Portland, Oregon, has more than 279 parks and natural areas covering 10,000 acres. Forest Park is the largest municipal park in the country while Mill Ends Park is the smallest at 24 inches in diameter. The city’s parks range enormously in size and amenities.
Many include sports fields and courts, kids’ playgrounds, forested areas, and vast green spaces. Trails connect parks and the city downtown, providing easy access to exercise opportunities and a healthy lifestyle. The parks are not only spaces for recreation but also for public events, summer concerts, picnics, and games. Small urban parks in Portland’s downtown offer green oasis surrounded by concrete where people can have lunch in the sun, surrounded by greenery. Portland parks sometimes also serve as outdoor art galleries featuring works of local artists.
1.Arbor Lodge Park
Arbor Lodge Park is an 8.4-acre public park in Portland with a nice mix of sport facilities and green spaces. There is a baseball field, a horseshoe pit, soccer field, softball field, tennis court, and a one-acre off-leash area for dogs in the northwest part of the park next to the tennis courts. Harper's Playground was design to allow people of all ages and abilities to play together. It also a gathering space for neighbors and families. Unique features of this playground include an elevated sand table with a water pump, climbing walls, a xylophone, a hill with slide and climbing net, a swing with universally-accessible swings seats, standard and infant swing seats, omni-spin, and a bronze sculpture of a sea turtle by artist Peter Helzer placed among boulders by the water and sand play area.
N Delaware Ave & North Bryant Street, Portland, OR 97217, Phone: 503-823-2525
2.Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden is part of Grant Park, located in northeast Portland. Its main features are three bronze statues placed around a splash fountain. The statues represent Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Henry's dog Ribsy, three well-known characters from the books by children's author Beverly Cleary. The statues were created by Portland artist Lee Hunt, in honor of the popular writer who grew up in the Grant Park neighborhood and played in the park as a child. The park is a background for many events in her books. There are a number of engraved granite plaques around the fountain with the titles of Beverly Cleary's books set in Portland.
Grant Park Path, Portland, OR 97212, Phone: 503-823-7529
Brooklyn park is a fairly small (2.3 acres) neighborhood park in inner-southeast Portland, about three miles from downtown Portland. The park was constructed in 1949 and includes a kids’ play area, restrooms, a basketball court, a horseshoe pit, paved hiking and biking paths, picnic tables, a playground, a softball field, and three large granite boulders placed near the play area. These three boulders were carved into heads by California artist Marcia Donahue. The artist herself picked up the boulders, each weighing between two and three tons, at a ranch near Bakersfield, CA. The sculpture is named Tête à Tête à Tête and sits as the permanent audience for baseball games in the park, as well as a gathering spot for park visitors. Brooklyn Park, with a big hill in its heart, offers great sledding in the winter.
SE 10th & Haig, Portland, Oregon 97202
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Cathedral Park in North Portland is located under St. John’s Bridge about 20 minutes from downtown Portland. The huge park got its name from the unique cathedral-like architecture of the bridge’s supports. It gets most visitors during the jazz festival or other concerts organized in the park. It’s important to note that this park does not have traditional park playgrounds or bike paths. It is, however, peaceful and quiet, clean, and green, and most folks come to enjoy the magnificent view or fish off the dock. There is a nice green area with a bit of shade to spread out a blanket and enjoy the sun. You will also find a walking path along the shore.
N Edison St And Pittsburg Ave, Portland, OR 97203, Phone: 503-823-3647
5.Columbia Park and Annex
Columbia Park is one of the largest parks in North Portland. It offers a great combination of woody area with large Douglas firs that provide shade for the half-mile long path that encircles the entire green area. The park includes a spray playground area kids love during the summer, a nice playground for smaller kids with a caterpillar-shaped jungle gym and a double teeter-totter, a soccer field, several baseball fields, a few tennis courts, an indoor pool, and a “movie in the park” feature that runs on warm summer nights. There is also a new Annex across the street for various events.
