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Parks & Gardens in Portland, Oregon

Home to both a sprawling urban wilderness - Forest Park - and the world's smallest dedicated park, Mill Ends, Portland offers visitors a breath of fresh air. There are more than 200 parks within city limits, from forests to marshlands, trails to skateboarding rails.


Director Park

Downtown Portland's newest park, this former parking lot was converted into a public square in 2009. Located just a block from Pioneer Courthouse Square, the park features a café, ample outdoor seating and a fountain, and plays host tooccasional events in the summer.

Open daily; free.

815 S.W. Park Ave.

Mill Ends Park

At 24 inches (61 centimeters) in diameter, this is the world's smallest dedicated park. Located in the median of Southwest Naito Parkway at Taylor Street, its story began when a journalist for the Oregon Journal, Dick Fagan, got tired of looking at the ugly pothole below his office window. He decided to plant flowers in the hole and name it Mill Ends Park. To generate interest in this tiny green space, Fagan centered many newspaper stories around the capers of a fictitious park resident, a leprechaun named Patrick O'Toole.

Southwest Naito Parkway median at Taylor Street

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is affectionately known as the city's "living room." Once a grim parking structure, the square is now a thriving urban park and the single most-visited site in Oregon, attracting more than 9.5 million visitors annually. The square's on-site resources include the Travel Portland Visitor Information Center and TriMet's bus and light rail ticket office. The square is also one of Portland's leading outdoor venues, hosting 300 events each year, from large-scale concerts to cultural festivals. The Portland Farmers Market operates in the Square every Monday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., June-October.

Open daily; free. Some special events do have entry fees.

Bordered by Southwest Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and Yamhill and Morrison streets

Waterfront Park

Once the site of a freeway, this downtown riverfront park is a popular place for jogging, in-line skating and cooling off in Salmon Street Springs, a fountain whose water patterns change with the city's mood. The park bears the name of former Oregon Governor Tom McCall, a staunch advocate of recycling, environmental preservation and urban planning. This 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) stretch of green along the Willamette River is home to many annual events, including the Portland Rose Festival, the Oregon Brewers Festival and the Waterfront Blues Festival. The Japanese American Historical Plaza is located at the north end of the park.

Open daily; free. Some special events do have entry fees.

Bordering Naito Parkway between the Steel Bridge and the RiverPlace Marina

Pearl District

Jamison Square

Jamison Square opened in 2002, making it older than its average attendee on summer days, when it becomes a no-holds-barred kids' park featuring a gentle fountain and generous space for wading. Adults will appreciate the convenience of the Pearl District park's location on the Portland Streetcar line and the impressive public art - modern "totem poles" designed by Kenny Scharf.

Open daily; free.

Northwest 11th Avenue and Johnson Street

Tanner Springs

Tanner Springs Park is a living example of Portland's eco-consciousness: a thriving wetland in the heart of the urban Pearl District neighborhood.

Open daily; free.

Northwest 10th Avenue & Marshall Street


Old Town/Chinatown

Lan Su Chinese Garden

A year-round wonder, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is an authentically built Ming Dynasty style garden. Covered walkways, bridges, open colonnades, pavilions and a richly planted landscape frame Zither Lake, creating views that are never twice the same. This urban oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony, built by Suzhou artisans, will inspire and engage all who visit. Public tours and audio tours are available, and a teahouse serving light snacks and traditional teas is located within the garden.

Hours: April-October, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; November -March, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Admission: Adults $8.50, seniors (62+) $7.50, students (ages 6-18 and college students with ID) $6.50, children 5 and younger free.

Open daily; admission charged.

Northwest Third Avenue and Everett Street . / 503.228.8131


West Side

Forest Park

Located northwest of downtown, this eight-mile-long (13-kilometer) "forest in the city" covers 5,156 acres (2,086 hectares). In addition to providing a respite from urban life, the park supports more than 112 bird and 62 mammal species and acts as a natural air purifier. Forest Park's 70 miles (113 kilometers) of trails are popular with runners, equestrians, hikers and cyclists alike. Dogs on leashes are allowed. The 30-mile (48-kilometer) Wildwood Trail connects Forest Park, the Audubon Society Sanctuary, Pittock Mansion and Washington Park and is part of the region's 40-Mile Loop system.

Open daily; free.

Northwest 29th Avenue and Upshur Street to Newberry Road

Hoyt Arboretum

Nearly 1,000 species of trees and shrubs - more than in any other arboretum in the country - are showcased on 185 acres of hilly terrain within Washington Park. An interpretive center offers restrooms, maps and brochures and a gift shop. The arboretum's 21 trails cover 12 miles; two miles of trail are suitable for wheelchairs, baby strollers and visitors who appreciate firm footing. See a map of the trails.

Open daily; free.

4000 S.W. Fairview Blvd.

International Rose Test Garden

Portland is home to the oldest official continuously operated public rose test gardens in the United States. Located just minutes from downtown Portland in Washington Park, the Rose Garden features nearly 7,000 rose bushes, spectacular views of the city and an on-site gift shop. Local tip: During summer, visit in the early evening when it's cooler and less crowded.

Free tours are offered from June through September on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.

