20 Free Things to Do in Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Get ready to see Portland in a whole new light - a cost-free, fun-filled light, that is!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Helen Logston, Christopher Green, Kenzie Daugherty, Larry Griffiths, Dolores Baker, Robert Roberge and Esmeralda Corliss.

Discover Local Biodiversity at Hoyt Arboretum

The grounds of Hoyt Arboretum
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I'm lucky enough to live near one of the most unique parks in the United States – Hoyt Arboretum, a sprawling 190-acre park that's home to an array of native, global, and endangered trees.

It's a place of solace, a perfect spot to escape the bustling city life of Portland without having to venture too far.

One of my favorite ways to spend my Sunday mornings is meandering through the 12 miles of hiking trails, admiring the beautiful array of leaves that change with every season.

The autumn foliage is something truly spectacular, and I often find myself lost in the vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold.

The park's visitor center is small but insightful, offering informative displays about its many trees.

It's also the perfect place to grab a trail map and use the restrooms before embarking on your journey.

Parking is well-managed, with both paid lots and roadside parking available.

The Redwood trail has always been my personal favorite.

The incline is just right, making it a challenging yet invigorating hike.

But what truly makes it special are the towering redwood trees that envelop you, making you feel like you've stepped into another world.

Signage of Hoyt Arboretum
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The Wildwood trail is another worth exploring.

Full of twists and turns, each curve offers a new surprise.

If you have kids, the playground is a great spot to let them burn off their energy.

And, of course, the rose gardens are a must-visit, offering a stunning display of blossoms during spring and summer.

While the Japanese garden does come with an entry fee, I do believe it's worth every penny to experience its tranquility.

A day spent in Hoyt Arboretum is always fulfilling.

And even after countless visits, there are still corners of the park I've yet to discover.

Each visit feels like a new adventure, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Whether you're a local or a tourist, this arboretum is a hidden gem that's worth exploring.

A person walking along Hoyt Arboretum
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Find a Good Read at Powell's City of Books

Exterior of Powell’s City of Books
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Imagine being lost in an enchanting city, but this city is built entirely of books.

That's what a regular day feels like for me at Powell's City of Books.

This iconic bookseller is a bibliophile's dream come true, with a diverse selection of both new and used books, along with an array of unique gifts for book lovers.

As I wander through the maze of bookshelves, I'm always amazed at how every aisle is meticulously labeled, rendering the task of finding a book more adventurous than complicated.

The top floor, home to a rare book room, is a particular delight. It's like a treasury of hidden jewels, each book holding untold stories waiting to be discovered.

Powell's City of Books is not just the world's largest bookstore, but it's also a hub of literary enlightenment.

The staff members are more than just friendly; they are incredibly knowledgeable.

Interior of Powell's City of Books
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Conversations with them often turn into exciting literary discussions, leaving me with a longer reading list every time.

And if you ever feel tired from exploring the four floors of bookish wonders, there's a quaint little coffee shop tucked away at the back.

Here, I often find myself sipping on a hot cup of coffee, savoring a snack, and diving headfirst into the world of a new book.

It's this perfect blend of relaxation and literature that makes Powell's more than just a bookstore.

What sets Powell's City of Books apart is its attention to detail.

The free bookmarks and stickers they provide add a delightful touch to the whole experience, and their extensive selection of knick-knacks and souvenirs ensures I always have a unique gift for my friends and family.

Books for children in Powell's City of Books
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A Day at The Pittock Mansion Park Viewpoint

Pittock Mansion
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It's a typical Sunday afternoon for me. With a cup of coffee in one hand, I decide to take my usual stroll around the Pittock Mansion.

This historic house perched atop Portland's West Hills is more than just a mansion to me, it's a part of my daily life.

I make my way around the mansion, appreciating the grandeur of the architecture and the beautifully manicured garden in bloom.

The flowers, oh the flowers, they add so much color and character to the mansion.

It's like a painting coming alive every single day! However, the real treat lies beyond the mansion.

