Now that the country is reopening and starting to return to normal, you’re probably making lots of travel plans. Portland is a great place to visit this summer because of its beautiful parks, exciting festivals, and thriving food and craft beer scene. There’s also an abundance of free things to do, so it’s a great city to visit if you have a limited travel budget.
To help you create the perfect travel itinerary, here’s a list of free things to do in Portland.
Explore a Park
Portland has been named one of the most beautiful cities in the nation, and for good reason. It has lots of gorgeous parks and gardens that you can visit and enjoy for free. Here are a few that you can’t miss on your next trip.
Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country. It has about 5,000 acres of dense forest and more than 40 miles of trails that you can hike or bike on.
It’s also home to a local ruin called the Witch’s Castle that’s rumored to be haunted. The crumbling stone structure was built in the 1930s and used as a park ranger station until it was abandoned in the 1960s. Now it’s a great place to explore with friends and snap some photos for Instagram.
International Rose Test Gardens
The International Rose Test Gardens inside Washington Park has 10,000 beautiful rose bushes that bloom from May to October. The garden features more than 600 different varieties of roses. It’s even used to test new varieties to see if they’re worthy of being sold in florist shops, so you may notice some types of roses you’ve never seen before.
Admission is completely free, so make sure you put this garden on your travel itinerary.
Window Shop at Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s City of Books is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country, so it’s worth a visit even if you don’t like to read. It spans 1.6 acres and has over a million different book titles. There’s even a rare book room and a coffee shop that serves treats like muffins and cookies.
Stroll Through the Saturday Market
Walking around Portland’s Saturday Market is free, but only if you can resist buying something from the amazing vendors gathered there! The market features everything from handmade pottery to French macarons to wine from a local boutique winery. There are also lots of food vendors serving up delicious international cuisine, so it’s a great place to stop for lunch.
There’s even free live music every day the market is set up. It’s usually open from March to December on Saturdays and Sundays, so make sure to visit if you’ll be in Portland this summer or fall.
Visit a Museum
Portland also has a number of free museums that history buffs will love. The Stark Vacuum Museum gives you a window into the history of cleaning. It has over 300 different models of vacuums, some of which date back to the 1800s.
The Blue Sky Gallery, which is also known as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, is also free. The gallery is nearly 4,000 square feet and has a public research library as well as exhibitions of contemporary photography. They also host artist talks and other educational programs that are free to attend.
Many colleges in Portland also have free art galleries that are open to the public, including Portland State University, Reed College, and Lewis and Clark College.
What sights are you planning to see during your vacation to Portland? Or if you’re from there, what are your favorite free or cheap things to do? Let us know in the comments!
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