A visit to the pacific northwest has been on our bucket list for years, so when we came across a cheap flight to Portland, Oregon it wasn’t a hard decision to just go. The tough part was deciding how to spend the little time we had.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Portland Japanese Garden
We almost didn’t go to Portland’s Japanese Garden, but I am so glad we did. It was my favorite spot in Portland. The gardens are absolutely beautiful.
The garden is located with Portland’s Washington Park and even though you are in the city it feels secluded.
Even though there were a lot of people visiting we could still find some spots that felt secluded. The Strolling Pond area of the garden was my favorite because of the bridges and the boardwalk by the Koi fish.
This area then leads to the Natural Garden where you can get a birds eye view of the Sand and Stone Garden. The Natural Garden area is cool to explore because the paths are narrow and take you to a lower level of the garden with water features.
The International Rose Test Garden parking area is connected by a flight of stairs to the Japanese Garden. It is within walking distance, so we ended up parking in between the two and didn’t have to move our car.
International Rose Garden
Portland, Oregon is the City of Roses, so it seemed fitting to visit the International Rose Test Garden. The gardens are withing walking distance of the Japanese Garden. Unfortunately, April is not the best month to see roses in Portland and most were not blooming.
If I ever make it out to Portland in May or June I would definitely spend some time in the rose gardens. This free garden has more than 7,000 roses and a great view of the city.
I love exploring old houses, so we stopped in to see the Pittock Mansion. Learn about the history of Portland, see a cool old house, and get a fantastic view of Portland.
On a clear day the views from here would be magnificent. If you follow the path you can also tour the gardener’s home. In addition, there are several hiking trails to explore just off of the parking lot.
Beer, Coffee, & Donuts in Portland Oregon
Our hotel was across the street from a Dutch Bros, which was awesome because I love the Islander. Predictably, we ended up getting coffee here each morning. A couple blocks away was Blue Star Donuts, so we tried those out as well. I am not a huge donut fan, so I am probably not the best person to rate donuts. They had fun flavors like Blueberry Bourbon Basil and Passion Fruit Cake, but we just got the Cinnamon Sugar donuts which were pretty good.
Portland and the surrounding area has more than 100 breweries, so it was difficult to pick which ones to visit. Ultimately we took an Uber to Schilling’s Cider House because Glenn loves cider and Deschutes Brewery because our driver recommended it.
Schilling Cider House has more than 50 different ciders. We had fun trying out all the different ciders. We both ordered different cider flights, so we could taste more of them. The Blackberry Pear and Pineapple Passion were favorites of ours.
We also wanted to try out some other beers, so we stopped to eat a burger and have a beer flight at Deschutes Brewery. Two of our favorites were Jolabokaflod and the Kveik Freak.
I found the Benson Bubblers in Portland fascinating because they use the term bubbler. Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin I know a bubbler is what the majority of those in the USA call a water fountain. In my linguistics class I learned the word “bubbler” is only found in a few very specific areas of the world.
Anyway, when I heard that Portlanders also call these thirst quenchers bubblers I had to go take a photo of one of them. If you want to learn more about these icons in Portland you can see a Benson Bubbler map here.
Powell’s Book Store
Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore and takes up a whole block downtown. I needed a book for the flight home, so we stopped in.