Cities Journal

Visit Portland For Its Roses


In one of the quirkiest and most beautiful stories about WWI, Portland’s Rose Society and all of the rose lovers in the area petitioned for their city to become something of a haven for various types of hybrid roses that were grown in Europe and other parts of the world affected by the Great War. It took some time, but people did start sending over their roses, further cementing the already strong reputation of Portland, WA as a City of Roses.

The first stop in every rose lover’s tour of Portland should be the International Rose Test Garden. The garden was founded during World War I and it is the home of the first rose testing program in the country. During the summer, when the roses are in bloom, the Garden offers free public tours that will take you through a universe of roses.

Next, you should head out to North Portland and the Peninsula Park Rose Garden. The garden features almost 9,000 traditional plantings and the best thing is that this particular garden is still somewhat not well known, meaning you will not have to fight the crowds to enjoy it. It also features a fountain that is over a century old.

Ladd’s Addition Rose Garden may not have the most beautiful name, but it is a gorgeous rose garden with more than 60 varieties on display and with innumerable rose bushes that will wow you. It is actually the oldest public rose garden in the city and one you mustn’t miss out on.

Of course, if you really want to see Portland at its “rosiest”, you have to visit it during the Rose Festival, an event that has been organized in this city for more than a century. The event boasts three traditional parades, amazing entertainment and myriad activities that make Portland truly special during those three weekends.

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