N Lombard And N Woolsey, Portland, OR 97203, Phone: 503-823-2525
6.Commonwealth Lake Park
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Commonwealth Lake Park is a 20-acre park in the Cedar Hills neighborhood of Portland. In its heart is a man-made Commonwealth Lake, and Johnson Creek runs along the park’s north border. A kids’ playground and soccer field are located on the park's west side. About 0.8-mile long paved hiking and biking trail runs around the lake. There are benches all over the park, perfect for a quiet rest and bird-watching. Blue and green herons and cedar waxwings are frequent visitors, and there is plenty of waterfowl as well. The lake is stocked with trout so anglers are often seeing on the banks trying to catch dinner.
SW Butner Rd &, SW Huntington Ave, Portland, OR 97225, Phone: 503-645-3539
7.Council Crest Park
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Council Crest Park is a 43.51-acre urban park in southwest Portland. The park, which was the site of an amusement park from 1907 to 1929, features paved and unpaved paths, a green off-leash dog area, plenty of picnic tables, public art, an observation point, and a scenic wedding site. The vast green areas are beautifully manicured and the flowerbeds are spectacular when in bloom. There is a beautiful sculpture of a mother with a child, but the biggest attraction of the park is the breathtaking view of Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, and Mount Adams, as well as of the entire Portland and Beaverton. At 1,073 feet, Council Crest Park is the highest spot in Portland. An extensive network of trails connects the park with downtown Portland and Forest Park.
1120 SW Council Crest Dr, Portland, OR 97239, Phone: 503-823-7529
8.Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a botanical garden in southeastern Portland, between the Eastmoreland Golf Course and Reed College. The garden occupies 9.49 acres, and numerous springs flow through it, giving the park its name along with plenty of water. Crystal Springs Garden features over 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants surrounded by small lakes, trails and paths, small waterfalls, and a fountain. While most of the garden is beautifully landscaped, there are small areas of shrubs, marsh vegetation, upland forest, and logs submerged under water. This area is more attractive to wildlife than the manicured gardens, so it is easy to spot waterfowl, especially in the winter. The Rhododendron Society spotted 94 species of birds in the garden, including herons, ducks, grebes, Canada geese, gulls, nuthatches, thrushes, hummingbirds, and many others.
5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202, Phone: 503-771-8386
Director Park (its full name is Simon and Helen Director Park) is a half-acre an urban park in Portland. The park was opened in 2009 on top of a 700-space underground parking garage that links the Fox Tower and the Park Avenue West Tower. The park contains almost no vegetation. It was designed as a public urban piazza, a gathering place that features a fountain, a cafe, an interesting glass canopy, and several artworks. Director Park was designed by Laurie Olin and the architectural firm ZGF Architects. It is part of a corridor of planned public parks across downtown Portland.
815 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205
10.Ed Benedict Park
Ed Benedict Park is a large green space in Southeast Portland with several distinct areas. The sports fields, which include a soccer field and a basketball court, are always occupied by kids big and small. Kids’ playgrounds, park benches, picnic tables, and open green spaces are perfect for a family picnic, walking the dog, or enjoying a quiet moment in the grass. There are also paved paths for joggers and bikers and a granite and basalt sculpture named Contemplative Place by Michihiro Kosuge. A big part of the park is occupied by a popular skate park, with 18,000 square feet of ledges, stairs, rails, and banks.
S.E. Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97266
Forest Park in Portland is one of the largest urban forests in the United States. Covering 5,200 acres, it has over 80 miles of trails, forest roads, and fire lanes. It stretches over seven miles of the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains at the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers overlooking Northwest Portland. Forest Park is a true Northwest forest within the Portland city limits. Most forests in the park are second-growth, with a few stands of old growth. There are almost 70 miles of hiking and biking trails, including the Wildwood Trail portion of the Portland’s 40-Mile Loop system. Over 112 bird species and 62 mammal species live in the park.