It's the panoramic viewpoint that overlooks the city of Portland and Mount Hood.

Scenic views from Pittock Mansion
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The viewpoint has become my sanctuary, a place to take a break and soak in the stunning spectacle laid out before me. On clear days, I feel like I can see forever.

Feeling peckish, I usually pack a small meal to enjoy at one of the benches near the viewpoint.

Trust me, there's no better place to enjoy a meal with a view. And if you're into hiking, there are numerous trails in the area waiting to be explored.

It's like you're in the heart of nature, despite being in the city.

Whether it's a leisurely walk around the mansion, a hike in the surrounding trails, or enjoying the view, the Pittock Mansion provides a slice of Portland history with a side of natural beauty.

It's a place that never ceases to amaze me, no matter how many times I visit.

Cycle through Mt Tabor Park

Scenic views from Mount Tabor
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Waking up to the chirping of birds, I head out for my morning ritual at Mt Tabor Park, the heart of Portland.

This isn't just a park; it's an extinct volcano turned urban oasis that has been a part of my life since I was a child.

Now, I bring my children here, sharing with them the joy of this hidden gem.

Here, in the center of the bustling city, are trails for walking and biking that weave their way through the forested park, all clearly marked and maintained.

There are several paved pathways, making it accessible to all visitors.

The park is also home to a playground and tennis courts, but for me, its crowning jewel is the breathtaking 360-degree view from its peak.

Trust me, one look at the cityscape from that height is worth every step of the climb.

As the day winds down, I often find myself drawn back to the park.

Bicycle ride at Mt Tabor Park
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With a blanket spread out on the lush lawns, I lose myself in a good book, letting the peaceful surroundings lull me into a state of relaxation.

It's not uncommon to see musicians scattered throughout the park, their melodies adding to the ambiance.

But the best part is yet to come.

As the evening settles, the park transforms into a natural theater showcasing mesmerizing sunsets.

With the main reservoir as the backdrop, the city seems to come alive under the glow.

It's this unique fusion of urban and natural beauty that makes Mt Tabor Park a cherished part of this city's identity.

As night falls, ambient lighting illuminates the area, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

Trail along Mt Tabor Park
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Have a Family Day at Washington Park

Flora at Washington Park
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One of the many charms of Portland is the way it seamlessly integrates nature within its urban sprawl.

Washington Park stands out for me in all the spots where this union is celebrated.

Here's where I find my solace in the city's hustle and bustle, with over 12 miles of trails and an array of attractions from a zoo to a Japanese garden.

It's a slice of nature's bounty that we're lucky to have at our doorstep.

Ambling through Washington Park, you'll stumble upon an unexpected delight - a world-class Rose Garden.

Imagine rows upon rows of vibrant roses, their sweet aroma wafting through the air, and you standing amidst it all, utterly enchanted.

If you're a shutterbug like me, this sight is a paradise!

The grounds of Washington Park
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Just a few steps away, a Zen experience awaits you at the Japanese Garden.

The tranquility that cloaks this place is rejuvenating.

There's a certain calmness about sitting here, soaking in the serenity and watching the world go by.

While here, don't forget to grace the café - just remember to book your spot early!

A stone's throw away from the gardens, tennis courts add another dimension to the park's offerings.

Whether you're up for a friendly match or just want to work up a sweat, these courts make a perfect venue.

Vibrant roses at Washington Park
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Immerse in a Haven of Artistry at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Sometimes, the most rewarding discoveries are those that come by chance.

I'd made my way to the farmers market next door one day when I stumbled upon an unexpected treasure - the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University.

A free admission opportunity was too good to pass up.

As I stepped inside, I found myself drawn into the mesmerizing world of art, a seamless blend of professional and student creations.

The day's theme was 'data weave.'

While I don't consider myself an art critic, some pieces left me genuinely surprised with their quality.

One artwork, a Middle Eastern-style rug piece, stood out for its unique, trippy effect.

