The biggest city near my hometown was Portland and now that I have lived in Oregon for the last 3 years for college I am continuing to find fun and inexpensive things to do here. There are tons of hidden gems in the City of Roses; here are a few that are free. If you are also from the Portland area or have visited in the past, please free to add the things I have missed in the comments below!
1. Pittock Mansion
The back half of the mansion
Location: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210
Description: Pittock mansion was the home of an Oregonian publisher and now it is a free place to visit and admire. There are a few options for tours that take you throughout the mansion that range in price, but we thought we were able to have an amazing experience without ever having to pay. The mansion is up a steep hill in an older area of Portland; there is free parking at the location. The mansion has a picturesque view of the city at the top which is located at in the “backyard” of the mansion. You are free to take as many pictures as you want around the mansion which serves as a regal backdrop.
Additionally, the woods behind the mansion are a great place to hike. Today, the woods are a part of Forest Park and the mansion is a popular stop on the famous Wildwood Trail. The mansion can be busy at times so it’s a little difficult to get pictures without strangers in the background but I promise, the view is worth it.
2. Grant Park & Klickitat St.
Location: NE 33rd Avenue and US Grant Place &
NE Klickitat St
Description: If any of you read the Ramona & Beezus books as a kid then you will get a kick out of visiting Klickitat St. like I did. I was a big fan of Beverly Cleary’s books as an elementary schooler so it was really fun to visit the street that all of her famous characters lived on. Right near by is Grant Park, a beautiful park in an older part of Portland which features statue garden with tributes to Ramona and Henry Huggin’s dog Ribsy.
There was free parking in the neighborhoods surrounding the area. The park was beautifully taken care of and it looked like a great spot to have a picnic and a photo op with Ribsy!
The houses surrounding the park are historic as well and it was fun to drive up and down the streets admiring the classic architecture.
3. Powell’s Books
Location: 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
Description: Powell’s City of Books is on every “Places to Visit” website about Portland for good reason. The building is the largest new and used bookstore in the world, occupying a whole city block in downtown Portland. You can spend hours inside pursuing all kinds of used, new, old, and rare books and the best part is… it’s totally free. Due to it’s downtown location be prepared to spend a little money on parking though! Overall, this is a must-see for any Portlander.
4. Witch’s Castle Hike
Location: Lower Macleay Trail, Portland, OR 97210
Description: Witch’s Castle also known as Stone House is one of the sights to see along Lower Macleay Trail in Forest Park. Witch’s castle is a stone building that actually originally served as a bathroom for hikers in the area. The story goes further back though and this section of woods actually was the location of a grisly murder! You can search online for the full story. I personally visited the area in February and I wished I would have worn rain or hiking boots. Though it didn’t rain on us while we were there the trail was pretty muddy.
My husband and I taking pictures with our friend on Lower Macleay Trail.
This is a popular location for hiking and dog walking so be prepared to struggle to find a parking spot. Despite the limited space, the parking is free which is a huge plus. Trails go in all directions in this area so keep this location in your back pocket as a place to explore over and over again.
5. Cathedral Park
Location: N Edison Street and Pittsburg Avenue
Description: Cathedral Park is a gorgeous location in Portland. The park lies underneath a large bridge with cathedral like arches that make the spot very instagram-able during any season. During the summer there are tons of festivals, concerts and community events but my favorite time to visit is during the colder months when fog can be seen rolling around the park, a beautiful sight. The park is well maintained and free to park at. Overall it is a great place to visit when you have the chance.
**Additional not quite free option**
The app GameTime is great for finding last minute deals on sports and music tickets. Portland is a music hub and has several music venues all over downtown, additionally it is home to the Blazers basketball team. If you jump on GameTime is it common to find event tickets under $20 dollars when you look on the day of.
So, those are my recommendations for free things to do it my home, the City of Roses! Remember to comment and tell me about your adventures down below.