Ever since Portland hosted its first annual rose show in 1889, the city’s stunning roses, rhododendrons and trilliums have been enchanting local families with it’s magnificent blooms each spring. Your family can kick cabin fever when they wander through gardens, parks and go on colorful hikes in the woods you can catch the show as the bees begin to buzz and flowers blossom. Read on to find out where you can catch the best spring blooms in Portland.
photo: Ian Sane via flicker
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
If you want to want to be blown away by beauty, then the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival needs to be at the top of your “hit list” this spring. Celebrate spring by tiptoeing through the tulips with your family, at the Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip festival. This month-long family event kicks off on March 19th, and offers tons of exciting activities like balloon rides as well as special events for families to attend.
The tulips aren’t the only thing your crew has to look forward to. There are incredible views of mountains, nearby vineyards and onsite food, drinks and fun for the whole family to participate in. Kids love the play area and special weekend events to plan ahead for!
33814 S Meridian Rd,
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
The site of a former farm owned by 19th century Mayor William S. Ladd, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden was acquired by the city of Portland in 1923. This nine-acre expanse was first developed as a test garden, but it has come to include more than 2,500 donated rhododendrons, azaleas and companion plants that begin their bloom in early spring. Plan a visit for the Early Show during the first weekend of April, attend the spectacular display on Mothers’ Day or simply stop by for an after-school stroll.
5801 SE 28th Ave.
photo: Karen DeSanno via flicker
With more than 80 miles of trails and fire roads that wind through a total of 5,157 acres, Forest Park offers a family-friendly hike or activity for every day of the year. But there is no time like springtime to explore Firelane 7 and its connections to the Wildwood Trail and the aptly named Trillium Trail. Simply park your car at the NW Springville Road entrance near NW Skyline Boulevard, and you and your kiddos will be walking among towering alders, bushes ripe with huckleberries and tiger lilies and trilliums in the peak of their bloom.
NW Springville Road and NW Skyline Boulevard
International Rose Test Garden
Since its dedication in 1924, the International Rose Test Garden has become Portland’s most famous spot to stop and smell the roses. Beautifully situated on a hillside in Washington Park, the garden features world-class buds of every imaginable color that begin to unfold in early April. What began as a sanctuary for European hybrid roses endangered by World War II is now an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic or a fun morning of tennis in the courts just above.
400 SW Kingston Ave.
The 16 acres of Peninsula Park are full of history, as the site of Portland’s first community center, its second oldest playground and a former track for quarter-mile horse races. But it is the city’s first public rose garden that comes alive in the early days of spring, offering a colorful, uncrowded expanse where roses bloom among stone pillars, intricate brickwork and a century-old fountain. Take an afternoon walk and breathe in the intoxicating fragrance.
700 N Rosa Parks Way
photo: Steve Law via flickr
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Known throughout Portland as the site of annual festivals, concerts, marches and carnivals, Tom McCall Waterfront Park is also home to one of the city’s most breathtaking springtime displays. In 1990, 100 ornamental Japanese cherry trees were planted around the Japanese American Historical Plaza to help tell the story of Japanese internment in the United States. And come late March or early April, these blossoming trees create a stunning pink canopy for games of tag on the grass, walks along the river and bike rides across the 30-acre park.
Naito Parkway between SW Harrison and NW Glisan Streets
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
It’s all about the abundant white trilliums that reveal themselves each spring at Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Oregon’s only state park within a major metropolitan area. This refuge sits just south of downtown Portland and offers 658 acres of forestland, as well as trails designed for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Children will delight in guided hikes, a Junior Ranger program and a Trillium Festival in April, while parents can savor a wondrously quiet escape within minutes of home.
11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd.
— Annette Benedetti