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Grotto

A sanctuary of peace and serenity minutes from busy Downtown Portland.

Officially known as The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, The Grotto is a 62-acre (25-hectare) Catholic shrine and botanical gardens. It is set on two levels with a high cliff face providing a natural divide between them. 

Before it became an attraction for tourists and religious pilgrims, The Grotto site was a former quarry. It was transformed into shrine under the auspices of Fr. Ambrose Mayer, who saw the acreage as a “natural cathedral.” 

When just a boy, Fr. Mayer watched his mother dying after giving birth. In his prayers to God to save her, Fr. Mayer promised to create a great work for the Catholic Church. His mother survived and The Grotto is his promise fulfilled. Work began in 1923, when a cave was carved into the cliff face. In 1946, Fr. Mayer installed a marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta above an altar in the cave, which is called Our Lady’s Grotto. It’s part of the Plaza Level, which covers almost 20 acres (8 hectares).

This level also includes the Welcome Center and Visitor Complex and the Stations of the Cross, which surround the Chapel of Mary. You are welcome to attend one of the daily masses in the chapel.

To climb the 110 feet (33 meters) up the cliff to the Upper Level, use the elevator, which has a fee. On the Upper Level you will find one of Portland’s largest green spaces. Walk the well-kept paths around garden beds filled with rhododendrons and native plants. Don’t miss the views over Colombia River Valley and the Cascades. On a clear day you will spot Mount St. Helens and possibly Mount Rainier in the distance. 

The views are also seen through the glass walls of the architecture award-winning Meditation Chapel, which sits on the north face of the cliff.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, The Grotto transforms during the Festival of the Lights, a display incorporating over 500,000 lights, choral performances and puppet shows. 

In addition to its scenic beauty, The Grotto operates as a center for those in need, offering counseling services, religious guidance and retreats. It’s open daily except for Thanksgiving Day and December 25.


Guide to Exploring around Grotto


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Lodging Near Grotto

See all 392 Properties near Grotto
Ramada by Wyndham Portland Airport $67
Ramada by Wyndham Portland Airport

Ramada by Wyndham Portland Airport

6221 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
     
    3.1
    of 5, from 5,603 reviews
    2.5 out of 5.0

    The Ramada by Wyndham Portland Airport is a half-mile from the Colwood National Golf Club and 1.5 miles from Portland International Airport.

    Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portland Airport $61
    Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portland Airport

    Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portland Airport

    8247 Ne Sandy Blvd, Portland
       
      2.9
      of 5, from 2,272 reviews
      2.0 out of 5.0

      Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Grotto, Rocky Butte, and Cascade Station. Grant Park and Providence Portland Medical Center are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Portland International Airport, OR $125
      Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Portland International Airport, OR

      Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Portland International Airport, OR

      7025 NE Alderwood Rd, Portland
         
        4.3
        of 5, from 3,320 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Cascade Station and 2.3 mi (3.6 km) from Grotto. Portland Meadows Racetrack and Alberta Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).

        Red Roof Inn Portland
        Red Roof Inn Portland

        Red Roof Inn Portland

        3828 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
           
          2.6
          of 5, from 817 reviews
          2.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the airport, this motel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Grotto, Rocky Butte, and Cascade Station. Grant Park and Providence Portland Medical Center are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport $107
          Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport

          Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport

          7101 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
             
            3.7
            of 5, from 5,157 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Guests on the go appreciate the hotel's complimentary, 24-hour airport shuttle and a convenient location about 5 miles from Lloyd Center shopping and 8 miles from downtown Portland.

            Quality Inn & Suites Airport $84
            Quality Inn & Suites Airport

            Quality Inn & Suites Airport

            9727 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland
               
              4.0
              of 5, from 1,258 reviews
              2.5 out of 5.0

              Located in Parkrose, this motel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Grotto, Cascade Station, and Rocky Butte. Providence Portland Medical Center and Grant Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              Studio 6 Portland OR
              Studio 6 Portland OR

              Studio 6 Portland OR

              4911 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
                 
                2.6
                of 5, from 601 reviews
                2.0 out of 5.0

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Grotto, Cascade Station, and Rocky Butte. Portland Meadows Racetrack and Providence Portland Medical Center are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Best Western Pony Soldier Inn - Airport $129
                Best Western Pony Soldier Inn - Airport

                Best Western Pony Soldier Inn - Airport

                9901 NE Sandy Boulevard, Portland
                   
                  4.2
                  of 5, from 410 reviews
                  2.5 out of 5.0

                  Located in Parkrose, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Grotto, Cascade Station, and Rocky Butte. Alberta Park and Grant Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).