“Keep Portland Weird”, a great slogan for a city that deserves it. Between the surrounding nature and the cultural impact that the city has represented, Portland is the place to be for those who like things a little different. In order to experience the entirety of Portland and the surrounding area, having an SUV would be a good decision. If you find yourself wanting to scratch the itch of visiting Portland, here’s a list of a few things to be sure to explore.
The Pittock Mansion is a home constructed in 1909 that features 46 different rooms on a 46 acre piece of land. It was built at the direction of the famous publisher and political activist Henry Pittock. The state of Oregon obtained the rights to the property in 1965 and has made the mansion open to the public. The mansion has a specific antique feel and oddly enough, attracts bird watchers due to it being located 1000 feet above sea level. The appearance of the home as well as its unique location has made it a popular film asset. You can find the mansion in the hills to the West of the city.
Washington park is a nature reserve that covers over 410 acres of land. It’s easy to spend a whole day there so be sure to pack up your car with everything you need. Although it features sprawling expanses of nature, the park has plenty of things to do besides look at foliage. It has a zoo, various gardens, tennis courts, playgrounds and an arboretum. It’s almost like the Disneyland of Portland, featuring activities and nature with a little Oregon spin. If you are more active you can explore the 15 miles of trails that wind throughout the property.
Forest Park is connected to Washington park but is different enough to give it its own small section here. Living on over 5000 acres and featuring over 70 miles of trails its truly massive. It would be categorized as just a natural park and with its sheer size has something for everyone looking to get their nature fix.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
If you’re looking for something closer to the city, the Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a great hang. It runs along a patch of the Willamette River. Here you can just relax, go for a jog, or soak in the views of the city. For the most part the park is divided into 5 different areas that serve different purposes (hosting concerts for example). The park is a nice area to be, but if you can make it when the Cherry Blossoms bloom it really becomes something special.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
A little known fact about Portland is that it has a Chinese sister city, Suzhou. In certain parts of the city there is Chinese influence which can be confusing to some who are unaware of the relationship the two cities have with one another. This is mostly seen in the Lan Su Chinese Garden. It is seen as the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. It’s a walled, Chinese garden that will really make you feel like you’ve been transported outside of the US. When translated into English the name means, “ Garden of the Awakening Orchids”. Highly recommended for those who stand behind “keeping Portland weird”.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
If you’ve had your fix of nature and want to see more of the city, head over to Pioneer Courthouse Square. It’s commonly referred to as “Portland’s Living Room” by locals. It’s similar to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park and is somewhat of an urban park. While being within the city, it’s a great place to relax and take it all in. The bricks that form the walkways have names on them from the residents who donated to fund the project. A grassroots effort that keeps the city lively and beautiful.
Although Portland is somewhat of a cultural hub, it really is meant to be experienced outdoors. If you’re alright with making the drive out the local area has a lot more to offer you. If you enjoy nature and some friendly people, Portland might be for you! Explore around and see if there’s anything else that would make your trip spectacular!