Portland, Oregon is a beautiful place to visit and has attracted millions of tourists over the years. The city is known for its convenient location on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers as well as its placement near Mount Hood and the Oregon Coast. The city also has a reputation as one of the most environmentally friendly major cities in the United States, if not the entire world. Portland also has a rich history dating back to the early settlement of the area as well as the exploration of the Pacific Northwest by the fur trappers who plied their trade there. Much of that history and more can be viewed, experienced and remembered by visiting the must-see landmarks of Portland, Oregon.
The Columbia River Highway
One of the signature road trips in the Pacific Northwest is the Columbia River Highway that stretches from The Dalles in the east to the Portland suburb of Troutdale in the west. The Columbia River Highway was initially constructed from 1913 to 1922 and was the first planned scenic roadway in the entire United States. After a good deal of publicity, many people headed to the Pacific Northwest to drive on this historic route shortly after it was completed. A number of great attractions lay along the route including multiple hydroelectric dams, a number of waterfalls including the famous Multnomah Falls as well as several interesting small communities. There are also a number of hugely popular windsurfing locations on the Columbia River that are in the same area as the Columbia River Highway. The roadway was designated as a National Historic Landmark in the year 2000.
The oldest federal building in the entire Pacific Northwest can be found in downtown Portland, Oregon. Construction on what would become known as the Pioneer Courthouse started in 1869 and it still serves a governmental purpose to this day. Housed within this classic looking structure with the beautiful grounds are the chambers of the ninth circuit court as well as one of the rooms where the court hears arguments. It took more than thirty years of additions before the original courthouse was completed in 1903, although it had been occupied since 1875. Today, the Pioneer Courthouse remains an important and very interesting part of the downtown Portland area.
Portlandia And The Portland Building
One of the most famous landmarks in the entire United States is the Statue of Liberty in New York City, it is also the largest copper statue in the country. The second largest copper statue in the country is the Portlandia statue which sits at the entrance to the Portland Building in downtown Portland. The statue is thirty-six feet tall and is one of the more famous outdoor works of art in the city. The Portland Building, which the female depicted in the Portlandia statue guards, is a controversial building in the city of Portland. In architecture circles, the Portland Building was known as the first major postmodern building when it was completed in 1982.
Portland Classical Chinese Garden
The city of Portland is known as The City of Roses and one of the most visited gardens in the city is the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. The incredible variety of plants, including roses, that fill the park are only part of the attraction. The park’s winding walkways, open pavilions and architecturally beautiful bridges also bring many visitors to the park. There are few more peaceful areas in all of Portland, or any other city for that matter.
One of the more recognizable attractions and landmarks as far as the children of Portland are concerned is Jameson Park. The uniqueness of Jameson Park is that it is one of the most interactive water fountain parks in the world. On warm weekends, the park is usually packed with children and families looking for a way to have fun in the sun. The number of different fountains in the park and the amount of fun children will have in the park is truly amazing.
For a truly interesting look at a side of Portland that not many people get to see, a visit to one of the below ground Portland landmarks is in order. The story of Portland isn’t complete without an understanding of the Underground Portland of years ago. Beneath the old business and waterfront district was a network of tunnels where a host of illicit trades were taking place, including where unscrupulous business owners would arrange to Shanghai sailors to be forced into working the many ships that used the city of Portland as a port before heading off to the Orient. Underground Portland amazes and fascinates the many tourists who are lucky enough to visit it each year.
The city of Portland has owned Pittock Mansion since the mid-1960s after purchasing it because of its importance to the early days of the city’s development. Pittock Mansion is a chateau-like building in the West Hill of Portland. The original owners of the mansion played an important part in the early development of the city with Henry Pittock being the publisher of The Oregonian newspaper and his wife Georgiana being one of the founders of the famous Portland Rose Festival. The mansion is open to the public and has been restored to its original state for visitors to enjoy a look back at what life was like for the rich and famous in early 20th century Portland.
Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Washington Park, located in Portland, is home to the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The memorial is visited yearly by thousands of people, many who had loved ones die while in combat during the Vietnam War. The memorial is wheelchair accessible and is surrounded by benches, gardens and other areas of contemplation. The memorial is placed near other attractions that can be found at Washington Park including the Oregon Zoo and the Hoyt Arboretum. The memorial is also located within walking distance and connected by a trail, to the Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. The landscaping of the bowl-like lawn that houses the memorial is immaculate and the 1200 foot pathway that accompanies the different pieces of the memorial is a great place for anyone interested in American history, or the Vietnam War, in particular, to stop and experience.
When it comes to choosing a vacation destination that has the ability to provide some sort of entertainment to everyone in an entire family, Portland comes in high on the list. The city has a number of wonderful shopping opportunities, unique restaurants, fun activities, and outdoor recreational opportunities to participate in and more. The city also possesses a great history and has a number of landmarks that tell its story. When visiting the city of Portland, taking a few moments to get out and about and view its landmarks is a great way to see some things that most visitors to the community never do, it is also a great way to learn about the history of the city and the surrounding area.