The sun sets in downtown Portland. As spring starts, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the city. Photo by Brennan McConnell-Griner.

Spring break is an exciting time for every student, as the stress of school is lifted off of our shoulders for ten days. Some families choose to take advantage of their vacation time by leaving the city and traveling elsewhere. However, many Franklin students remain in Portland and are faced with the challenge of spending their days in an interesting way. Just because you’re a local doesn’t mean that you can’t become a tourist in your own city, though. Springtime, whether it be during spring break or in the coming months, is a great time to take advantage of all the things Portland has to offer. But there’s more to do in the area than the few extremely common destinations we’ve all heard of. Here are a few places and activities that you may not be familiar with, but are definitely worth checking out this upcoming spring.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Walking around Crystal Springs is a great way to take advantage of the natural beauty of Portland in the spring. The Rhododendron Garden, nestled in the Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland, is surprisingly large. Admission is only five dollars and allows you to walk through an area with streams, waterfalls, and over 2,500 kinds of flowers. The area is great for taking photos and is a perfect option for people who want to go somewhere natural other than the better-known International Rose Test Garden.

Pittock Mansion Viewpoint

Pittock Mansion may be one of the most visited spots in Portland, but many locals are unaware of the viewpoint located in the garden area next to the building. This lookout offers one of the best views of downtown Portland, especially at night. Even if you’ve lived in Portland your whole life, the viewpoint is definitely worth checking out on a spring evening. Nearby parking is open until 9pm. 

Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

Following with the theme of nighttime activities, Rimsky-Korsakoffee is a must-visit for locals who want to experience more of Portland. Opening every night at 7pm, this late night coffee spot is located inside an old house that was thought to be haunted. Stop by to enjoy some coffee or tea, a dessert, and the occasional moving table. If you’re lucky, there may be live music, but no matter what, you can count on finding the weirdest (and coolest) bathroom in all of Portland.

Kennedy School Soaking Pool

Swimming is one of the best ways to enjoy warm weather, especially in the relaxing soaking pool at McMenamins Kennedy School. Located in NE Portland, the pool is open to the public until 6pm for minors with a guardian and 8pm for people 18 and older. The pool is unique because it is full of saltwater, which is known to soothe skin and reduce eye irritation. It costs six dollars to enter and is a great place to relax. The palm trees and tropical plants around the pool also serve as a great photo backdrop.

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is a very well-known place to go, but the rotating selection of featured exhibits means that you’ll find something new and interesting every time you visit. This spring, the museum is showing exhibits on Mt. St. Helens and the career of Robert Colescott, an artist known for expressionist paintings dealing with black identity. Aside from the rotating works, the museum has more than 50,000 objects on display, spanning from ancient to modern times. The gallery is free to everyone 17 and under, making it a very affordable way to spend a day off of school. 

The Enchanted Forest

If you’ve experienced enough of Portland and are eager to spend time somewhere a little farther away, the Enchanted Forest will not disappoint. Located seven miles away from Salem, this family-run amusement park is an amazing combination of charming and outright weird. Reopening for the season on March 20, the park does require some driving time and is the most expensive option on the list, costing about forty dollars for unlimited rides. However, the experience of going to Enchanted Forest is nothing short of memorable. If a building in the shape of a witch’s head, unintentionally creepy statues of common fables, and an exhilarating log ride sound like your jam, you may want to look into filling your next empty spring day with a trip to the Enchanted Forest.

Spring break is a great time to take advantage of all there is to offer in the city of Portland. On a free day, take a break from your daily routine and spend some time exploring one of the options on this list. You won’t be disappointed!