Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Portland, Oregon

Welcome to Portland, Oregon – a city known for its unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and quirky charm. Whether you’re a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or a fan of all things weird, Portland has something to offer for everyone. From picturesque parks to world-class museums, here are some of the top-rated tourist attractions to explore in the Rose City.

First on the list is the iconic Powell’s City of Books, a must-visit for any book lover. With over one million new, used, and out-of-print books, Powell’s is not just a bookstore – it’s an experience. Take your time browsing through the stacks, getting lost among the shelves of literary treasures, and don’t forget to grab a coffee at the in-store cafe.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, visit the stunning Washington Park. This 410-acre park is home to the renowned International Rose Test Garden, where you can marvel at thousands of colorful roses in full bloom. Take a leisurely stroll through the Japanese Garden, with its picturesque landscapes and tranquil ponds. And don’t miss the chance to explore the Hoyt Arboretum, a living museum of diverse plant species.

No trip to Portland is complete without a visit to the famous Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). With interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and a submarine to explore, OMSI offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Discover the wonders of outer space, learn about the human body, and get hands-on with science experiments.

End your day at the vibrant Pearl District, known for its art galleries, boutique shops, and trendy restaurants. Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the colorful murals that decorate the buildings. Stop by Powell’s Books’ flagship store, located in the heart of the district, and grab a bite to eat at one of the many award-winning eateries.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a taste of the city’s unique culture, Portland has something to offer. Explore these top-rated attractions and see for yourself why Portland is a destination that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.

Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books is a must-visit for book lovers in Portland, Oregon. Known as the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, Powell’s spans an entire city block and houses over a million books.

The bookstore was founded in 1971 by Walter Powell and has since become an iconic landmark in Portland. With multiple floors and rooms, it’s easy to get lost in the vast collection of books that cover every topic imaginable.

Whether you’re searching for a rare and out-of-print book or simply browsing for the next addition to your reading list, Powell’s is the place to go. The knowledgeable staff can help you navigate the shelves and offer recommendations based on your interests.

In addition to books, Powell’s also stocks a wide selection of magazines, graphic novels, and gifts. You can easily spend hours exploring the different sections and enjoying the cozy atmosphere.

A visit to Powell’s is not just about shopping for books – it’s an experience. The bookstore often hosts author events, book signings, and readings, giving visitors the chance to meet their favorite authors in person.

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Powell’s City of Books is a cultural institution and a must-see attraction for any bibliophile visiting the area.

International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden, located in Washington Park, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portland. This garden is home to thousands of different varieties of roses, making it the perfect destination for flower enthusiasts.

Established in 1917, the International Rose Test Garden was created to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties from around the world. Today, it continues to fulfill this purpose, with over 10,000 roses being planted and tested each year. Visitors can wander through the garden’s rows of fragrant and colorful roses, admiring their beauty and learning about their different characteristics.

One of the highlights of the International Rose Test Garden is the Shakespeare Garden, which features roses named after characters from William Shakespeare’s plays. This section of the garden is a favorite among literature lovers and provides a unique and thematic twist to the overall experience.

In addition to its stunning roses, the International Rose Test Garden also offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains. Visitors can relax on the garden’s benches and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while taking in the picturesque scenery.

Throughout the year, the International Rose Test Garden hosts various events and activities, including rose festivals, art exhibits, and educational programs. These events provide visitors with the opportunity to engage with the garden on a deeper level and learn more about the world of roses.

Whether you’re a lover of flowers, a fan of Shakespeare, or simply looking for a serene and beautiful spot to relax, the International Rose Test Garden is a must-visit attraction in Portland.

Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden is an authentic Japanese garden located in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. It covers 12 acres and is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

The garden features five distinct garden styles: the Strolling Pond Garden, the Natural Garden, the Sand and Stone Garden, the Flat Garden, and the Tea Garden. Each style has its own unique features and elements that showcase the traditional Japanese design principles.

The Strolling Pond Garden is the largest and most popular garden in the Portland Japanese Garden. It features a large pond with beautiful koi fish, stone lanterns, and cascading waterfalls. Visitors can stroll along the winding paths and bridges while enjoying the serene atmosphere.

