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Accessible Wonders of Portland, Oregon

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Portland, Oregon ©Getty Images

Portland, Oregon, is one of those cities that surprised me the first time I visited there on a business trip.  I wasn’t expecting there would be so much to see and do, aside from the worry of accessibility. 

Traveling

Wow!  Was I surprised.  I found options for accessible taxis and the airport actually had accessible taxis, such as Broadway Cab, in the taxi queue so I did not have to wait.  There are plenty of accessible hotels downtown close to many accessible restaurants and within walking distance to museums, art galleries, parks, and more. 

When I returned to Portland on a personal trip, we rented a car and drove to Multnomah Falls, which is Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 620 feet on the Columbia River Gorge.  The Falls had accessible viewing platforms and accessible parking, but the trails to the top are extremely steep and not accessible. We drove further north and west to the coast all the way to Cannon Beach where we found beach wheelchairs available.  The drive alone was so scenic and honestly, peaceful. 

On a clear day you can see the snow-topped Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens from Portland.  And, Portland is a huge foodie haven.  From doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts to some of the best seafood at The Fishwife Restaurant, to dozens of food trucks offering breakfast, lunch and dinner – you’ll never go hungry! Portland is a beautiful and fun city, with easy access to just about everything and I cannot wait to visit again. 

Here are some of my recommendations for a great trip.

Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden is a serene and beautifully designed oasis that offers accessible pathways and a tranquil atmosphere. The garden provides accessible entrances, ramps, and pathways, allowing individuals with disabilities to explore its lush landscapes, peaceful ponds, and traditional Japanese architecture. Visitors can enjoy the serene tea house, stroll through the accessible garden areas, and experience the beauty of the Japanese Garden.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is an interactive museum that offers accessible exhibits and programs for visitors of all abilities. The museum provides accessible entrances, elevators, and galleries, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can engage with the hands-on exhibits and educational displays. OMSI also offers accessible amenities, including restrooms and seating areas, as well as accessible programming and events.

Parks and Trails

Lents Park is a great park which offers accessible pathways, accessible restrooms, and an adapted playground for children with disabilities. Plus, there are a number of accessible trails for people with disabilities, including Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Areas Interlakes Trail which is one of America’s largest urban wetlands. Here you will experience nearly 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of wild habitat to explore. For a leisurely, shaded tour through the forest, take the Interlakes Trail located near the main entrance off North Marine Drive.

At the trail’s end, an elevated-yet-accessible platform provides a view through the dense trees, revealing the expansive marshland landscape. You should also check out Hoyt Arboretum’s Overlook Trail which is directly accessible from the Hoyt Arboretum visitor center parking lot.  This paved, mile-long (1.6 km) trail slopes and bends through open fields that give way to stunning views of the arboretum’s natural landscape and Portland’s West Hills. With more than 2,000 tree and shrub species, the arboretum offers something new every season, including incredible fall foliage

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is a well-known institution that showcases a diverse collection of artworks from various periods and cultures. The museum offers accessible entrances, elevators, and galleries, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can engage with the exhibits. The Portland Art Museum also employs a Head of Accessibility!

Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books is a book lover’s dream and one of the world’s largest independent bookstores. The bookstore provides accessible entrances, ramps, and spacious aisles. Visitors can explore the store’s numerous rooms, discover new titles, and enjoy the cozy reading areas.  The bookstore is in a great location with shops, restaurants, and more nearby.

Portland, Oregon is a great place to visit and you could easily spend a week there to experience the city and the surrounding areas.  Whether you are a nature lover or a foodie, or maybe you just want to experience a city with a cool vice and lots of accessible options, Portland should be on your list.  For more information about what’s accessible in Portland, check out this link.

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