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Grab the free shuttle to explore Washington Park

Less than two miles from downtown Portland, Washington Park is a great place to spend a few hours or the whole day.

PORTLAND, Ore. — In this week's Let's Get Out There, we head to Washington Park, a popular Portland destination for locals and tourists. There's more than one way to get there, and getting around the park is a breeze.

The park is loaded with landmarks and it's located less than two miles from downtown, making it a fast and easy option for anyone seeking a temporary escape from the big city.

"If one day I feel like going for a walk or a run, the trails are right here," said LeiLani Barney, touting the park’s many attractions. "If I want to bring my kids up and go explore the zoo or walk through the gardens, that's available too."

Barney is the senior communications manager for Explore Washington Park, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting people with everything the park has to offer.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

"Summer was a little slow to get going because it was rainy weather and now we're having the opposite," Barney said. "But yeah, we're really seeing a return of visitors to the park."

Whether they're frequent visitors to the park or newcomers, Portlanders have a range of options to get there. Driving is one of them, but parking can be tricky. In May, Trimet’s line 63 began bussing passengers every hour from Pioneer Courthouse Square up to the International Rose Test Garden.

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The MAX red and blue lines also make stops at Washington Park near the Oregon Zoo and World Forestry Center, the latter of which recently reopened after two years.

"It's such a great place to kind of do a mix… spend a little time inside a museum, spend a little time outside on a trail and I can navigate the park really easily," said Tyler Quinn, director of communications at the center. 

Visitors can enjoy the center Wednesday through Sunday from 11am-4pm.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

Once inside the park, visitors can hop on the Washington Park free shuttle to get around. It runs daily, year-round and makes eight stops. Buses are ADA accessible and with several running at once, it's never a long wait. Riders can even track buses live on the Explore Washington Park web site.

"Whether you drive or don't drive, or whether you live farther out or closer in, we just really want to improve accessibility to the park," Barney said.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

With the Rose Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, and Portland Japanese Garden all nearby as well, there are plenty of spots to escape the summer heat and find some shade.

"It's a little bit cooler and it's here at the garden. There's a lot of shaded paths," said Will Lerner of the Portland Japanese Garden. "So if you're kind of sweating it out in the city, we recommend coming up here and spending some time to cool down."

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Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

Make sure to check transit schedules before making plans. Visitors can spend an hour at the park or make a whole day of it. Either way, if you haven’t visited Washington Park yet, you should soon.

"It's a great place to come escape," said Barney. "Explore nature in so many different capacities, and it's worth the drive and worth the time."

Let's Get Out there airs once a week on KGW's 4 p.m. newscast and The Good Stuff, which airs Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. We're including viewer photos for this series. You can text your photos to 503-226-5088 or post them on the KGW Facebook page.

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