The Natural Garden is a woodland garden that incorporates natural elements such as rocks, moss, and native plants. It is designed to mimic the natural landscapes of Japan and provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

The Sand and Stone Garden is a dry garden that uses raked gravel and carefully placed rocks to create a calming and meditative space. It is inspired by Zen Buddhism and encourages contemplation and reflection.

The Flat Garden is a minimalist garden characterized by its simplicity and meticulous design. It features manicured gravel, carefully trimmed shrubs, and carefully placed rocks. It is meant to be viewed from a seated position, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the intricate details.

The Tea Garden is a traditional Japanese tea house surrounded by a garden. It is used for tea ceremonies and provides a tranquil setting for visitors to relax and enjoy a cup of tea.

Overall, the Portland Japanese Garden is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in Japanese culture and design. Whether you’re looking to relax in a serene environment or learn more about traditional Japanese gardening techniques, the Portland Japanese Garden offers a unique and immersive experience.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Portland, Oregon. Located on the east bank of the Willamette River, OMSI offers an interactive learning experience for visitors of all ages.

With five exhibit halls covering topics such as physics, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and marine biology, there is something for everyone at OMSI. The museum’s hands-on exhibits allow visitors to engage with scientific concepts and learn through active participation.

One of the standout attractions at OMSI is the USS Blueback submarine. Visitors can explore the interior of this decommissioned naval submarine and learn about its role in the Cold War. The Blueback was featured in the movie “The Hunt for Red October,” adding to its historical significance.

In addition to its exhibits, OMSI also offers a range of educational programs and events. These include science camps for kids, workshops for educators, and special events like “After Dark” for adults. The museum’s planetarium and giant-screen theater further enhance the educational experience.

OMSI’s location on the Willamette River provides a picturesque backdrop for visitors. The museum offers outdoor spaces and picnic areas, allowing visitors to take a break and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The nearby Tilikum Crossing Bridge offers stunning views of the city skyline and is a popular spot for walking and biking.

Address 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Phone (503) 797-4000
Website https://omsi.edu/
Hours

Monday: Closed

Tuesday–Sunday: 9:30am–5:30pm

Visiting the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a must for anyone interested in science and technology. Whether you’re a curious child or a lifelong learner, OMSI offers a fun and educational experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Washington Park

Washington Park is a beautiful urban park located in the hills west of downtown Portland. It is one of the top tourist attractions in the city, offering a variety of recreational activities and attractions for visitors of all ages.

One of the highlights of Washington Park is the International Rose Test Garden. This gorgeous garden is home to over 10,000 rose plants, making it the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States. Visitors can stroll through the garden, admire the vibrant colors and fragrances, and learn about the different types of roses.

Another popular attraction in Washington Park is the Oregon Zoo. This award-winning zoo is home to over 2,600 animals from around the world, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and penguins. Visitors can explore the zoo’s various exhibits, attend animal meet-and-greets, and even take a ride on the popular zoo train.

For nature lovers, Washington Park also offers several hiking trails that provide stunning views of the Portland skyline and surrounding landscapes. The Wildwood Trail is a favorite choice, offering a 30-mile hike through the park’s lush forests and serene streams.

In addition to its natural beauty, Washington Park also features the Portland Japanese Garden, a tranquil oasis that showcases traditional Japanese landscaping and architecture. Visitors can explore the peaceful gardens, ponds, and tea houses, and experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Washington Park is also home to the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, a sobering monument that honors the memory of the millions of innocent lives lost during the Holocaust. The memorial features a series of powerful sculptures and plaques that tell the stories of survivors and educate visitors about the atrocities committed during this dark period of history.

With its diverse range of attractions and recreational opportunities, Washington Park is a must-visit destination in Portland. Whether you’re interested in exploring beautiful gardens, learning about different cultures, or enjoying outdoor activities, this park has something for everyone.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful, serene garden in the heart of Portland. It is considered to be one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. The garden was built in collaboration between Portland and its sister city Suzhou, China, and opened to the public in 2000.

