10 Things to do in Willamette Valley That You Shouldn't Miss

October 27, 2021 Venice Greaves

Discover the best top things to do in Willamette Valley, United States including Schreiner's Iris Gardens, Washington Park, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, Pittock Mansion, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Cascades Raptor Center, Salem's Riverfront Carousel, Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Roloff Farms.

1. Schreiner's Iris Gardens

3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, OR 97303-9720 +1 503-393-3232 [email protected] https://www.schreinersgardens.com/
Excellent
87%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 239 reviews

Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Iris bloom season is in the month of May. OPEN DAILY MAY 8 - MAY 31, 2020 9AM - 6PM. Bloom season events run Mother's Day through Memorial Day. Visit our website for details on bloom season events. Iris Display Gardens closed in summer and winter months. OFFICE remains open year-round, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m; office is closed New Year's Day, 1/2 day on Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day. Closed for the week of Thanksgiving. Closed for the week of Christmas.

Reviewed By casaahha - Salem, United States

For three short weeks in May, the Schreiner's Iris Gardens become one of the most beautiful spots in the world. The 10 acre display gardens are arranged in rectangular beds with multiple iris plants supplemented by rhododendrons, day lilies, oriental poppies and other flowers. This is augmented by circular beds of iris surrounding a flowering tree or large plant. The color combinations are excellent. This is heaven for a photographer. There are plenty of chairs and benches to rest if needed. There is a flower shop and gift store. We came on a week day and our only regret was that the gift shop did not have hot drinks available. It is hard to believe that the gardens are within sight of the I-5 freeway. The commercial iris growing areas surround the display gardens. It only costs $5 per car to enter.

2. Washington Park

4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221-2760 +1 503-319-0999 http://explorewashingtonpark.org/
Excellent
77%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1,532 reviews

Washington Park

This popular park offers miles of trails, an extensive rose garden, a large Japanese garden and a zoo. For information on free shuttles, attraction admission hours and pricing within the park, and maps, visit our website.

Reviewed By PaulPapich - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

My wife and I live immediately adjacent to Washington Park in Southwest Portland. In fact, being close to the Park was one of the major reasons we selected the property we bought. We visit it every week without fail. To start with, Washington Park is immense and gorgeous! It is home to the International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Garden, Holocaust Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, the city's zoo, arboretum and forestry museum, archery range, tennis courts, walking trails, and much, much more. It would be a world-class destination if it only had the Rose and Japanese Gardens, which are extraordinarily beautiful. But perhaps the greatest draw for me personally are the trees - my ancient, stately friends, covering the hilly terrain, providing shade to walkers like me, and peace to anyone seeking a haven in today's chaotic world.

3. International Rose Test Garden

400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205-5883 +1 503-823-3636 [email protected] https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=viewpark&propertyid=1113
Excellent
71%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5,561 reviews

International Rose Test Garden

The oldest official, continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States boasts more than 8,000 roses.

Reviewed By PaulPapich - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

If you are ever in Portland during its glorious summer months, you absolutely owe it to yourself to visit the International Rose Test Garden. It is one of Portland's true gems. Imagine tens of thousands of perfect roses in full bloom, dozens of rose varieties, colors of every hue! Now imagine lovely walks among the rows and rows of roses, the perfume in the air, the tranquil atmosphere, the stately conifers that enclose the Test Garden on three sides, the view of downtown on the fourth, and the happy people taking photographs and stooping to smell the flowers. There you have the Rose Garden!

4. Portland Japanese Garden

611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205-5886 +1 503-223-1321 http://japanesegarden.org/
Excellent
66%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6,182 reviews

Portland Japanese Garden

Considered the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden is a haven of tranquil beauty in all four seasons. In Spring of 2017, the Garden opened its new Cultural Village, complete with new garden spaces, classrooms, exhibition and gallery space, and the Umami Cafe.

