunning Cascade Mountains as a backdrop… Well, all you need is to find the right viewpoint to capture a beautiful memory here.

Here are some of the best Portland viewpoints you need to see.

 1. Pittock Mansion | 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 

The Pittock Mansion offers the best views of Mount Hood from Portland. Aside from being an excellent place to learn more about the city’s history, it’s also an excellent location from which to view the entire city and Mt. Hood.

The mansion’s hours are limited, but visitors can enjoy a guided tour of this community landmark from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Simply walk past the mansion to the far end of the backyard for the best view of Portland’s skyline and the mountains beyond the city. 

Other than that, the mansion is also worth a visit for birdwatching since it’s renowned for that activity. Its beauty might even convince you to move to Portland for good!

2. The International Rose Test Garden | 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR

The city skyline can be seen from the International Rose Test Garden’s edge. Actually, besides the free guided tours of the rose garden visitors can enjoy, they can also experience the panoramic views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood in the distance.

The garden’s primary function, however, is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties, with the majority of the rose varieties commercially available. If you take a closer look, you might even gather some lawn design inspirations based on the roses. 

In fact, the garden contains over 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 different varieties, making a stroll through the roses an unforgettable experience.

3. Mount Tabor Park | SE Salmon Way, Portland, OR

Another viewpoint in Portland that you should check out is Mount Tabor Park. It’s a well-liked open forest park that is regarded as the ideal getaway for city folk and tourists. 

The views from the park’s heights are breathtaking, offering a 360-degree panorama of downtown Portland below and Mount Hood beyond the city. Check out the reservoirs, though, if you want more foreground in your photograph.

Mount Tabor, like most parks, provides visitor amenities and entertainment such as covered picnic areas, playgrounds, and a community garden. You can also do more energetic activities such as hiking and riding trails. 

It’s also the best time to visit this park during the fall season because the trees put on a spectacular show with their tapestry of colors at that time.

Mount Tabor Park SE Salmon Way, Portland, OR

4. Portland City Grill | 111 SW 5th Ave 30th Floor, Portland, OR

Take your friends with you and enjoy the beautiful vistas of Portland through the Portland City Grill. Situated on the 30th floor, Portland City Grill provides unrivaled views of Portland, all the way out to the Cascade Mountains – all of this while you eat with them.

Speaking of which, you can treat yourself to American dishes with an Asian twist while enjoying a skyline view. Not to mention their sophisticated bar, where you can order a standout wine or a crafted cocktail to accompany your menu selection. 

The place is also vegan-friendly so you don’t have to worry much about certain dietary restrictions. Take notes so you’ll know what you’ll try for your next culinary experience! 

5. Eastbank Esplanade | SE Water Avenue & SE Hawthorne Blvd, Buckman

A unique way to see the city’s bridges and the stunning Portland skyline is from the Eastbank Esplanade. It meanders for about 1.5 miles along the Willamette River’s eastern shore in Portland, making it the ideal place to get a bird’s-eye view of the city and Willamette Park.

Given the presence of a pedestrian and bicycle pathway, the esplanade is a great place to stroll, jog, or ride a bike. Additionally, a portion of it has a stunning floating walkway along the actual river.

A local tip for tourists: the area has the best lighting in the morning. Therefore, you might want to set an alarm for an early stroll in order to get the ideal selfie or photo opportunity.

6. Butte Summit | 3341 NE Rocky Butte Rd, South Madison

Visit the Rocky Butte Natural Area in Portland for stunning views of the Cascade Mountain range. This is undoubtedly the place to be if you want hundreds of views without many trees in the way.

The Butte summit can be seen from there, along with the surrounding mountains and wooded area. This includes the view of the range of cascading mountains: Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount Jefferson.

Additionally visible from a distance are Portland’s downtown, the airport, the Fremont Bridge, and the Columbia River. And because of all of that, it’s now a well-liked travel destination for tourists, climbers, and hikers.

Butte Summit 3341 NE Rocky Butte Rd, South Madison

7. The Roof Deck at Revolution Hall | 1300 SE Stark St #203, Portland, OR

People frequently gather on Revolution Hall’s picturesque rooftop deck to take in the sights of Portland. Since you can enjoy the view along with some casual dining and drinks, it’s clear why it’s so popular among tourists

The deck is located on top of a brick building, with the city in the background, overlooking a huge dog park. But, to experience a casual atmosphere, head over to their top floor roof deck for the draft beer, cocktails, and a grill menu.

Nevertheless, the most anticipated attraction by visitors is the expansive 360-degree views of Mt. Tabor and downtown Portland on clear days. However, depending on the weather, this rooftop deck is only accessible during certain seasons.

8. St. Johns Bridge | 8600 NW Bridge Ave, Portland, OR

St. Johns Bridge is a striking steel suspension bridge in Portland, Oregon, that crosses the Willamette River from the Cathedral Park neighborhood to Northwest Portland. It’s arguably Portland’s most picturesque and tallest bridge.

Visitors can unwind in the lovely surroundings of Cathedral Park beneath the bridge all year long. In addition, they can take pictures by strolling along the walkway.

Take a stroll beneath the bridge at sunset or sunrise to witness the sun’s magnificent display as it shimmers across the open water for an unforgettable experience.