The garden encompasses an area of 40,000 square feet and is designed to be a peaceful haven for visitors to escape the bustling city. It features traditional Chinese architecture, a large pond, intricate walkways, and beautiful plantings. The garden is designed to reflect the essence of China’s classical gardens, with its harmonious balance of architecture, plants, and water.

Visitors to the garden can explore the various pavilions, halls, and courtyards that make up the garden. Each area is meticulously designed and adorned with traditional Chinese decorations, such as calligraphy, paintings, and ceramics. The garden also hosts various cultural events and activities throughout the year, including tea ceremonies, musical performances, and art exhibitions.

One of the highlights of Lan Su Chinese Garden is the Teahouse, where visitors can enjoy a traditional Chinese tea experience. The Teahouse offers a wide selection of teas and tea-related snacks, allowing visitors to relax and immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of the garden.

Overall, Lan Su Chinese Garden is a must-visit attraction in Portland. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat, want to learn more about Chinese culture, or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, this garden offers a unique experience that is not to be missed.

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest and one of the oldest in the United States. Established in 1892, it is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. The museum is known for its extensive collection of European and American art, as well as its strong emphasis on Native American and Northwest art.

The museum’s permanent collection includes over 42,000 works of art, ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary pieces. Some of the highlights of the collection include works by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.

The museum offers a wide range of exhibitions and programs, including temporary exhibitions from around the world as well as educational programs for children and adults. The museum also hosts several events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and special events.

Visitors to the Portland Art Museum can also enjoy the museum’s outdoor sculpture garden, which features works by local and international artists. The garden provides a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, where visitors can relax and enjoy the beauty of the artworks.

Address: 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 226-2811
Website: https://portlandartmuseum.org/
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm

Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Portland, a trip to the Portland Art Museum is a must. With its impressive collection and diverse range of exhibitions and programs, it offers a unique and enriching cultural experience for all art lovers.

Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion, a French Renaissance-style chateau, offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains. Built in 1914, the mansion was once the home of Henry Pittock, a prominent Portland pioneer. Today, it serves as a museum showcasing the history and grandeur of early 20th-century Portland.

Visitors can explore the opulent interiors of the mansion, with its original furnishings and period artifacts. The mansion boasts luxurious features such as a grand staircase, intricate woodwork, and beautiful stained glass windows. The museum also offers rotating exhibits that highlight different aspects of Portland’s history and culture.

In addition to its historical significance, Pittock Mansion is also a popular destination for its stunning gardens and grounds. The estate spans 46 acres and features beautifully manicured gardens, walking paths, and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, taking in the colorful flowers and tranquil ambiance.

For those looking to learn more about the Pittock family and the mansion’s history, guided tours are available. Knowledgeable docents provide fascinating insights into the family’s legacy and the mansion’s architectural significance. The tours offer a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the elegance and grandeur of early Portland society.

Overall, Pittock Mansion is a must-visit attraction in Portland. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply want to enjoy stunning views of the city, this iconic landmark is sure to impress.

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is a popular tourist attraction located in Portland, Oregon. It is home to a wide variety of animals from around the world, making it a must-visit destination for animal lovers of all ages.

One of the highlights of the zoo is the Elephant Lands exhibit, which is one of the largest and most innovative Asian elephant habitats in North America. Visitors can observe these majestic creatures up close and learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect their species.

Another popular exhibit is the Predators of the Serengeti, which showcases African predators such as lions, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. Visitors can witness these incredible animals in action as they roam their naturalistic habitats.

The zoo also has a variety of other exhibits, including the Great Northwest, where visitors can see animals native to the Pacific Northwest, and the Amazon Flooded Forest, which houses animals from the Amazon rainforest. With over 2,000 animals representing more than 200 species, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Oregon Zoo.

In addition to its animal exhibits, the Oregon Zoo offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages. These include zoo camps for kids, animal encounters, and conservation workshops. Visitors can also take part in behind-the-scenes tours and get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes to care for the animals.

To make the most of your visit to the Oregon Zoo, be sure to check the zoo’s website for information on feeding times, animal presentations, and special events. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the area, the Oregon Zoo is a top-rated tourist attraction that offers a unique and educational experience for all.

