Pearl District is one of the most visited neighbourhoods of Portland.
With a very special urban feel it is actually old storehouses which have been reconstructed to house restaurants, galleries and new style apartments.
Completed in 1978, this 36 acre park is officially called Governor Tom McCall Park. It consists of an esplanade walkway which is part of the riverfront corridor, the "bowl" that forms a natural amphitheater, Salmon Street Springs fountain area, the central lawn which is used for concerts, and the Arkeny Pump Station plaza, near the Saturday Farmers Market. The park hosts some 20 permit events each year, which together draw almost one million people, including 350,000 to the annual Rose Festival. Waterfront Park is used year-round for jogging, biking, walking, and picnicking. Other attractions in the park include the Japanese-American Historical Plaza (1990), the Battleship Oregon Memorial (1956), the Police Memorial (1993), and the Founders Stone honors Portland's founders.
In Portland's earliest years, the area forming the park was the city's busiest area, full of docks, warehouses, and boat traffic. The seawall was constructed in 1929, then Harbor Drive freeway was built on the river's edge in 1943, blocking access to the river from downtown. With the construction of I-5 and I-405, Harbor Drive could be closed and removed in 1974. Over the next 17 years, the city slowly constructed the park at a cost of $20 million.
Located above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park, Portland's Japanese Garden is one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. It also boasts one of the best views of Portland and Mt. Hood. The gardens are surrounded by tall evergreen trees and the grounds are covered with lush greenery, elegantly placed stones and carvings, and small ponds and a waterfall. There are several rock gardens and traditional tea rooms. This garden is a very relaxing, beautiful place to visit.
Adult admission is $6.50.
Portland is known as the City of Roses for a reason. There are several rose gardens and There are several different Rose Gardens in Portland, but Washington Park is, I believe, the largest. There are over 7,000 rose bushes which bloom during the summer months. Unfortunately for us, late May is not the best time to visit the Rose Garden, but, we were in the area and decided to stroll through. (Our friends told us October is a great time to visit to see the garden in full bloom.) Despite the roses not being in bloom, we enjoyed the walk through the well maintained garden and admired the other flowers in bloom. The public garden offers free admission and some great views of downtown Portland as well.
In June, the annual rose testing takes place. Certain sections of the garden are reserved for rose testing, and gardeners throughout the world submit hybrid roses, one of which is selected as the fairest of them all.
If you like roses at all, then the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park is definitely a must-see. I had read about an easy-to-grow rose in a magazine just before leaving for our trip - and lo and behold, the test garden had it. It was nice to check out a full-grown version of what I was interested in and find that I actually didn't care for this particular rose.
The rose garden also contains some sculpture art, an amphitheater, Shakespeare garden, and horticultural experts on hand to answer questions. While we were there, a bridal party was having pictures done. There was also a troupe of cyclists and just regular tourists like ourselves. I hope the locals, too, take advantage of the garden. The roses smell beautiful, and of course, you get great views of Portland and the surrounding area.
Portland has many beautiful parks in it. One that we like to go to alot is Washington Park. Not only will you find the zoo, japanese gardens, and rose test gardens there, but you'll also find this carousel.
If you've got little ones with you, you may like to take a visit to the Oregon Zoo, located in Washington Park. I highly recommend taking MAX to the zoo, getting off at the Washington Park stop. Show your transit ticket to the zoo fare booth and get $.50 off admission. Except on the second Tuesday of every month which is $2 Tuesday (zoo admission is only $2 for every age). Otherwise, zoo admission is $9.50 for adults and $6.50 for kids. $1 per car for parking should you drive.
Expect to pay out more money if you are interested in the zoo train (a 35 minute ride through Washington Park--you don't really see any animals from this train $3 adults, $2.25 for kids) feeding the lorikeets, ($1 for a cup of "nectar") or the Winged Wonders exhibit (butterfly aviary $2 per person, regardless of age). We bought a cup of "nectar" to feed the lorikeets but they weren't really interested in eating because having gone on $2 Tues they had already been fed to extremes. The Butterfly exhibit was totally worth the extra $2. They have butterflies hatching every day.
The zoo is somewhat known for its Asian elephant breeding program and is very concerned with animal conservation. Of course they work hard to enrich and protect the animals at the zoo which is why you will not get a straw or lid with your soda fountain purchase because they want to protect the animals from litter that might harm them.
I really had fun at the zoo. The bat exhibit was really cool and I really enjoyed the penguin feeding. I feel the polar bears need a new exhibit--what they have is too small.
The only thing that bothered me was that I was there with my little cousin and she had a hard time actually viewing some of the exhibits because the railing was often in her way. So, expect to lift kids up or have them look at animals from under the railing.
International Rose Test Gardens
The International Rose Test Garden is the reason why Portland is called the City of Roses. Established in 1917 by the American Rose Society, the garden has over 560 varieties of roses. If you love flowers, this is the place for you to visit!
Portland is home to three public rose gardens. Offering a spectacular view of the “City of Roses”, the 4.5-acre International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park is one of the largest and oldest rose test gardens in the country.
Portland is known as having many parks and pocket parks since it has the largest number of parks in a city in the mainland. Washington Park is the largest and most famous of the parks. The park has a number of notable attractions, including the International Rose Test Garden , Hoyt Arboretum , Japanese Gardens and the Oregon Zoo. The park has 129.51 acres (52.41 hectares) on mostly steep, wooded hillsides which range in elevation from 200 feet (61 m) at 24th & W Burnside to 870 feet (265 m) at SW Fairview Blvd.
Open Hours: 7am-9pm everyday
When in Portland you should see the Rose Garden. Not the big steel and glass building where the Trailblazer play, but the Rose Garden that is located in Washington Park. Pack a picnic lunch and spend a few hours walking around the garden and then enjoy a nice bite to eat in one of the side gardens. This is a great place to relax and cool down.
Upon getting lost in Washington Park, I at one moment thought how horrible it was, then i looked up and was surrounded my nature and breathtaking views into the forests within the park and quickly felt happiness that I got to get lost in such a wonderful place.
So many trails, not enough time! Saw a wedding take place, joggers taking a stroll, families on picnics, and tourists like me wondering around! Worth the trip, just wish I had more time to spend there!!!
The Portland International Rose Test Garden is the oldest continually open public rose test garden in the United States. It was founded in 1917 and is home to 550 varieties of roses and over 8,000 plantings. It is a lovely place to come for a stroll or picnic, especially so because it has a gorgeous view of the city skyline. In addition to stopping to smell the thousands of roses, highlights of a trip to the garden include a visit to the Shakespearean Garden and a stroll along the Queen's Walk where each Rose Festival Queen since 1907 has a plaque.
There are restrooms and a gift shop at the gardens.
Just like you can't go to Jake's Famous Crawfish restaurant and not eat crawfish, you can't go to the City of Roses and not go see the roses.
If you are interested in roses, go see my City of Roses travelogue.