Plan a romantic trip to Portland, Oregon where you can enjoy stunning views, great restaurants, breakfast spots, nightlife, music and some of the most beautiful gardens in the U.S. Here are the romantic things to do in Portland, Oregon. If you are traveling with children, be sure to read Best Things to Do in Portland with Kids.
1. Pittock Mansion
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Built in 1914 for one of Portland’s most influential families, Pittock Mansion is an exquisitely preserved colonial-style mansion that provides insight into the history of Portland and how it became the city it is today.
The Pittock Mansion was originally the home of Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock, whose lives paralleled the growth of Portland from a tiny Northwest town to a thriving city. The home’s unique architectural design, richly decorated interiors, and vast collection of family artifacts stand testament to the family’s contributions to the development of Portland. If you are looking for unique things to do in Portland, Oregon, the Pittock Mansion offers a rare view into the lives of Portland’s early inhabitants.
Guests can walk through the house and learn about what life was like during the early 1900s, then enjoy a picnic in the beautifully landscaped gardens and take in the breathtaking city vistas.
3229 NW Pittock Drive, Portland, OR 97210, Phone: 503-823-3623
2. Portland Japanese Garden
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Founded in the early 1960s by the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon, the Portland Japanese Garden was created to promote and preserve a more intimate relationship between the people of Japan and those of Portland.
The garden also aims to educate visitors about the vegetation and the culture of Japan through beautiful display gardens and architectural features as well as cultural, environmental, horticultural, and charitable activities. The Garden is composed of five distinct garden styles spread over 5.5 acres: the Flat Garden, the Strolling Garden, the Tea Garden, the Natural Garden, and the Sand and Stone Garden. If you are wondering what to do in Portland, Oregon on a sunny day, this is a great place to visit.
All of the gardens boast a deep sense of tranquility and reflect the ideals of peace and harmony that are so prevalent in Japan’s history and traditional culture. This hidden gem is one of the best romantic attractions in Portland.
611 SW Kingston Ave., Portland, Oregon 97205, Phone: 503-223-1321
3. Portland Art Museum
© Portland Art Museum
Founded in 1892 with the aim of providing Portland’s citizens with a first-class museum of local and internationally renowned artworks, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest and one of the oldest in the United States.
The museum is home to an impressive collection of over 42,000 objects reflecting the history of art from ancient times to the present. The works on display include Asian and American art, modern and contemporary art, prints, drawings, photographs, and an exquisite English silver display. Forming the cornerstone of Portland’s cultural district, the museum includes the recently renovated, modernist-style Belluschi Building and the historic Mark Building.
The two buildings are connected by a subterranean gallery and an outdoor sculpture court. The museum offers free public tours daily, and patrons can reserve private group tours in advance.
1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205, Phone: 503-226-2811
4. Architectural Heritage Center Tours
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Operated by the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, the Architectural Heritage Center is dedicated to the conservation of the architecture, history and heritage of the greater Portland area. Home to one of the largest collections of architectural artifacts in the United States, the Center boasts a world-class research library and hosts a variety of exhibits, tours, programs and presentations throughout the year.
These features focus on the appreciation and preservation of historic and landmark buildings and “vernacular” homes, as well as cultural neighborhoods and traditional commercial areas. Visitors to Portland can enjoy a number of Center-led walking tours, such as the Old House Revival Tour and the Heritage Homes tour, where knowledgeable professionals lead informative and interactive tours through historic neighborhoods around the city.
The Architectural Heritage Center also features educational programs and monthly exhibits by local and international artists.
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5. International Rose Test Garden
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The International Rose Test Garden is all about roses and is the perfect romantic spot for couples. Established by the Portland Rose Society in 1889, this immaculately landscaped garden is brimming with all varieties of rose.
