What to Do on a Day’s Trip to Portland
The City of Roses has so much to offer that they’re enough to keep you busy for months. Here are some great things to see and do in Portland in a single day.
Portland is a wonderful city famous for its parks, gardens, bridges, and many more exciting sights. To make the most of a day trip to Portland, the best time to visit would be during the sunny and warm June, July, and August months.
But don’t worry if you can’t avoid the rainy weather, which is pretty much expected for the rest of the year. Rain in Portland isn’t hard and all that you’ll experience will be a soft drizzle for most of the days.
Once you decide when to go, check out the following places that will ensure the perfect day trip to Portland.
1. Visit the Washington Park
With the massive number of parks in Portland, being considered among the best is high praise, and Washington Park carries that reputation. After all, it’s a massive area that houses several amazing gardens and important memorials that highlight the crucial points of the city’s rich history.
You certainly won’t have enough time to explore every amenity during a one-day visit. But just taking a walk around the park will be a wonderful experience.
However, if you’re looking for more than a walk, check out some of the numerous venues in or near the park. The nearby attractions include the Oregon Zoo, the Children’s Museum, and different sports courts, like soccer, tennis, and even archery.
There’s a staggering number of parks in Portland, but if you have to choose one, you can’t go wrong with Washington Park.
2. Check Out the Museum of Science and Industry
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will amaze you with its interactive exhibits and it might be the ideal place to visit with kids. The exhibition halls and labs offer an exciting opportunity to learn about different sciences like physics and chemistry. In particular, children will enjoy a dedicated science-based playground.
If you love movies, you’ll get a chance to nerd out in the very submarine that starred in The Hunt for Red October, USS Blueback. And even if the Jack Ryan feature doesn’t fascinate you that much, the fact that you’re looking at the most modern publicly available submarine should.
Those that really don’t get anything from submarines might find greater satisfaction in the Planetarium. There’s also an IMAX theater where you could catch a show, but at that point, you’re better off moving on lest you spend half of your entire day trip to Portland just in the museum.
3. Marvel at the Gorgeous Gardens
Among the beautiful gardens of Portland, there are three you should take a look at during your one-day trip: International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, and Lan Su Chinese Garden. The first two are in Washington Park, while the Chinese Garden is closer to the river.
The International Rose Test Garden contains thousands of roses and is the oldest site of its type in the U.S. In its Shakespeare Garden, every flower bears the name of a character from the playwright’s works. Meanwhile, its Miniature Rose Garden houses adorable small versions of different rose variants.
On the other hand, the Portland Japanese Garden is an amazing, serene place with eight sections representing various Japanese gardening styles. Inspired by different philosophies, the garden utilizes plants, water, and stones to create a unique environment that will transport you to another world.
Meanwhile, the Lan Su Chinese Garden bears the signature style of the Ming dynasty – native Chinese plant life and an expansive lake. If you come upon one of the cultural events held here, you’ll get a sense of being transported to the center of ancient Chinese culture.
4. Stop By the Impressive Tilikum Crossing Bridge
You’ll probably notice the fascinating Tilikum Crossing Bridge from a distance, but stopping by this attraction and taking a closer look should definitely be on your list. Of course, there are many interesting bridges in Portland. But if you have to choose one, make it Tilikum.
The attractive design of this bridge will become more apparent if you choose to cross it on foot. But if you’re on a tight schedule, you can hop on a streetcar that will take you on the other side in no time.
5. Get Lost in the City of Books
How often can you visit a bookstore that requires a map to navigate? If the answer is ‘never,’ here’s your chance.
With a surface of a city block and three stories in height, Powell’s City of Books doesn’t fall short of its name.
This attraction might actually not be recommendable for book lovers that only have a single day in Portland, as it might be heartbreaking to exit the awe-inspiring structure after spending just a short while in it.
6. Take a Ride on the Aerial Tram
The Portland Aerial Tram is one of only two of its kind in the U.S., and that should be reason enough to catch a ride on it.
It does go to the hospital and the ride is relatively short and costly. But the experience is one of a kind and the view you get during the ride is like no other. And since the tram isn’t very popular with tourists, you’ll likely spend the four precious minutes in peace and quiet.
7. Visit the Art Museum
The Portland Art Museum is the oldest institution of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. It houses many respectable works by European, Japanese, and American masters. You’ll also find the collection to include photography and sculpture as well.
But the highlight of the museum, and something you shouldn’t miss out on, is the Native American gallery that represents a historical and cultural treasure. The gallery has more than 5,000 objects originating from over 200 tribes that range from modern to ancient.
Spend a Perfect Day in Portland
Undoubtedly, one day is nowhere near enough to experience everything Portland has to offer. It’s a city of nature, culture, history, and beauty, never lacking fun activities. A day trip to Portland will allow you to get a feel for the City of Roses. After that, the best thing you could do is to come back and keep on discovering its hidden treasures.