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art also offered me a chance to experience the work of Chinese-American artist Hung Liu.

The way she utilizes Depression-era photos, historical images from China, and her personal memories of the Cultural Revolution as inspiration is truly riveting.

Dandelions, signifying dispersion, appeared as a recurring theme in her art, adding a layer of depth to her works.

The museum provides more than just visual stimulation.

It's a place of stories, a narrative of diverse experiences.

I was particularly moved by the exhibits focusing on black and transgender narratives.

The stories they told the emotions they evoked, were powerful and thought-provoking.

The building itself is well-maintained, with friendly staff who ensure a comfortable visit.

Feast Your Senses at Ladd Circle Park & Rose Gardens

A lamppost at Ladd Circle Park & Rose Gardens
Ian PoelletCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's hard to resist the allure of the Ladd Circle Park and Rose Gardens - a tranquil urban oasis that's only a short walk from my front door.

The minute I step inside, I'm transported to a world away from the clamor of city life.

The park's lush greenery embraces me, and the beautifully manicured gardens offer an array of colors that soothe the eyes.

My favorite spot has to be the charming fountain at the park's center.

The gentle sound of the cascading water adds to the serene atmosphere, making it a perfect place for me to sit back, relax, and enjoy a good book.

I often find myself spending hours here, simply soaking in the tranquility.

As much as I love quiet solitude, Ladd Circle Park & Rose Gardens has also been a wonderful host to many picnics with friends.

The wide open spaces allow us to spread out and enjoy our meal amidst nature.

With the variety of fragrant and colorful roses all around us, these get-togethers become an aromatic feast, a feast that's best enjoyed in the first or second week of June when the roses are in full bloom.

Staying safe is a priority for me, and the park's location away from major traffic gives me an added sense of security while I'm here.

I'm grateful to call a city home that offers such a peaceful retreat in the heart of the urban bustle - the Ladd Circle Park and Rose Gardens, a cherished sanctuary for me and many others.

Walk through History at Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Exterior of Oregon Rail Heritage Center
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I've always been a bit of a history enthusiast, and being a fan of trains, I find myself constantly drawn to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.

The place is more than just an indoor museum; it's a time capsule that transports you back to the golden age of steam.

The towering steam engines, each meticulously restored, are the real stars of the show.

They sit there, silently boasting their strength and grandeur, making you wonder about the stories they could tell if they could speak.

And the best part? Some of them are operational!

Standing next to those human-sized wheels, you can't help but marvel at these behemoth machines that were once the lifeblood of the country's transportation and commerce.

However, the Oregon Rail Heritage Center is not just about static exhibits.

Steam locomotive in Oregon Rail Heritage Center
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It's a hybrid setup where you can witness the restoration of these mechanical beasts in action.

The fact that they are working on these engines, bringing them back to their former glory, adds an extra layer of charm to the place.

The train ride is a must-do. It's not a high-speed rollercoaster ride but rather a gentle journey that takes you along the Springwater Trail.

Just remember, it doesn't loop, it goes to a point and then returns in reverse.

And yes, if you fancy some memorabilia, there's a gift shop with a good variety of options.

From clothing to toys, you can find something to bring home. However, I must warn you, the merchandise is a tad overpriced, but hey, it's all part of the fun, right?

The friendly staff, the clean facilities, and the amazing proximity to public transport and good food make it a perfect spot to spend an afternoon.

Caboose at Oregon Rail Heritage Center
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Dive into History at the Historic Belmont Firehouse

Exterior of the Historic Belmont Firehouse
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Ever since I moved to Portland, the Historic Belmont Firehouse has been one of the top spots on my list of places to visit.

I was instantly captivated by its historical charm and the mark it has left on our beautiful city.

The Historic Belmont Firehouse is not just a place, it's an experience, a living piece of history that keeps Portland's fiery past alive.

My first visit to the Belmont Firehouse was on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

The place was brimming with families, locals, and tourists alike.

