The fourth largest city in the state of Oregon, Gresham is nestled between the majestic Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood, and is certainly blessed when it comes to a wealth of natural attractions. The area is studded with parks and nature trails for visitors to enjoy and there are over 17 acres of community landscapes just in Gresham itself.
As well as the great outdoors, this city also has a whole host of other activities to keep you entertainment on a visit here. Gresham was established in the days of the pioneers, and with that in mind you can take in several museums and historical buildings that tell the story of Gresham from the days of yore until the present.
There are other fun activities here like community theaters and farmers markets, and if you want to take in the surrounding area this is also very easy to do. The Springwater Corridor runs for over 40 miles past Gresham, and links it to other areas in Oregon via a paved path that is perfect for walking, hiking, or jogging.
Lets explore the best things to do in Gresham:
1. Gradin Community Sports Park
For some outdoor fun in Gresham you need to head to the Gradin Community Sports Park where you will find over 30 acres of prime land that is a firm favorite among locals in the area. There is a new sports field at the park that regularly hosts soccer and softball games, so if you want to take in some of these all-American sports then this is the place to do it. There is also a skate park here where you can try out some skate moves as well as restful picnic areas located on the many grassy knolls dotted around the park.
2. Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium
If you want to learn all about the night sky over Oregon then you need to head to the Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium. Here you will find a sky theater that is open to the general public and provides viewings on selected days of the week. The show will tell you all you want to know about the solar system and will take you through the night sky on a whistle-stop tour of the galaxy. There are also interactive programs here that you can join so make sure to ask what’s on when you are in town, especially if you have an interest in astronomy.
3. Gresham Main City Park
The main park in Gresham, this wide open space is known for being a favorite for families looking to relax and there are several areas here dedicated to children. Younger guests can try out the skate park at Gresham Main City Park, or play at one of the two play areas that have a range of rides and games that are perfect for children from toddlers to pre-teens. If you are travelling with a family in Gresham then definitely make sure not to miss this great family play center.
4. Mt. Hood Theatre
Anyone looking for some entertainment in Gresham should think about heading to the Mt. Hood Theatre. The theater is known not only for its large screens and range of movies on offer, but also for its food and beverage experience. Here you can expect to find favorites such as Italian sodas and coffees, and there are often offers here for families that make this a great option if you are travelling in a group.
5. Bella Vista Park
Bella Vista Park stretches over 8 acres in the city and is known for its dominating green fields and wide open spaces. The park is also home to woodlands that make it an ideal location to check out some of the local flora and fauna, and you can indulge in bird watching here if the mood takes you. Other attractions in the park include basketball courts as well as walking trails around the park that will let you enjoy the natural Oregon scenery. There are also picnic areas if you fancy something to eat as you make the most of the great outdoors in Gresham.
6. House of Shadows
For something a little different in Gresham, consider heading to the House of Shadows. This haunted house is known as a ‘full contact venue’, so it is certainly only for the bravest of visitors. Here you will find a haunted house set up complete with a cast of characters in haunted garb who will take you through a terrifying evening of interactive storytelling where you will become part of the plot. There are also set pieces of action for guests to enjoy and the haunted house takes the form of a walking tour as you move through the different sections. Certainly this is not for the faint of heart, but if you are an adrenalin junkie then this is one of the best spots in Gresham.
7. Nadaka Loop Trail
For a mellow and relaxing walk in Gresham head to the Nadaka Natural Area off Glisan Street where you will find the Nadaka Loop Trail. The loop here is made of soft-surface gravel which means that it makes an easy afternoon stroll for those who want to get out and about and explore the flora and fauna in this part of Oregon. To that end, you will find a range of indigenous plants here including vine maples, huckleberrys, snowberry, and trilliums.
8. Gresham History Museum
Gresham History Museum first opened its doors in 1976 and was established as a place to learn all about the history of the Gresham area. The museum is filled with exhibits that paint a picture of Gresham from the past until the present, and you can expect to find photographs, archive exhibits, and other interactive galleries that will appeal to visitors both old and young. You can also learn all about the first residents of Gresham as well as the history of the Columbia River. There are also special events held here to promote the history of Gresham throughout the year, so make sure you pop in to see what’s on when you are in town.
9. Downtown Gresham Memory Mural
Commissioned by the Center for the Arts Foundation, the Downtown Gresham Memory Mural was painted by well known muralist Lee Lauritzen. The mural is located in downtown Gresham and is a colorful depiction of the city though the years. The mural depicts family life in this city as well as taking the viewer through a history of Gresham that also explains the cultural significance of this city. Certainly if you are looking to take in the local arts scene in this city then this is not to be missed.
10. Butler Creek Trail
Nestled to the southwest of Gresham is Butler Creek, known for its gorgeous vistas and beautiful Oregon landscapes. Along the side of the creek runs the Butler Creek Trail which was first constructed in the 1980s thanks to a host of local volunteers. The trail connects with the Springwater Trail in downtown Gresham and takes in a host of sights along the water such as Butler Creek Park, Binford Lake, as well as areas of forests and woodlands. It also goes over a bridge that crosses Johnson Creek and spans 135 feet.
11. Zimmerman House Museum
The Zimmerman House Museum houses thousands of artifacts from the days of the Gresham pioneers, and the building itself is also something of a historical relic. The farmhouse was built in 1874 and is such an important cultural and historical landmark in Gresham that it is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house belonged to one of the founding families of Gresham, the Zimmerman family, and was used as a diary farm in the days of old. The farm sprawled for 600 acres along the banks of the majestic Columbia River, and this is certainly the place to come if you want to learn all about how Gresham would have been in the days of old.
12. Children’s Fountain
If you happen to visit Gresham during the summer months and are looking for a way to cool off in the warm Oregon heat, then head to NE Second Street which is famous for its Children’s Fountains. Here you will find two large municipal fountains that are designed so that children of all ages can play. One is reserved for toddlers while the other can be enjoyed by older children, and the fountains are powered by jets that send water towering into the sky to cool off young visitors. The fountains are fully chlorinated to provide a safe environment for children to play in and are the perfect place to come on a hot day.
13. Gresham-Fairview Trail
Come to the Gresham-Fairview Trail if you want to explore some urban wetlands in Oregon, which will also take you through the center of the city. Despite its urban setting, the Gresham-Fairview Trail showcases some of the best nature in the city and stretches for over 3 miles. The trail is paved and so it lends itself well to bicycling, jogging, skateboarding, and skating, and there are gorgeous indigenous trees and other shrubs to spot along the way.
14. Gresham Farmers’ Market
Gresham Farmers’ Market was started as a venue where the local community could gather to share the best of the produce from the area. The market has grown steadily in recent years and you can shop here and enjoy the wonderful array of fruits and vegetables on offer. As well as local produce you will also find items such as baked goods, honey, cheeses, and even meats, and there are also flowers from the Oregon area and even hand-made arts and crafts items which make great souvenirs of a trip here.
15. Springwater Trail
The Springwater Trail actually stretches from Boring to Portland, and on the way passes through Gresham. The Gresham stretch of the trail is absolutely not to be missed if you are in tow and sprawls for 16.5 miles until it meets downtown Portland. The trail is known for its abundance of wildlife and the indigenous plants and animals here offer fantastic bird and animal watching opportunities. You can hike along the trail or there are also jogging routes available. Picnic spots are dotted along the way and there is also the option of going horseback riding here.