Reviewed By mrg0137

On a recent trip to Portland, my wife and I stopped in Washington Park with the intention of seeing the Japanese Garden and nearby International Rose Test Garden. Since it was clearly out of season for roses in mid-November, there wasn’t much to see when we stopped at the Rose Garden first. We almost then skipped the Japanese Garden, since it was chilly and raining, and I hadn’t realized that unlike the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden is an attraction with its own admission fee, not just part of the park that you can meander through freely. I’m really glad we ultimately decided to pay the $18 per person and visit the Japanese Garden, since it was absolutely serene and beautiful, even while walking through in the pouring rain on a chilly day. The line for tickets didn’t look particularly long that afternoon, but it was a bit slow-moving, since there was only one person working the admission window and others had a lot of questions and were buying memberships. I would definitely buy tickets online in the future to skip the line. We entered the gardens close to 3:00 pm, and were told that the last admission of the day would be at 3:30, although it sounded like there was no real time pressure, with the gardens staying open for a while after 3:30 so the final guests of the day could still make their way through. The gardens are built into a hill, so there was a bit of a leisurely uphill climb to get from the entrance at the bottom of the hill to the start of the gardens at the top. There is a shuttle service offered for those who want to avoid the walk and start at the Cultural Village at the top of the hill. From the Cultural Village, which includes restrooms, a gift shop, and a terrace with beautiful bonsai trees, you can start to meander through the gardens themselves, which are absolutely beautiful, with stunning landscaping and water features. Everything in the gardens is currently marked out with one-way paths to help promote social distancing, and the only thing that appeared to be closed was the Japanese Tea House. The gallery building that currently has a photography exhibit with photos from internment camps was open with limited capacity and was interesting to visit. Outside of that, we really enjoyed taking a leisurely walk through the various garden paths and discovering the various sculptures and plantings. It was especially gorgeous to be able to see the variety of changing colors on the trees in the fall. We also really liked that the size of the gardens was manageable so that it didn’t take forever to see everything, but there was still enough to do that the $18 admission was just about worth it (it could maybe be a couple dollars cheaper, but it’s so lovely that I didn’t mind supporting them through our ticket purchase). We spent about an hour at the garden in total, and probably would have spent more time if it wasn’t raining the entire time. I imagine that on a nicer day, you could easily spend a couple hours meandering through the gardens and taking time to relax at various spots along the way. Despite seeming a little pricey at first, the Portland Japanese Garden is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit. It’s a serene paradise in the middle of Portland, and it’s an interesting chance to see what I’ve read is one of the most accurate Japanese gardens in the United States.

5. Pittock Mansion

3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210-5099 +1 503-823-3623 [email protected] http://pittockmansion.org/
Excellent
56%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2,529 reviews

Pittock Mansion

Built in 1914, Pittock Mansion was a modern home with unique architecture and the latest technology. Experience the story of Portland through the lives of one of its most influential families and get to know the pioneer spirit behind its transformation from “stumptown” to modern, industrial city.

Reviewed By backpacker31 - Boynton Beach, United States

This is a must-see when in Portland. It’s location close to downtown Portland (but feels a world away) makes it a perfect excursion. I took the self-guided tour of the mansion’s interior which was well worth the $12 cost of admission. The (at that time) state-of-the-art household features such as recessed lighting, massaging/spa shower, individually controlled lighting, thermostat, refrigeration room and local/long distance telephone system are incredible. Although most of the household furnishings are not original to the house (or the Pittock family), I found it quite fascinating to learn how they acquired these from other local families in similar sociology-economic circles who lived at the time as the Pittocks. The history of the home’s construction, it’s decline and subsequent abandonment and its massive restoration is amazing. The grounds are lovely and the front lawn has some of the best views overlooking Portland and beyond (on a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and more).

6. Lan Su Chinese Garden

239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209-3957 +1 503-228-8131 [email protected] http://www.lansugarden.org/
Excellent
68%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2,514 reviews

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden is much more than just a beautiful garden. It’s a creative wonder — an authentically built, powerfully inspiring experience based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition that melds art, architecture, design and nature in perfect harmony. (Updated July 2020) In the light of COVID-19, Lan Su Chinese Garden now offers timed entry admission system and one-way visiting paths to discovery. Facial covering is required during visit. The Tao of Tea House now provides To-go service with outdoor seating. For details, please visit: www.lansugarden.org/visit/a-worry-free-visit

Reviewed By oziyanki - Portland, United States

It was an autumn morning when I took my (adult) ESOL students to the garden. Prior to coming, we’d talked about its origin and the symbolism of what they would see in its design, architecture and plants, Once there, we each wandered at will, following the winding paths, constantly surprised and delighted by something unique around each bend - a rock or tree or fish or bridge or color.... so many surprises in the one city block with the modern high rises beyond its walks looming like guardians of this place of peaceful beauty. The students’ homework was, as you’d expect, to write about their time in the garden. Almost all wrote about the tranquility, the sense of being in another world and the pleasure of being lost in thought.... a rare treat.

