Q: I like living in a residential area while also being able to have a diverse amount of quick weekend outdoor activities right at my fingertips. I haven’t really explored the Southwest; what can you tell me?

A: Oh, Southwest is so for you! Like all of Portland, there are a plethora of fun daytime activities within city limits. Southwest has the benefit of harboring some true gems.

Portland Parks and Recreation maintains several nature parks in Southwest Portland including Marquam Nature Park, a 175-acre recreation area with hiking trails that wind through the woods where there is an abundance of foliage to enjoy endlessly.

There is also the International Rose Test Garden, the largest garden of its kind in the United States. It contains more than 10,000 roses and offers stunning outlook points over downtown Portland. The Rose Garden offers a slightly milder stroll through nature with grandeur views of Mount Hood and expensive lawns for relaxation on those coveted sunny Sundays.
The Japanese Garden is one of my personal favorites and is hailed as the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. It offers a tranquil setting in which to view distinct Japanese gardening styles. It has some peaceful walks and a great gift shop!

Hoyt Arboretum is a living museum of trees and plants. It’s a fun and educational place to take the kids, with plenty to keep their attention for hours. Its 187-acre site is just on the outskirts of downtown Portland and hosts more than 1,000 plant species from around the world with a total of 12 miles of hiking trails. The entertainment is never-ending; you could go back again and again and still feel like you haven’t seen it all!

There are also over 50 other Southwest neighborhood parks and school parks, some with ball fields, pools, hiking trails, picnic areas, covered areas and more. Go to portlandonline.com/parks for a complete list of Southwest Portland’s parks and recreational areas!