In a town as green as Portland, you don’t need to leave city limits to enjoy the great outdoors. Home to many gems of the Pacific Northwest, our assortment of flower-filled parks and sprawls of urban wilderness are often top attractions that draw visitors from all over the world, offering a sweet breath of fresh air. Below are some of the best places to round out your floral exploration of the City of Roses.
Portland Japanese Garden
Advertised as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, this 5.5 acre haven of tranquil beauty is home to gentle streams, a genuine tea house, intimate walkways and an unbeatable view of Mount Hood. The five distinct garden styles represented are designed to create a sense of balance and reflection, ideal for quiet contemplation and reflection. Tickets for students start at $11.50, and during spring the park is open every day from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
As the oldest official rose test garden, the Rose Garden in Washington Park features more than 10,000 flowers, attracting long returning locals and world wide tourists alike. One of the city’s signature landmarks, the garden also boasts fantastic views of the downtown skyline and Mount Hood. Although the best rose-viewing times occur from May to September, the park is open every day, and admission is free.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Located near Reed College in Southeast Portland, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden enchants visitors with over 2,500 flowers across a 9 acre sprawl. It is one of Portland’s best waterfowl watching spots, home to nearly 100 different kinds of birds and other wildlife. While the park is available all year, rhododendrons reach their peak from late April to early May, the recommended visiting months. Admissions are only $5 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sunday, and is free all other times.
A visit to the Hoyt Arboretum is far more than your average walk in the park- self-described as a ¨living museum¨, the 190 acres host more than 6,000 species of trees and other plants from around the world. Originally founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species, the Arboretum can be explored on any of the 12 miles of hiking trails weaving through the park, and is accessible year-round for no cost.
This serene woodland sanctuary, hidden atop the cliffs of Northeast Portland, provides a calm place for introspection and bliss. Originally designed as a Roman Catholic Sanctuary, today the forested park transcends boundaries of all faiths and hosts over 300,000 visitors a year. Intricate and intimate paths lead visitors through 62 acres of land, and while the Upper Level labyrinth, botanical gardens and reflection ponds cost $7.50, the Lower Level´s tranquil trails are absolutely free.
Peninsula Park and Rose Gardens
Another popular tourist attraction, the Peninsula Park Rose Garden in North Portland was designed in 1912 with heavy French influence. Located in North Portland, this charming garden is open 5 a.m. to midnight, and is free to all visitors.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
In the midst of Portland’s historical Chinatown district, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is an urban oasis. Authentically styled after the Ming Dynasty, the gardens were designed by artists from Portland’s sister city Suzhou, and melds art, architecture and nature to provide a serene setting in a busy world. The garden is open seven days a week year round, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with prices ranging from $8-10 for students.
By: Mira Coles