Combining the vibes of an art show, a live street concert and an open-air bazaar, Portland Saturday Market has been a beloved Rose City tradition since 1974. In fact, the market is considered the largest continually operating arts-and-crafts fair in the United States, drawing up to 750,000 visitors during its annual season. On any given Saturday from the beginning of March to the day before Christmas, shoppers can tap their heels to bluegrass pickers and jazz musicians and sample ethnic eats like falafel or kielbasa while browsing wares handcrafted by more than 250 vendors.
The oldest zoo west of the Mississippi is just minutes from downtown Portland via MAX light rail in Washington Park. The Oregon Zoo is home to 2,697 animals from more than 215 species. More than 40 percent of the zoo has been renovated in the last few years. There’s more room for rhinos, primo real estate for primates, and a new expanse for elephants.
With bike paths and lanes all over town — not to mention cool forests and striking scenery — Portland has great places to ride for cyclists of all abilities. Those who want to experience the City of Roses from the road have plenty of options, including guided bike tours and rental shops. For those who didn’t bring their own wheels, one very visible option is the Biketown bike-share program, which offers visitors the opportunity to rent orange-colored eight-speed bicycles from many locations around the city.
With two popular beach towns just 90 minutes away, it’s easy to take a day trip to the Pacific Ocean from Portland. Travel west on U.S. Route 26, through the lush Coast Range mountains, until you reach U.S. Highway 101. Head south a few miles to Cannon Beach, an artsy coastal village, or turn north to explore the kid-friendly offerings of Seaside. No matter which you choose, you’ll find breezy seascapes and welcoming vibes.
In a state where water regularly flows down from upon high, Multnomah Falls — all 620 feet (189 m) of it — stands above the rest as Oregon’s tallest waterfall. The dramatic two-tiered falls are fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, and the flow over the falls varies, usually at its highest during winter and spring. Located just 30 miles (48 km) east of downtown Portland along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the two-drop cascade attracts visitors of all types and ages, with both wheelchair-accessible viewing platforms and steep hiking trails that lead all the way to the top. Fed by rainwater and snowmelt, the falls’ steady stream runs year-round, making it a year-round attraction.
Tucked under tall banks of trees along a residential stretch of North Rosa Parks Way awaits a community oasis that’s nearly untouched by time. Peninsula Park is a true gem of the Piedmont neighborhood, with emerald green lawns, playgrounds for toddlers and older kiddos, a rainbow-hued splash pad for hot summer days and one of the city’s most beautiful destinations: Peninsula Park Rose Garden.