Attractions & Museums
“The legendary independent bookstore” is the world’s largest independent new and used bookstore. Get lost in their vast offering of books, or stunning selection of out-of-print books. Buy a book or simply hang out and read in the comfortable ambience of the in-store coffeehouse. Check out their calendar of events for author readings. 1005 W. Burnside St.
“Washington Park is located in the west hills of Portland. Within the park are many attractions: The Rose Garden and Japanese Garden are in the northeast corner and about a 15- to 20-minute walk from the hostel. You can hike on trails through Hoyt Arboretum to the Oregon Zoo and the World Forestry Center (about 2 miles). Alternatively, you can catch the MAX train to go there.
The International Rose Test Garden is one of the largest and oldest rose test gardens in the country, with over 500 varieties and 8,000 rose bushes. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, and bring your camera to capture the spectacular view of the “City of Roses” and Mount Hood! Free.
Japanese Garden, proclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside Japan. Five traditional garden styles, an authentic tea house and a pavilion combine to capture the mood of ancient Japan.
Hoyt Arboretum, explore a world of trees. This arboretum displays more than 900 species of trees and shrubs. Ten miles of gentle trails wind through this living exhibit past hundreds of plants from distant places. Free.
Oregon Zoo highlights animals and their habitat. About 1,029 specimens represent 200 species of birds, mammal, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The botanical garden has more than 1,000 species of exotic plants. From June through August the Oregon Zoo hosts a summer concert series, highlighting nationally renowned artists.
Word Forestry Center has exhibits on tropical rainforests and old-growth forests, as well as changing exhibits on art, culture, and history from around the world.
Rain or sun shine, Portland Saturday Market is open every Saturday and Sunday for arts and crafts shopping and just plain fun from March until Christmas Eve. Get the special opportunity of meeting the artisans who have …’made it, baked it, or grown it’. Listen to local musicians while finding some good food at the International Food Court. Located in the heart of Old Town, around Skidmore Fountain and North Waterfront Park.
Known as Portland’s “Living Room”, Pioneer Courthouse Square attracts a wide variety of users: commuters waiting for the light rail train, office workers on their lunch breaks, tourists, shoppers, and students. Over 2.5 million people visit this space in the heart of downtown each year in order to take part in more than 300 special events, such as markets, festivals, and free live music. The square is also home to the Tourist Visitor Information center.
Created to nurture and inspire all who visit, Portland’s Chinese Garden is little changed from what might have greeted you during the Ming dynasty in China. The authentic Suzhou-style garden that encloses a full city block grew out of a friendship between Portland and Suzhou, a city renowned for its exquisite gardens. Serpentine walkways, a bridged lake, and open colonnades set off meticulously arranged landscape of plants, water, stone, poetry, and buildings. Architects and artisans from China who designed and constructed the Garden mean for each aspect of the Garden to convey artistic effect and symbolic importance. The design embodies the duality of nature, yin and yang. When these are balanced, harmony results. The delicate balance in the Garden affects all your senses. It is home to hundreds of rare and unusual plants, nearly 100 specimen trees, water plants, bamboo and orchids. NW 3rd Ave and NW Everett St.
For a 3-hour trip around Portland by trail, train, tram and trolley, follow the popular 4T Trail. From the hostel, go to JeldWen Park stop and take the MAX train to the Zoo. The trail is well marked and roughly a 9-mile loop. You will hike through old growth forests, to Portland’s highest point, Council Crest, with amazing views. The highlight is an Aerial Tram ride down to the waterfront, ending with a street car ride for the final leg back to Northwest Portland.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is named for a former governor of Oregon, revered for his statewide land-use planning initiatives. The park, on the site of a former expressway, stretches along the Willamette River for about a mile south of Burnside Street. Broad and grassy, it yields what may be the finest ground-level view of downtown Portland’s bridges and skyline. The park hosts many events, among them the Rose Festival, classical and blues concerts, and the Oregon Brewers Festival. The five-day Cinco de Mayo Festival in early May celebrates Portland’s sister-city relationship with Guadalajara, Mexico. Stroll along the waterfront park. Bikers, joggers, and roller and in-line skaters enjoy the area year-round. The arching jets of water at the Salmon Street Fountain change configuration every few hours and are a favorite cooling-off spot during the dog days of summer.
Cross the bridges to the eastbank esplanade – the Steel Bridge has a lower level just for bikes and pedestrians – and enjoy the fabulous view of Portland’s skyline. Take the Hawthorne Bridge, built in 1910, back to the west side. Portland is proud of its bridges and celebrates them each year with the PDX Bridge Festival.
Founded in late 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the seventh oldest museum in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection and ambitious special exhibitions, drawn from the Museum’s holdings and the world’s finest public and private collections.The Museum’s campus of landmark buildings, a cornerstone of Portland’s cultural district in downtown, includes the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, and the Northwest Film Center. Free admission from 5-8pm every last Friday in the month. 1219 SW Park Ave.
“In 1948, a hole was cut through the sidewalk at the corner of SW Taylor St. and SW Naito Pkwy. (Front St.). It was expected to accommodate a mere lamp post, but greatness was thrust upon it. The streetlamp was never installed, and the 24-inch circle of earth was left empty until noticed by Dick Fagan, a columnist for the Oregon Journal. Fagan used his column, “Mill Ends,” to publicize the patch of dirt, pointing out that it would make and excellent park. After years of such logic-heavy lobbying, the park was added to the city’s roster in 1976. At 452.16 square inches, Mill Ends Park is officially the world’s smallest. Locals have enthusiastically embraced it, planting flowers and hosting a hotly contested snail race on St. Patrick’s day.” (Let’s Go: Alaska & the Pacific Northwest, 2002)
The Portland City Building, designed by the renowned architect, Michael Graves, is the home of Portlandia. The building looks like a giant birthday gift. Sitting high on the front, is the nation’s 2nd largest hammered copper statue, Portlandia (The Statue of Liberty in New York is the largest). Inside, on the 2nd floor, is a gallery with amazing photos detailing her move from the east coast, through the Panama Canal, up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, and through downtown to her permanent home. 1221 Southwest 4th Ave.