Escape the concrete jungle

Want to see a great view, visit the Japanese Gardens or stop to smell the roses? Located in Portland’s west hills, Washington Park has it all – or close to it.

This 129-acre park features an archery range, a fountain, group picnic facilities, a stage, covered picnic area, a playground, a soccer field, tennis courts, statues and hiking trails.

And, you can reach the park in under 20 minutes by public transportation or under 10 with a car. Take the streetcar, buses or your feet to the nearest MAX station and board any west-bound blue line train. Reaching the MAX is free, although it will cost you $1.20 fare to Washington Park Station.

Points of interest include: Hoyt Arboretum, a 214 acre exhibit of over 800 species of trees; the International Rose Test Garden, the oldest publicly operated rose garden in the United States; Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Oregon Zoo, Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, and Japanese Gardens – a 5.5 acre site featuring five traditional Japanese Gardens.

The Washington Park MAX Station is worth seeing in its own right. As North America’s deepest transit station (260 feet), it is also the second deepest in the world. Have no fear, you won’t have to take the stairs, four high-speed elevators wait to take you to the surface.

From Washington Park MAX Station you can take the #63 bus to the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Gardens, Washington Park’s tennis courts, and children’s playground.If you want to hike, look no farther than Forest Park, the largest inner-city park in America.

Encompassing seven other parks, including the Washington Park Zoo complex and Hoyt Arboretum, it spans approximately 4,800 acres. Forest Park also features over 50 species of mammals and 100 varieties of birds.

Nominated as the Best Place to Hike for its nearly 50 miles of interconnected hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails Forest Park is the place to be.

To reach Forest Park walk to Southwest Washington and Fifth Avenue, board the #15 bus and get off at Thurman and Gordon. Again, the fare is only $1.25 for a one or two hour ticket. It is either a 20 minute bus ride or 25 minutes by car to Forest Park.

Bring lots of water and enough money for a return fare, as a journey to hike Forest Park would be wasted on anything less than a day trip.

If nearby parks aren’t what you’re looking for try a trip to Cannon Beach. Located at the end of Highway 26, 80 miles west of Portland, Cannon Beach is a great, close, and relatively inexpensive spring break locale. Simply drive until you see the Pacific.

Driving to Cannon Beach can be an experience in itself. Along the way you might stop to see the world’s largest Sitka spruce tree, 216 feet tall and 52 feet in circumference, just off the highway. But, if the drive takes less than an hour-and-a-half you might consider letting someone else drive on the way back.

With over nine miles of accessible beachfront, Cannon Beach isn’t a place to miss. The ‘downtown’ of Cannon Beach has many small shops and a few nice restaurants worth visiting. The hotels/motels cater towards more middle-aged customers, though an enterprising student can rent a room for fairly cheap.

With a cheap, or hopefully cheap, place to stay, a trip to Cannon Beach will be memorable indeed.Visit for precise directions to these and many other nearby attractions. Or, plan your around-town trip with