For those who live in Portland, one of our best kept secrets is the fact that on any given day, you can literally drive in any direction and end up someplace special. Whether it’s the beach, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, or Wine Country, Portland is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural landscapes one can find.

But one doesn’t need to leave the city and its surrounding area to experience nature’s beauty. Woven within the tapestry of Portland are many amazing parks and gardens that will leave visitors and locals alike, with a deeper appreciation for Portland, that will leave them with a new-found appetite, to want more of the Rose City.


Portland’s Nickname Is The City Of Roses

For certain, Portland is The City of Roses where in 1905, Portland prepared to welcome over 1.6 million visitors for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition by planting about a half million rose bushes along 20 miles of bordered streets. By then, PDX was already well on its way to earning its famous nickname.

Portland Ten Amazing Gardens

Although Portland is well known as The Rose City, our climate also makes for a whole host of other sites which boast the best of nature’s beauty. From internationally inspired urban retreats to hidden gems, the garden scene in Portland is something locals and visitors alike, won’t want to miss.

Here are 10 Portland area gardens you’ll want to visit with camera in hand. Some of these gardens are of course more well-known than others. But if you are looking for bucket list items for your next recreational day in and around the city or for your next visit to Portland, here it is.

  1. Portland International Rose Test Garden – This garden is much more than a public park where visitors can come and enjoy the more than 10,000 plantings of over 500 varieties, it is also, as it states in the name, a test garden for growing all types of rose varieties. The test garden was established in 1917. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in America still today.
  2. Peninsula Park Rose Garden – This sunken garden boasts nearly 9,000 roses of more than 60 varieties. Constructed in 1913, this garden is Portland’s first public rose garden.
  3. Ladd’s Addition Rose Garden – This garden is the smallest of Portland’s rose gardens, but features over 60 varieties and more than 3,000 rose plantings.
  4. Portland’s Japanese Garden – This local favorite showcases an example of authentic Japanese landscaping. The Portland Japanese Garden offers an incredible view of Mt. Hood while also serving as a perfect spot for a day retreat that is rich with tranquil beauty.
  5. Lan Su Chinese Garden – Located within Portland’s historic Chinatown district, this authentic Ming Dynasty style garden was built by Suzhou artisans, an offers a peaceful escape from city life.
  6. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden – This Botanical Garden features more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants in a 9.49 acre setting which offers small lakes, paved and unpaved paths, fountains, and small waterfalls within its landscape.
  7. The Grotto – Set among 62 acres of botanical gardens. The Grotto is an internationally renowned Catholic sanctuary that offers visitors the perfect place for peaceful reflection.
  8. Leach Botanical Garden – This nine-acre Botanical Garden showcases more than 2,000 species, hybrids and cultivars, including Northwest native plants, as well as others more commonly seen in the southeastern part of the United States.
  9. Elk Rock Garden – Also known as The Garden of the Bishop’s Close is a lesser known garden in Portland. The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close is a treasure of a botanical garden tucked into a Dunthorpe neighborhood overlooking the Willamette River.
  10. Hoyt Arboretum – Nestled within the West Hills that separate Downtown Portland from the Westside of town, the Hoyt Arboretum is a museum of living collections, hosting a well-rounded garden that features over 2,000 species of plants, 63 of which are on the endangered or globally vulnerable list.

Of course, you’ll want to do your homework before visiting any of these Portland gardens to ensure optimum time to visit to experience full bloom. However, many are open year-round and simply showcase the best of what Portland has to offer, no matter what the season is.

If Portland Had A Middle Name

With all of Portland’s natural beauty and surrounding must-see landscapes, if Portland had a middle name, most assuredly, the word “nature”, would have to be a strong prospect. And, that’s the way locals like it. Beyond all the other monikers Portland is known by, such as “Keep Portland Weird”, Portlanders like their outdoors in abundance.

And with 250 parks and recreation sites within the City of Portland alone, which also offers 150 miles of trails within these same parks, there’s no doubt that nature loves Portland, too.

Make Portland Gardens A Part Of Your Bucket List

With literally anything and everything outdoors to do in and around Portland, be sure to leave space on that area bucket list for places and gardens that you must see to include this list of 10 unique gardens. You won’t regret it.