Portland, OR, is a wonderful destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With an abundance of things to see and do in this west coast paradise, visitors definitely have ample opportunities to get outside and enjoy the city. Not only can you bask in the all-natural surrounding beauty here, but you can also marvel at Portland’s manicured gardens, outdoor modern art sculptures, and stunning architecture. In general, both in and out of this city, there are countless green spaces, recreational parks, and lush greenery. So whether you’re just in town for a few days or officially call this city home, here are ten of the best parks in Portland, Oregon, ranked by scenery.
10 Leach Botanical Garden & Park
LBG is a 16-acre abounding botanical garden that has been open to the public since 1972, when the Portland Parks Bureau acquired it. Situated near S.E. 122nd Avenue and Foster Road, park-goers can enjoy this pet project of one of the city’s former botanists Lilla Leach. Intended to have a private “Sleepy Hollow” vibe, this green space is simply stunning. Plus, with ongoing events like the Immersive Forest Bathing Walks, the standard Forest Bathing Walks, and more, this is truly a beautiful place to experience.
9 Peninsula Park
This formerly designated bandstand, designed in the early 1900s, has evolved over the years into a lovely neighborhood park that is a local favorite for families, children, pets, and wildlife. Besides being the second oldest playground in the city, this picturesque plot of land is home to Portland’s first community center and public rose garden. Here visitors of this local gem will find a large fountain, a vast portion of the park’s original architecture from 1913, and of course, one incredible view of the North Portland area.
8 Tryon Creek State Natural Area (Park)
This natural green space is an expansive state park that covers over 650 acres of North Portland. Located just off of SW Terwilliger Blvd, this is actually the only Oregon state park within a major city. This historic land plot is named after Dr. Socrates Hotchkiss Tryon, who claimed the land in the 1850s. However, it wasn’t officially designated as a state park until the 1980s. But be that as it may, this thriving forested area is an example of nature at its best, with trails and more.
7 Pittock Mansion Grounds & Garden
The Pittock Mansion was constructed in 1914 and is still one of the most extravagant homes in the city of Portland. A tour of the Pittock power couple abode is an absolute must, but while you’re there, make sure you pop around back to marvel at the lush grounds. With its beautiful garden adorned with colorful flowers, plus its incredible legendary view of the entire city, checking out these park-sized grounds should definitely be on your list of activities. To see this beautiful attraction, you can drive there, take an Uber, book a group tour, or hit the Wildwood Trail for one of the most scenic hikes in Portland.
6 Washington Park
Washington Park is a sprawling superabundant nature space with over 2,000 species of trees and plants. Located within the park, visitors will find Hoyt Arboretum, along with several commemorative recreational trails such as the Marquam Trail, the Wildwood Trail, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Trail. But that’s not all; this stunning outdoor space has a zoo, forestry museum, rose garden, and Japanese garden. There is also an amphitheater, a plethora of memorials, an archery range, beautifully manicured sports fields, tennis courts, picnic areas, public art, and more.
5 International Rose Test Garden & Park
This delightful, not-so-little garden and park is often called the pride and joy of Portland. Here in International Rose Test Garden, park-goers can marvel at the sea of majestic roses (10,000 rose bushes and 650 different varieties, to be exact). Affectionately dubbed “Rose City” (a popular nickname for Portland), this rich green space was built in 1917 to showcase Portland’s beloved flower. This splendid park is truly a fan favorite that boasts over 700,000 visitors every year and is ranked as one of the very best attractions in town.
4 Council Crest Park
Located in southwest Portland, Council Crest is an excellent city park with more than a few amenities. Here visitors can enjoy an almost unreal viewpoint from 1,073 feet above sea level, public art, nature trails, paved pathways, an off-leash onsite dog park, and so much more. This stunning outdoor space is so scenic that you can even reserve it for weddings. That said if you do happen to make it out to this park, try to get there early to catch one of the phenomenal sunrises.
3 Waterfront Park
Lined with sweet-smelling cherry blossoms in the spring, Waterfront Park is one of Portland’s most visited and recognizable garden/park spaces. This thriving green space abuts a gorgeous waterfront walking path and accentuates several of Portland’s iconic bridges. With more than a few landmarks, like The Battleship Oregon Memorial, this park is a peaceful little spot in the city. In addition, to being a little waterside haven, this park also hosts a number of annual events, including the Waterfront Blues Fest and the Oregon Brewers Festival.
2 The Grotto Nature Reserve Park
This green space is officially known as the National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother. Nestled in northeast Portland, this Catholic outdoor reserve is a wonderful place in nature that is open to the public. With expansive gardens, shires, and statues adorning this area, The Grotto truly lives up to its motto: a place of peace, prayer, and natural beauty. A truly breathtaking sight to behold, this 62-acre lush nature haven sits at the base of (as well as atop) a 110-foot cliff and is absolutely worth a visit if you are in the area.
1 Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden & Park
Last but not least, another popular wedding venue in the city of Portland is the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Located in southeast Portland, this public park features a colorful array of Japanese Azalea, various other beautiful flowers, over 2,500 different species of plants, and dense trees, and is teeming with wildlife. The focal point of this green space is the spring-fed Crystal Springs Lake, as most of the foliage, fauna, and flora are strategically planted around this serene body of water. There are also year-round water features and gorgeous nature trails throughout the park.