Through the Test Garden, the Rose Society aims to educate visitors and encourage them to learn about roses while enjoying the magnificent surroundings. The garden features a number of displays to explore and enjoy: the Royal Rosarian Garden features roses named for every past Prime Minister of the Royal Rosarians; the Miniature Rose Garden is one of only six testing grounds for the American Rose Society (ARS) miniature rose test program and contains award-winning varietals. The gardens have received a number of awards over the years, including the Garden of Excellence Award from the World Federation of Rose Societies, and is credited with having “Portland’s Best Roses.” Botanists and rose experts offer free public tours.
400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, Phone: 503-227-7033
6. Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland
© Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland
Couples wanting to host a contemporary ceremony and reception for fewer than 110 wedding guests will want to consider the sophisticated, urban Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland as an option. Their signature venue is Pinot Blanc A and B, which can be rented separately for intimate weddings of 60 or fewer guests or together for a wedding of 110 seated dinner guests. It has neutral walls and a tray ceiling with recessed lighting, carpet in muted shades, and a white dance floor in a ballroom-style space. The wine cellar is an alternative venue for up to 63 guests in a restaurant-style space.
422 SW Broadway, Portland, OR, Phone: 503-228-1212
7. Nossa Familia Coffee
© Nossa Familia Coffee
Nossa Familia Coffee is a delicious coffee shop offering four locations throughout Portland, originally opened to the public in 2004 by Brazilian native Augusto Carvalho Dias Carneiro, who brings more than a century of his family's experience in the coffee growing industry to the Portland coffee scene. The company is the first Certified B Corp roaster in Oregon and is committed to sustainably and ethically sourcing the world's best family-farmed specialty coffees, which are responsibly imported from top growing regions such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Peru. Specialty beverages served up throughout the day include Portuguese-style spicy mocha fogos and traditional Brazilian-style cafezinhos. A full menu of tea beverages is also served, along with bagels from Bowery Bagels and pastries from local bakers Gabriel's.
1350 NW Lovejoy St, Portland, OR 97209, Phone: 541-304-9234
8. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Providing a haven of peace and beauty for Portland residents and locals to enjoy, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden should be a must on your Portland itinerary. The garden covers 9.5 acres of beautiful trees, unusual hybrid and rare species of rhododendrons and azaleas and many companion plants. There is a lovely spring-fed lake surrounding much of the garden, which has become a haven for birds and other wildlife. The garden is at its best from April to May when the rhododendrons are in flower, but it is also wonderful to visit at other times of the year. Shaded pathways lead visitors through the garden – you can stop to do some bird-watching along the way.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, 5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202, 503 267 7509
9. Blue Star Donuts
© Blue Star Donuts
Making a donut that stands out among many, many great, funky, and interesting donuts available in Portland is quite a challenge. Instead of going for shocking shapes and wild colors, the owners of Blue Star Donuts opted for interesting dough – fluffy, delicious French brioche dough – similar to the traditional yeast donuts. They make their donuts with local ingredients, working in collaboration with their neighbors. They use organic fruits for their fillings and glazes, and the result is a perfect, mouth-watering bite bursting with flavor. The number of varieties grows by the day and you will be sorely tempted to try them all. Blue Star today has seven shops all over the world, including in Japan. Their four Portland shops are spacious, clean, and bright and offer just the right kind of coffee to go with your donuts.
672 #2 S Gaines St., Portland, OR 97239, Phone:503-265-8410
10. Oaks Park
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Oaks Park is one of the oldest amusement parks in America. It originally opened to the public in 1905 and has been in continuous operating since then. Back in the early days the park features a bath house, exotic wild animals, nightly fireworks and thrilling rides. Of course, things have changed enormously in the last 100 years and Oaks Park is still a popular family entertainment destination. There are thrilling rides for all ages, including some which are specially geared towards younger visitors. In addition to the exciting rides you can enjoy a Roller Rink and Skate Park, mini golf and various games.
Oaks Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202, 503 233 5777
11. Veggie Grill
© Veggie Grill
Couples can enjoy amazing, flavorful vegetable dishes at Veggie Grill in Portland. Stop in and try one of their signature dishes – like “The Stack” or “Santa Fe Crispy Chickin”. There are also seasonal specials, like the Sonoran Summer Bowl. Don’t miss their Sweetheart Fries and carrot cake!
