This is a guest post by Carmen Allan-Petale from Double-BarrelledTravel.com.
Portland, Oregon, is a unique city for green space. It has both the smallest park in the world (which is a little bigger than a plant pot) and the biggest urban park in the world (Forest Park).
Just as essential as it is to ride a bike in Portland – one of the top US cities for bike transport – so too is it important to take the time to explore the parks Portland has to offer.
There are many so to help you choose the best, I’ve devised a list of my top 4 parks to visit in Portland:
1. Forest Park
A pond in the Japanese Garden.
As I mentioned, Forest Park is the largest urban public park in the world. You can hike in Forest Parks for days without running out of new trails to follow.
Being inside Forest Park really is like being in the middle of the forest in the heart of Portland.
When you step into the park, all car noise disappears and it’s hard to believe that you are still located in a busy metropolis and not some remote wilderness somewhere.
When you hike in Forest Park you’ll come across streams trickling over smooth rocks, trees that have branches kissing the forest floor and even ruins of buildings that are missing their roofs and are overgrown with moss.
If I believed in fairies, this is where I’d imagine they’d live.
Address: NW Skyline Blvd, Portland, Oregon
Dave climbing the pebbled staircase in the Japanese Garden.
Inside Forest Park.
Inside the ruins in Forest Park.
2. International Rose Test Garden
One of Portland’s alternative names is ‘Rose City’ and it’s easy to see where it gets this name when you visit its International Rose Test Garden.
Every single variety of rose seems to be planted in the garden in neat rows and the garden is a testing ground for new varieties of roses each year – hence where its name comes from. This means you’re bound to find a type of rose that you never would’ve seen before.
Wandering through the rose gardens, take the time to smell the flowers. It’s a lovely place to take some photos of the beautiful colours of nature and at the top of the garden you can get some stunning skyline views.
Not surprisingly, it’s a popular place for weddings!
Address: 850 SW Rose Garden Way, Portland, Oregon, 97205
3. Portland Japanese Garden
There is something immensely charming and deeply relaxing about the landscape of a Japanese Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden is no exception.
Located just up the hill from the International Rose Test Garden, the Portland Japanese Garden has been dubbed the most authentic garden of its kind outside of Japan.
You can view a traditional Japanese tea room and admire the large coy fish swimming about in the ponds.
A waterfall cascades down into one of the pools, spilling droplets onto water lilies. Cobbled paths lead to a Sand and Stone Garden which is raked perfectly to provide a sense of calm and Zen.
The Portland Japanese Garden is the perfect place to come to relax.
Admission: $9.50 for adults
Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, Oregon 97205
Inside the Chinese Gardens.
Inside the International Rose Test Garden.
4. Lan Su Chinese Garden
I prefer the Japanese Garden to stroll through as it is larger than the Lan Su Chinese Garden, but the Chinese garden has an unbeatable tea room.
Located in the middle of Chinatown, once more you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city when step through into the perfectly manicured gardens of the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Translated into the ‘Garden of Awakening Orchids’, the Lan Su Chinese Garden offers an insight into how the traditional Chinese live, with a Scholar’s Study demonstrating where the men of the family studied for civil service exams that would ensure the family’s prosperity.
There’s also a traditional pavilion and a room with beautifully carved wooden lattice doors.
But my favourite part of the garden is the tea rooms where you can choose from hundreds of traditional Chinese teas and eat delicious Chinese food like steamed dumplings.
When we went, a Chinese musician was playing a Gu-Qin, a seven stringed instrument which you pluck. We ate in the tea rooms which are in a beautiful two story building full of wooden furniture.
Admission: $9.50 for adults
Address: 239 NW Everett Street, Portland
How do you like the Portland parks? Let us know in the comments!