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is a popular weekly market held in the historic Old Town Chinatown neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. It is the largest continuously-operating outdoor market in the United States, displaying a diverse range of handmade crafts, art, jewelry, clothing, and local food.

The market is open every Saturday and Sunday from March through December, showcasing the work of over 250 local artists, artisans, and small businesses. Visitors can explore a wide variety of unique and one-of-a-kind items, including handcrafted pottery, woodwork, paintings, photography, and much more.

In addition to shopping, the Portland Saturday Market offers a vibrant atmosphere with live music performances, street performers, and delicious food vendors. Visitors can sample a wide selection of local cuisines, including fresh seafood, gourmet sandwiches, ethnic dishes, and tasty desserts.

One of the highlights of the market is the opportunity to meet the artists and vendors themselves. Many of the sellers are not only talented makers but also passionate about their craft, offering visitors a chance to learn more about their creative process and the stories behind their creations.

The Portland Saturday Market is not only a popular destination for locals but also attracts visitors from all over the world. It has been featured in numerous travel publications and is known for its lively atmosphere, diverse selection of products, and the opportunity to support local artists and businesses.

Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir, a special gift, or simply want to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Portland, the Portland Saturday Market is a must-visit attraction for both residents and visitors alike.

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut is a legendary doughnut shop that has become an icon of Portland. Known for their unique and creative flavors, Voodoo Doughnut has gained a cult-like following.

One of their most famous creations is the Voodoo Doll doughnut, which is shaped like a voodoo doll and filled with raspberry jelly. Another popular choice is the Bacon Maple Bar, which combines savory bacon with sweet maple flavoring. They also offer vegan and gluten-free options, ensuring that everyone can enjoy their delicious treats.

Aside from their innovative doughnuts, Voodoo Doughnut is also known for their quirky and eclectic decor. The walls are covered with colorful paintings, and you may even spot a voodoo shrine or two. The shop has a laid-back and playful atmosphere, making it a fun place to hang out and indulge in some sugary goodness.

Due to its popularity, Voodoo Doughnut can get quite busy, especially on weekends. It’s not uncommon to see a line stretching down the block. However, locals and tourists alike agree that the delicious doughnuts are well worth the wait.

If you’re visiting Portland, a trip to Voodoo Doughnut is a must. It’s not just a place to satisfy your sweet tooth, but also an experience that captures the unique spirit of the city.

FAQs

What are some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Portland, Oregon?

Some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Portland, Oregon include the International Rose Test Garden, Powell’s City of Books, Washington Park, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and the Portland Japanese Garden.

Can you tell me more about the International Rose Test Garden?

The International Rose Test Garden is a beautiful park located in Washington Park. It is home to more than 10,000 rose bushes with over 650 varieties of roses. Visitors can stroll through the garden and enjoy the spectacular views of the city. The garden is open year-round and admission is free.

What can I expect to find at Powell’s City of Books?

Powell’s City of Books is a famous independent bookstore that covers an entire city block in downtown Portland. It is known for its extensive collection of new, used, and rare books. Visitors can spend hours browsing through the shelves and discovering literary treasures. The bookstore also has a café where visitors can grab a cup of coffee and relax with a book.

What attractions are located in Washington Park?

Washington Park is home to several attractions including the International Rose Test Garden, the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo, and the Hoyt Arboretum. Visitors can explore these beautiful gardens, walk through the zoo, or take a hike in the arboretum. The park also offers stunning views of the city.

What can I see at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)?

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a popular museum that offers hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs for visitors of all ages. Visitors can explore topics such as natural sciences, technology, and space. The museum also has a planetarium and an IMAX theater.

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14 BEST Things To Do In Portland, Oregon

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Caroline Lascom

Caroline is a seasoned travel writer and editor, passionate about exploring the world. She currently edits captivating travel content at TravelAsker, having previously contributed her exceptional skills to well-known travel guidebooks like Frommer’s, Rough Guides, Footprint, and Fodor’s. Caroline holds a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Manchester University (UK) and a master's degree in literature from Northwestern University. Having traveled to 67 countries, her journeys have fueled her love for storytelling and sharing the world's wonders.

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