Portland is justly proud of its green spaces, and foremost among them is Washington Park. The city bought the land in the Southwest hills in 1871. Unlike Forest Park, most of Washington Park has been landscaped to serve as a setting for its acclaimed gardens, zoo, and nature-related attractions. Surrounded at its north end by the exclusive Portland Heights neighborhood, the park winds south along the ridge that stretches along the entire west side of the city. This is a great place for hiking, playing tennis, and picnics; in the summer, concerts of all kinds are held in the grassy amphitheater adjacent to the rose garden. SW Kingston Avenue connects the International Rose Test Garden and Portland Japanese Garden to Hoyt Arboretum, the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, and the Oregon Zoo. You could also walk to these attractions, although you’d need most of a day to see them all. MAX, the city's light rail system, includes a stop at Washington Park, providing easy access from downtown to the zoo, the arboretum, and the forestry museum. A free seasonal shuttle bus runs from the MAX station to all of the attractions in the park (April/October weekends only 9am–5pm; summer daily 9am–7pm).  in the summer a narrow-gauge excursion train runs between the International Rose Test Garden and the zoo. 

Washington Park Choo-Choo

Beloved by generations of kids, the little Washington Park and Zoo Railway travels between the zoo and the International Rose Test Garden. Tickets for the miniature railway are $5, free for children 2 and under. There’s also a shorter route that just loops around the zoo. It’s a kid-sized train, just big enough for adults, with open windows, and it winds its way through the forest.