Hillsboro Oregon is located to the west of Portland. Even though it is part of the greater Portland metropolitan area, it is a city in its own right—the fifth largest city in the state. Hillsboro is located in the Tualatin River Valley, where the first peoples were those of the indigenous Kalapuya tribe. Europeans arrived in the late eighteenth century, bringing smallpox, syphilis, and malaria, which decimated the native population. The town was later founded by European-American pioneer settlers in 1841.
A number of Hillsboro Oregon buildings and structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including churches, farms, and lovely old homes dating to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of the most modern structures on the list is the Richard and Helen Rice House. It was built in 1952, and is a classic 1950s ranch house designed by architect William F. Wayman. The Rice's married in 1932 and began collecting rocks and minerals in the late 1930s. They had the house specifically designed to display their collection. They changed their home into a nonprofit museum in 1996, and the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals opened officially in 1997 when they died. Today, it is one of the more unusual museums in the region and well worth a visit, even if you are staying in nearby Portland. With more than 20,000 specimens, the museum collection is one of the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. It includes precious and semi-precious gemstones (including the largest opal in the world), minerals, fossils, and meteorites.
Other Hillsboro OR attractions include a number of excellent golf courses and several equally excellent Oregon wineries. Many of the closest wineries are located in the countryside just to the southwest of town, and they can be easily reached from most Hillsboro Oregon hotels during a day excursion.
Hillsboro is home to the second largest Fourth of July parade in the state, and the Hillsboro Airport hosts the largest air show in the state. The Oregon National Air Show draws precision teams from the United States military as well as civilian ranks. There are also several aerobatic teams from around the country, static displays of a number of different aircraft types, a huge fireworks display, and even a golf tournament. This is one of the most important Oregon events of the summer, occurring during the third week of August. From May to October, there are a number of farmer's markets offering local fruits and produce, handcrafts, and artwork.
While this is quite a large city, Hillsboro Oregon boasts a number of parks and green spaces, including the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, 725 acres within the city limits that protect thousands of ducks and geese, deer, otters, beavers, herons, and eagles. There are great walking trails here for those who want to get away from the city. Less nature and more activity will be found at the Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center with extensive workout and fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a warm-water pool, a spa pool and dry sauna, and organized exercise classes.
Hillsboro Oregon hotels are generally less expensive than those in Portland, especially during the peak tourist season. This is a good choice for those looking to save a little money on Oregon vacations. Most of the Hillsboro Oregon hotels are the fairly predictable (meaning a consistency of standard you can count on) franchise names like Econo Lodge, Holiday Inn Express, Red Lion, and Marriott. Some of these are quite inexpensive, and others offer superior quality. Bed and breakfasts with a bit more character are also available in town.