Categories: Recreation

The Portland Guide

Theater, art, and music aren’t just nice little frills that make Portland a more interesting place but an integral part of the city’s life. So much so that Portland has become a haven for writers, painters, filmmakers, musicians and performance artists.

Art in some form is everywhere from the downtown core with the regular First Thursday art walks to districts like the Pearl, with its contemporary art galleries and the Alberta District and its Art on Alberta program.

On the museum side, the Portland Art Museum is home to several impressive permanent collections and host to traveling exhibitions of works classic to modern. Other museums to consider are the Museum of Contemporary Craft, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Oregon Jewish Museum.

Moving to live theater, Portland is blessed with dozens of companies large and small. Best known among the local theatrical groups are Portland Center Stage, the Portland Center for The Performing Arts, and the Artists Repertory Theater. Smaller companies like Coho Productions bring new works to light and the Northwest Children’s Theater delights young and old alike with their play and musical offerings.

Musically speaking, Portland is alive with it. On the classic side, there’s the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Opera, the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Portland Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Northwest and the Cappella Romana Vocal Ensemble.

Portland is also home to non-classic music, especially in several outdoor concert series including July’s Waterfront Blues Festival, the summer-long Oregon Zoo Summer Concert series and the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in August.

Speaking of jazz,  Jimmy Mak’s is one of the finest jazz clubs in America, duly famous for its Monday night jams.

Every night of the week, Portland’s lively club scene comes to life with all types of music, from techno to blues to cabaret.

It’s this music scene that helped launch Portland-based musical acts like the wildly popular and so-eclectic Pink Martini, the gypsy/Slavic music inspired by 3-Leg Torso and the Asian-American drumming ensemble Portland Taiko.

From drumming to dance, Portland’s Bodyvox company continues to expand the dance repetoire while the Oregon Ballet Theatre offers a mix of standards and new works.

For more details on Portland’s cultural landscape, go to


Forest Park

Whether you are just visiting Portland or call the Rose City home, an outing in Forest Park is a must. A densely knit canopy of vegetation in the middle of Oregon’s largest city, Forest Park encompasses more than 5,000 acres along the hillsides just west of Portland’s center.


Established as parkland in 1948, Forest Park is protected by Forest Park Conservancy, a group citizens working in partnership with Portland Park and Recreation. The Conservancy educates, fund-raises, coordinates volunteer efforts and works to protect the park’s boundaries and mobilize against urban encroachment.

Forest Park is located in the Western Hemlock Zone. In an undisturbed state, this zone would feature Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. Due primarily to logging, the evergreen trees once in Forest Park have been replaced by Red Alder and Big Leaf Maples.


More than 70 miles of trails and gravel roads make up Forest Park’s expansive trail system, stretching from Hoyt Arboretum at the south to Newberry Road at the north. Accessible trailheads allow hikers, runners, cyclists and naturalists to enjoy the terrain and wildlife on a short loop or day-long adventure.

Popular Trailheads:

Lower Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion – 3 miles
Thurman: Leif Erikson Drive – 11.2 miles
Germantown: Wildwood Trail – 32 miles
Upper Macleay Park to Hoyt Arboretum / Oregon Zoo – 5 miles

Additional Information and Park Maps:

The Forest Park Conservancy:
Fit Right Northwest:

A Bite to Eat

With an aggregate of trailheads just west of NW 23rd Street, you can easily find a freshly brewed cup of coffee on your way to or from the park and enjoy a meal after a long day on the trails at a local restaurant.

A few favorites

Dragonfly Coffee House
2387 Northwest Thurman Street

Java Vivace
400 Northwest 23rd Ave.

The Clearing Café
2772 Northwest Thurman Street

2301 Northwest Savier Street

Steeping Stone Café
2390 Northwest Quimby Street

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