Fun things to do in Portland

  • Things to Do
    by sequoiaknight
  • Things to Do
    by sequoiaknight
  • Things to Do
    by sequoiaknight

Most Viewed Things to Do in Portland

  • Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial

    by sequoiaknight Written May 17, 2014

    In Washington Park on a small hill lies the beautiful Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The park consists of a circular path which depicts by year Oregonians who were killed or who are still missing in action while serving in Vietnam. As you walk along the path each year is depicted by a description of what occurred during that year of the war as well as the Oregonian soldiers who perished. The park is situated in a way that creates a feeling of solitude and respect. The landscaping is first rate and maintained wonderfully.

    The park was completed in 1987 by the local architectural firm of Walker Macy. Nearly all of the materials in the park were provided by volunteers or local contributions.

    What is particularly beautiful about the park is that it connects directly with the trail system in Forest Park and the Hoyt Arboretum.

    There is no entrance fee and the memorial is open at all times.

    The Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial is an 8-acre (0.03 km2) outdoor memorial dedicated to Oregonians who served in the Vietnam War. It is located in Portland, Oregon's Washington Park at 45.5120°N 122.71857°W. The memorial was dedicated in 1987, inspired in 1982 by visits to the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial by five veterans and the parents of a Marine killed in Vietnam.[1] Landscape architecture firm Walker Macy of Portland designed the memorial,[2] while construction labor and materials were almost entirely volunteer donations.

    The memorial is wheelchair accessible and consists of a 1,200-foot (370 m) spiral path within an immaculately landscaped bowl containing lawns, flowers, and low hedges, surrounded by a mixture of tall trees. Along the path are understated monuments which list Oregon soldiers killed or missing in the conflict. Each monument is year-specific and contains short expositions on the history of the war that effectively communicate its progression: a slow beginning escalating to a crescendo then diminishing before the end.

    The memorial is located in the Hoyt Arboretum, adjacent to the World Forestry Center and the Oregon Zoo. The nearby trail system connects to Forest Park and is close to the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. It is accessible by U.S. Route 26 and by Portland's MAX light rail system, which has a station in Washington Park.

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    Nearby Locations to Portland: Columbia Gorge

    by glabah Written Nov 2, 2013

    With several dozen incorporated cities, dozens of smaller towns, several dozen state parks in Oregon and Washington, and great gobs of land owned by the National Forest Service, the Columbia River Gorge has enough activities available to keep an outdoor enthusiast busy for several years. There is no possible way to try to cram all of this into a single VirtualTourist tip.

    The most famous of all tourist attractions in the Columbia Gorge is Multnomah Falls, but unfortunately it is not possible to get to this location except by driving or biking on the highway. However, there are dozens of other waterfalls along the Columbia Gorge (lots of rain and a 2,000 foot deep canyon will do this) that are less known.

    While I can't attempt to do a complete job of describing the Columbia River Gorge here, I have attempted to put together a bit of information about it. As this location is well outside Portland, and since so much of it can be divided into the local cities close to all the attractions, much of my information is placed in the specific communities and locations through the Gorge.

    I have accumulated a general Oregon tip for the Columbia River Gorge that gives a general overview of the Gorge here:
    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1ffbd4/
    which has links to some of the locations relevant to exploring the Columbia River Gorge.

    Columbia Gorge and Beacon Rock Multnomah Falls is a Most Popular Attraction
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    Willamette Shore Trolley

    by glabah Updated Oct 31, 2013

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    NOTE: The Trolley is currently out of service and the line is awaiting approval from the Oregon Department of Transportation to start service again.

    This heritage streetcar ride starts at Moody Avenue and Bancroft Street in Southwest Portland (near the end of the Portland Streetcar, and within 200 feet or so of the parking lot for Old Spaghetti Factory). The car currently in use is one of the "Broadway" type cars used in Portland in the later years of streetcars in Portland.

    The line ends in downtown Lake Oswego, after running along the Willamette River and passing through some areas with great scenery. In places Mount Hood is visible (though only the top portion) on very clear days, and views of the Willamette River that are not available through any other means are also available. There is a 1200 foot (410 meter) long tunnel. The line also runs beside the Willamette Greenway Trail in places.

    As there isn't any overhead wire yet, all of the streetcars that have been used on this line over the years have had generators tied into their electrical system. Such is the state of the current operation.

    Operation of this line as a heritage streetcar started in 1986, just after it had been purchased from the Southern Pacific Railroad. The first car used on the line was a double deck car from Blackpool, England. This car has since been moved to the Oregon Electric Railway Museum in Brooks (located at the Antique Powerland museum). Operating of this trolley is by the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society, which also operates that museum and the associated short trolley line in Brooks.

