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5 Towns in Greater Portland, Oregon

These towns south of Portland, Oregon offer a friendly approach to urban pleasures.

Get to know the towns around Portland, Oregon.

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1. The stately suburb of Lake Oswego rolls out a number of concerts in summer, with Wednesday evening hootenannies at Foothills Park and Sunday night music events at Millennium Plaza Park. Bring blankets and a picnic—or buy food from vendors at either park.

2. Pacific Northwesterners love their farmers' markets, and Milwaukie, a riverfront town just south of Portland, has seen its Sunday gathering grow from seven vendors in 1999 to more than 75 today. They're not just selling kale, either—though there's plenty of that. You'll also find Portland's favorite food makers, such as the upscale salumeria Olympia Provisions and the craft malt and vodka producer House Spirits Distillery.

3. As the first incorporated community west of the Rockies, former mill town Oregon City has kept its charm. Take a free elevator (its shaft shaped like an airport control tower) to the 7.8-acre McLoughlin Promenade for a panorama of downtown, the Willamette River, and Willamette Falls, North America's second mightiest.

4. Tualatin's new bicycling and walking path exemplifies the 27,000-strong town's blending of urban conveniences with surrounding nature. The three-quarter-mile Tualatin River Greenway Trail, which opened last year, weaves among a mix of trees alongside the water, connecting two shopping centers with the 28.3-acre Brown's Ferry Park.

5. The arrival of the railroad in 1910 got Tigard rolling. Now its historic downtown is being redeveloped. What else keeps the town moving? A vast system of bike paths.