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Even though Portland is in the drizzly Northwest, locals have a very active outdoor life. Whether they’re biking, hiking, or just enjoying the greenery all throughout their city, there’s not much that can make a Portlander stay indoors.

If you are visiting Portland and want to fit right in with the local scene, you can use the following list as a guide to explore the city’s beautiful outdoor locations and activities.

Photo by Amy Cristine via

Walk Through Forest Park

When you walk through Forest Park, you will see tons of local people biking, walking their dogs, or just taking an afternoon stroll. Forest Park is a Portland institution, and it’s not hard to see why; the park is just a few minutes away from the downtown Portland hotels, and yet it makes visitors feel like they have arrived in the middle of the wilderness.

Take a walk through the largest wooded urban park in the US on any of the 70 miles of walking trails, or if you want to challenge yourself a bit, try the hiking trails. On the way, you can find great viewpoints overlooking the Willamette River, so bring a camera with you.

Explore International Rose Test Garden

You might now know that one of Portland’s nicknames is the City of Roses. However, once you arrive at International Rose Test Garden you will soon see why. At the request of a citizen, the local government set up the garden in 1917 to preserve the rose species they thought may go extinct with the bombings in Europe during World War I.

Open from April to October, the garden is free to enter and showcases thousands of rose species from around the world. The smells and sights of the garden are best experienced in June, when almost all the species have flowered at once.

Admire Lan Su Chinese Garden

If you want to spend an afternoon in complete relaxation, check out Lan Su Chinese Garden. It was originally built by workers from Portland’s sister city, Suzhou, who created a garden reminiscent of the ones found around their hometown with materials brought all the way from China.

Stroll through the garden or put yourself in a Zen state at the garden’s teahouse. The garden is just a short distance from most of the downtown hotels in Portland, so you can probably walk there from your room.

Take a Day Trip to Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is just a short distance from Portland, and is widely considered one of the most beautiful natural sights in the entire US Northwest. Take a day off from exploring the city to drive from Troutdale east to the scenic area, and admire one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the US. You can also stop at brewpubs and Portland wineries along the way.

Hike to the main attraction of Multnomah Falls, but take your time to explore this area because there is a lot more to see, ranging from the long gorge to the small islands in the Columbia River. For the best views of the area, locals agree that Vista House is probably your best shot.