My boys were on Spring Break last week, which we spent in one of our all time favorite cities, New Orleans! There’s just something about it, a vibe that we just can’t get enough of! While I’m sorting through my photos and notes from last week, I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane and share our visit to another great city which also has a vibe all its own: Portland, Oregon!
Portland, is just a three hour drive from Seattle (where I’m from), and with so many family friendly activities, great restaurants, and shopping opportunities it makes a pretty great weekend destination! Having spent quite a bit of time in Portland as a youth, It had been years since my last visit, and I was eager to show my kids around. With only two days to explore we wouldn’t be able to see everything, but we did our best to at least scratch the surface!
A large portion of our visit was spent in Washington Park, which covers over 400 acres, and includes the Portland Zoo, The International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Gardens, multiple museums, playgrounds and picnic areas.
We really enjoyed the Portland Zoo, which has a very Pacific northwest feel about it. The forested areas, natural habitats, and lots of interactive exhibits made the entire experience fun and immersive for the entire family. My younger son really enjoyed the children’s area and petting zoo.
A highlight of our weekend was our visit to the gardens in Washington Park. We had time for both the International Rose Test Garden, and the Japanese Gardens, which are conveniently located next to one another.
Opened in 1917 the International Rose Test Garden is home to over 7,000 rose plants and 550 varieties. They bloom from April through October depending on the weather. Roses are sent here from around the world to be tested for color, fragrance, resistance to disease and other attributes. We loved walking up and down the rows stopping here and there to smell the roses, and reading all the different names. Our visit took place in June, which is the height of the blooming season.
Having loved our visit to Japan, we are excited at any opportunity to visit Japanese gardens, so as soon as we heard Portland had one we were in! We were not disappointed, and since our visit three years ago, extensive renovations and additions were completed, which I’m sure have only enhanced what was already a spectacular place.
Completed in 1967 the idea for Portland’s Japanese gardens was first conceived in the 1950s as a way to create a healing and cultural connection to Japan after WWII. Since that time, they’ve received repeated accolades from visiting Japanese dignitaries, and are justifiably a popular tourist destination.
If you enjoy a bit of shopping and dining, you’re in luck because Portland has plenty of both! The Pearl District and 23rd Street are great places for poking and in out of shops ranging from one of a kind boutiques to the main stream as well as art galleries, coffee shops, wine bars and more!
We loved our meal at Andina a Peruvian restaurant in the Pearl where the food, service and ambiance were all perfect!
Tips & Advice:
- The Rose Test Garden is open from 7:30 am – 9:00 pm daily and offers free public tours daily at 1:00pm, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
- Check the website for the information on the Japanese Garden as the hours vary throughout the year. Complimentary tours are included with your admission.
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As always, this is a beautifully composed post with wonderful photos and helpful text.
Awe! Thank you!! 😊
We love visiting gardens as a family and these look stunning! You’ll have to check out the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego if you are out that way. We were lucky to be there during Cherry Blossom season.
I will definitely put that on my list! Thank you!
Jane the Raincity Librarian
I love Portland! We live about an 8-hour drive, but we still try and make at least one trip every year – Powell’s Books, food trucks, markets, donuts, coffee, breweries, there’s something for everyone in that cool city. 🙂
Yes, there is! This post only barely scratches the surface…
so pretty! #citytripping
Such gorgeous photos – Portland always sounds like such a fun cuty to visit, such a cool atmosphere. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
fifi + hop
I can’t believe I’ve never been to Portland! I always think of the pilot for Portlandia which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Josh’s best friend lives there and we’ve talked about visiting his family and my brother’s family in Seattle..hopefully some day soon! Love all your botanical photos they’re beautiful. #citytripping
Let me know if / when you go, maybe I’ll meet you there! 😊
I have not been to Seattle or Portland. I know, they are so close to Los Angeles! I still have to make travel plans for the second half of the year. Maybe this is the opportunity to finally go. Love your photos!
Thank you! I highly suggest late July, August or September for Seattle and Portland! There’s no place more beautiful than the PNW in summer!
Love these pictures Hilary – the colours are just amazing. Portland definitely sounds like a great city to visit.
Thank you! It’s a pretty nice place! I took a page from your book blogging about a trip that took place a few years ago!
Sometimes it’s nice to go back and revisit! I thought your boys looked younger…. time flies!
Yes, it sure does! Glad you didn’t say, I looked younger! Ha ha!!
You look exactly the same Hilary!!
This looks like such a lovely trip. I’ve been living in SF for a while now and still haven’t made it to Portland! It kind of gets pushed back for other adventures, unfortunately. I have been to Seattle though, I’m not sure why I feel the need to reassure you of that 😉 #TheWeeklyPostcard
Portland is a lovely city, I’m sure you’ll get there someday, however my heart belongs to Seattle, which is where I spent my childhood! Where the PNW is concerned It can’t be beat! SF is nice too! I spent 8 years in the area!
I went to Portland years ago for a wedding, so I didn’t have much time for sightseeing but the one thing I remember is the food trucks. The rose garden really looks pretty. I would love to go back and explore more. Thanks so much for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
Yes, Portland is definitely known for their food trucks, funky vibe and microbrews!
Love rose gardens! This one is realllly pretty! Reminds me of the one we went to in Bamberg, that had like a thousand diffferent types of roses! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!
This garden was amazing! I’d love to see the one you’re talking about!
I always love an excuse to look at your beautiful photos, Hilary and this garden is stunning. Yet another reason to visit Portland. It’s funny, Portland is one of those places I’ve always wanted to visit – I’ve always had a feeling it’s very me. I could be completely wrong but I’ll have to go one day just to find out!
Thank you!! Portland is a great town! Though I can’t imagine a trip to the Pacific North West without a visit to Seattle! Of course I might be a little bit biased…
It’s partly because I fell so in love with Seattle that I think I’d like Portland which I imagine is a smaller version. I did a big US trip in my early 20s – NY, New Orleans, San Francisco, Californian coast, LA, Vegas, Grand Canyon and then… Seattle. I expected to fall in love with San Fran but it was Seattle that really captured my heart.
I couldn’t agree more! San Fran is nice but I ❤️ Seattle! Wow! That sounds like a fabulous trip! You hit many of the best spots!
Beautiful photos! The Japanese Gardens is one of our favorite Portland spots, and the Rose Test Garden is just amazing. Thanks for sharing them (and more!) on #TheWeeklyPostcard!
Agness of Fit Travelling
So many flowers! This place is so picturesque. Great post, Hilary!
Thank you so much!
Hmm, breathtaking is the word I’m looking for here. These photos are gorgeous!!
Thank you so much!