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Destination guides > North America > USA > West Coast > Oregon > Portland > Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

Portland

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

DOWNTOWN

Portland's business centre is easily accessible by free buses and the tram and MAX lines also intersect here.

Mill Ends Park

At 24 inches, this is the world's smallest dedicated park. The park was born when Dick Fagan, a journalist for the Oregon Journal, decided to plant flowers in a pothole outside his office window.

Corner SW Naito Parkway & Taylor Street, Portland, OR 97205
Bus 4, 6, 14, 15, 33 MAX Yamhill District
Tel (503) 823 5228
Website www.parks.ci.portland.or.us

Oregon History Center

This first-rate local history museum has a wide range of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The centre's permanent exhibits include the actual penny used in the coin toss that decided Portland's name as well as displays on regional culture.

1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland OR 97205
Bus 6, 38, 43, 45, 55, 58, 63, 68, 92, 96 (stop: SW Jefferson & Broadway); 15, 18, 51, 63 (stop: SW Salmon & Park) Tram SW 10th & Jefferson
Tel (503) 306 5221
Website www.ohs.org
Admission $10 ($8 students)
Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm

Pioneer Courthouse Square

This square in the heart of downtown Portland features a 7.5-metre weather machine, which predicts the weather every day at noon following a fanfare of trumpets and cooling mist. It is a good place to start exploring the city as it is home to both the tourist information centre and the Tri-Met ticket office. The Theatre-on-the-Square, next to the information centre, shows a free movie about Portland every half-hour.

Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
MAX Mall/SW 5th Avenue, Pioneer Square North, Pioneer Square South
Tel (503) 223 1613
Website www.parks.ci.portland.or.us

Portland Art Museum (PAM)

The Pacific Northwest's oldest art museum boasts a collection of over 30,000 works of art. The museum's collection includes works by Monet, Renoir and Picasso as well as native American and Asian art. The temporary exhibits are world-class.

1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland OR 97205
Bus 6, 38, 43, 45, 55, 58, 63, 68, 92, 96 (stop: SW Jefferson & 10th) Tram SW 10th & Jefferson
Tel (503) 276 4246
Website www.portlandartmuseum.org
Admission $10 ($9 students)
Open Tue-Wed 10am-5pm, Thu-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm

Portlandia

This 10.8-metre copper statue at the entrance to the Portland Building is second in size only to New York's Statue of Liberty. The statue is modeled after Lady Commerce, who appears on Portland's city seal.

1150 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
Bus 15, 18, 51, 63 (stop: SW Salmon & 5th); 12, 17, 19, 94 (stop: SW 4th & Main); 1, 10, 38, 43, 45, 55, 58, 68 (stop: SW Jefferson & 5th)
Admission free

NORTHWEST/NOB HILL NEIGHBOURHOOD

In the late 1800s Californian settler opened the Nob Hill grocery store, named after the neighbourhood in his native San Francisco. Soon this affluent neighbourhood became known as Nob Hill and it is now home to hundreds of unique shops as well as brew pubs, restaurants and fine Georgian and Victorian mansions. There aren't any real must-see attractions here and the shops and restaurants aren't cheap, but it's a pleasant spot to spend a few hours.

OLD TOWN/CHINATOWN

Portland's Old Town is a popular arts and entertainment district with some of the city's best jazz and comedy clubs and it is home to the second-largest collection of cast-iron buildings in the United States, only New York's SoHo district has more.


Chinatown comprises a significant part of Old Town and it is marked by traditional Chinese façades, Oriental lamp poles and cherry trees.

Classical Chinese Garden

Portland's Chinese garden, also known as Lan Su Yuan, or "Garden of Awakening Orchids" is the largest garden of its kind outside of China. The garden features walk ways, ponds, bridges, lattice screens, pavilions and a teahouse.

Corner NW Everett Street & Third Avenue, Portland OR 97208
Bus 4, 8, 10, 16, 33, 35, 44, 77 (stop: NW Everett & 2nd) MAX Old Town/Chinatown
Tel (503) 228 8131
Website www.portlandchinesegarden.org
Admission $7 ($5.50 students)
Open Jan-Mar 10am-5pm daily; Apr-Oct 9am-6pm; Nov-Dec 10am-5pm daily

Portland Saturday Market

The largest open-air craft market in the United States features over 250 craft booths plus a food court and live entertainment. Admission free.

