Oregon is well known for beauty and nature. Gresham, Portland and the area is a magnet for tourism, drawing more than 11 million overnight visitors in 2021, according to a study done for Travel Portland.
Gresham, between Mount Hood and the Columbia Gorge, is Oregon’s fourth largest city, behind Portland, Salem and Eugene. It’s a picturesque location with plenty to see and do for seniors and their visitors.
Here’s a list of some of the fun things to do in and near Portland and Gresham.
15 Best Things to Do in Gresham and Portland, Oregon
1. Bella Vista Park
Bella Vista Park sits on 8 acres in the Northwest Neighborhood of Gresham. It’s known for rolling hills and trees with huge open spaces. It’s a delight to walk in this beautiful green atmosphere.
The park also contains a woodland that’s perfect for bird watching. Local flora and fauna will surround you as you play or picnic in the great outdoors of Bella Vista Park.
2. Butler Creek Trail
Butler Creek’s beautiful views and green landscapes are southwest of Gresham. The trail along the creek was constructed by volunteers in 1987.
The trail runs to downtown Gresham, connecting with Springwater Trail. Along the way, see Butler Creek Park, Binford Lake, dense forests and a 135-foot bridge across Johnson Creek.
3. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
This national scenic area is a river canyon 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep. Just a few minutes from Gresham, this memorable vista runs past cliffs, sires and ridges set against the Cascade Mountain Range.
The Columbia River Gorge is a popular site for visitors, so you’ll want to plan your trip with the interagency Ready, Set, Gorge! website.
4. Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway
If you’d like to drive by the gorge, the Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway is the way to go. Constructed in 1913, this historic, 75-mile road between Troutdale and The Dalles, was the first scenic highway in the United States to be named a National Historic Landmark.
Along the way, you’ll see amazing waterfalls, incredible scenery and rich history. There are also many historic landmarks along the highway.
5. Gresham-Fairview Trail
Urban wetlands are showcased along the Gresham-Fairview Trail through the center of the city. The 3-mile trail features some beautiful forested urban experiences.
Along the way, you’ll see colorful drought-resistant trees and native shrubs along the trail through residential neighborhoods.
6. Gresham Farmers’ Market
Gresham Farmers’ Market grew from a local collective selling berries from local farms to a large open market of produce, arts, crafts, food and music in the Gresham Center for the Arts Plaza.
The local marketplace features artisan crafts, baked goods, flowers, fruit, handcrafted food, homemade toiletries, local produce, wine and more.
7. Gresham Historical Society & Museum
The Gresham History Museum was opened in 1976 as a place to learn about the area’s past. It has exhibits filled with photographs, archives and interactive galleries. The museum also features exhibits about the history of the Columbia River.
The museum also features a research room with special collections and archives, accessible by appointment only.
8. Gresham Japanese Garden (Tsuru Island)
Tsuru Island, better known locally as the Gresham Japanese Garden, is a newer feature of the area. Completed in 2014, the garden was envisioned by a retired professional landscaper.
The public garden features a peaceful Japanese theme, including pink cherry blossoms that bloom every April. The entryway, Ebetsu Plaza, honors Gresham’s sister city of Ebetsu, Japan.
9. Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site
This state park honors the western explorers who arrived in the area in November 1805. It’s near the Sandy River at one of the entrances to the Historic Columbia River Highway.
The park features a grassy, tree-dotted park with benches and tables perfect for picnics and relaxing. There is also a public boat launch and a popular swim hole.
10. Mount Hood National Forest
Mount Hood National Forest sits on more than 1 million acres of mountains, lakes and streams, surrounding Mount Hood. It’s one of the most visited National Forests in the nation, with more than 4 million visitors annually.
Within the forest are eight officially designated wilderness areas that preserve the area’s iconic beauty.
11. Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium
The Planetarium Sky Theater, on the grounds of Mt. Hood Community College, offers shows to the general public and school groups. The shows feature tours of the solar system and the galaxy.
Also available are interactive programs for people with an interest in astronomy. A full calendar of programming is available.
12. Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls is a sight all its own in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, with more than 2 million visitors yearly. This 611-foot-tall waterfall is reachable after a short walk from a U.S. Forest Service visitor center nearby.
Nearby is the Multnomah Falls Lodge, featuring a restaurant, gift shop and snack bar, which will complete your visit.
13. Nakada Loop Trail
The trail at the Nakada Natural Area is perfect for a long, comfortable afternoon walk. The half-mile soft gravel footpath is easier for those without a lot of hiking practice.
Along the trail are a range of indiginous plants, including huckleberries, salals, snowberries, trilliums and vine maples.
14. Springwater Corridor
Springwater Corridor is a segment of a trail called the 40-Mile Loop, which connects parks in the area.
The walking and riding trail provides a scenic overview of agricultural fields, buttes, wetlands and local neighborhoods. A great many birds are viewable, along with local wildlife.
15. Zimmerman Heritage Farm Park
This park is an homage to one of the area’s founders. The park was used as a 600-acre dairy farm long ago along the banks of the Columbia River.
The Zimmerman House Museum features exhibits about the Gresham area’s pioneers. The house is also featured on the National Register of Historic Places.
Retire to One of the Pacific Northwest’s Showcase Areas
Courtyard Fountains in Gresham, Oregon, is one of Senior Lifestyle’s most beautiful communities. With Independent Living and Assisted Living options, you’ll live a worry-free life while enjoying the area’s many sites and amenities.
Contact us to find out more or schedule a tour today.