Portland Things to Do

Rose Gardens in Portland, Oregon: 8 Best Places to See Roses!

March 9, 2022

Last Updated:

Portland is known as the City of Roses. One of the best things about May, is that all throughout the city roses are starting to bloom. The International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park is flooded with roses, and my local favorite is the Peninsula Park rose garden in North Portland. So here are the best rose gardens in Portland, Oregon – from the biggest The International Rose Test Garden to neighborhood favorites.

Best Rose Gardens in Portland, Oregon

Here’s where to find roses in Portland. You don’t even have to stop and smell the roses in Portland during late spring. (Although, yes, you’ll want to!) The roses are so fragrant by mid-June, that you can just smell them when you bike or drive by rose gardens. While peak bloom is in June, you will still find roses from spring to fall in Portland.

2024 Update: The roses are right on time this year! And were popping by Memorial Day weekend. (In 2023, with our cold and wet spring, they were late blooming – not until mid-June!)

1. International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park

roses at international rose test garden portland

No visit to Portland is complete without checking out Washington Park’s International Rose Test Garden. Simply known as THE Rose Garden in Portland. With over 10,000 rose bushes and over 600 varieties of roses and cultivated flowers this is Portland’s spot for roses. Plus, since it’s part of Washington Park, there’s plenty of room to explore, and you simply can’t beat the views (and smells!) at Portland’s largest rose garden. Bring a picnic and you can stay awhile in the grassy amphitheater area just north of the rose gardens. And in summer time you might just catch the Portland symphony or other art happenings here. This rose garden is simply the best and biggest in Portland!

When: mid May – October
Where: International Rose Test Garden 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

2. Peninsula Park Rose Garden

portland roses may june in peninsula park rose garden portland, oregon

If ever there was a rose garden that was for the people, it is Peninsula Park Rose Garden in North Portland’s Piedmont neighborhood. Peninsula Park is actually Portland’s first public rose garden. And also the home to the Portland rose before it was moved to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. The rose garden takes up the southern third of the park. And was designed in symmetrical quadrants, with a fountain in the middle. There are many volunteers that make this park and the roses possible. This is my favorite rose garden in Portland!

When: mid May – July
Where: Peninsula Park Rose Garden 700 N Rosa Parks Way, Portland, OR 97217

peninsula park rose garden May trees
Peninsula Park Rose Garden

3. Ladd’s Addition

Ladd’s is a great place to bike through, lose your sense of direction, and check out the roses. One of the most amazing things about Ladd’s Addition in the Hosford Abernethy neighborhood is the “stained glass window” style of rose gardens in all the quadrants. In the center of Ladd’s Addition, you will find Ladd Circle Park & Rose Gardens. But what is often an overlooked part of finding the roses in Ladd’s Addition is that there are 4 diamond shaped “stained glass window” rose gardens surrounding the circle – North Rose Garden, East Rose Garden, South Rose Garden, and you guessed it, West Rose Garden. So walk two streets up, down or over in any direction and you will find even more roses. We really should call it the Laberynth addition. ;)

Ladd's Additon rose gardens in portland
Ladd’s Addition on Google Maps view to see the “stained glass windows”

When: mid May – summer
Where: Ladd Circle Park & Rose Gardens 1996 SE Ladd Ave, Portland, OR 97214

4. Pittock Mansion

The Pittock Mansion grounds is home to beautiful rose gardens as well. And with Mt Hood views and hiking opportunities, this is makes it one of the best spots for roses in Portland. It’s free to visit the grounds of Pittock. There is a parking lot (paid parking) or you can reach Pittock Mansion by hiking: on the Wildwood Trail from Cornell Rd or Hoyt Arboretum. This is also a great spot to see cherry blossoms in the spring.

