Portland is a city, known for its natural beauty, amazing parks, tourist attractions, the perfect luxurious hotels, leafy trees all around, admirable residential streets, and a lot more worth seeing! The city is simply huge. The parks in Portland, they’re not only beautiful, but they’re also unique, and most of them, are pretty large as well.
These parks have a lot more than just walking or running tracks. Many of them have various activities going on that which your children can absolutely engage in. There are picnic spots, cycling routes, and plenty of events organized throughout the year. Not only that, but a few of these parks also have famous sites or kinds of museums within them, which people love to explore!
Are you thinking of taking some good pictures in Portland, Oregon? Well, we got you covered. In this very article, we’re going to talk about the best parks in Portland which are going to make you think why haven’t you been there yet?
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How Many Parks Are in Portland, Oregon?
You’ll be amazed to know how many amazing parks beautiful Portland has. Yes, it has 279 parks! That’s a pretty huge number of parks in a single town. But that’s what makes Portland even more beautiful.
You’ll see a lot of greenery, nature, spectacular picnic points, so many children running around and their parents looking after them while socializing with each other.
Portland is definitely a very beautiful city. If you’ve ever visited New York City or if in fact, you live there, you’ll know how busy is life there. And out of that busy life, when you get to see such beautiful nature and parks, obviously that’s all you want for the moment.
The Best Parks in Portland – A Must Visit
Out of the countless parks and gardens in Portland, we’re going to shortlist the very best of them all. Here’s what we got on our list of the BEST parks in Portland.
- Pittock Mansion Acres
- Japanese Garden
- Washington Park Rose Garden
- Mill Ends Park
- The South Park Blocks
- Overlook Park
- Council Crest Park
- Laurelhurst Park
- Cathedral Park
- Tom McCall Waterfront Park
- Tanner Springs Park
- Tabor Park
- Forest Park
- Blue Lake Regional Park
- Director Park
1. Pittock Mansion Acres
Pittock Mansion is a great tourist attraction and around eighty thousand people visit the mansion each year. The greenery around this mansion would leave you amazed. This Park is usually very popular among tourists because it has the best city views and is busy with locals and tourists during the fall and summer months.
Pittock Mansion is a huge park spread over about 46 acres of land. For the visit to the actual Pittock Mansion, you’d have to pay but the grounds are free to tour. A very special thing about this park is its high elevation.
You can have the best views of Mt. Hood from here on a clear day. Moreover, there are hiking trails surrounding the Mansion and you’ll often see hikers in the area.
Other than all this, you can simply grab some food and drinks and go for a picnic with friends and family. On the viewpoints, you’ll find some picnic tables and have a great time having snacks there!
2. Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden is considered to be one of the most authentic Japanese gardens, other than in Japan. The garden is spread over 5.5 acres of land and was founded in 1963. This spectacular garden is an emblem of healing and tranquility. Not one or two but a total of five different styles of gardens function together to create a rhythm of calmness for the visitors.
The innate garden is swarming with leafy trees and a variety of plants. Once you had entered the gate, not only you will experience the harmony of nature that emits peace, but you will also explore the culture of the people who designed this magnificent art form.
In 2017, the garden was fully upgraded for the first time to enhance the beauty of five original areas which include the “Natural Garden, the luxuriant “Tea Garden” built to make you forget about the worries of the world.
The “Flat Garden”, “Sand & Stone Garden” and the “Strolling Pond Garden” are the retrospective of a landscape portrait. On the moon-viewing nights of autumn, you can enjoy live music, traditional Japanese food, and tea with your friends and family.
In late March, you can see the Cherry blossoms in full bloom. If you are looking for a place to heal your soul, and mind and connect you with serene nature then, the Japanese garden is the place you must visit.
3. Washington Park Rose Garden
Washington Park is one of the oldest, most extensive, and most well-laid-out marvelous urban parks in Portland. The Park features more than 400 acres of trees and gardens. The City of Roses’ signature landmark “The Rose Garden” is also located in Washington Park.
This Rose Garden is also known as the “Portland International Rose Test Garden” and was founded in 1917 which is the oldest officially operated public test rose garden. More than 10,000 roses are featured here, and they will leave you in awe with their spectacular view and alluring scent.
Around seventy thousand people visit the park each year because of its breathtaking beauty of stunning flowers and views of Mount Hood and downtown. The best thing about the park is that it’s free to enter and from April to October free shuttle service is also provided. You can explore and know about a wide variety of roses and species of trees in this lovely garden of roses.
