Read these 22 Attractions Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Portland tips and hundreds of other topics.
Take a romantic pictorial trip back in history to visit the "Gallon Bridge," located in the Willamette Valley; considered to be the oldest of the 51 covered bridges -- it's still accessible by automobile! Also along your journey, don't blink, or you'll miss the "South Myrtle Creek Bridge" considered to be one of the shortest covered bridges with a length of only 42 feet.
Oregon's Covered Bridges
Formerly the "Washington Park Zoo," Oregon Zoo began its history in the back of a pharmacy in 1887. Since that time, it has become widely-recognized as having the most successful breeding herd of Asian elephants of any zoo in the world. While you're there, don't forget to visit one of the zoo's favorite residents, Packy. In 1962, his birth represented the first elephant born in the western hemisphere in more than 40 years. Help celebrate Packy's 40th birthday on April 13, 2002!
The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother is a 62-acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden located in Portland. The Grotto (as it is commonly called) is a non-profit Oregon corporation, supported solely by the proceeds of its gift shop and by donations. Guests often find peace and solace when visiting.
Lone Fir Cemetery, on the east side of the Willamette River, is Portland's oldest burial ground. The remains of people of every race, color, nationality, occupation, and fortune are set next to each other. Markers are inscribed in English, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Spanish. Metro Regional Parks and Greenspaces manages 14 historic pioneer cemeteries in Multnomah County (assured in perpetuity). The Office of Pioneer Cemeteries, located at Lone Fir Cemetery, is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Public inquiries are welcomed concerning grave site selection, terms for immediate need, pre-need and cremains. The Office of Pioneer Cemeteries has extensive records for use by family historians and genealogical researchers.
Lone Fir Cemetery
One of Portland's best-kept secrets is its Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. During the spring months, Crystal Springs is a riot of color as the rhododendrons and azaleas take over the lush gardens. Home to a multitude of birds and other wildlife, you will also enjoy the gardens during the rest of the year as the arched bridges, winding paths, and rocky waterfalls lead you on a scenic tour of the grounds.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Every horse (and even a mule!) has a story to tell on the magical riverfront attraction in Salem—the Salem Riverfront Carousel. That's because community volunteers carved the horses and put some of their own lives into their work. The next best thing to taking a ride, is meeting the carvers, and learning about their dream.
Surrounded by the same trees for which it was named, The Oaks, celebrated its ninety-sixth consecutive year of operation in 2001, making it the second oldest continuously operating amusement park in America. Built by the Oregon Water Power and Navigation Company, the park opened on May 30, 1905 to Portlanders who arrived by foot and on horseback, in automobiles, and by boat from the Willamette River. Operates weekends only in the spring and early fall and daily throughout the summer; skating rink operates year round.
Oaks Amusement Park
Affectionately nicknamed, "CM2," the Children's Museum 2nd Generation is located in Washingon Park (the former home of OMSI), across from the Oregon Zoo. Children of all ages will delight with the hands-on exhibits that allow them to turn cranks, compose tunes, play dress-up, design buildings, and "have a ball" - literally! The museum also offers membership and volunteer opportunities, as well as tours designed for school groups, and sponsorship information.
Children's Museum 2nd Generation
Located in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River, the Japanese American Historical Plaza is dedicated to the memory of those who were deported to inland internment camps during World War II. Artwork tells the story of people of Japanese ancestry in the Northwest.
Japanese American Historical Plaza
Photographer Andrew Hall presents over 50 photographs of Portland's bridges from the oldest highway bridge, the Hawthorne Bridge (1910), to the city's newest, the Fremont Bridge (1973). His personal favorite, the St. John's Bridge (1931) the only steel suspension bridge in Portland (one of only three in the state), appears on the opening page.
The Bridges of Portland
Resting on the west side of the Willamette River, OMSI proves that science can be fun at any age. The museum offers over 200 hands-on exhibits, the Murdock Planetarium with daily laser light shows, and the OMNIMAX Theater featuring a five-story domed screen with a 30-degree seating platform. Visit the KOIN 6/OMSI Weather Lab and you could show up as the next weatherman on the nightly news! Your best bet? Purchase a Family Membership that gives you access to reciprocal museums throughout the United States.
Hoyt Arboretum features a world of trees. Perched on a ridge overlooking the Oregon Zoo, this 175-acre arboretum displays more than 900 species of trees and shrubs. Ten miles of trails wind through hundreds of plants from around the world in this living exhibit.
The Oregon Maritime Center and Museum, located in a sternwheeler on the Willamette River, contains a collection of ship models and artifacts from Oregon's 150-year history of shipping, shipbuilding, and river navigation. Stroll through the museum and see models of sailing ships, motor ships, and steamboats.
Oregon Maritime Center and Museum
Learn about Oregon's covered bridges by checking out the Official Covered Bridges Directory presented by the Covered Bridge Society of Oregon, dedicated to "preserving Oregon's heritage for the future." They offer newsletters, picnics, guest speakers, slide shows, historical bridge data, and an online forum to discuss your covered bridge experiences.
Covered Bridge Society of Oregon
Situated on the banks of Portland's historic Willamette River, the Oregon Convention Center is an award-winning meeting destination. The center offers five permanent food and beverage locations, exhibit space (150,000 square feet of column free space, all on one level), 28 individual meeting rooms, and general session seating for approximately 8,500 people.
For over 125 years, the Oregon Historical Society has been collecting, preserving, exhibiting and publishing Oregon's history. Today, the OHS complex is a landmark in the heart of Portland's Cultural District and offers Oregon's rich multicultural history through museum exhibitions, research collections, and publications.
Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Pacific and the home to an impressive collection of Asian, European, American, and American Indian art. In August 2000, the museum celebrated the completion of a two-year, $45 million renovation and construction project which now places the Portland Art Museum as one of the twenty-five largest art museums in the country in total square footage (240,000+ sq. ft.)
Don't let the rain get you down! There's plenty of fun for every age (yes, they're even open on Mondays!) once you step through the doors at Ground Kontrol. For thirty-somethings, it's a chance to reclaim your "pinball wizard" days, and for younger folks, see what a "real" record album looks like! Seriously, though, it's a great place to re-live the 1980's by testing your skills on over 50 vintage games including Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and more. Only twenty-five cents per play! They even carry records, tapes, CDs, and 8-tracks for sale!
The Portland Community Ballet presents performances for children and offers dance education for non-professional children and adults. Check out their current class and performance schedules including prices and policies, and meet the instructors.