Looking for more roses? Peninsula Park & Rose Garden in North Portland has 6,500 rose plantings, and Ladd's Circle Park & Rose Gardens, in a historic Southeast Portland neighborhood, feature 3,000 roses

. Open daily; free.

400 S.W. Kingston Ave.

503.823.3636, 503.227.7033 (gift shop)

Portland Japanese Garden

Tucked into the scenic west hills of Portland, above Washington Park, the Japanese Garden is a haven of tranquil beauty which has been proclaimed one the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Encompassing 5.5 acres and five separate garden styles, the Garden includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, meandering streams, intimate walkways, and an unsurpassed view of Mount Hood. Guided tours are included with cost of admission.

Open daily; admission charged.

611 S.W. Kingston Ave. / 503.223.1321

Tryon Creek State Park

Located 15 minutes south of downtown, Portland's only state park features miles of trails under a mixed forest canopy. The 645-acre park's namesake Tryon Creek is home to a run of steelhead trout. In addition to 3.5 miles of horse trails and a 3-mile paved bicycle path, the park has 8 miles of hiking trails, including the .35-mile, fully accessible Trillium Trail, with paved pathways, drinking fountains, resting benches and viewing decks. The Nature Center provides interpretive displays and restrooms. Dogs are allowed on leashes.

Open daily; free.

11321 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.

Washington Park

Located atop the hills west of downtown, Washington Park is one of the oldest, best-loved and most well-used parks in Portland. Its grounds include the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, the Oregon Zoo, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Holocaust Memorial, the World Forestry Center and the Children's Museum.

Open daily; free. Some attractions do have entry fees.

Head of Southwest Park Place, one block west of Vista Avenue

East Side

Eastbank Esplanade

The Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, a 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) pedestrian/bicycling trail that extends along the east bank of downtown Portland's Willamette River between the Steel and Hawthorne bridges, opened in 2001. Highlights include a 1,200-foot (366-meter) floating walkway (the longest in the United States), an adjoining public boat dock, public art and places to stop, relax and enjoy.

With access from four bridges, cyclists, joggers and walkers can enjoy a complete three-mile (4.8-kilometer) loop that offers unparalleled views of downtown Portland and the river. The entire route is ADA compliant.

Open daily; free.

East bank of the Willamette River between the Steel and Hawthorne bridges

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Seven acres of grounds boast an outstanding collection of rare species and hybrid rhododendrons, azaleas, deciduous and coniferous trees. Formal landscapes and more natural areas along the springs provide plenty of birding, especially during spring and winter months when huge flocks of waterfowl and gulls congregate on the artificial pond. Restrooms and wheelchair-accessible paved trails are available.

Open daily; admission charged only from March through Labor Day.

Southeast 28th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard

The Grotto

A peaceful oasis in the midst of the city, The Grotto is set among 62 acres of botanical gardens. As an internationally renowned Catholic sanctuary, The Grotto offers a place of quiet reflection for all people. More than 100 beautiful statues and shrines are nestled among flower-lined pathways winding under towering firs. Peaceful ponds, spectacular cliffside vistas and award-winning architecture offer inspiration for all who visit this natural gallery in the woods. Gardens and gift shop are open daily; group tours and daily Mass are also offered.

Open year-round; hours vary. There is no charge to see the lower-level gardens and structures. To access the upper gardens, each visitor must purchase an elevator token

. Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 85th Avenue / 503.254.7371

Leach Botanical Garden

This nine-acre botanical garden boasts more than 2,000 species, hybrids and cultivars, including Northwest native plants, as well as viburnums, camellias and azaleas of the southeastern United States.

The garden has an interpretive center, restrooms, trails and wildlife viewing areas. Limited wheelchair accessibility; pets not allowed.

Closed Mondays and some holidays; free.

6704 S.E. 122nd Ave., three blocks south of Foster Road / 503.823.9503

Mt. Tabor Park

Mt. Tabor makes Portland one of only two cities in the continental United States to contain an extinct volcano within its boundaries (the other is Bend, Ore.). Established in 1909, Mt. Tabor Park was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. Three municipal reservoirs are at the heart of the 196-acre (79.3-hectare) park, which also features trails popular with both bicyclists and pedestrians. The cinder cone's 630-foot (192-meter) elevation affords views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood.

Open daily; free. Note: The park is closed to motor vehicles all day Wednesday, and from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. all other days.

Southeast 60th Avenue and Salmon Street

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

This 140-acre (56.7-hectare) wetland just east of the Willamette River in Sellwood is a birdwatchers' paradise. Many species are attracted to the marshes of Portland's first wildlife refuge, including the city's official bird, the great blue heron.

Open daily; free.

Southeast Seventh Avenue and Sellwood Boulevard

Springwater Corridor

A testament to Oregonians' zest for recycling, the Springwater Corridor is one of Portland's most notable bike developments. This former rail corridor was reborn as an alternative transportation and recreational trail that winds east for 21 miles (34 kilometers) from Portland to the town of Boring, Ore. The corridor will ultimately lead south to Estacada and into the Mount Hood National Forest.

Open daily; free.

The westernmost leg of the Springwater Corridor is connected to downtown via the Eastbank Esplanade.

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