FUN FACT: The oldest yet continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States is also one of the gardens located inside Washington Park. No matter how many times you get to visit Washington Park, you’ll be amazed by its beauty every single time!
4. Mill Ends Park
Mill Ends Park is a tiny park consisting of only one tree. It is the official world’s smallest park, and it gained its recognition in 1971. The Park is spread over 452 square inches. Dick Fagan was the creator and architect of Mill Ends Park. One of the big celebrations is St. Patrick’s Day at Mill End’s Park which is celebrated by the locals and mainly by the dick Fagan family.
This Park is in the middle of the Naito Parkway. If you are in Portland and want to visit a place where you can see something worth uniqueness, Mill Ends Park is surely the best place to visit. It’s a quirky little spot that you would love to come to, as it is famous worldwide because of its uniqueness.
5. The South Park Blocks
The South Park Block is one of the most popular and oldest parks in Portland. The South Park Blocks is a green space consisting of twelve narrow blocks which give a definite character and beauty to the surrounding neighborhoods.
This Park is simply an amazing place, full of life, beautiful growing flowers, and a wonderful atmosphere that is a must to visit. Different city-wide functions also take place in this park annually, which include the Rose Festival, Portland State University activities, and district city events are also arranged here and are celebrated with full enthusiasm.
If you are an art lover, you will absolutely love being here because of a lot of public art along with fountains and memorials on almost every block. In this park, you’ll enjoy your time with your friends and family by visiting the Historical sites, fountains, and playgrounds as well.
6. Overlook Park
For a wide-ranging view of downtown Portland, Overlook Park boasts the perfect view, which has to be a must-to-visit park on your list. Overlook Park is situated in North Portland and was founded in 1930. It is a wonderful Park spread over about 10.93 arcs of land.
At sunset, you can have a chance to see the spectacular view of Fremont Bridge. The Overlook Park not only has a Baseball field, a soccer field, a volleyball court, and a track but this Park also is paved with beautiful natural surface paths and grounds that are best for picnics and the park will give absolutely stunning vibes in a crisp full day.
Overlook Park also has an off-leash dog park, and if you are a dog person, you will see many cute puppies playing around during your visit.
THE BEST PART about this park is the spectacular view of the Fremont Bridge that it shows.
7. Council Crest Park
Council Crest Park is a beautiful high-point park with panoramic views of Portland. Council Crest Park was founded in 1937 and this lovely park is spread over about 42.95 acres of land. The Park is about 1073 feet above sea level which is the highest point in Portland. The view from this immense height, you can bet is glorious.
In this park, you’ll get a lot of parking space and a grassy area too, to spread out a blanket and relax. From a standpoint, you will get amazing unimpeded views of Mount Hood, Mount Adam, and a little bit of Mount Rainier as well. You will get a beautiful setting with a phenomenal view in multiple directions to capture with your camera.
If you are on a full-day visit to this park, don’t forget to enjoy the Four T Trail and the beautiful hike. Moreover, you can also have a picnic here and relax according to your own leisure.
AN INTERESTING FACT – In 1956, a statue was built, featuring a mother and a child, playing in the park. The statue simply depicted joy. In the 1980s, the statue was unfortunately stolen in the middle of the night by some vandals.
Nearly 10 years after it was stolen, some officers were lucky enough to find the rusted statue in the backyard, packed in a cover. The statue was then once again erected near the entrance of the park.
LOCAL’S TIP: The Council Crest Park is a must-visit. The views of the sunset and the mountains are jaw-dropping!
8. Laurelhurst Park
Laurelhurst Park is a large and relaxing urban park that has lots to offer with a nice big pond and many walking paths. This Park is spread over about 28.91 acres of land and was founded in 1909. On the west coast, the Parks Association of Pacific Coast has given Laurelhurst Park the title of “The Most beautiful park”.
Going to Laurelhurst Park is always fun. It’s a beautiful park with courts for different sports activities, there are long paved paths for runners, and a large off-leash dog area to play with your dog. In this park, you can explore the serene area with beautiful, majestic trees.
You will find yourself listening to musicians in the sprawling park. There is an adorable pond where you can watch and feed the ducks, you can also do yoga and find tranquility in the green nature.
FUN FACT: Laurelhurst Park is the first city park ever listed on the National Register. Yes, it was named to the “National Register of Historic Places” in the year 2001.
9. Cathedral Park
The Cathedral Park is located under the St. Johns Bridge which is supported by Gothic arches, and it bears a resemblance to the Cathedral arch that’s why it was named the “Cathedral Park”. This Park has a wonderful setting with the bridge as an architectural marvel that covers an area of 23.31 acres.
