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.
Smooth paved urban streets, many with bike lanes or sufficiently wide enough to accommodate all types of traffic.
Urban streets with moderate traffic.
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.
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).
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.
16.685 km / 10.368 mi
186 m / 610 ft
184 m / 604 ft
66 m / 215 ft