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Explore the Portland metro area in communities like Woodburn, St. Helens, Tigard, Oregon City, and Portland proper – and don't miss sights like Powell's City of Books, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, the Oregon City Municipal Elevator, and more.
Where the Willamette and Columbia rivers merge, the Portland metro area covers Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, and 25 other beautiful nearby cities. As Oregon’s most populous city and home to a dynamic culture, Portland is a required destination for anyone new to Oregon.
From bike sharing to gardens galore, it is referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. Stop in and visit local microbreweries or take a sip of the world-famous coffee. The Rose City welcomes you.
Gardens: Portland is known for its moist and mild weather that showcases beautiful year-round gardens. While in Portland, here are a few gardens that are worth visiting: The Classical Chinese Garden, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Japanese Garden, and Washington Park Rose Garden.
Hawthorne Bridge: Portland is a mecca for bridge lovers, according to Henry Petroski, writer, bridge admirer, and chairman of civil and environmental engineering department at Duke University. Just north of downtown Portland there are 12 bridges. However, Hawthorne Bridge proves to be the most popular. Designed by John Waddell in 1910, it is the oldest operating vertical lift bridge in the United States.
Nob Hill: Located just below Washington Park is the historic Nob Hill neighborhood which offers a variety of interesting northwest Portland specialty shops, boutiques and restaurants.
Portland Art Museum: The Portland Art Museum houses 42,000 pieces that showcase the history of art from the ancient world to today. It is best known for its art of the native peoples of North America, English silver, and the graphic arts. Though it features exciting rotating exhibits, 90 percent of the museum is dedicated to permanent collections. While there, you may want to explore other museums in close distance, including Jubitz Center for Modern & Contemporary Art, the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, and the Northwest Film Center. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Oregon Zoo: Formerly Washington Park Zoo, the Oregon Zoo is located at 4001 SW Canyon Road – two miles south of downtown Portland. The zoo is home to a wide array of animals including California Condors and Asian elephants. Exhibits include Africa Rainforest, Dinosaurs, and Amazon Flooded Forest. The Zoo also features an extensive plant collection and specialized gardens. Hours vary depending on the season.
Powell’s Books: Powell’s Books is the main attraction for rainy day read-a-holics. Dubbed originally as Powell's City of Books, the Portland-based chain of stores claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world! A secondary location is found in the Hawthorne District.
Though they have expanded in recent decades, the oldest and flagship location dominates nearly two acres of prime downtown real estate between West Burnside and NW Couch streets. If there’s a book you’ve hunting, or if you just want to find a cozy corner and sip tea while you read, this is the destination for you.
Saturday Market: Portland’s Saturday Market is a sight to behold and is touted as the largest continuously running outdoor market in the U.S. The market contains a culture to which Portland clings, a culture of homemade and homegrown.
Since the market was established over 40 years ago, it has attracted talented and dedicated vendors. Everything from live music, to glass art to organic foods can be found in the massive marketplace. Each vendor is even subject to a thorough qualification process to ensure that the product meets minimum standard requirements. The Market is located in Waterfront and Ankeny parks, and is a must-see for all ages. Don’t be fooled by the name, the market is also open on Sundays.
Voodoo Doughnut: Few food spots embrace the unofficial city slogan, “Keep Portland Weird” quite as well as Voodoo Doughnut. In fact, the eclectic décor and progressive menu of baked goods has gotten the shop named an international tourist attraction by the Los Angeles Times.
Never thought to add grape-flavored Tang or Cap’n Crunch to your doughnut recipe? You probably never thought you’d want to hold your wedding services at a bakery either. Well, Voodoo can make both of those dreams come true at once! Stop by and try some once-in-a-lifetime recipes that have earned the hometown bakers national acclaim.
Brown’s Camp: Portland is separated from the beautiful coast by the lush Oregon Cascades. Covered by a constant green canopy, the pine forests can seem endless. But, hidden deep in the rolling hills is a ATVer’s paradise.
Brown’s Camp is a massive playground with hundreds of miles of trails for everything from dirt bikes to full-size trucks. With each trail rated by difficulty, there is a route for every driver. The trails are scenic and secluded and located less than an hour from downtown Portland west on Sunset Highway.
Escape the Portland metro area for some excellent bargain shopping at the famous outlet stores and a fresh set of trails along the winding Willamette River. Bright colors and beautiful vistas await you in Woodburn.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival: There’s more to Woodburn than just a fabulous outlet mall, a lot more. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is like stepping out of Oregon and into Denmark. With a windmill, 40 acres of colorful tulips and Mt. Hood all in view, there is a reason why thousands of locals make this a yearly spring tradition.
Woodburn Outlets: The Woodburn outlets are destinations for city dwellers that don’t want to pay city prices. The over 100 stores are an attraction to a wide range of shoppers. Whether you’re looking for athletic apparel, kitchenware, or any number of other products, Woodburn is the premier shopping destination for all of Oregon.
The quaint, but industrious city of St. Helens is a hidden treasure for historical significance, small town culture and beautiful nature. Less than an hour northwest of the big city through the scenic Columbia River Gorge, St. Helen’s is a worthy daytime destination for Portland visitors and packs a big enough punch to warrant a longer stay as well.
Mount St. Helens: The Columbia River Gorge is home to some of the most serene and scenic hikes in the U.S. But, just across the border into Washington, you find a monument to one of the most spectacular and violent natural events in national history.
When Mount St. Helen’s erupted in 1980, the local landscape was changed forever. The National Park Service has since reopened the site as the Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument. Dozens of remarkable hikes fill the park now. Many of which end at the crater’s rim, ending the hike with an intimidating vista of the mile wide crater.
Just east, after you’ve crossed the Willamette River from West Linn via the old Highway 99 Oregon City Bridge, you’ll find Oregon City, which prides itself on being the first incorporated city west of the Rocky Mountains.
End of the Oregon Trail Interpretative Center: You won’t want to miss the three huge pioneer wagons they have on display at this grand center. Take a guided tour that portrays the rigorous, 2,000-mile journey from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City.
The interpretive center is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The center also offers visitor information about the Oregon City area. (503) 657- 9336.
Oregon City Municipal Elevator: Take a thirty-second ride up a 90-foot basalt cliff in one of only four municipal elevators in the world constructed in 1915.
Promenade: Visit the Promenade up the street for a breath-taking view of Willamette Falls. You can sit at one of the many public benches that line the Promenade and imagine all of the Oregon history that has taken place.
Willamette Falls: The Willamette Falls is the second largest waterfall in the nation by volume. Numerous hikes surrounding the falls offer breathtaking views, but perhaps the best way to see them is by kayak. Guided tours are offered daily and can accommodate most skill levels.
The city of Tigard offers the amenities of a modern city with the charm of small town life.
Live Laugh Love Glass: New to town, this showroom, classroom and store features beautiful blown glass. Watch the artists create glass blown pieces of art, take some home from the on-site store or sign up to learn how to do it yourself. This is a great place to take the family and create some one-of-a-kind pieces of glass art.
Silver Creek Falls: Home to Silver Falls State Park and not far from Tigard, this park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the state. It is a great place for hiking, picnics, and swimming.