The Veggie Grill chain originally started in Irvine, California back in 2007 and has expanded nationally since. It was founded by a couple of carnivore-turned-herbivore friends, Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan. You can find Veggie Trill either on Southwest Taylor Street in downtown Portland, or on Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard in Beaverton.
508 SW Taylor St, Portland, Oregon 97204, Phone: 310-745-5228
12. Full Sail Brewing Company
© Full Sail Brewing Company
Located in Hood River, Oregon and overlooking the Colombia River, Full Sail Brewing Company is a craft brewery that produces fully sustainable, artisanal bottled beers. Founded in 1987, Full Sail was one of Oregon's early microbreweries and the first commercially successful craft brewery to bottle beer in the Pacific Northwest.
First off the bottling line was Full Sail Golden Ale, followed by Full Sail Imperial Porter, Full Sail Amber Ale, and Wassail Winter Ale.
The brewers of Full Sail pride themselves on running a fully sustainable business, using less than three gallons of water per gallon of beer produced (most other breweries use six to eight gallons), running the brew house on wind power, and using only organic and locally sourced “backyard” ingredients for their golden and dark beers.
506 Columbia St, Hood River, Oregon 97031, Phone: 541-386-2247
13. Salt & Straw
© Salt & Straw
Portland’s Salt & Straw serves exotic-flavored, “farm-to-cone” gourmet bone marrow-based ice creams, which are made from locally-sourced ingredients, including the bone marrow. Ice cream connoisseurs will melt over their many delectable flavors, such as Honey Lavender, Pear and Blue Cheese, Melon and Prosciutto, or the Viking Soul Food’s Goat Milk and Lingonberries.
Salt & Straw was created in 2014 by cousins, Kim & Tyler Malek. You can find Salt & Straw at three locations in Portland: on Northwest 23rd in the historic Esquire Building, on Southeast Division on Portland’s “Restaurant Row”, or on Northeast Alberta in Portland’s iconic Arts District.
838 NW 23rd Ave, Phone: 818-358-2890
14. EverGreen Escapes - Portland Day Tours
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EverGreen Escapes is a tour company that provides a range of sightseeing tours and experiences in and around Portland with the aim of connecting people, places, and the environment.
EverGreen Escapes offers personalized tours to fit every taste, from exploring the magnificent surrounding landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge, the regal Mt. Hood, and the legendary Mt. St. Helens, to exciting city and cultural adventures. Explore Portland is a small, fun-filled group tour that explores the eclectic neighborhoods of Portland, visiting the famous Pearl District, the International Rose Test Garden, the Pittock Mansion, Washington Park, Mt. Tabor Park, Alberta Arts District, Historic Mississippi District, and Powell’s Bookstore. Columbia Gorge Wine & Waterfalls lets visitors discover the Pacific Northwest’s two greatest attractions-- the Columbia Gorge Waterfalls and the wines of Oregon-- with a wine-tasting, gorge-trekking adventure.
Willamette Valley Wine Trail is a half-day tour that takes visitors into the heart of Willamette wine country to explore the countryside, meet the vintners and taste some of the region’s best vintages.
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15. Higgins Restaurant and Bar
© Higgins Restaurant and Bar
Higgins Restaurant and Bar has been serving Portland diners with classic, farm-to-table, country dishes – with an emphasis on its fresh, sustainable, locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients – since 1994.
Stop in and try their chilled asparagus appetizer, the Spanish potaje, or the “Pepper Pot” seafood stew. Grab an almond tart for dessert. James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef, Greg Higgins, co-owns the joint with restaurant veteran, Paul Mallory, who manages the eatery.
Higgins, an organic grower himself, says he serves fine cuisine in support of his premise that food is community. Higgins Restaurant and Bar is located on Southwest Broadway in downtown Portland.
