Portland Photo Spots
If you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, then Portland, Oregon is surely on your list! This wonderfully weird city is known for its trendy eateries and active lifestyle, but there’s more to it than food trucks, doughnuts 🍩 and bike paths. Situated alongside the Willamette River, this naturally beautiful city is bursting with creative energy. With colourful murals, iconic landmarks, and lush parks, there’s a fabulous photo opportunity around every corner. Wondering where to snap the best pics? Let’s walk through ten of the best places to take photos in Portland.
1. The Pearl District
Located in downtown Portland, the Pearl District is home to many landmarks, including the iconic Portland White Stag sign. Formerly an industrial district occupied by warehouses, you’ll see glimpses of history in the cobblestoned streets and loading docks scattered throughout the area. This brings old-school charm to the downtown core.
For the full Portland experience, journey along W Burnside Avenue. Start at the base of Burnside Bridge where you can snap a photo with the Portland sign. Continue onward to Voodoo Doughnut, the perfect place to grab a sweet treat. Don’t forget to snap an instagrammable photo at the brightly-hued pink wall! This is one of the most coveted Instagram spots in the entire city.
From there, head to Powell’s City of Books, a reader’s delight! This store takes up the entire block and offers a wide variety of genres. Wander through the colour-coded rooms to find your next great read. Just around the corner, you’ll find multiple local breweries – an ideal spot to finish off a long day of exploring! 🍻
The Pearl District is also close to a number of other fantastic sites to visit downtown. Pittock Mansion, Washington Park, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Garden, Eastbank Esplanade, and Portland Art Museum are just some of the surrounding places to cross off your list of things to do in Portland. And, some of the best views of Portland can be seen in these locations, especially Washington Park.
2. Alberta Street
Alberta Street is a lively area that perfectly captures the spirit of Portland. Decorated with vibrant murals and wood-framed shops, this quirky area provides ample photo opportunities! 📸 Vibrantly-hued murals of all sizes decorate many of the buildings along this street. These incredible works of art provide some of the best photo spots in the entire city.
Home to the concert hall, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland’s arts scene thrives in this neighbourhood. Stop by to enjoy live music, a comedy show, or film festival. Many galleries are situated along this street, so be sure to pop into a few to support local artists. 🎨
Many casual eateries, upscale ice cream shops, and cool cafes line this street, so arrive hungry! 😋
3. Cathedral Park
Located north of downtown at the base of St. John’s Bridge, you’ll find Cathedral Park. With towering cathedral-like arches and lush greenery, the park is a popular spot for photoshoots. Across the Willamette River, you can see Forest Park, a 5,200-acre park that provides refuge to many local species. 🌲
This stunningly beautiful location has quite the history! It’s believed to be one of Lewis and Clark’s landing sites and was also a primary fishing spot for Indigenous peoples. The St. John’s Bridge itself is a historically significant structure. Built in 1931, it is the only steel suspension bridge in Portland and is an official city landmark.
Cathedral Park is also a community hub that offers experiences like festivals and concerts. The park also includes a boat dock, picnic area, and an excellent off-leash section for pets. 🐶
4. Latourell Falls
Any trip to Oregon isn’t complete without a waterfall sighting! Located about 30 minutes east of Portland, Latourell Falls is the most accessible waterfall from downtown Portland. Whether you choose to do a day trip or stop by on your way to Columbia River Gorge, this destination will not disappoint!
Visit Crown Point State Park for panoramic Pacific Northwest views of sparkling river waters and evergreen trees. Take a moment to explore Vista House, a striking memorial to Oregon pioneers. The unique domed architecture paired with the marble and brass interior makes for a captivating photo opportunity, especially with the scenic view behind it! 😍
From here, make your way to the Latourell Falls trailhead. From the parking lot, expect a 2.1-mile (3.4 km) loop trail that leads directly to the towering 224-foot waterfall. With a beautiful wooden bridge and sheer cliff face, this picturesque scene is a must-stop for photos.
Looking for a little something extra? To get to another vantage point, you can choose a quick walk to the lower falls or a longer uphill hike that brings you to the upper falls. No matter which way you look at it, Latourell Falls is a wonderful sight to behold and one of the best places to take photos in Portland!
5. Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is an awe-inspiring eighty-mile stretch of canyon overlooking the Columbia River. Carved by glacier-fed waters over hundreds of years, the canyon has truly jaw-dropping views.