NW 29 & Upshur to Newberry Road, Portland, OR 97210
12.Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park
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The Hoyt Arboretum is located about two miles west of downtown Portland on top of the SW Fairview Boulevard ridge in the hills within Washington Park. It is near the Oregon Zoo and the International Rose Test Garden. The Arboretum can be accessed at several points from Washington Park or from Forest Park. The arboretum’s elevation ranges from 650 feet to 900 feet with several ravines within. It has over 6,000 trees and shrubs of over 2,000 species from all over the world, with 63 that are endangered or vulnerable. Most of trees have labels with their common and scientific names and region of origin. The arboretum has a nationally recognized collection of magnolias and conifers.
4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 97221
13.International Rose Test Garden
The International Rose Test Garden is a 4.5-acre garden between downtown Portland, East Portland, and the Willamette River. On clear days, the garden enjoys views of the Cascade Range and Mount Hood. There are more than 10,000 rose bushes of about 650 varieties. The roses are at full bloom from April to October, but the peak is in June. New rose cultivars are sent to the garden from all over the world, and rose breeders and distributors from all parts of the world usually donate about 2,500 roses every year to the garden. They are evaluated for disease resistance, color, bloom formation and fragrance. The garden is responsible for Portland's nickname, "City of Roses."
400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Irving Park is a 16-acre urban park in northeast Portland in the Irvington neighborhood on what was once Irvington Racetrack. Surrounded by homes on all sides, the spacious and lush park has something for everyone: baseball and softball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, paved hiking and biking paths, picnic tables, a kids’ playground, a wonderful quirky splash playground, a horseshoe pit, and an off-leash area for dogs. Dogs are allowed off the leash at certain times only. There are vast open fields for a leisurely stroll or picnic with the family, benches and picnic tables, and plenty of public art nicely integrated in the verdant areas.
707 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97212
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Jamison Square is a “pocket park” in the Pearl neighborhood of downtown Portland. The park was originally planned as an outdoor art gallery with steps and square rocks at the center, making it very attractive to kids on skateboards. To keep them away, a feature was designed to run water was over the rocks. Instead of skateboarders, the water feature on the rocks attracted kids cooling off in the summer, effectively turning the feature and the park into an urban beach. Both kids and adults use it as a wading pool, called by the locals "the community pond." There is an attractive wooden boardwalk made of ipê that connects Jamison Park to the nearby Tanner Springs Park, two blocks away. It will eventually lead to the Willamette River. The park also includes four 30-foot tall contemporary totem poles, created in 2001 by Kenny Scharf and Paige Powell. The totem poles also act as steel support poles for the electrical wires for the Portland Streetcar that passes on two sides of the park.
810 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
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Laurelhurst Park is a 26.81-acre city park in Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood. The park was created as part of the City Beautiful Movement in landscaping and in 1919 was named the most beautiful park on the west coast. Laurelhurst Park includes a soccer field, tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, a kids’ playground, an off-leash dog area, a horseshoe pit, a historical site, a network of paved and unpaved paths, a grassy picnic site with benches and tables, public art, and a performance stage. The park used to host Portland Rose Festival Queen's Coronation and many other celebrations and reunions over the years. Laurelhurst Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd & Stark St, Portland, OR 97214
Macleay Park is a 140-acre wild oasis in Portland’s northwest hills, not far from the city’s core. The park’s hills intersected by deep ravines are shaded by massive Douglas firs and western red cedars. The lower part of Balch Creek runs through Macleay Park, providing home to a small population of native cutthroat trout. The park’s extensive network of trails connects to Forest Park and Audubon Society’s wildlife sanctuaries. One of the popular trailheads to Forest Park is located at the Balch Creek Canyon. The park is a perfect hiking destination for those who want to get a great hiking experience in Portland. A favorite spot to rest on the lower Macleay trail is the Stone House, a local landmark built in the mid-1930s.
