I remember a sports caster for one of the major networks who was in Portland for the basketball playoffs for the Olympics remarked that she was disappointed that she was given the assignment because, "What could there be to do in this city." Then she said, "Believe me folks. There is lots to do here."
As its name implies, it is a port. Big ships travel from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia River and then into the Willamette River which flows through Portland. The city has eleven bridges that cross the Willamette and two that cross the Columbia. The number of bridges is one thing that makes the city easy to get around in. Other reasons are the Max train, the streetcar in downtown, the Willamette Shore Trolley, and the arial tram.
To get an idea of the layout of the city see Portland Oregon Maps.
The city is in a cental location for seeing other popular Oregon attractions.
But there is plenty to see and do in the city itself. Forest Park is the largest urban forest reserve in the United States and has over 70 miles of hiking trails overlooking the Columbia River.
The city is proud of its gardens. The Chinese Garden in Old Town/Chinatown is a Ming dynasty-inspired garden and is an urban oasis. The Japanese Garden nestled in the West Hills overlooking the city, is said to be the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan. The International Rose Test Garden located within Washington Park and also overlooking the city has over 8,000 roses.
Activities on the Willamette River and the Columbia River are a large part of the lives of people who live in here. For the visitor there are river boat dining cruises that take you up the Columbia where you can experience the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.
Every year during the first week of June the city has a party called the Rose Festival. Events include the Starlight Parade which is held at night and the Grand Floral Parade with floats covered in flowers, bands, horses, and bag pipes. There is an air show, air balloon show, and fireworks spectacular.
The Portland International Raceway hosts the Rose Cup Races and the Grand Car Grand Prix. On the Willamette River you can watch the Dragon Boat Races. At PGE park you can enjoy Concert at the Park. Of course there is also the Annual Spring Rose Show which has been in existance for 119 years. On the seawall you will see the Rose Festival Fleet with ships from the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and the Canadian Maritime Forces.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry known to Oregonians as OMSI is fun for kids as well as grownups. There is a Science Playground for children, science exhibits, a submarine in the Willamette River which you can board, and a laser lightshow.
There are other great museums that are worth a visit.
The Oregon Zoo is located in Washington Park. It is well known for its elephant herd. Exhibits of primates, birds, bugs, kangaroos, cats, bears, giraffs and more. Enjoy a concert by nationally renowned artist in the zoo amphitheater. Take a train ride around Washington Park in the Zoo Railway. During the Christmas Holidays the Oregon Zoo presents Portland Zoo Lights which has become a traditional holiday visit for many families.
If you are in a shopping mood on a Saturday or Sunday, the Saturday Market is a great place to get something unique that you won't find in the usual stores. Or just go for an afternoon outing. There is plenty to and there is a great choice in food and entertainment.
The Farmers Market is another great place to go on a Saturday. Sample the freshest fruits and vegetables in town plus award winning Oregon cheeses, wild mushrooms, oregon wine, handmade chocolates, artisan breads, and much more.
Book lovers can get a thrill by visiting Powell's Books, the largest used and new bookstore in the world. It covers an entire city block.
Dining in Portland is a pleasure. From fine dining to just a casual bite to eat, Portland has a lot to offer. It is said that Portland has more brewpubs than any other metropolitan city in the United States. See Portland Breweries for a selection of great brewpubs offering award winning hand-crafted beer.
You'll see how to tour Portland on a Sedgeway, visit Portland's beer festival, take a tour of nearby wineries, and visit one of Portland's historic hotels.
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