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Outdoor recreation reigns supreme in Portland, where residents take full advantage of the array of year-round activities offered by the area's natural setting. The city boasts many miles of hiking trails and bike paths, and 160 parks totaling 9,400 acres, including 5,000-acre Forest Park - the largest forested municipal park within city limits in the U.S. - overlooking the Willamette River.
The unparalleled scenic beauty of the Oregon coast with its public beaches is just 80 miles west of Portland and includes sites such as the Oregon Coast Acquarium in Newport, former home to Keiko the now famous orca whale. Mt. Hood, which offers year-round skiing from Timberline Lodge and mountain climbing in addition to hiking, camping and fishing, and Multnomah Falls and other natural wonders of the magnificent Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are just an hour's drive east from downtown. An area in southern Oregon well worth seeing is Crater Lake, the seventh deepest lake in the world at 1,932 feet, formed after the collapse of an ancient volcano, an eruption that was 42 times as powerful as the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens.
Mirroring the natural beauty of this region is the city's dynamic and diverse cultural environment. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts, with four state-of-the-art performance halls, is home to the nationally-acclaimed Oregon Symphony orchestra, the Portland Opera Association, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Center Stage (the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland) and the Oregon Children's Theatre.
More than 200 smaller non-profit arts and cultural organizations in the metropolitan area draw more people than local sporting events. Art galleries line many streets, with Portland's Pearl District emerging as the new "home base" of the gallery scene, and the Saturday Market where food, art and music abound.
The Portland Art Museum features permanent collections of European, African, Asian, Native American, American and contemporary art. The Oregon Historical Society museum spotlights the history and culture of the Northwest, and the Cowboys Now and Then Museum displays the cowboy history of eastern Oregon. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry features 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and a 200-seat planetarium. Oregon's newest museum is The Museum at Warm Springs, its first Native American Museum, that showcases Native artists from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
A different art form captures public attention each June when festively decorated floral floats grace the Rose Parade. This event is the hallmark of the three-week Rose Festival, when Portland renews its well-deserved reputation as the "city of roses."
Professional sports play a major role in Portland, with the Trailblazers, a top attraction season after season. The team plays in the Rose Garden, a new $262 million multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility.
Another popular winter draw is the Western Hockey League's Portland Winter Hawks, a successful junior hockey team. For each of the past five seasons, the Winter Hawks have had the highest average attendance outside the NHL, drawing over 200,000 fans annually.
The Rockies, a Class A baseball team, and the Pride, a Continental Indoor Soccer League team, are Portland's other two professional sports teams.
Top players from the Professional Golfers Association circuit compete in the Fred Meyer Challenge, and Portland is a regular stop on the Ladies PGA circuit. There are 15 private golf clubs and 22 public golf courses in the Portland area.
The Portland 200, an Indy car race, is part of the Portland Rose Festival.