As soon as you enter, you are welcomed by displays filled with fire safety equipment, artifacts, and stories dating back to the time when the firehouse was still operational.

It's an exciting journey back in time for history buffs and an educational trip for the kids.

The highlight of my visit was the simulated fire truck ride.

As I climbed into the vintage fire truck, I was taken back to the days when brave firefighters used these trucks to fight monstrous fires.

It was a chilling yet thrilling experience.

The hands-on fire safety exhibits make it an excellent spot for kids, too.

They get to not only learn about fire safety but also experience what it's like to be a firefighter.

The staff, especially Rose, are as passionate about firefighting as they are about sharing their knowledge.

Their stories about the firehouse and its courageous firefighters add a personal touch to the visit.

The Belmont Firehouse is more than just a relic of the past.

It's a testament to Portland's resilience and the bravery of our firefighters.

A visit to this old firehouse is like stepping into a time machine, immersing yourself in the history of our city.

I am so glad to have this gem in our city, and I can't wait for my next visit.

Catch the Sunset at Rocky Butte Natural Area

Scenic views from Rocky Butte Natural Area
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Whenever I feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, I find myself heading towards Rocky Butte Natural Area, a hidden gem in the city of Portland.

Perched atop, I am often awestruck by the panoramic views of the city, airport, and the soothing river.

On clear days, the views are simply unbeatable!

And those sunrises and sunsets?

Absolutely breathtaking! I've spent countless splendid evenings here, admiring the glow of Portland under the setting sun.

But Rocky Butte Natural Area is not just about the views.

It's a paradise for portrait photographers, with scenic backdrops that make every click a masterpiece.

And if you're a dog owner like me, it's a great place to enjoy a walk with your furry friend, though I must warn you to keep an eye out for broken glass.

The vast expanse of the area is a blessing and a curse.

It’s a great space for kids to run around, but the absence of a play structure could leave them wanting more.

Additionally, the remnants of broken glass here and there, especially in the parking area, pose a safety concern. Even so, Rocky Butte is worth being cautious about.

Discover the Quirky Collection of The Zymoglyphic Museum

Once a month, every second Sunday, my neighborhood comes alive with the mysterious world of the Zymoglyphic Museum.

Nestled in an unsuspecting small car garage, you'd be surprised by the whimsical world that unfolds within it.

With a multitude of intriguing items and specimens waiting to be discovered, it's a place where curiosity reigns supreme.

My jaunts to the Zymoglyphic Museum are always marked by Jim's warm welcome.

He's the heart and soul of this fantastical world, guiding visitors into a realm brimming with intrigue and wonder.

It's a thrilling experience to step into this space that's a testament to Jim's vivid imagination.

Each visit unveils a fresh perspective, a new detail previously overlooked.

It's easy to get lost in the intricate details of the exhibits, each one a standalone marvel.

I appreciate the freedom to interpret and visualize the exhibits in my own way.

The well-written labels are an insightful guide, helping me navigate through the wondrous world Jim has painstakingly created.

Being in such close quarters, the use of space is absolutely ingenious.

You'd be surprised by the amount of time you can spend there, admiring the art pieces and specimens.

And if, like me, you're a fan of souvenirs, the gift shop offers a cool selection.

I've got my eye on a few books for my next visit!

What makes this experience even more remarkable is that Jim opens up his world to visitors free of charge.

His generosity and passion for sharing his creations are truly inspiring.

A visit to the Zymoglyphic Museum isn't merely a step into a garage; it's a step into a world filled with mystery, enchantment, and a whole lot of imagination.

Catch the Wildlife at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

A pond at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Cheryl Zion / Shutterstock.com

There is a hidden gem in the heart of our city that few know about; even fewer are aware of its charms.

Nestled just south of downtown Portland is the 1.5-acre Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

It's a sanctuary of peace, serenity, and wildlife right here in the city. Can you believe it?

To start my experience, I usually park at the Milwaukee parking lot.

