Explore the Top Five Parks and Gardens in Portland
Portland isn’t called the Rose City for nothing. Here, you’ll find a city park in every district and every neighborhood. Some parks are tiny, like the 24-inch-wide Mills Ends Park in the middle of Southwest Naito Parkway. Others are expansive, such as the 5,156-acre Forest Park with 70 miles of trails.
No trip to Portland would be complete without a city park adventure. To give you an idea of where you should go, we’ve created a short but sweet list of the city’s best parks and gardens. Read on to learn more.
Portland Rose Garden
Just as the city’s nickname implies, roses grow remarkably well in Portland’s temperate, humid climate. It’s an ideal testing ground for any kind of rose variety. As a result, the Portland Rose Garden, America’s oldest public rose test garden, features more than 10,000 different kinds of roses.
The best time to visit the world-famous rose garden is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Roses start to bloom in May, and temperatures get very warm by July. Plan accordingly.
The sprawling Forest Park is literally an urban forest. It singlehandedly improves Portland’s air quality and provides a natural habitat for more than 100 bird species. It also connects various trail systems, including the city’s 40-Mile Loop.
Because of these large-scale, interconnected multi-use paths, Forest Park represents your best opportunity to have a big outdoor adventure within the city limits. It appeals to trail runners, horseback riders, and bird watchers.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland’s “living room,” Pioneer Courthouse Square was formerly a parking structure. It’s now the heart and soul of the downtown and a place where you’ll encounter street performers almost every time of day and night.
The city park, the most visited place in all of Portland, hosts outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and street festivals during the summer. It also houses the city’s visitor information center and serves as a transportation hub for Portland’s bus and light rail systems.
If you prefer peace, relative silence, and meditative spaces, then Northeast Portland’s Grotto is the perfect park for you. The cliff-lined, two-tiered Catholic sanctuary has more than 100 shrines, a reflection pond, and a Peace Garden. Surrounded by 62 botanical gardens, the Grotto offers visitors a quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Washington Park, Portland’s flagship city park, has a little bit of everything. Coming in at over 159 acres, this kid-friendly park contains the Portland’s Children Museum, World Forestry Center, Oregon Zoo, and the Hoyt Arboretum.
This list of Portland’s best parks and gardens only scratches the surface. The Rose City has more than 200 parks, giving visitors and residents the chance to sit in quiet gardens, trek through verdant forests, and play in open spaces.
For more information about which parks to visit, check out the city’s tourism department, Travel Portland. The concierge team at the Vintage Hotel can also recommend which gardens and city parks you should explore.