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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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Best Lodging Options Near Grotto

See all 1,382 Properties near Grotto
Radisson Hotel Portland Airport CA $118
Radisson Hotel Portland Airport

Radisson Hotel Portland Airport

6233 NE 78th Court, Portland, OR
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated near the airport, this eco-friendly hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Grotto, Cascade Station and Concordia University. Grant Park and Providence Portland Medical Center are also within 6 miles (10 km). Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is 28 minutes by foot and Mt Hood Avenue Station is 30 minutes.

    Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport CA $97
    Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport

    Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport

    7101 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1.6 mi (2.5 km) from Cascade Station and 2 mi (3.1 km) from Grotto. Concordia University and Grant Park are also within 6 miles (10 km). Mt Hood Avenue Station is 22 minutes by foot.

      Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portland Airport CA $65
      Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portland Airport

      Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portland Airport

      8247 Ne Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR
         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Grotto, Cascade Station and Grant Park. Providence Portland Medical Center is 3 mi (4.8 km) away. Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is 16 minutes by foot and NE 82nd Avenue Station is 27 minutes.

        Evergreen Inn & Suites Portland CA $79
        Evergreen Inn & Suites Portland

        Evergreen Inn & Suites Portland

        3828 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Portland, this motel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Grotto, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Pioneer Courthouse Square and Portland Expo Center are also within 9 mi (15 km). Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is 19 minutes by foot and NE 82nd Avenue Station is 24 minutes.

          Shilo Inn Suites Hotel - Portland Airport CA $117
          Shilo Inn Suites Hotel - Portland Airport

          Shilo Inn Suites Hotel - Portland Airport

          11707 Ne Airport Way, Portland, OR
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Parkrose, this hotel is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Grotto, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Portland International Raceway and Moda Center. Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Pioneer Courthouse Square are also within 12 mi (20 km). Cascades Station is 25 minutes by foot and Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is 29 minutes.

            Best Western Pony Soldier Inn - Airport CA $96
            Best Western Pony Soldier Inn - Airport

            Best Western Pony Soldier Inn - Airport

            9901 NE Sandy Boulevard, Portland, OR
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Parkrose, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Grotto and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Cascade Station. Mall 205 and Concordia University are also within 6 miles (10 km). Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is 5 minutes by foot and Cascades Station is 26 minutes.

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

              Quality Inn & Suites Airport

              9727 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Parkrose, this hotel is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) from Grotto and 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Cascade Station. Mall 205 and Providence Portland Medical Center are also within 6 miles (10 km). Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is only a 3-minute walk and Cascades Station is 26 minutes.

                Studio 6 Portland, OR CA $93
                Studio 6 Portland, OR

                Studio 6 Portland, OR

                4911 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated near the airport, this hotel is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Grotto and 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Cascade Station. Providence Portland Medical Center and Grant Park are also within 6 miles (10 km). Parkrose-Sumner Transit Center is 17 minutes by foot.