A picturesque afternoon in Portland Oregon. Visit shortsweetmom.com for a great afternoon itinerary complete with FREE things to do and where to eat in Northwest Portland, or pin for later.

Portland A picturesque afternoon in the Northwest

Picturesque Portland

Portland has so much to offer as a city. I recently posted about our Swiss relatives coming to visit. The day after our family reunion we had the pleasure of accompanying them for an afternoon in Northwest Portland. Whether you are an native Oregonian or a first time visitor you will love this itinerary for a picturesque Northwest Portland afternoon.

A picturesque afternoon in Portland Oregon. Visit shortsweetmom.com for a great afternoon itinerary complete with FREE things to do and where to eat in Northwest Portland, or pin for later.

Washington Park

Washington Park has so much to offer from gardens, a playground, archery range and the Oregon Zoo. On this outing we visited two of the beautiful gardens.

The Japanese Garden

First things first, remember to pay for parking and read all instructions carefully. No one wants to come back from a fun outing only to find a ticket on your windshield.


Getting to the garden takes a bit of walking up hill. There are also a few flights of stairs once you get to the top. If that is a problem for anyone in your group they do provide a free shuttle that runs every hour. The garden is currently undergoing an expansion project that is set to be done in April 2017. As a result there is currently less parking than normal.

An afternoon in Portland. Japanese Garden.
Beautiful settings surround you in the garden.


Prices $9.50 Adult
$7.75 Senior (65+)
$7.75 College Student (w/ID)
$6.75 Youth (6-17)
Children 5 and under free



Portland afternoon the Japanese Garden
Genevieve loved seeing the beautiful koi.

The garden is a compilation of 5 sub gardens each featuring different forms of beauty in nature. Genevieve’s favorite spot was the Strolling Pond garden where you can enjoy a pond full of beautiful koi fish. The nature garden does have some steep steps. Therefore this section is not stroller or wheelchair friendly. 

Portland afternoon Japanese Garden
Beautiful bridge
Portland afternoon Japanese Garden
Waterfall in the Strolling Ponds garden.
Portland afternoon Japanese Garden
Decorative fountains can be found throughout the garden.
Portland afternoon the Japanese Garden
The Flat Garden.
Portland afternoon Japanese garden
Amazing view in the back of the flat garden.
Be sure to check out the amazing view from the flat garden. You can see the city and on a clear day an unobstructed view of Mount Hood. The Japanese garden is a beautiful experience is fresh with every changing season.

Rose Test Garden

Portland afternoon international Rose test GardenThe International Rose Test Garden is located below the Japanese garden, entrance is free. Just keeping going down hill. You will know you have arrived when you are surrounded by beautiful roses. Wheel chair and stroller access can be made if you keep to your right as you go down the hill. If you go straight down you will have a few flights of stairs.

This beautiful garden is the oldest official, continuously operated public rose test garden in the U.S. The garden features over 10,000 rose bushes representing more than 650 rose varieties.

Portland afternoon International Rose Test Garden
Roses in nearly every color you can imagine.
Garden hours: 7:30am-9:00pm
FREE public tours are offered daily at 1:00pm, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Meet at the Rose Garden store 10 minutes prior.
Portland afternoon International rose test garden
Gotta stop and play in the water at the fountain.
Portland afternoon international rose test garden.
Group shot.
 Every so often the beautiful aroma travels through the air and the colors are endless arousing the senses of both site and smell.
Portland afternoon International rose test garden
Great picnic spot.

A beautiful lawn area is a great place for an afternoon picnic or snack. If you are like us and did not think ahead to bring a picnic then NW 23rd Avenue is calling your name.

NW 23rd avenue

portland afternoon nw 23rd ave
Me and my little.
portland afternoon nw 23rd ave
Lovely walk on NW 23rd ave.
If you would like to feed your belly and fill your closet with locally made items then 23rd is just the right spot. Delicious food and adorable boutiques abound on this very walk-able Portland avenue.

Fat straw

Afternoon in Portland Fat Straw
Delicious and dairy free.

Need a refreshing drink. Fat straw hits the spot. Offering milk tea, smoothies, hot tea and a some light food options, They have something for everyone. Fat straw uses coconut milk so dairy free friends drink up! Their NW 23rd location has a large hangout area and free wifi. Great place to have a drink and rest your feet.

Bamboo sushi

Portland afternoon Bamboo sushi.
Delicious sushi!

This is by far our favorite sushi restaurant we have ever been to. This includes all of our travels. It is a bit pricey but in this case you truly get what you pay for. The fish practically melts in your mouth! The flavors are delectable and the drinks are creative and top shelf.

Portland afternoon Bamboo Sushi
Genevieve playing with FUNcle Mark.

For all my gluten free friends, they have many gluten free options that are clearly marked on the menu! The service has always been top notch. We have always had our munchkin with us without any issue. (We were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of our food.)

Blue Star Donuts

Portland Afternoon blue star donutsBlue Star donuts are truly delicious!!! Sadly they are not gluten free. But they are so good that we like to share them with our friends who do not have allergy restrictions. Even if we have to stare and drool while they eat.

Portland afternoon Blue Star Donuts
I love the shop doors!
portland afternoon blue star donuts
Mmm donuts.

The donuts are made fresh daily from an 18 hour brioche recipe. The flavors are always changing and they tend to sell out quickly. In order to try more flavors our group bought 4 and cut them into smaller pieces so everyone could sample more than one.

Pittock Mansion

Our days adventure came to an end enjoying one of the best sunset views in the city. There is a fee to enter the mansion but the outdoor grounds and parking are free. A tour of the mansion is very interesting but may not be as much fun for little munchkins.

portland afternoon pittock mansion
The mansion is very impressive.
portland afternoon pittock mansion
One of the beautiful views.

This is a lovely place to take pictures, enjoy the great view, have a picnic or take a hike on the surrounding trails.

So much to see!

This is just one of the many fun adventures you can take in the Rose city. Portland is full of fun things to do and plenty of allergy friendly food options.  Are you planning a trip to Portland in the future? If you are a local, what are your favorite must see spots you like to recommend to visitors?

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