108 W Burnside Street, Portland OR 97209
Bus 12, 19, 20 (stop: W Burnside & Burnside Bridge) MAX Skidmore Fountain
Tel (503) 222 6072
Website www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com
Open Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4.30pm

THE PEARL DISTRICT

The Pearl District is a former warehouse district, situated west of Chinatown and south of Nob Hill, that has been revitalized with loft-style apartments, art galleries and trendy cafés.

McMenamins Crystal Ballroom

Decorated with whimsical artwork created especially for the site by local artists, Portland's 1914 Crystal Ballroom boasts one of the nation's only remaining "floating" dance floors. The floor employs a series of ball bearings attached to 800 rockers to produce a magical floating sensation. The venue features musical events several nights a week, from hip-hop and bluegrass to alternative and classic rock. Admission charged to most events.

1332 W Burnside Street, Portland OR 97205
Bus 20 (stop: W Burnside & SW 13th)
Tel (503) 225 0047
Website www.mcmenamins.com/Crystal/

Powell's City of Books

The largest independent book shop in the United States occupies an entire city block. Powell's also features an art gallery, a rare book room, a café and the only three-door lift west of the Mississippi.

Corner NW 11th Avenue & Couch Street, Portland OR 97209
Tel (503) 228 0540
Website www.powells.com
Admission free
Open 9am-11pm daily, rare book room 9am-7pm daily, tours Tue 2pm, Thu 11am

SOUTHEAST PORTLAND

Although this part of Portland consists mainly of residential suburbs, there are several attractions here that are worth visiting.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

This large science museum is home to over 200 exhibits including many hand-on exhibits that allow you to do things such as experience an earthquake. There is also an OMNIMAX cinema and a planetarium. The museum's main feature, however is the USS Blueback, the submarine that featured in the movie, The Hunt for Red October. Like many other science museums, it is geared toward kids and a lot of school groups visit, particularly during school hours.

1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland OR 97214
Tel (503) 797 4537
Website www.omsi.edu
Admission $9; Omnimax cinema $8.50; planetarium $5.50; submarine tour $5.50; combi ticket (includes museum admission, Omnimax cinema and either one submarine tour or one planetarium screening) $19
Open 9.30am-7pm daily

WASHINGTON PARK

This park, 3km west of the city centre, is home to Portland's zoo and several other attractions.

World Forestry Center Museum

This museum and exhibition centre has exhibits on forests and forestry with displays of petrified wood, African rain forests and old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest.

4033 SW Canyon Road, Portland OR 97221
Bus 63 (stop: SW Knight & Forestry Center) MAX Washington Park
Tel (503) 228 1367
Website www.worldforestry.org
Admission $7
Open 10am-5pm daily

Hoyt Arboretum

This 175-acre park features more than 15km of hiking trails and over 850 species of trees. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located at the southern end of the arboretum.

4000 SW Fairview Boulevard, Portland OR 97221
Bus 63, 73 MAX Washington Park
Tel (503) 228 8733
Website www.parks.ci.portland.or.us
Admission free

Japanese Garden

These gardens claim to be the most authentic outside Japan.

611 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, OR 97201
Bus 63, 73 MAX Washington Park
Tel (503) 223 1321
Website www.japanesegarden.com
Admission $8 ($6.25 students)
Open Jan-Mar Mon noon-7pm, Tue-Sun 10am-4pm; Apr-Sep Mon noon-7pm, Tue-Sun 10am-7pm; Oct-Dec Mon noon-7pm, Tue-Sun 10am-4pm

Oregon Zoo

This excellent zoo has animals from around the world and more Asian elephants have been born here than in any other North American city.

4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland OR 97221
Bus 63 MAX Washington Park
Tel (503) 226 1561
Website www.oregonzoo.org
Admission $9.75
Open 1 Jan-14 Apr 9am-4pm daily; 15 Apr-15 Sep 9am-6pm daily; 15 Sep-31 Dec 9am-4pm daily

 


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