travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Portland: Popular Points of Interest

July 1, 2021

Portland, Oregon is a very scenic city full of skyscrapers, unique public art pieces, and tons of green space. Simply put, there’s a lot to see and a lot to do here. Thousands of visitors travel from around the world to experience Portland’s points of interest each year.

From Old Town Portland to the Oregon Zoo, this city has a lot to offer. During your trip, you have to visit these popular points of interest near Portland. Use a luggage storage service to store your shopping purchases and extra bags before visiting any of these venues.

The Grotto

There are quite a few religious attractions in Portland; shrines, cathedrals, and holy statues are just some of the sacred sights you’ll see. Some of these installments are positively ancient, dating back to the early 1900s or beyond. 

The Grotto falls in that category; it’s an outdoor shrine that was constructed in 1924. Officially known as the National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, the Grotto spans 62 acres and lies at the top of a steep hill. It’s one of the most important Catholic structures in the city.

Visiting the Grotto is always a rewarding experience; you have to either hike or ride an elevator just to reach the shrine. A meditation hall, a botanic garden, and a lengthy hiking trail also accompany the Grotto. 

Hoyt Arboretum

Walking among nature is great for the mind and the spirit. Getting away from air pollution, light pollution, and the busyness of the city is truly reinvigorating. A place like the Hoyt Arboretum is absolutely ideal for nature walks.

A sea of trees and foliage stretches across 189 acres of untouched green space. The Arboretum is dedicated to preserving a vast array of tree and flower species. You’ll find everything from Dogwood trees to Spring blossoms and several rare exhibits. 

International Rose Test Garden

“Wake up and smell the roses” is an age saying that’s just as popular as ever. You aren’t supposed to take it literally in most cases. The International Rose Garden is an exception; this garden houses more than 10,000 rose bushes and over 650 different rose species.

Jesse A. Currey is the founder of this iconic landmark. Legend has it that Currey wanted to preserve as many roses as possible when World War I began. Herbalists from Europe shipped tons of flowers to Currey in the late 1910s. The rest is history. 

Photo by Elena Kuchko

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Diverse cultures are part of what makes Portland special; this city is a true melting pot where people from different communities come together to create wonders. The Lan Su Chinese Garden is precisely what we’re talking about.

This astonishing venue is teeming with plants, art installments, and buildings imported from China. It’s also one of the biggest green spaces in Portland, stretching across more than 40,000 square feet (an entire city block).

The Lan Su Chinese Garden takes a lot of inspiration from the Classical Garden of Suzhou. Lan Su is located in Old Town Chinatown. Notable attractions include the Tower of Cosmic Reflection, the Painted Boat in Misty Rain, and the Celestial Hall. 

Oregon Zoo

“Take a walk on the wild side” is another saying, albeit one we don’t fully endorse. Don’t get us wrong, we love animals. We also know that most creatures don’t like meeting people in the wild. However, the Oregon Zoo provides a safe space to admire these animals.

Asian Elephants, African Spurred Tortoises, Lions, and Giraffes are just a few of the amazing animals at the Oregon Zoo. Visitors will have plenty of opportunities to learn about and interact with these creatures. 

Pittock Mansion

Oregon as a whole tries to preserve as much of the past as possible. Portland certainly conforms to this trend, what with all of the vintage structures in the city.  Pittock Mansion is special, however; it’s one of the oldest and most esteemed buildings in the area.

Henry and Georgina Burton Pittock are the namesakes of this estate. Built in 1914, this grand old house was modeled after a French Renaissance chateau. It has 46 rooms and the grounds cover 46 acres of land. 

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum preserves and showcases a vast array of masterpieces from different communities. African, Asian, and Native American pieces all have a home here. The same goes for a myriad of temporary and permanent exhibits. 

Things are always changing at the Portland Art Museum, which means there’s always something new to experience. Several exhibits have been dedicated to Laika studios, the folks behind Coraline (2009) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016).

Photo by Tim Muangkeo on Unsplash

Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden hardly needs an introduction. It’s one of the most famous venues in the city, attracting thousands of visitors each week. The Japanese Garden has garnered many admirers ever since it opened in 1963, including an Ambassador of Japan

Eight distinct garden styles are spread across 12 acres of green space. Some of the Garden’s biggest attractions are its Japanese Tea House, its Sand and Stone Garden, and its winding pathways. The Portland Japanese Garden bills itself as a genuine urban oasis.

St. Johns Bridge

This next point of interest also has ties to the Catholic and Christian faith. It’s not a shrine or a cathedral, it’s a towering suspension bridge that overlaps the Willamette River. It’s St. Johns Bridge, one of the largest and oldest structures of its kind.

St. Johns Bridge was built in 1929, hence its prominent Gothic design. Commuters will appreciate the view from atop this massive bridge. Hundreds of pedestrians stop by to take photos all the time.

The Zymoglyphic Museum

We wager you’re probably thinking “what does Zymoglyphic mean?” Well, we’re not entirely sure. However, the Zymoglyphic Museum is certainly worth a visit. It’s a one-of-a-kind taxidermy institution with some of the rarest (and strangest) exhibits we’ve ever seen.

The Museum is broken up into multiple sections. Each houses distinct exhibits and centers around a specific theme. In our opinion, the “Natural History” area is the most… interesting. 

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