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5 of the Best Spots for Picturesque Portland Views

AAA/Diana Beyer
By AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
June 04, 2020
Straddling the Willamette River, bordering the mighty Columbia and within sight of the spectacular Cascade Mountains, Portland enjoys an enviable setting amongst some of the prettiest scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer. You can experience the area’s natural beauty just about anywhere in the city, but for Portland’s best views you can’t go wrong at any of these six amazing picture spots.
View from rooftop at Departure restaurant in Portland, Oregon
Courtesy of Departure

Departure

525 S.W. Morrison St.
(503) 802-5370
Step inside Departure, the AAA Three Diamond restaurant atop the 1909 Meier & Frank Building, and you’ll immediately guess how it got its name. First, the artfully presented Pan-Asian fare represents a departure from the every day. Second, the out-of-this-world Space Odyssey interior design departs in a big way from what you’d expect to find inside a historic former department store. And with some of Portland’s best views, including Mount Hood, Departure will make you feel like you’ve left everything dull and ordinary behind.
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city views at Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon
AAA/Frank Swanson

Mount Tabor Park

S.E. 60th St. & S.E. Salmon St.
(503) 823-7529
A lush, green jewel gracing southeast Portland, Mount Tabor Park offers some of Portland’s best views from atop a 600-foot-high volcanic cinder cone. On one side you can see downtown and from the other, in the distance, snowcapped Mount Hood. On a fine summer day you’ll have plenty of company: Mount Tabor is one of the city’s most visited parks thanks to its picturesque reservoirs, wide lawns, big trees, hiking trails, picnic areas and playing fields. Nestled in a residential neighborhood, the park overlooks the nearby Hawthorne District, a famously funky strip of boutiques, vintage stores and cafés.
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Exterior of Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon
AAA/Frank Swanson

Pittock Mansion

3229 N.W. Pittock Dr.
(503) 823-3623
If you were fabulously wealthy, you’d probably build your manor house on a hill offering the best views of the city, wouldn’t you? That’s exactly what newspaper owner Henry Pittock did in 1914, and his French Renaissance-style chateau takes maximum advantage of a sweeping panorama that includes Portland and the distant peaks of the Cascade Mountains. Abundant windows gave the Pittocks a choice of beautiful perspectives to gaze at, and to make certain no guest was left out, a large mirror was hung in the dining room so that those sitting facing the wall could still enjoy the scenery outside. Even if you skip the mansion tour, the 46-acre grounds offer at least an afternoon’s worth of photo ops.
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Portland City Grill interior, food shots
AAA/Inspector 31

Portland City Grill

111 S.W. 5th Ave.
(503) 450-0030
From 30 stories above street level, Portland City Grill commands some of the best views of the city and Willamette River from one of Portland’s tallest office buildings. To get a coveted seat by a window, make reservations well in advance. This lofty dining destination, a AAA Three Diamond restaurant, is popular with couples and families celebrating special events. While your eyes are feasting on the scenery, treat your taste buds to the delicious Pacific Rim cuisine, a blend of Northwest and Asian fare that includes such standouts as kung pao calamari, sushi and apple smoked pork loin.
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Portland Japanese Garden
AAA/Diana Beyer

Washington Park

S.W. Rose Garden Way & S.W. Kingston Ave.
(503) 823-7529
In a city crowded with green spaces, one rises above the rest, at least in terms of visitors if not elevation. Washington Park, a AAA GEM attraction, has big-city recreational amenities paired with swaths of wilderness where you can lose yourself amongst the evergreens. It’s also home to six of Portland’s top attractions including the AAA GEM rated International Rose Test Garden, Oregon Zoo and Portland Japanese Garden. Hop on the MAX light rail downtown, and a short ride later you’ll emerge into a leafy oasis boasting some of the city’s best views, including a classic postcard shot of the skyline with snowcapped Mount Hood in the distance.
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