It's a convenient spot.

From there, you are immediately greeted by the wide main path, ready to accommodate everyone from joggers to cyclists, even wheelchairs.

I often join the joggers, taking in the fresh air and the sounds of the city slumbering in the background.

The paths are not circular, something I've come to appreciate for its uniqueness.

I took some amazing pictures from my second hike, proving that Portland Parks has done an impressive job maintaining this place.

If you're lucky, you might spot a deer or a coyote.

Bird watchers will be in heaven here.

A duck at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Wasim Muklashy / Shutterstock.com

I've seen all kinds of birds.

For the more adventurous, there are side paths to explore, though these are not for the faint-hearted.

One of these paths led me to a meadow with a view of Oaks Parks in the background.

The beauty is simply surreal!

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge also boasts of a playground that is a hit with the kids.

The playground equipment caters to all ages, making it a perfect spot for families to enjoy.

The hiking trails are also a must-try.

On one of the trails, I spotted a building with one of the largest paintings in the state.

The trails can be steep, so it's best to ensure children or pets are on the right side going down and on the left going up.

Get a Glimpse into Kenton's Mighty Legend at the Paul Bunyan Statue

Front view of the Paul Bunyan Statue
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Every day I step out of my house in Kenton, I'm greeted by an old friend. Standing tall at 31 feet, he's hard to miss, our very own Paul Bunyan Statue, a towering figure made of solid metal and concrete.

I never tire of his imposing presence and the way he serves as a constant reminder of our deep-rooted logging history and rich American folklore.

Constructed in 1959 for our State Centennial, the Paul Bunyan Statue has withstood the test of time.

Despite being in the neighborhood for years, I still find myself marveling at it from time to time, just like last weekend when I found myself waiting for the Max.

There he was, standing tall and strong against the Oregon sky, the embodiment of the region's past.

Close view of the Paul Bunyan Statue
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I couldn't help but snap a picture.

It's moments like these that make me appreciate the statue more and more.

And for those of you wondering, yes, he is indeed wearing a mask these days.

Even our mighty Paul Bunyan is doing his part in these challenging times.

I sometimes wish they had included his loyal blue ox, Babe, in the statue; that would have made it even more endearing!

Take a Break at Mill Ends Park

View of the tiny Mill Ends Park
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There's something magical about finding peace in the hustle and bustle of city life.

Nestled between the rushing cars on a median strip is my secret slice of serenity - Mill Ends Park.

This tiny oasis, known as the world's smallest park, is an eccentric and beloved part of Portland's charm.

It's easy to miss if you're not in the know - a minuscule patch of green in a sea of concrete, but it's definitely worth a second look.

The park, with its quirky plantings, has an oddball charm that's quintessentially Portland.

The steady hum of the passing cars, strangely, adds to its allure rather than taking away from it.

Signage of Mill Ends Park
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Where else can you be in the very heart of city activity and yet feel like you're in your own little world?

The experience of visiting Mill Ends Park is a paradoxical one.

One moment, you're standing amidst dizzying traffic; the next, you're transported into a realm of tranquillity. It's a tiny haven where you can escape from reality for a while.

Sure, it may not have sprawling lawns or grand structures.

But it's a testament to Portland's spirit of embracing the whimsical and unusual. It's a small park with a big heart.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Take a Trip down Memory Lane at Oregon Historical Society

Exterior of Oregon Historical Society
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When I want to experience the history of Oregon in all its shades and nuances, my favorite destination is the Oregon Historical Society.

Nestled in the heart of the city, this unique building adorned with 8-story-high murals never fails to inspire awe every time I pay a visit.

The rotating exhibits are a treasure trove of knowledge, shedding light on facets of state history, art, and so much more.

Being from Multnomah County, I enjoy the privilege of free admission.

However, the experience this place offers is worth every penny, regardless of where you hail from.

The comprehensive collection of artifacts, often encompassing native perspectives, offers an immersive understanding of Oregon's past.