 9. KOIN Tower | 222 SW Columbia Street Portland

In the heart of Portland’s downtown is the Koin Tower. This amazing skyscraper, the third tallest in Portland, takes up an entire city block.

From there, you can see the Willamette River docks, nearby urban parks, and the Forest park all the way in the distance. 

The Fountain Plaza Condominium, located at the top of the structure, offers breathtaking city views as well as background vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, of course.

The Koin Tower, which has 35 stories of luxury residential real estate, offices, and retail space, is known affectionately as “The Mechanical Pencil” due to its distinctive architectural design.

Portland Aerial Tram 3303 SW Bond Ave, South Portland

10. Portland Aerial Tram | 3303 SW Bond Ave, South Portland

The OHSU Marquam Hill Campus, also known as Pill Hill, has both indoor and outdoor observation decks, and this commuter tram will take you there. From there, you can see the city, Mount Hood, Mt. St. Helens, the Willamette River, and the bridges along the river.

Because it is a commuter tram, you might get to enjoy the decks with strolling crowds, most likely made up of people going to or from work or school.

Visiting in the evenings or late afternoons is a great idea for the best lighting. When the tram is closed, the good news is that you can still drive up to the observation decks. 

However, there have recently been so many new buildings in the area that it is difficult to get views without huge cranes, but it’s still worth visiting.

11. Downtown Pedestrian Bridges | Portland’s Downtown

Portland is commonly referred to as Bridgetown or Bridge City. And some of it will undoubtedly provide you with the natural setting you require for a break.

Only a few of the pedestrian bridges in Downtown Portland are the Hawthorne Bridge, Morrison Bridge, and Burnside (which also has the White Stag Portland, Oregon Sign). 

These bridges provide excellent views of the city and other bridges. You just have to be careful when crossing because these are not pedestrian-only bridges, unlike Tilikum Crossing, which is Portland’s only pedestrian-only bridge. 

It does not have the best views of the city, but it is a landmark in and of itself.

12. Departure Restaurant and Lounge | 525 SW Morrison St 15th Floor, Portland, OR

The Departure Restaurant and Lounge is located at the top of the historic Meier & Frank building on Morrison Street in Portland. Most of its customers describe the restaurant as fine dining with stylishly appointed surroundings.

It has two rooftop decks with breathtaking views of the downtown Portland skyline, the Willamette River, and Mount St. Helens. If you are less adventurous, you can eat inside and indulge in the modern pan-Asian cuisine they offer, accompanied by curated cocktails, if you will.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR

13. Tom McCall Waterfront Park | 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR

The award-winning Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which can be found in downtown Portland, is home to beautiful blossoms and beautiful scenic views.

Looking toward Waterfront Park provides the perfect explanation for why Portland is known as Bridgetown. From there, you can see all eight of their bridges, and if you cross one of them, you can also see the beautiful grassy park with its delicious food carts.

Every year, the park hosts a number of popular festivals and events that we believe you will not want to miss.

14. Council Crest Park | SW Council Crest Dr, Southwest Portland

The Council Crest Park is regarded as the city’s highest point. Despite its small size, this park has several lookout points, making it a perfect place to see the whole city of Portland.

On clear days, you can see Fremont Bridge and the Rose Garden to the east, as well as the five mountains in the distance. However, if you enjoy greenery and trees, head to the park’s west side. 

Don’t forget to take photos as a souvenir of your visit to this breathtaking viewpoint!

15. Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park | 611 SW Kingston Ave, Southwest Portland

The Japanese Garden in Portland is a popular destination with plenty of photo opportunities. It is also a location where you can keep an eye out for any natural scenery. 

Views of the city and Mt. Hood can be seen to the east, making way to the eastern side of the Garden’s pavilion as the spot for the best view.

Of course, clear days are ideal for visiting the Japanese Garden. It’s especially beautiful in the spring, when cherry blossoms bloom. 

It’s actually also one of the city’s best cherry blossom viewing spots that you need to check out.

Travel Tips to Remember

Travel Tips to Remember

When you want to visit different viewpoints in Portland, you might want to equip yourself with some of the essential travel tips, not just for safety but to make sure you get the best out of it. Check out the following:

  • Remember to check the forecast for the clearest days. Going to the viewpoints on a cloudy day may interfere with the view, and you don’t want that. Tip: weather outside of July in Portland is difficult to predict.
  • Bring a long lens if you want to capture the city and the mountains while shooting from one of the viewpoints. It will make everything appear closer together and prevent the mountain from appearing as a small bump in the background.
  • You may never know when the rain will come so always have a raincoat with you. 
  • When visiting viewpoints, try to get up early to avoid crowds, that is, when the spot you’re going to is best in the morning. If it’s beautiful in the evening, try to get there late in the afternoon.
  • Always bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated.
  • Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of a perfect photo opportunity but being unable to capture it due to a dead camera battery. That’s why it is always a good idea to have an extra camera and camera battery on hand.
  • If you decide to stroll along some of the viewpoints on a sunny day or even on a cloudy day, wear sunscreen. 

If you haven’t been to any viewpoints in Portland, make this list your own bucket list, and don’t miss the beautiful scenery the city has to offer.

Related topics