From Art Museums to Zen Gardens Portland has something for everyone. Travel to Downtown Portland with me!
Art Museums, books, delicious food, gardens, and yarn, my trip to Portland was certainly filled with some of my favorite things. I spent a quick 2 days in Portland, primarily staying downtown. The city had so much to offer I’ll have to take a separate trip back to enjoy the Oregon coast.
I love traveling to cities that are walkable and have public transportation. I chose not to rent a car while I was in Portland and I got around just fine with buses, trains, my feet, and a few ride share trips.
After checking in to my hotel, I stayed at the AC Hotel Portland Downtown, I immediately went out for a walk around my neighborhood. Beautiful parks popped up every couple of blocks. The city hall even has a garden!
I was also very close to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. I didn’t take a stroll across the bridge the first day I was there, but I made sure to walk across the bridge before I left. I loved standing in the middle looking down the Willamette River at the other bridges. The park is where they hold the Portland Rose Festival.
Portland is home to the International Rose Test Garden, the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States. I walked through the Rose Test Garden which is located in Washington Park. The garden is free to visit, offers spectacular views of the city, and with more than 8,000 roses is one of the city’s most notable signature landmarks. The best rose-viewing months are May to September.
Sometimes you can be in a city you’ve never been to before, turn a corner, and feel right at home. I could see myself spending a lot of time at Director Park, which reminded me so much of Sundance Square Plaza in Fort Worth.
Handily enough, right across the street from Director Park was one of the places I really wanted to see while I was in Portland, Pendleton Woolen Mills. A store of yarn goodies? Yes, please. I loved the wall that showed the process wool goes through to become finished fabric. There was even a map with little sheep on it showing where they get their wool.
A few of the store windows that caught my eye walking around the city.
I was surprised by how much sculpture there was around the city! Many of the sculptures are also fountains, like the Animals in Pools fountains. There is even a fountain walking tour!
While I wasn’t surprised to find sculptures depicting the Oregon Trail, that was just the beginning. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, fish going through buildings, bicycles, and so much more are found all around the city.
The elk is a fountain, too! This sculpture sits in the middle of a street.
It might have been February when I visited, but the city was still so green! I was worried traveling during a slower tourist season the area wouldn’t be as lush, but I was greeted with plenty of greenery.
I love visiting art museums when I travel, so one of my stops during my trip was to the Portland Art Museum. Here I was instantly enthralled with the floral sculpture outside. Just like the city itself, there were many pieces outside the museums two buildings.
It’s not a secret that I’m a cat lady. I was so excited to see these Chat Noir posters by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen on display at the museum!
While I was visiting one of the exhibitions was a textile exhibit called Interwoven Radiance that focused on the artistic achievements of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers of the Northwest Coast. Specifically the ways of life for women weavers. The pieces were beautiful and I loved how they were displayed so you could really get up close and see the detail, as well as see the drape and wear of the pieces. There were many other textile pieces on exhibit as well, including this beautifully beaded necklace. I spent a bit of time enjoying everything from regional Northwest art, American art, contemporary art, photography, European art, and graphic art. Definitely something for every art lover.
Something I try to do when I visit a new city is eat well, and eat local.
Before I left for my trip to Portland I got several recommendations on places to eat while I was there. While I couldn’t visit every restaurant suggested, I did my best to eat at a variety of restaurants. Handily enough one of the most recommended, Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen, was on the same block as my hotel. For breakfast you can’t go wrong with any of local coffee shops that all had delectable pastries. I also ate breakfast one morning at my hotel, which was incredible.
The last afternoon I was in Portland I made sure to visit the Japanese Garden. Said to be one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan I was ready for the scenery to take my breath away, and I was not disappointed. The garden stretches over 5 acres and includes 5 different garden styles, as well as an authentic Japanese Tea House. I wandered next to streams, saw waterfalls, and enjoyed a view of Mount Hood in the distance.
There are plenty of areas to simply sit and enjoy the beauty of the garden. Hours vary depending on the season, but this was an incredible recharging stop on my trip.
After a trip to the gardens, one of my last visits was to Powell Books. I couldn’t get on the plane to fly home without a new book to read.
A trip is never complete without some souvenirs. But these were a little different in that while they are from Portland, I could have them delivered to my house (and didn’t have to make room in my luggage)!
While I wished I would have had time to visit Harry and David and do their public tour, where you can see their bakery, candy kitchens, and gift-packing facilities, a trip to Portland wouldn’t be complete without some of their pears or signature chocolate truffles. Having the treats delivered to my home was also a great way to give souvenirs to my kids who were excited when the packages arrived. We could all enjoy while I shared photos from my trip.
Just like the end of most of my trips, I wondering when I can go back. I’m ready to travel back to Portland and explore the coast!
Did you see my visit to Bob’s Red Mill while I was in Portland? I’m sharing a recipe for Lemon Blueberry Donuts inspired by my visit!