Oregon Historical Society isn't just a collection of relics but a place that echoes the voices, stories, and experiences of those who inhabited this land long before us.

Statue of Oregon Historical Society
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Despite the term 'society' in its name, it is essentially the state's history museum.

The interactive learning experience it provides is beyond compare.

The Oregon Historical Society leaves no stone unturned in presenting the historical facts.

From immersing in the journeys of natives to explorers and colonizers, one can truly feel the spirit of Oregon's past, unfiltered and undiluted.

The museum also holds temporary exhibitions, each with its unique charm and significance, that I find myself constantly drawn to.

Just like the society's varied exhibits, parking can sometimes be a challenge, especially on crowded days.

A short walk is often required, but I find it a small price to pay for the trove of knowledge and experience that awaits.

Signage of Oregon Historical Society
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Feel the Thrills at Gabriel Park

I've always felt that Gabriel Park is a hidden gem in the heart of Portland.

Nestled within its 91-acre expanse, one can find a plethora of activities and amenities that cater to everyone, regardless of age or interest.

My personal favorite has always been the skate park.

It's not just about the adrenaline from the roller-coaster rides; it's about the community.

I've met some of the coolest people there, some who've been skating for years and others who just started last week.

You won't find a more supportive or fun-loving crowd anywhere else in the city.

If skateboarding isn't your thing, fear not.

Gabriel Park also houses the city's most energetic tennis courts.

With three professional-grade courts, it's a hub for friendly competition and rigorous training.

I've spent countless weekend mornings exchanging serves and backhands with local enthusiasts.

But the park isn't just for sports fans.

I've also found solace in the nature trail, losing myself in the serenity of the park's lush greenery.

It's the perfect escape from the city's hustle and bustle.

For the little ones, there's a huge, safe playground.

Often, I'd bring my niece and nephew here.

Their squeals of delight as they play on the slides and swings are a testament to the park's appeal for kids.

Catch an Event at Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

There's something captivating about city squares, but none more so than our very own Pioneer Courthouse Square.

The beating heart of Portland it has a charm that's tough to match.

It's not just another city square but a living, breathing entity, a place that tells a million stories - each brick, each corner, echoing the tales of our glorious past.

This isn't just a square; it's our "living room," a place that's seen countless gatherings, from the joyous Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony to heartwarming community events.

Each event is a new chapter in the square's ongoing chronicle. I remember running around as a little kid during these events, the square's allure pulling me in every time.

It's not just the events that create a special feeling but also the square's unique design.

The blend of open spaces, terraces, and brickwork, replete with names of the city's residents, is a testament to their contribution to shaping this city's landmark.

Outdoor tables and chairs at Pioneer Courthouse Square
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Whenever I walk across it, I feel a sense of pride, of belonging.

This isn't just a square, but a symbol of our unity, our resilience.

Nestled among architectural wonders like the historic Pioneer Courthouse and the impressive Meier & Frank Building, now a Macy's, the square, with its charming mix of old and new, is a sight to behold.

And it's right here, in the heart of downtown, at the intersection of SW Morrison and SW Sixth Avenue, easily accessible, beckoning us all.

As the seasons change, so does the square. Each season brings its own charm, its own set of events, adding more pages to our shared history.

It's not just a square; it's a living testament to Portland's spirit, culture, and history.

And it's right here, waiting for you to add your own chapter.

People at Pioneer Courthouse Square
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Go Biking at Eastbank Esplanade

Aerial view of Eastbank Esplanade
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"If there's a better way to soak up the Pacific Northwest's natural beauty, I've yet to find it!"

That's always my first thought when I set foot on the Eastbank Esplanade.

Nestled on the banks of the Willamette River, this urban retreat offers an unparalleled fusion of urban vistas and natural splendor.

As a photography enthusiast, I'm always in search of perfect vantage points.

The Eastbank Esplanade offers exactly that - a postcard-perfect view of the cityscape punctuated by the serene Hawthorne Bridge.

