A visit to Portland’s International Rose Test Garden should be on the ‘must-do’ list of locals and tourists alike. The expansive garden boasts more than 10,000 plantings of over 500 varieties. Situated in Washington Park, it is also worth noting that the Rose Test Garden’s immediate surroundings are ripe with popular family friendly destinations and must-see natural attractions including a playground, hundreds of miles of lush hiking trails, the Oregon Zoo, Portland Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, and the Portland Children’s Museum,
Go: Year-round, but the roses are most likely to be in peak bloom between mid-May and June. The International Rose Test Garden is open from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm daily.
Approximate travel time: 5 minutes from downtown Portland, via Hwy 26 West, take exit 72.
What to see: Enjoy the serene view of colorful roses as far as the eye can see, and give your kids an impromptu English lesson at the Shakespeare Garden which features roses named after characters from the illustrious Bard’s plays.
Possible lunch spots: Pack a picnic to enjoy in the Shakespeare Garden, which is a choice spot to grab a patch of shady lawn and feast your eyes on flora while feasting on your food. If you didn’t bring a bountiful basket on your trip, take a trek to the nearby zoo and grab a bite at the Cascade Grill.
How to dress: Casual, seasonally appropriate. SPF and sun hats would be a good idea on sunny days.
Need to know: June 1st through September 21st, free tours of the rose garden are offered at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm on Tuesdays and 1:00 pm on Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays. Meet at the Rose Garden Store. Donations gladly accepted.
Bonus: Treat the kiddos to an enchanting four-mile train ride through the forests of Washington Park, to a station above the International Rose Test Garden, and back to the zoo. The journey lasts 35 minutes. Click here for more information and specific running times of train rides and fares.
Cost of trip: Admission to the International Rose Test Garden is free, but donations are accepted.