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Where to Go to in Sylvan-Highlands, Portland

Where to Go to in Sylvan-Highlands, Portland 

We Portlanders know Sylvan-Highlands as one of the most charming neighborhoods in our city, with plenty of green spaces and hidden gems to love.

Want to see them for yourself? Join us, then! We’ll take you on a tour of the spots where you absolutely have to go when looking for something fun to do in this area. 

1. Oregon Zoo

ADDRESS4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-226-1561
OPERATING HOURSMonday – Sunday 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM 
PRICEAdult (12 +): $24Child (2-11): $19Infant (0-1): FreeMember: FreeGroup (20+ people): $18 each

If you’re against supporting zoos because they could be harsh to animals and their habitat, don’t worry. The Oregon Zoo isn’t like that. 

This zoo is a home to 165 species and subspecies. When we say home, we mean that the zoo aims for the species’ conservation and well-being. 

There are lots of things to see here like different animal habitats such as black bear ridge, cascade crest, cougar crossing, insect zoo, and many more. 

Don’t know where to go first here? We suggest the Polar Passage (polar bears, obviously) and the Africa Rainforest Aviary (for spectacular flamingos!), but really, every part of this place is wonderful if you love animals.

Pro tip:
There’s a scavenger hunt activity that might make your visit more fun and educational. Download it here before you go to the Oregon Zoo!

2. World Forestry Center – Discovery Museum 

ADDRESS4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-228-1367
OPERATING HOURSWednesday – Sunday 11 AM – 4 PMMonday & Tuesday Closed
PRICEAdults: $5Seniors (62+): $5Youth (3 – 18): $5Children (0-2): Free

Here’s another educational way to spend your time at the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood – the Discovery Museum at the World Forestry Center!

It’s a 20,000 sq ft. building that houses different educational displays about how forests are an integral part of our ecological system. 

Of the three exhibits on the first floor as of writing, we found the Timberjack Harvester to be the most enjoyable because you get to ride the machinery and operate it!

We also suggest checking out the Langdon Plate Collection. It shows how beautiful wood is through 150 wooden plates by a local wood carver named James Porter Langdon. 

Image from World Forestry
Image from World Forestry

Pro tip:

One of the highlights of our trip was seeing the petrified slump. It doesn’t sound remarkable, but wait until you hear how old it is! It’s 5 million years old! You’ll be able to see this outside the Discovery Museum, so make sure you don’t miss it. 

3. Hoyt Arboretum – wedding meadow, redwood deck, bamboo garden

ADDRESS4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-865-8733
OPERATING HOURSMonday – Sunday 5 AM – 10 PM 

Hoyt Arboretum is a habitat to a lot of endangered species and thriving wildlife. With 2,300 species of trees and shrubs in this area, it’s no wonder it’s dubbed the living museum of trees in Portland. 

Inside the 189 acre space, there are a lot of things you can do (which are mostly related to exploration and education). 

There are guided tours and field trips. At the guided tours, you can either schedule a group tour (minimum of 20 people) or join the upcoming ones like Members’ Spring Blossom Tour or Fraxinus and Emerald Ash Borer Tour. 

As for the field trips, it’s especially designed for those in grades 1 to 5, so they’re mostly for kids. 

Pro tips:

  • To see what upcoming guided tours are available, check their website from time to time. 
  • There are also must-visit sites at the Hoyt Arboretum that we wouldn’t want you to miss like the Redwood Deck and the Bamboo Garden Nursery

The Redwood Deck is the perfect spot if you want to take beautiful pictures of the scenery. They even use the area for wedding ceremonies, picnics, outdoor classrooms, and more. 
At the Bamboo Garden Nursery, you’ll have the chance to see 300 varieties of bamboo. They say that this is where you’ll see the most diverse collection of bamboo.

4. The Racquet Club

4. The Racquet Club
ADDRESS1853 SW Highland Rd, Portland, OR
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-223-5460
OPERATING HOURSTuesday – Sunday 9 AM – 5 PM 

Despite the name, you don’t have to be an exclusive member in order to play tennis here. They also accept guests at their 2 outdoor tennis courts, 3 indoor courts, and 1 seasonal pool. 