It's my secret spot for capturing the undulating rhythm of the city against the tranquility of the river.

Nature lovers will find no shortage of recreational activities.

People along Eastbank Esplanade
Barry Savage / Shutterstock.com

Be it invigorating bike rides along the well-maintained pathways, leisurely strolls amidst the greenery, or peaceful moments of solitude by the water; the Esplanade caters to all.

However, my personal favorite is to launch my trusted kayak from the Esplanade's public dock and immerse myself in the calm Willamette River.

As I glide across the water, the breathtaking views of the city skyline and the distant Mount Hood make me fall in love with Portland all over again.

I also enjoy the waterfront loop that takes me close to the vibrant pulse of the city, even if it means a slightly louder ambiance due to the adjacent freeway.

A small word of warning to fellow walkers and bikers, though - the loop north of OMSI could use a bit of sprucing up.

Despite this, the expanse of the Eastbank Esplanade and its promise of tranquility amidst the urban hustle make it a cherished part of my city.

A bench at Eastbank Esplanade
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Walk Your Fido at Kenton Park

The grounds of Kenton Park
brx0CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I can't help but marvel at the charm of Kenton Park every time I visit.

Situated just a block away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Kenton, this park offers a peaceful retreat for everyone.

Whether you're looking for a picnic spot or a place to exercise, Kenton Park is the perfect place.

My dog, Bella, and I love our morning walks on the paved trails.

The park is dog-friendly, and there's a water fountain with a dog bowl, which is thoughtful. The athletic courts and fields are always bustling with activity. I'm not much of a sporty person, but I do enjoy watching a friendly softball game from the bleachers.

The playground is a popular spot with the kids.

I love the fact that it's built with safety in mind - the ground is bouncy rubber, which minimizes the risk of injuries.

Plus, the water feature is a hit during the summer months.

Bella and I usually find a shady spot under a mature tree and just enjoy the cool breeze.

I always look forward to our picnics at Kenton Park.

The park has ample picnic tables, and there's nothing like enjoying a sandwich amidst the lush greenery.

And if you forget to pack a lunch, fear not. There are many food options and shops just a block away.

The restroom facilities are clean and open from sunrise to sunset.

And if you're a book lover like me, there's a public library nearby.

It's truly delightful to pick a book and lose myself in its pages under the shade of a tree.

Discover the Mystical Ruins of Witch's Castle

Ruins of Witch's Castle
Zrednas Sajinsul / Shutterstock.com

If you ask me where to find some solace amidst nature in Portland, I would instantly suggest the Lower Macleay Trail.

Tucked away in these dense woods lies an intriguing site – the Witch's Castle, an old stone building with no roof, silently narrating tales of its bygone days.

As an early bird, I love starting my day off with a jog down the trail.

The path itself is a treat, weaving through the lush greenery and offering enthralling woodland vistas.

It's not too tough of a trail, making it a popular choice among families for a refreshing day out.

Plus, if you’re lucky, you might spot the giant slugs that often make a surprise appearance!

Reaching the Witch's Castle always brings a mixed bag of emotions.

It takes approximately 15 minutes to arrive at the stone ruins.

The last stretch is a bit tricky, steep, and strewn with rocks and tree roots, so you might want to watch your step.

When you first lay eyes on the castle, it's heart-stoppingly beautiful, standing there, wrapped in a mystical aura.

But as you move closer, the sight of damage and graffiti on the stone walls is disheartening.

My wish is for everyone to respect and preserve this enchanting site.

After all, it's not just a castle but a part of our local history, a hidden gem in our woods, and a testament to the charm that our beautiful city, Portland, holds.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, some of my favorite places in Portland that you can explore without spending a dime.

Each of these spots holds a special place in my heart and has helped shape my love for this city.

Whether you're a visitor trying to experience Portland on a budget or a fellow resident looking to rediscover the city, I hope this list encourages you to step outside, explore, and fall in love with Portland just like I did.

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