Portland, Oregon is a place full of unique places to see, delicious restaurants, and a lively atmosphere. The past few weeks I’ve shared a lot of photos of the various places I visited and now I am putting them into one easy travel guide for your Portland trip!
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
On our first day in Portland, we went to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. It was a great first glimpse into Portland! We walked around the area and took some photos, all while enjoying the beautiful weather. You can walk the long path or bike it! Afterward, go grab a bite to eat at one of the many nearby downtown restaurants. We walked over to Veggie Grill on SW Taylor Street and enjoyed a delicious meal! Also nearby is my favorite Portland restaurant Departure.
In addition to being beautiful itself, Pittock Mansion offers astounding views of Portland and Mount Hood. Sitting atop a hill, you’ll get great photos of Mount Hood here. The tour of Pittock Mansion is $10 for adults and free for children under 6. To see more photos from my visit, check out my post on the mansion here.
The Japanese Gardens are something you simply can’t miss in Portland. The scenery is gorgeous and the environment is so relaxing and peaceful. Admission for adults is $9.50 and the gardens stay open until 7 pm during summer. This is another place I recommend visiting on a weekday, preferably early to beat the crowds and the heat. It’s located above the Rose Gardens and Washington Park so be sure to stop by those while you’re in the area. To see more photos from the Japanese Gardens see my post here.
A few minutes from the Japenese Gardens is the equally beautiful International Rose Test Garden. The flowers are absolutely beautiful and so many of them were so unique! It’s really not something to be missed! We went on a Thursday evening and got to take our time exploring the gardens and taking photos of the gorgeous flowers.
To get a real feel for Portland culture, visit the Portland Saturday Market. You’ll find so many unique handmade items along with ethnic food carts as well as vegan options! Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s still fun to explore and browse each stand. It’s across from the waterfront park so afterward, you can head over there for a relaxing stroll by the water!
Technically the next places aren’t in Portland but they are such amazing places that are only a short drive away that I had to include them! First up is the waterfalls off of the Columbia River Gorge Highway. Pictured here is the Wahclecca Falls which were my favorite out of the ones we visited. You can take a short hike up to see the falls and continue on further if you choose to explore more of the area. To visit the other falls, keep driving down the highway and you’ll see signs for Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls, and Oneonta Falls.
Cape Horn Overlook
For an amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge, I highly recommend stopping at the Cape Horn Overlook in Stevenson, Washington. To get there from the Columbia River Gorge Highway, just cross the Bridge of the Gods and turn left to head west on the 14. Continue for about 17 miles and then you will reach the Cape Horn Overlook. It really has the best view and you can capture beautiful photos here!
By far my favorite thing we did while on our trip was ziplining at the Skamania Lodge. When we were driving on the Columbia River Gorge Highway, we passed a sign for the Skamania Lodge and Ziplining. I knew how much Thomas loved ziplining and pointed it out to him and he immediately started looking it up. After going back to our AirBnB and doing some more research, we decided to book a reservation for the next day. The zipline tour is about two hours and takes you through gorgeous forests. You do 7 ziplines and cross 3 sky bridges while on the tour. I am very afraid of heights and not one to do risky activities but since we were on vacation, I decided to challenge myself by doing the zipline tour. I absolutely loved it and felt so safe the whole time! I recommend planning one whole day trip to see the falls and river gorge, then go ziplining, and stop at the Cape Horn Overlook while heading back to Portland. The Skamania Lodge is only about 1 hour away from Portland and it’s well worth the trip.
So there you have it! Those are all my favorite things to do in Portland! For a guide on where to eat, be sure to check out my post on the best restaurants in Portland!