When: mid May – summer
Where: Pittock Mansion 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210

Pittock Mansion rose in February
a rare winter rose at Pittock Mansion with Mt Hood views

5. Rose Festival Foundation

Right in Waterfront Park just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, near the Salmon Street Springs fountain, is the Rose Building. This historic building now houses the Portland Rose Foundation, and was previously the Visitor’s Info Center. What makes this spot extra unique is the huge neon rose sign on the roof of the building. And since it’s Portland – and the city of roses – there’s also a small rose garden here.

portland rose foundation building
Portland Rose Foundation building’s neon light rose sign

When: mid May – summer
Where: Rose Festival Foundation 1020 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204

6. Portland neighborhoods

Washington Park’s Rose Garden isn’t the only place to find roses. You’ll also find them in surrounding neighborhoods like Arlington Heights, Goose Hollow, Southwest Hills. And all across the city from Alameda to Clinton St., Irvington, Laurelhurst, NW and more.

While these aren’t public rose gardens, there are some great neighborhoods and huge estates and historic homes in some of these area that feel like you’re going on a tour of Portland’s best roses. Especially when it’s peak bloom season in May and June.

When: mid May – summer

7. Esther Short Park in Vancouver

While not technically located in Portland, our neighbors to the north have a beautiful rose garden in Esther Short Park. Just over the bridge, you’ll find Esther Short Park, home of the downtown Vancouver farmer’s market, playground, the iconic salmon run bell tower, and a rose garden. And a few blocks to the south, check out the newly built Vancouver Waterfront area.

When: mid May – summer
Where: Esther Short Park 605 Esther St, Vancouver, WA 98660

8. Portland Nurseries

Ok this last one is a little bit of a trick location! But one of my favorite spots to see roses, is browsing rose bushes at Portland Nursery in SE Portland. During the “Rose Festival” every spring, they have even more plants and options to choose from. Where you can browse and buy a rose bush to plant in your yard. Including the official rose of the Rose Festival in June. The official rose of the 2024 Rose Festival is called “The Heart of Portland” and can be found now at Portland Nursery.

official rose of the 2024 Portland Rose Festival
Plant your own official rose of the 2024 Rose Festival – The Heart of Portland. Available at Portland Nursery

Their best selection is February through April. Note: they might not be blooming yet, but check out all the rose varieties Portland Nursery offers and other Portland area garden centers.

Where: Portland Nursery Stark or Division

Best Time to See Roses in Portland

Portland’s peak rose season is May and June. While you can still find roses through the city from spring through fall (and even a rare winter rose some years!). As for other flowers and blossoms, mid-March to early April is the best time to view cherry blossoms in Portland, tulip fields in Woodburn, and wildflower hikes in the gorge (Dog Mountain bloom is usually in May). Blooms are one of the best things about Portland in late spring!

Peninsula park rose garden fountain north Portland
Peninsula Park Fountain

City of Roses & History of Roses in Portland

Why is Portland the City of Roses? According to the Oregonian, The Portland Rose Society started in 1889 by none other than Georgiana Pittock (yep, that Pittock! from Pittock Mansion fame). By 1905, there were 200 miles of rose-lined streets to celebrate the Lewis and Clark Centennial. And since then, we’ve been the ‘City of Roses” (or Rose City). Which became the official nickname in 2003. And by World War I, Portland nurseries started a plan to help protect European rose, from the war in Europe. They created the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park in 1917.

Portland Rose Festival – The Rose Festival starts at the end of May and goes into June. With events, live music, rose court, and finally the Grand Floral Parade with floats.

Best Places for Roses in Portland:

So here are the best rose gardens in Portland, Oregon.

  1. International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park
  2. Peninsula Park Rose Garden
  3. Ladd’s Addition Circle Park & Rose Gardens
  4. Pittock Mansion
  5. Rose Festival Foundation
  6. Portland neighborhoods
  7. Esther Short Park, Vancouver, WA
  8. Portland Nursery
portland roses

I hope you enjoy the roses in our favorite rose gardens in Portland, Oregon!

Originally published 2022, updated for 2024.