Amazingly, there are over 90 major waterfalls throughout the area! These scenic waterfalls are found in every corner of the park. Whether hidden in slot canyons or plunging from the top of cliffs, the waterfalls will take your breath away. A perfect place for scenic PNW pics! 😍
Luckily, many of these are accessible year-round, either by short hikes or from roadside pullouts on the Historic Columbia River Highway, making this a perfect photoshoot location any time of year! 📸
6. Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Located a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Portland, Cannon Beach is a magical seaside town well worth a road trip. Known for expansive sandy beaches and iconic rock formations, this is a popular Oregon destination with locals and tourists alike. It’s one of the most iconic places to take photos in Portland.
Capture the picture-perfect coastal views with a sunrise photoshoot. You can’t ask for a better photo opp — long stretches of sand with Haystack Rock in the background? Truly magnificent.
If you’re up for an adventure, rent a surfboard 🏄♀️and take part in a surf lesson to immerse yourself in the coastal lifestyle. Or take advantage of the many tidal pools to explore local wildlife — this is one of the best beaches in Oregon to spot marine life.
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to explore the charming town of Cannon Beach! Boutiques and galleries line the streets and there are plenty of treats to enjoy.🍦
7. Mt. View Orchards
In the Hood River Valley, located a 1.5-hour drive from Portland, you’ll find the Hood River County Fruit Loop. This picturesque stretch of road is dotted with over 25 fruit stands, flower fields, cideries, breweries, and wineries. 🍷
Views from Mt. View Orchard’s Meadow are unrivaled. Rows of apple and pear trees sprawl across the property, with an incredible view of Mount Hood in the background. A spectacular background for a photoshoot! For an extra special view, visit in late spring when the fruit trees blossom.
While you’re here, make it a full-day event and enjoy various family-friendly activities including fruit picking, farm-to-table meals, and picnic spaces. 🍎
8. Cape Kiwanda
Located two hours west of Portland, this sandstone headland offers one of the best views along the entire Oregon coast. Climb up the dune and be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Pacific coastline. The path to the top is steep, but worth it!
Travel tip: Keep an eye out for whales. 🐋 This is one of the best spots in Oregon for whale watching and one of the best places to take photos in Portland.
9. Pacific City Beach
Just south of Cape Kiwanda, at the edge of the Three Capes Scenic Drive, you’ll find Pacific City. This classic beach town is the perfect spot for airy, beachy photos. A sandy peninsula creates a natural breakwater, resulting in calm waves 🌊and a picture-perfect background for your pics!
Stop for a pint with a view at Pelican Brewery, a local brewery located directly beside the beach. This popular brewery sits atop the sandy shore and overlooks the rocky beach. What could be better than a locally-crafted beverage enjoyed in the sea breeze? 🍺
10. Hug Point
Formerly a stagecoach road, this site is named after how the stagecoaches had to ‘hug’ the coastline at high tide. When the tide rolls in, the sandy stretches disappear under sparkling Pacific waters.
This small area of the Oregon Coast features a lot of beauty! Picture sandstone sea caves and a waterfall tumbling over the cliffs. Large spruce trees sit atop the cliff while rocky ridges jut out of the sand. Everywhere you look, there’s a new sight to see. 👀
And an extra-special bonus? Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock is visible in the distance. Definitely one of the best places to take photos in Portland.
Capturing memories in Portland
Between gorgeous Pacific Northwest landscapes and downtown’s lively, eclectic neighbourhoods, there’s so much to explore in Portland! Coastal views, colourful murals, iconic landmarks – there’s no shortage of fantastic photo locations in this incredible destination. Connect with a local photographer in Portland to capture your magical memories in Oregon!
“We could not have had a better experience with Whitney! We had a larger group, an early start and three young kids and she did AMAZING! She is so personable and easy going and made everyone feel at ease. We got a lot of great posed family photographs that we asked for, but my favorite pictures were the sweet little moments she captured without us even knowing. The candid moments were the best. I highly recommend Whitney if you’re looking for photos in Oregon!”
“OMG! Whitney was A-MA-ZING!!! Just like that in all caps and extra extra extra exclamation marks. She was so sweet + professional. This was a very special and romantic trip for us to celebrate 10 years of marriage and our first getaway after becoming parents, and this shoot captured the essence of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown… together. It’s unbelievable how Whitney was able to “get it” right away and perfectly portray US. Recommend her with our eyes closed. Book her! You won’t regret it.”