West of the city, Washington Park is a lush destination with 410 acres of green space, well-manicured gardens and forested trails. Within the parkland are a bunch of great Portland attractions. Several are perfect for travelers with children, including an excellent playground, and the Oregon Zoo and Hoyt Arboretum, which feature more than 1000 species of native and exotic trees from around the world. All are linked by a free shuttle bus.
Beyond Hoyt Arboretum, the World Forestry Center is an educational museum exploring forests and their trees.
The International Rose Test Garden is the centerpiece of Portland's famous rose blooms (and where it gets its nickname Rose City). There are more than 700 varieties on show here, plus great city views.
Further uphill, the Japanese Garden is another oasis of tranquility. Part of a post-WWII restoration of relations with Japan, the US has many beautiful Japanese gardens, but this is considered one of the very best. It has an impressive array of water features, koi ponds, ornamental cherry trees, a ceremonial teahouse and a sand garden.
Washington Park Loop is a 6.4 km loop trail popular with locals for walking and mountain biking. It’s best in spring and summer, with wild flowers dotting the meadows you’ll pass. There are shorter trails for people shorter on time (or fitness levels). Download a map from the Washington Park website, though trails are also signed.
Can I take my dog?
Yes, you can take your dog to Washington Park and on the trails, but they have to be on a leash.
Is there parking?
Parking here is limited so you’re strongly recommended to take public transport or perhaps even cycle here (it's a few miles from downtown). Plus it's the greener option—and this is Portland. Real time parking information is available online so if you must drive, keep abreast of how busy it will be.
Ride the free shuttle
The Washington Park Free Shuttle operates daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also track the free shuttle online. It usually comes by every 15 to 30 mins. TriMet’s Blue and Red MAX Light Rail lines serve Washington Park MAX station by the park. Trains generally run every nine minutes, but only during the day.