11 Beautiful Places to Visit Near Portland, OR

Living in Portland offers the perfect blend of urban living and outdoor adventure. While the city itself is home to a wealth of attractions and activities, the City of Roses is also surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, from majestic mountains to picturesque waterfalls. 

Whether you’re renting an apartment or looking to buy a home in Portland, there are plenty of stunning places to explore. We’ll take you on a journey through some of the most beautiful places in and near Portland that you won’t want to miss as a new resident.

Portland, OR neon sign

1. Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is a must-see natural wonder located just a short 30-minute drive east of Portland. As one of the most iconic waterfalls, Multnomah Falls stands at a towering height of 620 feet, making it the tallest waterfall in Oregon. The stunning sight of the waterfall alone is worth the trip, but the surrounding area also offers opportunities for hiking and picnicking in a lush, green setting. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll on the paved trail to the Benson Bridge, which offers a breathtaking view of the falls, or embark on a more strenuous hike to the top of the falls for an even more impressive view. 

Aerial shot of Multnomah Falls, Portland, OR

2. Portland Japanese Garden

Nestled within the expansive Washington Park, the Portland Japanese Garden is a tranquil oasis that offers visitors a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This stunning 5 1/2-acre garden is designed to provide a peaceful and contemplative experience, with every element meticulously crafted to embody the traditional Japanese aesthetic. 

Visitors can meander through the garden’s winding paths, taking in the beauty of the koi ponds, tea house, sand and stone garden, and stunning waterfall. The garden also offers seasonal events, such as the cherry blossom festival, which celebrates the arrival of spring in Japanese tradition. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photographer, or simply seeking a moment of quiet reflection, the Japanese Garden is an ideal destination that transports you to another world and invites you to immerse yourself in the timeless beauty.

3. Mount Hood

Mount Hood is a majestic and iconic natural wonder located just 60 miles east of Portland. This dormant volcano is the highest point in Oregon, towering at an impressive 11,239 feet. The mountain’s distinct snow-capped peak can be seen from miles away, offering a breathtaking sight for visitors and locals alike. 

Mount Hood is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities for all seasons. In the summer, visitors can enjoy hiking trails that wind through forests of evergreen trees, or take a scenic drive along the winding mountain roads. During the winter months, the mountain transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting skiers and snowboarders to its slopes. With its stunning views of the surrounding forests and valleys, Mount Hood is an unforgettable destination that offers a true taste of the natural beauty that Oregon has to offer.

Mount Hood, Oregon reflected in Trillium Lake.

4. Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a natural wonder that spans over 80 miles along the Columbia River, offering visitors breathtaking views of towering cliffs, verdant forests, and majestic waterfalls. This awe-inspiring canyon is a prime destination for hiking, biking, and scenic drives, providing an ideal way to experience the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The gorge is home to over 90 waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, which cascade down from the cliffs and create a picturesque scene that seems almost otherworldly. The gorge also boasts several hiking trails, including the popular Eagle Creek Trail, which offers hikers a chance to explore the lush forests and rocky cliffs that make this area so unique.

5. Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is a breathtaking stretch of coastline that boasts some of the most stunning natural landscapes. With over 350 miles of coastline, visitors can explore an array of sandy beaches, towering cliffs, and striking rock formations, all of which offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The coast is a popular destination for hiking, with miles of scenic trails that wind through lush forests and along the rugged coastline. Beachcombing is also a favorite pastime, with the chance to discover a variety of unique seashells, driftwood, and other treasures that wash up on the shores. Whale watching is another popular activity, with the opportunity to spot gray whales as they migrate along the coast. 

Oregon Coast, Lighthouse, Heceta Head

6. Forest Park

Forest Park, located in Portland, Oregon, is a natural wonder that spans over 5,200 acres, making it one of the largest urban forests in the United States. The park is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with over 80 miles of hiking trails that wind through lush forests, babbling streams, and majestic waterfalls. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse flora and fauna, which includes over 112 bird species and a range of wildlife, such as deer, coyotes, and raccoons. The park also features several picnic areas and scenic overlooks, providing a perfect opportunity to take in the stunning views of the surrounding natural landscape. 

7. Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion is a historic treasure located in the scenic West Hills of Portland. Built in 1909, the mansion is now a museum that showcases the rich history of Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Visitors can step back in time and explore the elegant rooms and exquisite furnishings of the mansion, while learning about the city’s past and the people who helped shape it. The mansion also boasts stunning views of the city from its hilltop location, offering visitors a breathtaking perspective of the surrounding area. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mansion or explore on their own, taking in the impressive architecture and stunning grounds. 

Pittock mansion, one of the best places to visit near Portland, OR

8. Washington Park

Washington Park is a sprawling 410-acre park that is situated in the heart of Portland. The park is a haven for nature lovers and features an array of attractions that cater to visitors of all ages. In addition to the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo is another popular attraction within the park, home to over 1,800 animals from around the world. The International Rose Test Garden is a must-see attraction, featuring over 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 different varieties. Another attraction is the Portland Children’s Museum, which features interactive exhibits designed to inspire creativity and learning. With so many attractions to choose from, visitors can easily spend an entire day exploring the park and its many wonders. Washington Park is a must-see destination for new residents.

International Rose Test Garden

9. Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley is a breathtaking wine region that offers visitors a taste of the Pacific Northwest’s wine country. Located just south of Portland, the region is known for producing some of the world’s best pinot noir wines. The valley is home to over 500 wineries and is known for its stunning scenery, rolling hills, and vineyards. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings, vineyard tours, and scenic drives through the valley, taking in the beauty of the lush green landscape. The valley also offers a variety of dining options, from farm-to-table restaurants to casual eateries. During the harvest season, visitors can participate in grape picking and other vineyard activities. 

Vineyards in Willamette Valley


10. St. Johns Bridge

The St. Johns Bridge is an iconic landmark in Portland that is not to be missed. The stunning suspension bridge spans the Willamette River in North Portland and is considered to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the surrounding area. Completed in 1931, the bridge is known for its Gothic-style towers and intricate details that make it a sight to behold. Visitors can take a leisurely walk or bike ride across the bridge, admiring the breathtaking views of the city and river below. Alternatively, they can explore the area around the bridge, particularly the Cathedral Park, which is located beneath the western tower of the bridge. The park features picnic areas, a boat dock, and stunning views of the bridge and river, making it a great spot for a relaxing day out with family or friends.

St Johns Bridge over the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon with Mt St Helens and Mt Adams in the background.

11. Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in the Columbia River Gorge, just east of the city and makes for a perfect day trip from Portland. The falls are named after the unique bowl-shaped basin that the water falls into, creating a stunning natural amphitheater. The falls can be accessed via a short hike through the lush forest, which offers stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and canyons. You can also explore the nearby Lower Punch Bowl Falls and Upper Punch Bowl Falls. The area surrounding the falls is a great spot for a picnic or a relaxing afternoon in nature.

Punch Bowl Falls and Greenery on Eagle Creek

If you’re considering a move to the Pacific Northwest, Portland, OR might be just the place for you. Known for its quirky charm, delicious food, and endless hiking trails, there are countless reasons to move to Portland.

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