Over 550 rose varieties and 7,000 bushes flourish at the Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. With sweeping views across the city too, it makes for a spectacular sight. Equally stunning is the formal Japanese Garden, said to be the most beautiful outside that country, with a tea house and carp ponds. And the Chinese Garden is a tranquil oasis of courtyards, pavilions and bridges.
Portland has taken craft beers to its heart. The first micro breweries started up in the 1980s and now there are over 50 of them, serving up everything from organic to sour and fruit-flavoured brews. At the HUB Bike Bar, you can even tune in to the city's green vibe by cycling while you sup - and generating electricity!
Just 30 miles from Downtown, Oregon's tallest waterfall plunges 189 metres down the rockface of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in two magnificent drops. It cascades with water all year round and you can make the quarter-mile hike up to scenic Benson Bridge, which spans the second drop - or continue all the way to the top for even more breathtaking views.
There's plenty of places to shop, and the beauty of it all is that it's tax free. Downtown has all the major brands and department stores; Pearl District has art galleries, funky boutiques and the largest independent bookshop in America, Powell's City of Books; and don't miss the week-end Saturday Market for artisan arts, crafts and clothes.
There's a swathe of festivals on Portland holidays. 2014 is as crowded as ever. The ever-popular Beerfest happens 8-10 August; the Jazz Festival is 20 February-2 March; May's Rose Festival culminates in the Grand Floral Parade on 7 June; the Waterfront Blues Festival fills the summer nights from 3-6 July, with fireworks on the Fourth; and there are many more.