Anyway, The Racquet Club is quite a historic establishment in Portland because it’s been around since 1929. A bit of trivia: it was initially called The Highlands Racquet Club (since it’s in the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood), but they shortened it to what it is now in 1945. 

Pro tip:

If you want to be a member, you have to be invited first! If you know anyone who’s a member of The Racquet Club, ask them to introduce you so you can receive an invitation. 

5. Washington Park Archery Range

5. Washington Park Archery Range
Image from Explore Washington Park
ADDRESSSW Kingston Dr, Portland, OR
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-319-0999
OPERATING HOURSMonday – Sunday 8 AM – 10 PM 

Washington Park Archery Range is located in the premises of Washington Park, which is probably one of our team’s favorite parks. There are plenty of things to see and do here like the International Rose Tea Garden, memorial statues… and of course the archery range. 

It’s free, but you have to bring your own equipment. Moreover, the parking is also free, so this is the perfect way to enjoy your time without spending anything. 

Pro tip:

  • Do note that they don’t allow crossbows. 
  • Go here in the morning on a weekday to avoid crowds and ensure a spot!

6. Clift House Ceramics & Claystation Studio

ADDRESS4600 SW Fairhaven Dr, Portland, OR 

At the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood, you can also get in touch with your inner artist and create something from scratch. There’s a really nice ceramics studio here: Clift House Ceramics & Claystation Studio!

They offer one-on-one sessions, which is perfect if you really want to learn. We found that these push us to really take the sessions seriously because it’s just us and the artist! 

You don’t have to be at a certain level to sign up for this session – don’t worry! Our staff who tried this have never touched a pottery wheel in their life! 

However, they can now manage to make a simple cup which we see them use quite a lot in the office (you go, Bry and Nicole!). 

Pro tip:

If you don’t want to go to the hassle of making your own ceramics, that’s fine too! This studio also sells their own creations – all of which are unique, so they sell out fast. 

They have bowls, cups, mugs, vases, bottles, sculptures, and more! Stuff here isn’t that expensive either. For example, a cylindrical vase costs $100.

7. The Dancing Mary


The Dancing Mary is a statue of the Virgin Mary surrounded by a bunch of gravestones. It’s as eerie as it’s beautiful. 

If you find its name a bit scary, you’re right on the nose. It got its name because at night, the statue appears to be dancing. 

We won’t say more. Check it out for yourself and see!

Pro tip:

Stand on the street at the bottom of the hill to see the optical illusion. It doesn’t work as well elsewhere!

8. Aubrey Watzek House

8. Aubrey Watzek House
Image from Wikipedia
ADDRESS1061 SW Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-241-2886

This fascinating piece of historic architecture has been around since 1936! As soon as it was completed in 1937, it was recognized as a major regional statement of Modern architecture. 

Fast forward to 2011, it became recognized as a National Historic Landmark. It was designed by John Yeon for Aubrey Watzek and is said to contribute a ton in defining what Modernism is when it comes to architecture. 

Pro tip:

Itching to know more about this house? Sign up for a 1-hour tour here. This is the perfect way to know more about the house’s history and architecture. 

9. Pizzicato Pizza

ADDRESS1749 SW Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR
CONTACT DETAILS+1 503-221-8784
OPERATING HOURSSunday – Thursday 11:30 AM – 8 PMFriday & Saturday 11:30 AM – 9 PM

When we go to the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood, we usually pass by Pizzicato Pizza. 

What we love most about this pizza place is that they offer delicious classics a lot with fancier delights that make you want more. We know because it was the case for us!

Examples of the classics they have available are margherita, pepperoni, and just cheese. Whereas their fancier options are squista (with lamb sausage!), capicola + hot honey, and puttanesca. 

Pro tips:

  • They have monthly specials so make sure to check those out. 
  • Our ultimate fave is the Quattro Formaggi because a lot of the staff at Rip City Review are hardcore cheese lovers! If you don’t like cheesy pizza, however, we suggest ordering Genovese. It’s made with fresh spinach, roasted garlic and peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta. It has a pesto base.
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