NW 29 & Upshur, Portland, OR 97201
18.Mt. Tabor Park
Mt. Tabor is large forested park in Portland set on the slopes of an extinct volcano. The park is densely forested with massive trees that provide shade for the hikers and bikers. The park’s extensive facilities include tennis courts, a basketball court, a horseshoe pit, an off-leash dog area,a kids’ playground, a grassy picnic area with tables and benches, a picnic shelter, a network of paved trails, a plaza, a performance stage, public art, and spectacular 360-degree views. The park has three official hiking loops: the Red Trail, Green Trail, and Blue Trail. They all start and end at the kiosk in the park’s northwest corner. The Red and Green trails are shorter and easier, perfect for families. Those looking for a bit more challenge should head up the three-mile long Blue Trail that includes climbing hills and stairs. It also provides perfectly scenic tour of Mount Tabor.
6220 SE Salmon St, Portland, OR 97215, Phone: 503-823-7529
19.Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a 141-acre park in southeast Portland along the east bank of the Willamette River. The park is known for offering a home to a wide variety of birds. In 1988, the park became Portland's first wildlife refuge, and in 2004 the city's first migratory bird park. The park includes open grassy areas, a large shallow lake, and mixed oak and maple woodlands. A popular hiking and biking path known as the Springwater Corridor runs along the Willamette River along the former Oregon Pacific Railway tracks. A mile-long hiking trail circles around the lake beneath the bluff. On the north end of the park are mixed woodlands, shrubs, and some open fields. Two islands, East and Hardtack, are located west of the north part of the refuge. Ross Island is a heron rookery.
SE Sellwood Blvd & SE 7th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202
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Peninsula Park is a 16.27-acre public park in the Portland’s Piedmont neighborhood. It contains an outdoor swimming pool, baseball fields, community center, kids’ playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, covered picnic areas, a charming historic gazebo and many other amenities. In 1909, a portion of Peninsula Park became Portland’s first public rose garden. Today the two-acre garden has 5,700 roses of 75 varieties. From 1913 to 1917, the park was the location of an annual rose show, until Washington Park became the International Rose Test Garden. The garden’s brick walkways, ramps, and grassy paths provide easy access to all the roses. The garden is home to Madame Caroline Testout, Portland’s official rose. In the 1900s this beautiful pink rose was planted by the thousands along the streets of Portland, giving the city its name the City of Roses.
700 N Rosa Parks Way, Portland, OR 97217
Pier Park is a municipal park in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland. Covered by lush evergreen forest, Pier Park, together with Kelley Point Park and Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area, is left in its natural state. Pier Park has an outdoor public pool, a seasonal play fountain, kids’ play structure, covered picnic area, soccer, baseball, and softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, and paved biking and hiking trails. A large portion of the park at its southwest end is occupied by a popular 11,000-square foot skate park with a 20-foot diameter full-pipe. The park does not have a pier; it got its name from a person named Pier.
10325 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203, Phone: 503-289-3270
22.Tanner Springs Park
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Tanner Springs Park is an urban park in downtown Portland in the neighborhood known as the Pearl District. The beautiful wooden boardwalk made of exotic ipe wood connects Tanner Springs Park with the nearby Jamison Square. Quiet, naturalistic, and designed by Atelier Dreiseitl and GreenWorks PC, the park reconnects the neighborhood with Tanner Creek and the surrounding wetlands. The park has been described as a mix of urban piazza and an urban wetland. The strange waterscape consists of small ponds filled with lotus flowers, slowly flowing brook, tall reeds, the occasional heron, paths covered in grass or pavers, oaks, alders, and maples, with benches in between. It was designed by architect Herbert Dreiseitl and is completely surrounded by tall skyscrapers of downtown Portland.