    Willamette Shore Trolley next to Greenway Trail Willamette Shore Trolley: 1880s route, 2000s homes Willamette Shore Trolley crossing road in SW PDX 2005 Convention: photo stop at street Group gets off car at photo stop location
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    Get outta town on 84

    by staindesign Written Mar 8, 2012

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    We took a little day trip from Portland to see some falls that were near by. You can reach Wahkenna and Multnomah Falls about 30 mins out of Portland. And the falls are pretty close off the exit. The trails and the falls are just beautiful. I was told that March begins the rainy time of the year and this time is the best time to see the falls. The Wahkenna Falls in this photo are a quick and easy trip to the top, less than a quarter mile hike. I loved how mossy the rocks were!

    Wahkenna Falls are about 242 ft and empty into the Colmbia River Gorge. They are located off of the Colmbia River High way.

    Wahkenna Falls
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    REED COLLEGE

    by mtncorg Written Oct 20, 2011

    Reed College dates to 1908 and is a true liberal arts school where all students gain an extensive introduction in to classical studies – Greece, Rome, biblical and Judaica. It is also the only school in the U.S. that boasts a nuclear reactor that is completely operated by undergraduate students. Following a qualifying exam in the junior year, all students must complete a senior thesis project. Upon the completion of the thesis, the student must be able to orally answer questions about their project but also about any other they have taken during the course of their studies at the school. The school has long been known as a center for anti-authoritarian progressivism – the unofficial motto used to be “communism, atheism and free love” though recent moves have been to amend that to “socialism, agnosticsm and safe sex” in honor of the changing mores of the 21st century. The lack of varsity athletic teams and fraternities was a deliberate act of protest against the prevailing Ivy league education model of the early 20th century. Reed is normally considered to fall within the top ranks of liberal arts colleges in the U.S. – it is certainly a demanding school and is as expensive as any others in the upper echelons, too. A high percentage of Reedies go on to earn doctorates or other advanced degrees after graduation.

    The campus covers some 116 acres and the original model was based on St John’s College at Oxford. Original campus buildings include the Library, the Old Dorm Block and Eliot Hall – the administrative center for the school. The architectual style is a brick Tudor Gothic, complete with griffon downspouts – the griffon is the school mascot – while in contrast, the science buildings were designed later in a Modernist style. Most students live on campus in one of the 18 residence halls, most of which are separated from the main campus by the forested Reed College Canyon. The canyon is a natural and wildlife preserve filled in large part by Reed Lake which is formed by a small dam on Crystal Creek. The Blue Bridge spans the lake connecting the northside dormitories with the main campus. So-called “Blue” for the black lights that are used to illuminate the pathway over the bridge at night.

    Little Man invites himself to lunch at Reed The Old Dorm Hall at Reed College Reed Lake and the Blue Bridge Reed Lake slows itself as a campus oasis Close up of architecture of Eliot Hall
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    FRANK MANOR HOUSE

    by mtncorg Written Oct 20, 2011

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    M. Lloyd Frank brought in New York architect Herman Brookman in the early 1920’s to design an estate for his family in the southwestern hills above Portland. Brookman developed the plans and construction began in 1924 with the Manor house being completed in 1926 and the grounds finalized in 1929. The cost was $1.3 million with $65,000 going towards the buildings – Albany College would be allowed to purchase the entire estate for the gift price of only $42,000 in 1942. Brookman would continue his career in Portland and several of his buildings can still be found adorning the local landscape: Temple Beth Israel in Northwest Portland; Harry Green/Bitar Mansion in Laurlehurst; Menucha, the former estate of Julius Meier – from the other half of the Meier & Frank story and also Oregon’s first Jewish governor – which is today an ecumenical retreat owned by the First Presbyterian Church of Portland and can be found at the west end of the Columbia River Gorge not far from Crown Point.