1239 SW Broadway, Portland, Oregon 97205, Phone: 503-222-9070
16. Plate and Pitchfork
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Since 2003, every summer Plate and Pitchfork offers a unique dining opportunity in and around Portland that goes one step ahead of the popular farm-to-fork philosophy. Gourmet meals are organized at local farms in improvised open-air dining rooms and among the farm produce, giving the diners the opportunity to know and chatting with their host, the farmer. The event starts with a glass of wine and an appetizer before going on a tour of the farm led by the host farmer themselves. Upon return, all guests will sit for a meal prepared by renowned local chefs, different for each event, cooked with ingredients grown on the farm itself. Meals consist of four or five courses, all paired by appropriate wines. The guests have the opportunity during the meal to talk to their host and learn about life on a farm and the challenges farmers face today. A portion of the profits from these events supports Farmers Ending Hunger. Phone: 503-852-1031
17. Multnomah Whiskey Library
© Multnomah Whiskey Library
To call Multnomah Whiskey Library a drinking parlor or a cozy upstairs lounge would not begin to describe this place in downtown Portland, which serves more than 1,500 bottles of spirits from all over the world in an incredibly opulent space. Brick walls, high ceilings, dark wood paneling, ancient-looking fireplace, velvet-covered sofas and armchairs, brass-library ladders, and 12-foot-tall shelves filled with bottles create the extravagant and exclusive feel of a drinking room in an expensive country club or some European mansion. The atmosphere and the spectacular selection of drinks are a powerful draw to the whiskey, fans and the clients are willing to wait for hours to get in. There is food too, and it includes small plates such as raw oysters drizzled with whiskey or stewed whiskey grains in a bowl of chanterelles and poached egg.
1124 SW Alder St., Portland, OR 97205, Phone: 503-954-1381
Paadee is a modern Thai restaurant that brings to Portland traditional comfort food from northern Thailand that is a heady mix of flavors – sweet, spicy, salty, and sour – that many of us may remember from trips to Chiang Mai. The decor is simple, with nice bamboo lanterns and a lot of hanging green plants and some traditional Thai art on the walls. The focus is on food, especially small shareable plates, the sort you can find on carts on the sidewalk in Thailand, hot and delicious. The best deal in Paadee is their happy hour and not only because of their delicious cocktails. During happy hour you can have six snacks and three dishes to choose from, enough for a meal and great for an idea of how comfort food should taste in northern Thailand.
6 SE 28TH Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, Phone: 503-360-1453
19. Upfor Gallery
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Upfor Gallery is a top Portland art gallery opened to the public in 2013, operated as part of the Portland Art Dealers Association, which strives to bring together the city's finest art galleries as part of monthly public events. The gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays during the afternoon hours, with additional hours offered during art walks and other special events. Artists represented by the gallery include MSHR, Brenna Murphy, Morehshin Allahyari, Ronny Quevedo, and Srijon Chowdhury. Exhibitions rotate every few months, highlighting unique, socially-forward works by emerging and mid-career artists in the Portland area. The gallery also participates in art fairs throughout North America, including prominent events in Seattle, New York City, and Mexico City.
929 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209, Phone: 503-227-5111
20. Oregon Symphony
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Based in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland’s Cultural District, the Oregon Symphony was established in 1896 and is the sixth oldest orchestra in the United States. Founded as the Portland Symphony Society, the orchestra has 76 full-time musicians and sees more than 225,000 patrons each year.
Over the course of its successful hundred-year history, the orchestra has seen a number of internationally acclaimed music directors and guest conductors - including the likes of Aaron Copland, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky - as well as many outstanding performers. The Oregon Symphony continues to perform diverse programs and a variety of community services.
Upcoming performances include the National Circus and Acrobats of the People's Republic of China, Pablo Villegas, and The Music of Pink Floyd. If you are wondering what to do in Portland in the evening, watch a performance by the Oregon Symphony.
909 SW Washington, Portland, Oregon 97205, Phone: 503-228-1353
21. Bollywood Theater PDX
© Bollywood Theater PDX
One of the best places serving Indian street food in Portland is Bollywood Theater PDX, which strives to recreate a typical Mumbai eating experience. Enjoy vibrant Bollywood décor, while savoring incredible dishes, like Bhel Puri, and signature cocktails, like the Bollywood Shandy.
