Beyond Downtown, in the Greater Portland experience perhaps the top places to see are in Washington Park: the Zoo, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Forestry Center, the Arboretum, trails, memorials, picnic places, archery range, tennis courts. I'll begin this post there, then traveling roughly west to east in a topical sort of way; pictured below are a number of other places to explore. Additionally, see my other posts (I see I use a lot more photos nowadays!):
Oregon Zoo-- https://www.oregonzoo.org/
Oregon Zoo has handicapped hardship hills--call ahead about renting a scooter or stroller.
More of Washington Park--free to drive, not free to park; many hike or bike around the park. Be warned: it's hilly, you'll need a motor or a strong helper, lots of trails inaccessible/too steep.
Not too far from Washington Park are:
Zupan's Market, Elephants Delicatessen, Phil's Meat Market and Bento Bar, lots of restaurants...
Pittock Mansion https://pittockmansion.org/visit/
Accessible within limits. I am so glad we went at Christmas time!
Be sure to access their Virtual Tour and Exhibits on their website.
Zupan's Market, Elephants Delicatessen, Phil's Meat Market & Bento Bar, and a few of the many restaurants near Washington Park . . . not for the lightweight pocketbook.
Council Crest https://www.portland.gov/parks/council-crest-park
Best mountain views appear when distant skies are clear. Parking is at a premium. Hiking is not wheelchair friendly other than right at the top.
Mt Tabor-- https://www.portland.gov/parks/mt-tabor-park
check for events, soapbox derby http://www.soapboxracer.com/
Downtown Portland--A wider Circle
I took the MAX Red Line (Portland Transit) to (close to) Powell's City of Books December of 2021, and made a circuit of the area. Although most of the way was reasonably flat (but not all), I was very glad to have my new lightweight folding electric wheelchair, as I covered a considerable distance. Alert: some of the sidewalk ramps to the street are steep and can have mud/water at bottom. See also:
Morrison & 6th to 10th, 10th & 11th Streets from Taylor to Burnside
(Past Pioneer Courthouse Square, left to the Library on 10th, back up 10th & 11th toward Powell's Books)
Powell's City of Books--between 10th & 11th, Burnside and Couch
Burnside & 10th to Broadway, with a bit of a detour to Couch St (neighborhood of Jewish museum) to see the North Park Blocks, and a nice view of US Bancorp tower.
Broadway, 6th, & 5th snaking around city streets . . .
to see such classic architecture and Portland landmarks as the US National Bank building, the historic old Wells Fargo building, US Bancorp Tower, Hotel Lucia & Hotel Vintage, Bidwell Marriott Hotel, the Royal Sonesta hotel, the mural of Portland in the TJMaxx store (slated to be closed), the Oregon Trail building . . .
5th Ave Food Carts at 5th & Stark (aka Harvey Milk): Small Pharoah's Egyptian & NY/Halal Kosher, Lord of the Wings, Maws Babylon Cuisine (gyros, shawarma, etc), Titos Burritos (another), Khoh Khun Thai Food, Ali Baba Iraqi Cuisine (Halal, gyros, smoothies, chicken nuggets, burgers, etc), Ocean Aloha Hawaiian, Mr. Taco, La Jarochita Mexican, Korean Twist (Korean BBQ, taco burritos, rice bowls), Gyro Place Egptian Food (gyros, burgers, philly cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken burgers)
Portland City Grill on the 30th floor of US Bancorp Tower, 111 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
What a view! Great food, popular & pricey: get reservations. Inquire about their free 2.5 hour parking.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park--along the Willamette River; of 147 photos, I had to narrow the choices considerably. More info and photos (including Saturday Market) at
On the east side of the Willamette River are
Portland International Raceway,
the Rose Quarter, with the Moda Center (sports arena) and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (event venue)Oregon Convention Center, is in the same neighborhood as the Rose Quarter (photos below)
OMSI--Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (photos below)
Two of the most well known Portland Neighborhoods you'll hear of are the Pearl District and Hollywood
Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland, Portland International Raceway--Dec 2022
One of the sites to see the Christmas Lights in Portland is also a charity to benefit the less fortunate. We went on a night and time that there wasn't terrible traffic, so we could go slow and take photos. Beside the price of the ticket (one price for the car full), we could donate non-perishable items at the entrance booth. It's not easy to get clear photos of lights in the night for an rank amateur, but hope these give some idea of the wondrous Winter Wonderland.
So fascinating! So much to see! Hands-on activities for kids as well.
OMSI update--1 Sept 2022 visit, including da Vinci exhibit ... more areas open with reduced COVID restrictions
Things change over time at OMSI, even in the permanent exhibits. It's worth going occasionally, and having a membership if you have children, so you can go again and again without making each visit too long. Not cheap, though. https://omsi.edu/visitor-info
Oregon Convention Center-- https://www.oregoncc.org/en
My travel buddy and I went to the Portland Auto Show in both 2019 and 2020, at the Convention Center. There was a variety of food offered, but I think it was all the same company and mostly mediocre.