    Tudor Gothic at its best Across reflecting pools and gardens to Mt Hood Pool time at Lewis & Clark
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    LEWIS AND CLARK COLLEGE

    by mtncorg Written Oct 20, 2011

    Lewis & Clark College is a private school tucked away on top of Portland’s West Hills in the southwestern part of the city. The school of some nearly 2,000 undergraduates and almost 1,500 postgraduate students is centered around the magnificent grounds that made up the 1920’s M. Lloyd Frank estate known as Fir Acres. The home was built in 1926 with the grounds being completed in 1929. It was designed by New York architect Herman Brookman who would go on to designing several other gorgeous buildings in the area and also call Portland his home. The Frank family – two German brothers Emil and Sigismund – combined in the latter half of the 19th century with the Aaron Meier family to found the most successful department store in Oregon – Meier & Frank, which is today part of the Macy’s chain of stores. The house became vacant in 1935 after a divorce and the whole place quickly became overgrown. In June 1942, the Albany College – looking to relocate their campus from Albany some 60 miles to the south – purchased the estate for a bargain price. The school was renamed Lewis & Clark College in honor of the pioneer spirit which hopefully will continue to push in directions of discovery that motivated the two earlier famous explorers. In recent years, Lewis & Clark has expanded beyond its arts and science undergraduate focus to include a law school and a graduate School of Education and Counselling.

    The Frank Manor House is the administrative center today for the school. Most teaching buildings are arrayed to the northwest and below the Manor. The campus center and student housing – students spend at least their first two years on campus unless they already live in Portland – can be found to the southeast. Directly west from the Manor is the Agnes Flanagan Chapel. The conical shape reflects the influence of local Native American culture with sculpted figures of the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – also carrying a Native theme. The sculptures flank a bridge which leads into the chapel. The school began as a Presbyterian institution in 1858 in Albany – one of four Oregon colleges which predate Oregon’s Statehood – but today is non-affliated and the chapel serves as an ecumenical hall hosting several different worship services, as well as other non-religious events. At the center of the chapel is a magnificent pipe organ built by Casavant Freres of Quebec featuring 85 ranks. The pipeworks are suspended spectacularly from the center of the chapel ceiling.

    Yes, Monica Lewinsky is an alumnus of the college.

    The Little Man stands outside the Gatehouse at L&C The Frank Manor stands at the center of things The Agnes Flanagan Chapel at L&C College Bridge to the chapel flanked by the Four Apostles
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  • The Best Brew Bus Experience Ever!

    by A.Rose Written May 6, 2011

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    My friends and I like good beer, and being in Portland, it's a little overwhelming to decide which brewery to go to- with over 40 within city limits. This brewery tour is awesome because it picks you up, brings you up, and brings you around town to taste different beer. At each place there are at least 4 different beers to sample, plus a behind the scenes tour of the establishment by the brewer himself! He showed us the whole brewing process and explained what makes NW beer so good. We even got to taste beer poured straight off the zwickle in the cooler. We ate lunch at one of the breweries and the food was delicious too. It was fun to hang out with a group of people that have the same interests. The breweries were all in different neighborhoods, so riding in the bus from one to another was like a tour of the whole city. NW beer is different from the rest. And now I know why!

    Sampling beers in the cooler at the Laurelwood The beer mural on the ceiling The workers in action at Hopworks The tour guides Dad was visiting from N. Carolina Cup holders!
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    INTERNATIONAL ROSE TEST GARDEN

    by moiraistyx Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is one of the most beautiful rose gardens I have been to yet, although I have to admit that I felt it to be quite over crowded. When I came here late last may, the spring roses were in full bloom and the frangrance was out of this world. There were so many varieties that I can't keep what was what with the pictures straight.

    The International Rose Test Garden was established in 1917 due to the efforts of Jesse Currey and her fellow rose lovers. Jesse, a trustee of the American Rose Society, convinced local officials in 1915 to establish this beautiful garden to provide a safe place for hybrid roses from Europe during World War I. Her fellow rose enthusiasts and rose growers sent roses from many countries making the rose garden an instant success. As a result, the city of Portland issued the first annual Gold Medal Award for best new rose variety in 1919. Every year there is a one day judging held by rose experts during the month of June. To date Portland is the only remaining US city issuing this award. Portland also has another rose award called Portlands Best Rose which began being awarded in 1996. The International Rose Test Garden became an offical testing site for the All America Rose Selection (AARS) in 1940; there are only 24 such gardens nationwide. Before being awarded the AARS seal of approval plants are evaluated over a two year period on 14 characteristics including plant habit, vigor, disease resistance, color, flower production, form, foliage, and fragrance.

    Entrance to the magnificient garden is free and there is even a self guided tour guide available at:
    http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=1113

    The garden is located on 4.5 acres of land, has over 550 varities of roses and over 6800 blooming bushes during the season. Over 500 thousand people visit the rose garden each year. This is a very romantic place and often weddings are held amongst the blooms.

    ROSES
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    180 Eternity View of the Gorge

    by deWilde Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Vista House was built in the early 1900’s at a cost of approx. $100,000. It stands upon Crown Point at 733 feet above the Columbia River. The Vista House offers a sensational view of the Gorge both to the East and West. The building houses a very small gift shop and a small museum with images of the Vista House. The main floor gives you access to the upper observation deck that wraps around the Vista House. It’s such a great place to stop and take in the wonders that nature provides us with.

