Downtown Portland Attractions
Officially known as the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, this 62-acre site offers a beautiful place to meditate and to view statuary and gardens. The plaza level, lush with greenery, also houses a rock-carved grotto with a replica of the Piet (Mary holding the crucified Jesus’ body) within. A 10-story elevator ride up the nearby mountain delivers visitors to incredible views, well-maintained gardens, and the stunning meditation chapel. You’ll also find reflecting pools, a host of traditionally-styled artwork, and a conference center. There is an extensive Mass schedule; call for times and details. A gift shop and refreshments are available as well.
NE 85th and Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97294
12 minutes; 7-1/2 miles
Japanese American Historical Plaza
This site along the Willamette River commemorates Japanese-Americans restricted in internment camps during WWII. Several large boulders bear inscriptions reflecting the Japanese-American experience through word and symbol. Another sculpture stands at the Steel Bridge, and cherry trees distinguish the site. Nearby, the Friendship Circle acknowledges Portland’s relationship with sister city Sapporo. The tall structure is said to “sing” as it mimics the sounds of the Japanese flute and drum.
2 NW Naito Parkway
Portland, OR 97209
2 minutes; less than 1 mile
A collection of animals gifted to the city by pharmacist, Richard Knight, began what is now the Oregon Zoo. Occupying 64 acres in Washington Park and providing shelter for more than 1000 animals, the zoo has become one of the state’s largest attractions. Animal habitats replicate natural environments, and the zoo works diligently to protect endangered species and prevent threatened ones from becoming extinct. Attractions within the zoo include sections that mimic the terrains of Africa, Alaska, the Amazon forest and the Savannah. You’ll also find areas dedicated to bats, insects, mountain goats, elk, penguins, big cats and Asian elephants. Great for the entire family. The zoo opens an hour early (8am) from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
4001 SW Canyon Rd
Portland, OR 97221
9 minutes; 3 miles
Lose yourself in the grandeur of a vanished era! Explore a 1914 mansion rich with early Portland history, and brimming with the finest arts and antiques.
Just five minutes from downtown Portland off West Burnside Street.
3229 N.W. Pittock Drive
Public Art of Downtown
One of the many wonderful things about Portland is the art-strewn downtown. Almost anywhere you wander, you’ll encounter statuary and sculptures. Besides the majestic hammered-copper figure of Portlandia (at the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th), you can see statues of playful beavers, a large stone feline, and a stretch of inscribed sayings between 3rd and 4th on Yamhill Street. Request a map of the local offerings at the Regional Arts and Culture Council (309 SW 6th Avenue, suite 100) or in the lobby of the Portland Building.
Smith and Bybee Lakes Wetlands Natural Area
These two lakes and the land surrounding them comprise a wildlife park located just north of Portland. The 2000-acre site sits in the midst of an industrial area but invites visitors to hike, watch wildlife and listen to birds call amid an expansive natural refuge. Canoeing and fishing are available on Smith Lake, but Bybee is preserved as a wildlife habitat. Trails for biking and hiking criss-cross the area, and visitors often use them to relax and view the variety of creatures who inhabit the area, including deer, beaver, raptors and other species.
N Columbia and Simmons
Portland, OR 97203
Intended as a site for travelers to experience the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, Vista House was built in 1916 as a tribute to Oregon’s early settlers. The octagonal stone building sports a copper dome and was designed by Edgar Lazarus, brother of Emma Lazarus (who penned the lines carved on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal). It was constructed, in part, by Italian stonemasons, who were in Oregon working on the Columbia River Highway. Today, in addition to its travel necessities (phones, restrooms, refreshments), Vista House offers exhibits about the area, a gift shop, art gallery, and special events.
40700 E Crown Pt Hwy
Corbett, OR 97019
28 minutes; 25 miles