7. Cascades Raptor Center

32275 Fox Hollow Rd, Eugene, OR 97405-9505 +1 541-485-1320 [email protected] http://CascadesRaptorCenter.org
Excellent
74%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 498 reviews

Cascades Raptor Center

Nestled on a wooded hillside in south Eugene, this nature center and wildlife hospital specializes in birds of prey. Some 50 resident birds of 30 native species are on display, including owls, falcons, hawks, to bald and golden eagles. Open Tues-Sun and some major Mon holidays.

Reviewed By 759frankp - Eugene, United States

Had no idea how great this was going to be. It is a self directed tour. The Center does great work. One of the nice things is you move along at your own pace. So when you connect emotionally with a bird you can stand there as long as you like. Maps help you get around and the placard are well done. Keepers/volunteers are very informative and helpful. The center is on the side of a hill so there is walking downhill and up. We were there on a beautiful day. I would assume it is a bit tougher on a rainy day.

101 Front St NE, Salem, OR 97301-3473 +1 503-540-0374 http://www.salemcarousel.org/
Excellent
70%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 481 reviews

Salem's Riverfront Carousel

A beautiful handcrafted operational Carousel ride in historic downtown Salem at Riverfront Park. Family-friendly affordable fun for all to enjoy. Wheelchair accessible. Shop our unique gift shop for a variety of Carousel souvenirs, toys, games, home decor and more! Affordable party and event packages available to fit your needs. Salem's Riverfront Carousel is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The Carousel depends on the generous contributions and donations from our community, as well as the patronage of our visitors and guests from all over the world! For more information on how you can help us Keep the Dream Alive Shop our unique gift shop for a variety of Carousel souvenirs, toys, games, home decor and more! Affordable party and event packages available to fit your needs. Salem's Riverfront Carousel is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The Carousel depends on the generous contributions and donations from our community, as well as the patronage of our visitors and guests from all over the world! For more information on how you can help us Keep the Dream Alive, visit www.salemcarousel.org > Donte!

Reviewed By Oregonwriter19

The workmanship on the varied animals made us stay to watch the carousel. We found more than horses...a giraffe, a frog with a tennis racket, a covered wagon for the smaller children, and many of the horses with little fun surprises at the back of their saddles...a cat, an angel, and many more peeking out as the animals passed us. Inside the gift shop, we were encouraged to look at new animals being carved and others receiving some needed restoration and paint touch-ups. Beautiful workmanship!

9. Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals

26385 NW Groveland Dr, Hillsboro, OR 97124-9351 +1 503-647-2418 [email protected] http://www.ricenorthwestmuseum.org
Excellent
76%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 185 reviews

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals houses a world-class collection recognized as the finest in the Pacific Northwest and one of the best in the nation. Located just west of Portland, Oregon, in Hillsboro, the Museum showcases not only fine rocks and minerals, but also fossils, meteorites, lapidary art, and gemstones from both the Pacific Northwest and all around the world.

Reviewed By 113duanew - Salem, United States

There is no way to describe this place in a way that would make it sound as truly amazing as it is. The place is room after room of wonder and your imagination can not help but go into overdrive. I highly recommend this for all ages.

10. Roloff Farms

23985 NW Grossen Dr, Hillsboro, OR 97124-8149 +1 503-647-2899 http://therolofffamily.com/farm/
Excellent
73%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 98 reviews

Roloff Farms

Reviewed By Hillontheluse

This was our first year going to Roloff farms , and I have to say that even with all the restrictions because of Covid we still had a great time . Everything was well organized , We, as in my mother n law , my three kids (ages 4 and twins 2 ) and myself enkpyed every minute of it . Every one was so nice , we had the pleasure of getting to meet some of the Roloffs and they were all so pleasant and definitely made our trip even more special. In the gift shop we were able to acquire a beautifully written book for the kiddos , written by Matt Roloff , my daughter especially loved it , as she deals with a condition called Selective mutism , she told me she wanted to be as brave as Lucy , we have already read the book a dozen times, and we to the farm on Sunday .

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