International Rose Test Garden

400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, USA

This is where everyone stops to smell the roses in the Rose City. Celebrating its centennial in 2017, the International Rose Test Garden is the nation’s oldest continually operating rose test garden (where varieties are evaluated for characteristics such as disease resistance, bloom size, and fragrance). Originally conceived as a way to preserve different varieties of European roses from the destruction of World War I, the garden today contains 10,000 plants across 4.5 acres in Washington Park. Best of all, it’s completely free, whether you want to compare green thumbs with professionals or take in the views of Mount Hood while breathing in the perfumed air.

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Stop and Smell the Roses

I have to admit that when I saw that one of the tourist attractions in Portland was the International Rose Test Garden I didn’t get all that excited about trekking to the outskirts of the city to check it out. This is probably because I consider myself a beer connoisseur and I wanted to spend as much time as possible tasting micro-brewed, artisan beer around Portland. However, it turns out that a visit to the International Rose Test Garden is an adventure in and of itself, is an amazing park to visit and explore, and it offers some of the best views of Mount Hood that any vista in Portland has to offer. We like challenges and exploring while traveling so we chose to take the MAX train to the Washington Park Station and then took Bus 63 to the Rose Garden. I felt it important to include this in the highlight because the park is off the beaten path. The park is beautiful and a lot of fun to visit. And if you are a photographer looking for that perfect shot of Mount Hood then I think this is your place!

Have a picnic at the International Rose Test Garden

Portland’s International Rose Test Garden is just far away enough from the main areas of Portland to be considered a hidden gem. It is just like it sounds – a beautiful green garden filled with rows upon rows of colorful roses from all over the world. An estimated 7,000 rose bushes live there. The test garden started in 1917 during World War I by the still-operating Portland Rose Society. They feared that European rose breeds and other unique plants would be destroyed due to bombings, so they did something about it. England started sending their roses shortly after and Portland created a safe haven for them. Since then the garden has grown to be one of Portland’s most romantic and well known attractions. Now I get why Portland is known as “The City of Roses” and, subsequently, why Washington Park is known as “A Great Place For a Picnic and a Make-out Sesh.”

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