The end of Jan 2022 I had the chance to go to "Beyond Van Gogh Portland" at the Oregon Convention Center. At the beginning of the exhibit(s) was a series of Van Gogh works with the story of his life, often with his own words quoted from letters. In the main room a succession of works of art (with some quotes) were projected on the walls, around the room, sometimes even the floor . . . different from one or two walls to another, and smaller walls erected in the middle of the room--projected art sometimes still, sometimes moving (literally and figuratively).
The Grotto-- https://thegrotto.org/
The Grotto is a beautiful garden, sanctuary, a place to wander, ponder, even worship. It's especially beautiful at Christmas, both sights and sounds. During their Christmas lights festival the upper garden and some other parts are closed. My electric wheelchair handled the hills, but a person in a manual chair should have a husky friend.
Need to entertain kids?
North Clackamas Park/swim https://ncprd.com/aquatic-park
Oaks Park https://www.oakspark.com/ Two rides were handicapped accessible: the train & carousel. They do have educational programs and picnic facilities that are accessible. BYO picnic, or buy food there. Lots of choices.
Bridges across the Willamette River, north to south
Rest Stop at Willamette Falls, off I-205 near Oregon City OR--eastbound only--worth taking a look, taking a stretch.
Crossing the train tracks to and from the Museum can be a challenge for wheelchairs. To the right of this photo is a blocked street that has some less deeply rutted rails. At one point the staffer covered the "canyons" with heavy cardboard, which worked. It might not be a bad idea to come prepared with a board or two if someone in the party is using a wheelchair.
It was a rainy day of December (12-4-21) we drove up to Snoqualmie WA for the Yuletide Express train ride to Snoqualmie Falls. I had dreamed about this little excursion for a couple years. Wisely I called ahead to check on accessibility, because it’s an historic train built in the days before ADA. They said they now have a lift to get me on the train, but since it’s an old train, they couldn’t accommodate any wheelchair wider than 24”. More about that below.
We left at 9:30am for the 1:30pm train ride, to leave leeway for traffic and weather delays. Our cloud navigator took us via Hwy 18, from I-5, and that’s a pretty way to go. Part of the way we saw skiffs of snow. We arrived in Snoqualmie at 12:30pm, which gave us time to refill the gas tank before getting to the Depot a half hour ahead of the train departure, as advised.
The Depot (Northwest Railway Museum)
I loved the old restored Depot. The gift shop is full of wonders, especially if you have a young train enthusiast, or someone interested in the historic.
The Yuletide Express train ride to Snoqualmie Falls
The lift to get me up to the train was more confidence-building than certain transit options I have experienced. It’s a bit unnerving to be several feet above ground when you are on wheels. But their lift had nice sides to prevent rolling over the edge.
They had to have me enter through the box car, but the doorway from there into the passenger car did not accommodate my 24” wide wheelchair, as the narrowest part of the doorway was only 23”. With the help of my companion, I was able to get to the nearest seat, but I couldn’t see much of anything from there. I did have time to note that the train needs plenty of TLC (and funds) to restore it to what I had imagined it would be.
In my mind I had pictured the train ride going up into the mountains to see the falls. But it’s a short, flat ride. It’s best to get a seat on the right side of the train to be able to see the falls. On the way the train passes the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Museum (accessed by car via SE 69th Place). I’m curious now about the Santa Limited from nearby North Bend, which is $10 more per person, but a much longer ride. I think it is pulled by the steam locomotive.
Below are sites about the river, the dam barely upstream from the Falls, and the power plant.
Snoqualmie Falls Park
Since we couldn’t get much of a view of the Falls from the train ride, I was all the more interested in trying to see the falls by driving there. It’s close. But again, the weather wasn’t encouraging to get out and try the trails. What river we had seen wasn’t sparkling clear that time of year, so that also didn’t invite getting out to wander about. I was happy to see that ADA parking is free there.
Right next to Snoqualmie Falls Park is the appealing, apparently popular Salish Lodge.
Snoqualmie’s downtown is a cute, quaint place to explore, though the December weather wasn’t very inviting for a stroll or a roll. Right next to the Northwest Railway Museum is the Railroad Community Park with picnic tables and the Snoqualmie Centennial Log. Restaurants and shops are just across the street.
Dinners from Herfy’s Burgers
As we drove into Snoqualmie, we were attracted by the red Milk Barn building, and what I misread as Hefty Burgers. It’s really Herfy’s Burgers. Although there are plenty of interesting restaurants in Snoqualmie, we decided to get our dinner at Herfy’s. My companion was hungry and got the triple burger, and it was hefty indeed. And juicy—be prepared for that. I ordered the salmon burger, and liked that, as well as some extra meals to try later. See photos below.
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.