Free, outdoors, and centrally located, the International Rose Test Garden is an easy addition to your Portland vacation. Take time to smell some of the 10,000 roses representing 650 species when you stroll through the active test garden, located in Portland’s popular Washington Park.
Originally built to make a good impression on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1905, the International Rose Test Garden has since played an important role in rose conservation, botanical science, and Portland culture—it’s the reason Portland is nicknamed the City of Roses. Stroll through the impressive 4.5-acres to see beautiful blooms, plus special exhibits such as a miniature rose test garden and a Shakespeare Garden, where the rose varieties are named for characters from the Bard’s plays. Plus, the garden has great views of Downtown Portland, East Portland, and the Willamette River.
Master Gardeners offer a free guided tour of the rose garden daily at 1pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day, when roses are in bloom. You can also check out the gardens on your own or as part of a Portland sightseeing tour. Be sure to check out Washington Park’s other enclaves, too, like the Japanese Garden, Portland Children’s Museum, and Oregon Zoo.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This is an outdoor attraction, so dress for the weather.
- This kid-friendly attraction is a hit among families.
- Dogs and other pets are welcome.
- Be sure to bring your camera to capture the blooms and the views.
- As the oldest official rose test garden in the United States, it’s a must for history-buffs, too.
How to Get There
Though you can drive to the International Rose Test Garden, parking can be tricky. Avoid the hassle by taking TriMet public transit, which connects with a free shuttle that takes you around the park upon arrival during peak season (May through September). The park also connects to a number of Portland walking trails and is bike- and skateboard-friendly.
When to Get There
Free and open to the public, the International Rose Test Garden is an easy addition to your Portland vacation. You’ll see the most blooms between April and October, with peak blooms in June.
Portland Area Sightseeing
As a popular Portland landmark, the International Rose Test Garden is included on most Portland sightseeing tours. Visit as part of a city tour that takes you to other city attractions like the Pearl District, or a tour that travels outside city limits to attractions like the Willamette Valley or Mount Hood.