Cycle Portland, Road Ride, Museums by Bike

There are wonderful museums in Portland, some traditional and some quirky. This bike ride will help you to navigate the downtown streets of the city and bring you to interesting and unique museums along the way. Any of the museums along this route are worth a visit, though to do them all justice you may have to make this trip more than once.

Terrain

Smooth paved urban streets, many with bike lanes or sufficiently wide enough to accommodate all types of traffic.

Traffic

Urban streets with moderate traffic.

Access

By car, park in any of the downtown Portland garages. This ride begins six short blocks from the heart of downtown Portland.

By public transportation, from downtown Portland take the green line south to SW Jefferson Street and walk/ride three blocks southwest.

Food and Drink

Plenty of options for food and drinks along the route. There is a fabulous farmers market on the campus of Portland State University every Saturday just two blocks south of the starting point.

Side Trips

Visit the Architectural Center, the Stark Vacuum Museum, and the Toy Museum all located on SE Grand Avenue (which is not bike-friendly – but all are worth a visit).

 

More Details

The bike ride starts at the Oregon Historical Museum where there are permanent exhibits of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and is one block south of the Portland Art Museum. You’ll ride down SW Park Avenue along the South Park Blocks. This area is very popular with pedestrians and cuts a green corridor through downtown Portland. When you turn onto NW Couch Street you’ll find two quirky museums: The Church of Elvis and the Ground Control Arcade.

The Church of Elvis is built into the side of a building and is barely the size of a doorway. Across the street a short distance is the Ground Control Arcade that boasts vintage arcade games. When riding the streets downtown you will be traveling slowly, often no faster than the automobiles. It is perfectly acceptable to “take the lane” and ride among the cars. Couch Street will bring you to the waterfront and the Oregon Maritime Museum. Cross the Steel Bridge via the bike/pedestrian ramp to the east side of the city and ride through the Lloyd District on your way to Belmont Street where you’ll find Mike’s Movie Memorabilia.

The glass cases are filled with old movie posters and memorabilia, just like the sign promises. You can also rent a movie while you visit. The ride over to Belmont Street will take you along neighborhood streets designed for ease of bicycling through the city. Your return trip is through Ladd’s Addition, a beautiful section of the city with gardens and roundabouts. Here you will find the Hat Museum on SE Ladd Avenue which you can visit by appointment and take a trip through history via hundreds of vintage hats. The streets of Ladd’s Addition are wide and tree-lined. On an autumn day the sun shines through the bright yellow foliage making your bike ride all the more wonderful.

Crossing over the Hawthorne Bridge you come through downtown Portland once again past the Wells Fargo Building where there is a permanent exhibit of the Pony Express days. You’ll return to the starting point of the ride where you can spend some time at the farmers market.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin at the corner of SW Park St and SW Jefferson St. Ride down South Park Blocks.
  • 0.6 Cross W Burnside St and continue straight onto NW Park St (North Park Blocks). Right onto NW Couch St.
  • 1.0 Right onto NW Naito Parkway.
  • 1.3 Left at NW Pine St to cross NW Naito Parkway. Left onto Waterfront Park Bike Path.
  • 1.8 Right over Steel Bridge bike/pedestrian path.
  • 1.9 Slight left at end of bridge to ride up bike path switchbacks.
  • 2.1 Left at top of path onto sidewalk. Left at bike signal traffic light onto NE Lloyd Blvd (cross diagonally).
  • 2.3 Right onto NE Wheeler St and ride through Rose Garden TriMet Transit Center. Follow green bike lanes.
  • 2.4 Right onto NE Multnomah St.
  • 2.7 Right onto NE Seventh Ave.
  • 3.0 Left onto NE Lloyd Blvd.
  • 3.3 Right onto NE 12th Ave to cross highway.
  • 3.4 Left onto NE Irving St.
  • 3.6 Right onto NE 16th Ave. Cross NE Sandy Blvd and E Burnside St.
  • 4.0 Left onto SE Ankeny St.
  • 4.9 Left onto SE 32nd Ave. Cross E Burnside St.
  • 5.0 Right onto NE Couch St.
  • 5.5 Right onto NE 41st Ave. Cross E Burnside St to continue on SE 41st Ave.
  • 5.9 Jog right at SE Stark St to remain on SE 41st Ave.
  • 6.0 Left onto SE Morrison St.
  • 6.1 Right onto SE 42nd Ave.
  • 6.2 Left onto SE Yamhill St.
  • 6.3 Left onto SE 44th Ave.
  • 6.4 Left onto SE Belmont St.
  • 6.5 Left onto SE 42nd Ave.
  • 6.6 Right onto SE Taylor St.
  • 7.0 Left onto SE 35th Ave.
  • 7.1 Right onto SE Salmon St.
  • 8.1 Left onto SE 16th Ave.
  • 8.3 Jog left at SE Hawthorne Blvd to remain on SE 16th Ave.
  • 8.4 Remaining on SE 16th Ave, right at Ladd’s Addition Square Garden then left keeping garden on the left; exit the Square Garden by taking a right on SE 16th Ave.
  • 8.5 Right at Ladd’s Addition Circle Garden one block onto SE Ladd Ave.
  • 8.8 Cross SE Hawthorne Blvd onto SE 12th Ave.
  • 8.9 Left onto SE Madison St.
  • 9.6 Cross Hawthorne Bridge onto SW Main St.
  • 10.0 Left onto SW Third Ave.
  • 10.2 Right onto SW Jefferson St.
  • 10.5 Left onto Park St and return to corner of Park and Columbia streets.
  • 10.6 End ride.
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    16.685 km / 10.368 mi

    Total Distance

    186 m / 610 ft

    Total Ascent

    184 m / 604 ft

    Total Descent

    66 m / 215 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Low
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 10.6
    Elevation Gain: 622
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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