    Vista House View to the East Inside the Vista House Biking down the Historic Columbia River Highway Beautiful stained glass windows
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    The Rose Garden

    by birchy99 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Being the City of Roses it must have a Rose Garden. Well, it has two, one in the west hills and another across the river near the Convention Center. The Rose Garden is the venue for the Portland Jail, opps, Trail Blazers, NBA basketball team, and the sight of many, many concerts throughout the year. We recently attended, as we have three times in the last 6 years the Neil Diamond concert. Our favorite time was arriving early and sitting in the bar at the top of the escalator and watching all the middle aged boomers arrive in their "Diamond" outfits. Prices for drinks and food are outrageous, but what the heck. That's the way it is.
    The concert venue is good once they get the sound adjusted. Neil was in his glory although a bit grayer every time. One drawback is the lack of a taxi rank after the show. It's everyone for themselves. Also, the Max lightrail is very crowded, even thoug the system puts on extra trains for the events. We decided to walk the ten blocks back to the hotel this time and this resulted in blisters for the Mrs'. feet. Next time she'll wear Nikes. This time we had seats on the floor which one would think would be cool, however, being old folks we didn't like standing up for all the upbeat tunes. Next time it will be the 2nd balcony for us. You will be back, won't you Neil? After all our Bearded Collie alpha itchbay(The sensors won't allow using the word for female dog) Rosie, is named after "Cracklin' Rosie"; and she is a "Store Bought Woman" in real life.

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    EASTBANK ESPLANADE

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Having made the mistake of isolating city dwellers from the Westbank of the Willamette with the creation of a seawall and Harbor Drive in the 1920's and the 1940's, the ODOT went ahead and isolated those on the eastside of the river, for good measure, with the Eastbank Freeway (carrying I-5 traffic). The westbank was opened up with the creation of the Waterfront Park in the late 1970's. The Eastbank had to wait a few years, but the $30 million Eastbank Esplanade - opened in fall of 2001 - now brings people back to the river along this side, as well. The trail goes for 1.5 miles and connects to the Westbank via the Steel Bridge at its northern end. People like to go up along one bank and then loop around the southern end using the Hawthorne Bridge. The Esplanade connects to the south with the Forty Mile trail on which you can bike, skate or walk far out into the eastern suburbs of Gresham.

    The promenade offers superb views of the City skyline, albeit with the roar of the freeway next-door ever-present. Several pieces of public art are found en route, as are thirteen 'urban markers' which the street grid. Interpretive panels explain information regarding location specific history and development. Many trees and shrubs were planted, though some of the first trees had to be replaced because of beavers - this is the Beaver State, after all! The most fascinating part of the trail includes a 1200 long floating walkway - the longest of its type in the US, with an adjoining 120-foot public boat dock, providing space for recreational boaters. On the north end of the walk, near the Oregon Convention Center and the Rose Garden - the arena where Portland’s NBA Trail Blazer team plays - is an overlook above from which the river and the downtown can be viewed from.

    Most visitors to Portland will be staying downtown and both the Waterfront Park and Eastbank Esplanades are easily accessed. Take a few hours and walk both paths to gain a better understanding of both the City and the environment at its core.

    Downtown towers across from the Eastbank Esplanade
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    MADISON STREET PLAZA

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    At the south end of the Eastbank Esplande, next to the Hawthorne Bridge, is the Madison Street Plaza. Here you have a grand view of the City skyline at the site of the Fire Department's old fireboat station. A floating dock below offers access to the river.

    Hawthorne Bridge and City from the Plaza
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    WILLAMETTE RIVER OUTLINED

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Also at the Madison Street Plaza, a granite river map outlines the course of the Willamette River, explaining its path from above Eugene to its confluence with the Columbia River just over ten miles to the north. The Willamette is the soul of Oregon, the fertile valleys responsible for the thousands of 19th century pioneers who traveled west to Oregon. Cartography takes on a special meaning lying there at your feet.

    Mtncorg enjoying a little inlaid carotgraphy
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    MORRISON BLUFFS

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Morrison Bridge was completed in 1958. A regular concrete bluff was built up from concrete slurry that was leftover - washed out of the truck beds of concrete trucks involved in the bridge construction. The Esplanade wanders atop the slurry and provides a cantilevered steel deck out over so that you can look closer at the 'artifact' or gaze across the river at the buildings beyond.

    Concrete slurries and the Morrison Bridge beyond
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