NW 10th Ave & Marshall Street, Portland, OR 97209
23.Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a 36.59-acre park in downtown Portland on the banks of the Willamette River. Occupying the site of a former freeway, this busy downtown riverfront park is a popular place for jogging, biking, dog walking, and in-line skating. Salmon Street Springs is an interesting fountain with water patterns that allegedly change with the mood of the city. This 1.5-mile long green stretch along the Willamette River is the venue for many events, including the Portland Rose Festival, the Waterfront Blues Festival, and the Oregon Brewers Festival. At the north end of the park is the Japanese American Historical Plaza. The park is a great place to watch fireworks or to quietly sit in the grass and watch boats big and small on the river. During rush hour, the park gets very busy as it is used by commuters working in downtown Portland.
98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
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Washington Park is a 410-acre public urban park in Portland. Established in 1871, it is one of city’s oldest green areas. It covers steep wooded hillsides and features Portland’s Zoo, an arboretum, an amphitheater, the World Forestry Center with a treetop canopy ride, a children's museum, and an authentic Japanese garden. You can also find the International Rose Test Garden, which boasts 10,000 roses. Other features of the park include an archery range, several memorials, tennis courts, a soccer field, picnic areas, kids’ playground with giant castle structures, slides, bridges, ramps and swings, public art, and miles of trails that run through the forest. The 30-mile long Wildwood Trail spans the entire length of Forest Park. Many other smaller trails go in all directions throughout the park. Every summer in July, the park hosts the Washington Park Concert Festival, offering free evening concerts in the Rose Garden Amphitheater.
4033 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221, Phone: 503-319-0999
Westmoreland Park is a 42-acre lush strip of land in the Sellwood neighborhood of Southeast Portland. Established in 1936, the park features wide open green areas perfect for a picnic, several beautiful ponds, a baseball field, a football field, a basketball court, a soccer field, a tennis court, a kids’ natural playground with logs and boulders, and a network of walking paths. A casting pond is filled with fish and is popular with local anglers. The most striking features of the park are its magnificent mature trees that provide pleasant shade for the hikers and joggers enjoying the trails that meander through.
7530 SE 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97202, Phone: 503-823-2525
25 Best Portland Parks
- Arbor Lodge Park, Photo: ashophoto/stock.adobe.com
- Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, Photo: tonktiti/stock.adobe.com
- Brooklyn Park, Photo: VladFotoMag/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedral Park, Photo: David Krug/stock.adobe.com
- Columbia Park and Annex, Photo: akkalak/stock.adobe.com
- Commonwealth Lake Park, Photo: David Gn/stock.adobe.com
- Council Crest Park, Photo: Ritu Jethani/stock.adobe.com
- Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Photo: Tom/stock.adobe.com
- Director Park, Photo: yooranpark/stock.adobe.com
- Ed Benedict Park, Photo: coffmancmu/stock.adobe.com
- Forest Park, Photo: Laura/stock.adobe.com
- Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park, Photo: Shane Cotee/stock.adobe.com
- International Rose Test Garden, Photo: chee/stock.adobe.com
- Irving Park, Photo: 621513/stock.adobe.com
- Jamison Square, Photo: Ritu Jethani/stock.adobe.com
- Laurelhurst Park, Photo: Nicholas Steven/stock.adobe.com
- Macleay Park, Photo: jpldesigns/stock.adobe.com
- Mt. Tabor Park, Photo: cerberus152/stock.adobe.com
- Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Photo: jpldesigns/stock.adobe.com
- Peninsula Park, Photo: Ritu Jethani/stock.adobe.com
- Pier Park, Photo: guruXOX/stock.adobe.com
- Tanner Springs Park, Photo: Ritu Jethani/stock.adobe.com
- Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Photo: yooranpark/stock.adobe.com
- Washington Park, Photo: Ritu Jethani/stock.adobe.com
- Westmoreland Park, Photo: kedsirin/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: zhu difeng/stock.adobe.com