The Best Places To Snap A Photo In Portland

(Last Updated On: May 25, 2020)

Is it just me or is street art on the rise? To me it seems that every major city now offers beautiful Instagram worthy mural backdrops for the perfect photo.

The city of Portland, Oregon is no exception.

Nearly every neighborhood in Portland is now home to multiple eye catching pieces of art. Buildings that once reflected a standard brick exterior now have colorful masterpieces.

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Before I jump into telling you all about Portland’s best spots for snapping photos I thought I would share a little about me incase you haven’t stopped by my blog before.

Hi! I’m Jane and I started Plain Jane Lifestyle as a fun creative outlet to write about food, travel and blogging!

If you are thinking about starting a travel blog, or any type of blog for that matter, here are a few of my most popular past posts that will help you get started: What Every Blogger Needs To Know About Blogging Legally and Start A Blog In Less Than 10 Minutes With Siteground (affiliate).

Okay now back to Portland’s murals…

It turns out that I’m not crazy, Portland street art is on the rise. Since 2012, The Portland Street Art Alliance has been working to bring together communities through art installations and has commissioned over 35 projects. Street art has shown to provide more foot traffic to surrounding area businesses than prior to having an art installation. With that concept in mind, I believe it only indicates we will see more colorful paintings around PDX and other major cities.

Street art picture taking is gaining so much popularity that you can now pay for guided tours. Portland Street Alliance offers tours by foot or bicycle. But if you prefer to take a tour solo, follow along with my list of the top murals to see in downtown Portland.

Mural in Portland 10th and SE Division

SE 10th and Division

This is by far the most aesthetically interesting mural in Portland. If you look close enough, there are live plants in her hair. This is just so cool!

Art Fills The Void mural in Portland, OR 

On the corner of SE 12th and Division

Art Fills The Void – This cute play on words makes me smile.

Mural downtown PDX

SW 11th Avenue and Washington St.

These two murals are located side by side. They offer a darker moody theme to southwest Portland’s 11th Ave. I feel like they are the perfect backdrop to a rainy Portland day.

Mural on SW Stak and 12th Ave

SW Stark and 12th Avenue

The colors are so pretty on both of these murals. Even though they are situated high above the ground, they can still provide a cool distance backdrop.

SW 4th Avenue Mural Portland

NW 4th and Everett St.

This mural is on the edge of Portland’s Chinatown district. I love it’s 3D affect of a face popping out of the side of the building.

If you’re loving all of these mural’s…

Then you might like some other great photo-op spots around Portland.

Here is a list of my favorite spots in PDX for eye catching backdrops in the city of roses (that’s Portland’s nickname).

Top of Portland Ariel Tram

Top of the Portland Ariel Tram –

For less than $5 you can ride the Portland Ariel Tram from 3303 SW Bond Ave. in southwest Portland to the top of the tram platform for spectacular views.

East Bank PDX

Picture from the East Side Bank

From any of Portland’s bridges you can easily access the east bank of Portland. There is a bike path that runs along the Willamette river on both the east and west side of Portland which makes this a fun place to stroll and get another vantage point of Portland. I recommend crossing the Hawthorne, Burnside, Morrison or Steel bridges, as those are the closest to the heart of downtown.

View from Hawthorne Bridge

Picture from one of Portland’s Bridges

This shot is from the Hawthorne Bridge. One of Portland’s oldest bridges.

View of downtown Portland

Top of Council Crest

The highest point in the city of Portland is Council Crest. The best way to get here is by car. I recommend using GPS if you’re driving as it can be very confusing. But if you are really outdoorsy, you could take the Portland Ariel Tram to the top platform and then hike one of the trails (part of Portland’s 4T Trail System) that takes you to the top of the mountain.

Powell's books

Powell’s Books

A trip to Portland is not complete without stopping at the largest independent bookstore IN THE WORLD! I love this place and frequently stop in and spend hours strolling through the stacks of new releases and best sellers.

Voodoo Donut

Voodoo Donuts

NYC has the cronut, Paris has the macaroon, and Portland has donuts! A trip to Voodoo and snapping a photo of it’s signature voodoo donut neon sign is a must do while in Portland. Plus, it’s an excuse to eat a donut!

Keep Portland Weird

Keep Portland Weird

This sign pretty much sums up the motto of Portland. “Keep Portland Weird”. People are quirky here and we like that! You can find this sign in the downtown area on 3rd Street between Burnside and Ankeny.

PDX carpet

PDX Carpet

So yeah…this is kind of a thing, taking a picture of your feet on the PDX Airport carpet. PDX carpet even has it’s own Wikipedia page! If you are visiting Portland by way of flight, than be sure to snap a photo of your latest pair of kicks on the carpet.  The above picture is the newest PDX carpet which replaced the well loved turquoise design back in 2015.

St. John’s Bridge

The St. John’s Bridge spans the Willamette river to the north of central downtown. For this photo-op you will need to take a car to get here from downtown Portland.

The bridge began construction back in 1929, and years later remains one of the most beloved bridges by locals and visitors alike.

One end of the bridge connects to the neighborhood of St. Johns in Portland and underneath the bridge lies a picturesque park named Cathedral Park.

The park has trails along the river, picnic tables to enjoy in nice weather and of course a great place to snap some pictures.

The bridge as reported by local newspaper, The Oregonian, writes that the St. John’s Bridge has become a symbol of Portland.

Me at the St. John’s Bridge during a typical rainy Portland day.

Mt. Tabor Park

Last but certainly not least is posing at the top of Mt. Tabor Park on Portland’s east side with the city skyline as a backdrop.

As you can see from my photo, it was foggy this day, so you can’t quite see the Portland city skyline behind me, but go on a clear day and this photo will be a good souvenir from your time in the city.

Mt. Tabor park is a great place to visit while in Portland, with it’s paved trail and ease of incline. Although if you enjoy walking on a traditional hiking trail there are trails that span through the park as well.

There are also public bathrooms and even a visitor center to stop by.

Me with my beloved dog Merle at the top of Mt. Tabor Park.

Redwood Deck in Forest Park

I LOVE Forest Park. Within it contains so many awesome Portland sights and one happens to be the Hoyt Arboretum. 

Here, you get to walk through all kinds of different trees that the park has to offer, for free mind you.

My favorite spot is the Redwood Deck pictured below.

Redwood Deck Forest Park Portland
Me, at the Redwood Deck in Forest Park, Portland, OR

International Rose Test Garden

Near the Hoyt Arboretum you will find another free Portland gem called the International Rose Test Garden.

This is such a wonderful spot to snapping a photo among one of the hundreds of roses with the stunning Portland skyline below.

international rose test garden portland
International Rose Test Garden – Portland, OR
Rose Test Garden Portland, OR
Roses at the International Rose Test Garden Portland
International Rose Test Garden
A view looking down at the City of Portland from the International Rose Test Garden

[ctt template=”5″ link=”ytafB” via=”yes” ]The coolest places for photo ops in Portland, OR. From cool murals to city scape backdrops. [/ctt]


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