The centerpiece of Portland's cultural district, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall hosts over 900 events each year and features local productions as well as touring artists and Broadway shows. Home to the Oregon Symphony, the hall has played host to some of the biggest names in entertainment, from Jerry Seinfeld to Andrea Bocelli. The hall is one of the three separate venues that comprise the Portland Center for the Performing Arts along with the Antoinette Hatfield Hall and Keller Auditorium.
Locals and food-loving tourists alike know that some of the best food in Portland and beyond is from small street stands, carts and other non-restaurants. Others might call them lunch wagons, food trucks, taco trucks or snack shacks, but in Portland they are food carts, and they are truly a phenomenon. Set up in clusters in parking lots, on sidewalks and within parks, Portland's food carts are multiplying at an astounding rate and offer everything from delicious soups and sandwiches to brunch and exciting ethnic foods from Hawaii, Africa, Scandinavia and everywhere in between.
An abundance of wildlife can be found in Forest Park – the largest urban park in the country. An extensive system of trails, fire lanes and gravel roads provide excellent opportunities for hiking, walking, running and simply escaping the urban atmosphere. The 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park is part of the region's 40-Mile Loop trail system that links Forest Park to pedestrian and trail routes along the Columbia River to Gresham, through southeast Portland, along the Willamette Greenway, and back to the Marquam Trail in southwest Portland.
Founded in 1917, Portland's International Rose Test Garden, overlooking downtown, is the oldest official, continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States. Currently, it features over 10,000 rose bushes representing over 650 rose varieties. Portland Parks and OSU Master Gardeners offer free guided tours daily at 1:00 p.m., meeting at the Rose Garden store.
Formerly occupied by warehouses and railroad yards, the renewed Pearl District is noted for its art galleries, upscale businesses, restaurants and small clubs and bars. Located just north of downtown, the historic area is home to several Portland icons, including Powell's City of Books, and includes most of the historic North Park Blocks as well as two public plazas.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, affectionately known as Portland's living room, is a public space occupying a full city block in the center of downtown Portland. Opened in 1984, the site has been ranked as the world's fourth-best public square. Dozens of events are held here each year, including free shows during spring and summer, sponsored by local businesses.
Proclaimed the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden is a 5.5-acre haven of tranquil beauty nestled in the scenic west hills of Portland. The garden is composed of five distinct garden styles – the flat garden, the strolling garden pond, the tea garden, the natural garden and the sand and stone garden.
From humble storefront beginnings in 1971, Powell's has grown into a Portland landmark and one of the world's great bookstores. Covering an entire city block, Powell's City of Books contains more than 1.5 million books in 3,500 different sections. Get a cup of joe at the in-store coffee shop, take a ride on the three-door elevator (one of only a handful in the country), grab a map to navigate the nine color-coded rooms, and lose yourself in the largest new and used bookstore on Earth.
Enjoy a distinctive experience at the Portland Saturday Market, the nation's largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market, located in Waterfront Park at the Skidmore Fountain MAX station. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them, while enjoying live music and international snacks.
Constructed in 1933, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum on the West Coast, and the seventh oldest in the nation. This spectacular collection displays more than 42,000 works of art, listing works by Vincent van Gogh, M.C. Escher and more.