Occupying a forested ridge high above downtown Portland, this park has enough sights and attractions that it’s easy to spend a full day here. If time is short, though, focus on the International Rose Test Garden and its 8,220 rosebushes, and the serene Portland Japanese Garden, whose pebble lanes and pathways pass through five distinct landscapes. If you have more time, or kids in tow, check out the Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, and Portland Children’s Museum. And if you’re an ardent horticulturist, take the time to wander through 187-acre Hoyt Arboretum, which contains more than 1,000 species from around the world. It’s a somewhat steep though short (1.5-mile) walk from downtown to reach the park’s main entrance, but city buses also take you there.
Tip: June–October is when roses bloom in the rose garden; the Japanese Garden is most colorful in late spring when azaleas bloom.