Hillsboro is Washington County’s largest city (population, approx. 91,000), as well as one of the oldest communities in the state. With the emergence of the technology sector, as part of the region’s “Silicon Forest,” the city’s large farming community shares zip codes with some of technology’s biggest and brightest names. The city’s quaint downtown area has transformed into an artists’ community with art galleries and studios, live music venues and community and professional theater companies.
The Great Egret is one of many species of birds that have been spotted at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (pictured) (Photo by John Wise)
Stop and smell the flowers at the Lloyd Baron Rhododendron Garden at Rood Bridge Park. Tended to by a group of volunteers, this community garden features hundreds of varieties of species and hybrids of rhododendrons, plus thousands of “companion” plants surrounded by walking paths, creeks and woodlands. Also in Hillsboro is Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, a 725-acre wildlife preserve featuring 4.5 miles of trails, wildlife viewing blinds, nature center and interpretive center that houses the only known authentic eagle’s nest on public display.
Hillsboro is home to two unique museums both appealing to all ages. The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals showcases the world’s finest collections of crystals, fossils, meteorites, petrified wood, gems and more. Near the Hillsboro Airport is the Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum, a “living history” museum/working hangar focusing on aircraft from the jet age and Cold War era. This fall, these two museums will get a new neighbor, so to speak, when the venerable Washington County Museum moves into its new home in downtown Hillsboro.
Housed in the historic, former Hillsboro library, is Syun Izakaya, a popular local spot near Main Street. Syun is modeled after small, rustic taverns that are popular gathering places in Japan, and is consistently rated as having the best sushi in the Greater Portland region, and has been included among the best in the U.S. In addition to sushi, and an impressive saké menu, other Japanese dishes are included on the lunch and dinner menus. Located in a rural area of Hillsboro are two “hidden gems”: Cruise In Country Diner, a ’50s-style burger and shake joint, and South Store Cafe, which specializes in sandwiches, soups and salads. (For more dining options throughout Washington County, visit our website.)
Several farms in Hillsboro, such as the Smith Berry Barn (pictured), offer ready-picked or "u-pick" produce. (Photo by Allison George)
Main Street Hillsboro is filled with charm and a collection of shops that harken back to a simpler time. This artistic center of downtown Hillsboro features art galleries, live theater and more, and includes the Glenn and Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center, which hosts live music, spoken word performances, informal lectures, art exhibits and art classes. Also in downtown Hillsboro is the Venetian Theatre and Bistro, a bustling restaurant, movie and performance theater, which is home to local professional theater company Bag&Baggage.
Antique shops, a book store, home-brewing supply store (home beer brewing, winemaking, soda making and cheese making supplies), bead store, garden shop, theater and restaurant align the historic main street. While on Main Street, check out the Hillsboro Pharmacy and Fountain, and old-timey store and soda fountain hangout serving breakfast, lunch, ice cream. or an old-fashioned malt, float or milkshake. (For more shopping options in Hillsboro, visit our Shopping in Hillsboro page.)
Although known for its high-tech contributions to the “Silicon Forest,” Hillsboro has a vast number of farms and farmers markets, making it a renowned agricultural zone, as well. More than two dozen nurseries and u-pick farms offer crops ranging from berries to pumpkins, while five farmers’ markets provide farm-fresh shopping nearly every day during peak season. See the list of farms and farmers’ markets in Hillsboro.
Hillsboro is becoming the hub of Oregon’s Washington County’s burgeoning wine, beer and spirits scene. This area now is home to five wineries–Freja Cellars, Garden Vineyards, Helvetia Vineyards, J. Albin Winery and Oak Knoll Winery– three breweries– Ambacht Brewing, Vertigo Brewing and the brewery at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and Imbrie Hall– and Big Bottom Whiskey, the area’s only spirits tasting room.
Plan a weekend or week-long getaway in Washington County’s Hillsboro. Check out these hotels and motels in Hillsboro.