Support Us Button Widget

Use all 5 senses to enjoy the Portland Rose Festival

Don’t stop at simply sniffing the flowers — but please, take your time — as you experience the city’s longest-running celebration.

A family raised their hands inside a tiger on a CityFair carnival ride.

Hold on tight Portland — you’re in for more than two weeks of entertainment.

Photo via Portland Rose Festival/Picasa

Of course, when it comes to enjoying the Portland Rose Festival, taking time to stop and smell the roses should be top of the list. But when the historic celebration returns Friday, May 24-Sunday, June 9, we want to make sure you indulge all five senses.

Fireworks go off above Portland's Hawthorne Bridge and a crowd of onlookers.

You’ll also get some boom for your buck (the show is free).

Photo via Portland Rose Festival/Patrick F. Smith


Treating your nose to the 610 rose varieties at the International Rose Test Garden is a must, but so is taking a whiff of the pyrotechnics during the opening night fireworks show.

A team paddles a Taiwanese style dragon boat on the Willamette River, with yachts parked just behind in a marina, and downtown Portland in the background.

Dragon boat racing in Portland dates back to 1989; watch them from South Hawthorne Waterfront Park.

Photo via Gary Halvorson


On the shore near the Hawthorne Bridge, listen to the crowd cheer — and yell your own encouragement — for the dragon boat races as each team paddles toward the finish line. The colorful watercraft are a visual spectacle provided thanks to the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association.

A Rose Festival Princess waves from atop a floral parade float.

Who doesn’t love a little pageantry now and then?

Photo via Portland Rose Festival/Naim Hassan


Watching the floats roll down the road is one of Portland’s beloved pastimes, and during the Rose Festival, there are three parades to choose from. Streets sparkle and shine during the Starlight Parade, kiddos take center stage at the Junior Parade, and beautiful arrangements blossom during the Grand Floral Parade (you can help build them too).

Two people backlit by the sun cheers their beers at the 2022 Oregon Brewers Festival.

Something special is brewing this summer.

Photo via Oregon Brewers Festival


Glug glug glug goes the beer at Oregon Brewers Festival, held every weekend during CityFair. Speaking of fair food, you might want to grab and elephant ear or some cotton candy while you’re there.

A navy vessel is pulled by tugboats along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.

Ships will moor along the northern stretch of Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Photo via Portland Rose Festival/Dickie Adams


A solid grip is recommended as you climb aboard the naval vessels parked along Tom McCall Waterfront Park for Fleet Week. Tours are available, which may require you to climb up metal ladders and maneuver through narrow doors — just don’t bonk your head.