Portland, Oregon: Fun Things to Do on Your Day Off in Portland

By Amber Pickler

September 30, 2021

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Gypsy’s Guide to Adventures in Portland, Oregon

So, you took an assignment in Portland, Oregon. What should you do on your days off? If it is the typical assignment, you will have 13 weeks to explore the town and those around it. Portland is a beautiful city. There is so much to do in the city and even outside of the city.  We have good news; we have a few fun things to do on your days off. 

Multnomah Falls

At 620 feet tall, Multnomah Falls is Portland’s tallest waterfall.  According to their website, the Falls is located just 30 miles east of downtown Portland along the Historic Columbia River Highway; the two-drop cascade attracts visitors of all types and ages, with wheelchair-accessible viewing platforms and steep hiking trails that lead to the top. Fed by rainwater and snowmelt, the falls’ steady stream runs year-round, making it a year-round attraction. The highest volume comes in winter and spring, and the waterfall sometimes freezes partially at the height of winter.

There is also a lodge on site that includes a gift shop, restaurant, espresso bar, and U.S. Forest Service interpretive center.

Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden was mentioned by a few people in our Facebook group as a place you need to visit when you take an assignment in Portland.  Looking at their website, we can see why this should be on this list.  The garden is breathtaking even from the site; we can only imagine what it looks like in person.  According to their website, “The Garden sits nestled in the hills of Portland, Oregon’s iconic Washington Park, overlooking the city and providing a tranquil, urban oasis for locals and travelers alike. Designed in 1963, it encompasses 12 acres with eight different garden styles and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, meandering streams, intimate walkways, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. This is a place to discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe.”

International Rose Garden

The International Rose Garden is a test garden.  I am sure the pictures do the park no justice, but it looks like a beautiful place to visit.  According to their website, they serve as a testing ground for new varieties of roses.  They say that more than 10,000 individual rose bushes are in bloom from late May through October.  They have over 610 varieties, and the majority of the roses grown in the garden are commercially available.  About 10 to 20 varieties of roses are replaced each year with some of the best new roses released onto the market.  According to their website, Portland’s Rose Society was established in 1888.  They have information on their site about the Portland Rose Society if you are a resident of Portland or it is your hometown and are interested in becoming a member.

They offer guided group tours; however, these are unavailable due to COVID until further notice.

Screen Door Restaurant

The Screen Door Restaurant was mentioned by quite a few members of our Facebook group.  The restaurant was started in 2006 by Nicole and David Mouton; they had lived in Portland since 2001.  They were originally from Southern Louisiana.  According to their site, “Our concept is capturing and sharing all that is quintessential in our history and experience of southern foodways layered with what we like to think of as northwest food values. This means eating local, eating fresh from the garden, being passionate about food and where it comes from. To us, this is a perfect marriage of southern comfort food decadence and valuing and honoring the rich bounty of foods produced by our local farmers here in our region. This meeting place of fried and fresh helps describe our food, but to understand us is to consider the meaning of hospitality.”

They offer brunch, dinner, and dessert menus.  Each menu offers a variety of options, most incorporating southern and Cajun cuisine.  They have something for everything, with their dinner menu offering the most options.   

Washington Park

Washington Park has a lot to offer its visitors. It houses the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden we mentioned earlier, but it offers even more. Including Oregon Zoo, Archery Range, Hoyt Arboretum, Memorials and Statues, Rose Garden Children’s Playground, Tennis Courts, and while not currently open, it also is home to the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. 

Oregon zoo looks like it would make a great place to visit on your day off.  There is timed entry, so you must pre-purchase your tickets.  According to their website, the zoo is “home to nearly 2,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world. Discover how you can help make a better future for wildlife. See for yourself why the zoo is the #1 paid attraction in the state and learn how easy it is to help create a better future for wildlife.”

The Hoyt Arboretum is another excellent option to visit on your day off; according to their website, “Hoyt Arboretum is Portland’s museum of living trees, featuring more than 2,300 species of trees from around the world, along 12 miles of trails. Trail maps are available. Managed in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation.”

If neither of these things piques your interest, there is sure to be something for you to do at Washington Park.  They also offer picnic areas, so you could take your lunch and have a nice quiet picnic outside and relax in the park.

We hope you found this list of things to do on your days off in Portland, Oregon, helpful.  We would love to hear if you have favorite places to visit when you take an assignment in Portland or from Portland and have suggestions. Comment them below.

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