Chef and owner, Troy MacLarty, brings his many Indian traveling experiences to his delicious dishes at the unique Bollywood Theater, which he opened in 2012. Bollywood Theater has two locations in Portland - one on Northeast Alberta and another on Southeast Division.
2039 NE Alberta, Portland, Oregon 97211, Phone: 971-200-4711
22. Hoyt Arboretum
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The Hoyt Arboretum is a living museum of trees and plants, where visitors can learn all about botany and the importance of trees and plants to the environment. Founded in 1928 with the aim of conserving endangered plant species and educating the community, the Hoyt Arboretum is a beautiful romantic place to visit in Portland OR. Spread across 189 acres, it contains miles of hiking trails.
The Arboretum is home to more than 6,000 specimens from around the world, 63 of which are vulnerable or endangered. Located at the heart of the Arboretum is the Visitor’s Center, where guests can find maps, directions, information, and a research library with over 800 books, and get assistance from a friendly, helpful staff.
As a living classroom for both students and teachers, Hoyt Arboretum offers a variety of programs, classes, and workshops for learning each year. If you are wondering what to do in Portland, Oregon on a sunny afternoon, this is a great place to visit.
4000 SW Fairview Blvd., Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-865-8733
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More Ideas: Evergreen Escapes in Portland, OR
Evergreen Escapes combines enchanting urban environments, boutique wineries, and nature wonders in to small group tours that leave from Portland, OR. Several unique microbreweries, the largest bookstore in the country, and many famous parks provide the city with a quirky and distinct vibe. The tour company offers both day tours and multi-day trips from Portland that explore both the city and the nearby natural wonders, such as Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and the Columbia River Gorge.
Several different tours, both small group and private, are offered by Evergreen Escapes. The Columbia Gorge Waterfalls and Wine Tour explores both Oregon wines and the waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge. Tour-goers will learn all about the Columbia River Gorge from a naturalist guide as they make their way down Waterfall Alley. After taking in the Gorge's grandeur, the tour continues to two of the Hood River area's boutique wineries for a wine tasting.
The Willamette Valley Wine and Waterfalls Tour explores the Willamette Valley's pinot noirs and Silver Falls State Park's waterfalls. This tour offers fine wines and trails that are connected by an interesting natural history. Participants can enjoy the glistening waterfalls and the smell of evergreen trees in the morning as they walk along the trails led by their guide to explore the park's iconic sights. This is followed by a tasting of fine pinot noirs and other wines in the afternoon at three boutique wineries. Between tastings, tour-goers will also be able to enjoy a delicious lunch made with local ingredients at the Coelho Winery.
Evergreen Escapes' Explore Portland Tour takes visitors away from the downtown area and out into the surrounding parks and eclectic neighborhoods to explore where the city truly shines and experience Portland like a local. The tour starts at Pittock Mansion with spectacular views of Mt. Hood and Portland. It then continues to some of Portland's 8,100 acres of parks. Participants will learn about the volcanoes that once occupied the area, as well as see how the urban environment has integrated sustainability and view the landscape design that was carefully planned by John Charles Olmsted. Portland's independent and artsy spirit is then explore in neighborhoods such as North Mississippi, Alberta, Nob Hill, Hawthorne, and the Pearl District. Along the way, an expert guide will talk about Portland's rich history, commitment to sustainability and greenery, and its quirky culture.
The Mt. St. Helens Tour explores one of the most powerful and iconic natural wonders in the region. A naturalist guide leads participants on interpretative nature walks around Mt. St. Helens, and will tell captivating stories that explain the significance of the volcanic eruption that took place in 1980. Tour-goers will also learn how the area's ecosystems are re-emerging and evolving, as well as have a chance to descend into the Ape Cave lava tube, view colorful wildflowers set against barren landscapes, a possibly see elk grazing new the smoldering crater of the volcano.
2305 SE 9th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, Phone: 503-252-1931
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