You can look up to the bridge deck over 200 hundred feet above the soaring east and west towers of the suspension bridge capped by aircraft light which gives a spectacular view.
This Park is a very popular place to get your photoshoots done, from engagements to weddings and even portrait sessions. It might get difficult to take special pictures without someone in the background, but a great photographer has his/her trick. You can capture your moments in this lovely park.
A very INTERESTING THING about this park is that after almost 50 years of construction of the bridge, Cathedral Park was acquired. This is because, after realizing the beauty of the area, the constructors thought of having a park surrounding this bridge.
DON’T MISS: A Jazz festival is held yearly at Cathedral Park since 1981. It is celebrated as the largest and oldest jazz festival. If you’re ever around the place during the festival days, don’t miss out on this festival.
10. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
The Tom McCall Waterfront Park was opened in 1978 and it covers almost 37 acres of land. It is an active area for bikers, runners, visitors, and several community festivals are hosted here each year including the most popular Oregon Brewers Festival.
If you are looking for a great place where you can get the best views of the city’s skyline, then Tom McCall Waterfront Park is the place where your search ends. In the summer season, you can cool off at the spring fountain of Salmon Street, enjoy the street food, and relax.
This Park is also an abode to some famous historical monuments including the Police memorial and Founder Stone. You can watch cherry blossoms in full bloom. Moreover, you can rent a bike and take strolling around the park to see plenty of mature trees lined in the park to feel and live in such a lively environment.
FUN FACT: On most weekends, the park is full of bicyclists, bikers, and skateboarders. So, you have to be careful when you’re out for a walk. Also, some events like the Rose Festival, Music festivals, and International Beer festivals are held in this waterfront park.
LOCAL’S TIP: The Waterfront Park is the BEST spot for Cherry Blossoms in the town of Portland. Do visit if you get a chance.
11. Tanner Springs Park
Tanner Springs Park is located in Portland’s Pearl District, the wonderful features and depicts of the park are designed by Green Works and Germany Atelier Dreiseitl. It’s a small naturalistic park that covers 0.92 acres of land.
You can read a book and relax your mind in this unique and interesting park. You will find a lot of benches, where you can sit with a latte and just watch how the designer has incorporated the history of the area into a theme of a park. There are a few goldfish, ducks, and decent size lily pads that are swimming in the pond best for kids to visit.
LOCAL’S TIP: The park is an amazing walking track on cool and fresh days. Just grab your favorite coffee or juice and explore the place. If you’re hungry, buy something from Lovejoy Bakery and stroll around the neighborhood.
12. Mt. Tabor Park
Mt. Tabor Park is a century-old, large public space that became Portland’s Park in 1909. You can explore this 191 Arce Park, famous for its open-air reservoirs and volcanic cinder cone. At Mount Tabor, you can grab a seat on a bench and enjoy the marvelous view of West Hills from afar and the city skyline which looks spectacular in the sunset.
This Park is famous among tourists for hiking and strolling. You will see many hikers on their hiking journeys during the summer season. You can also choose among three official trials and start your hiking from any point in the park. Alongside all of this, throughout the park are different picnic sites, sports activities, restrooms, an outdoor amphitheater, and a lot more to enjoy.
AN INTERESTING FACT: The restrooms of Mt. Tabor Park were closed for a long time due to their state of disrepair. After the collection of funds for restoring the historic character of the park, they were finally reopened in 2017, with improved electrical systems, plumbing, seismic upgrades, and ADA accessibility improvements.
13. Forest Park
Forest Park is one of the United States’ largest urban forest parks, reserved with more than 5,100 acres and over 700 miles of trails. It is located near NW Portland, which is an excellent place to immerse yourself in nature without driving far from the city. Forest Park has dozens of trailheads. Some get extremely busy, especially during the summer months, and for you, parking can get difficult.
Forest Park splendors can be enjoyed via hiking and tracking. It is one of those places that provide you with a respite from modern life. If you love hiking, Forest Park is a must-visit. The Wildwood trial is a 30-mile route that spans the full length of the park. It’s a wonderful place for you to relax in the midst of busy travel.
AN INTERESTING FACT about Forest Park is a mystery that surrounds a structure, built within the Park. The structure or building is known as the Stone House or The Witch’s Castle. You have to hike half a mile to reach the Witch’s castle which is known to be tied to a wicked past.
LOCAL’S TIP: while you make a visit to Forest Park, make sure to cross the Barbara Walker Crossing. You would absolutely love the experience. Try to visit during Fall, to enjoy the spectacular colors of nature.
14. Blue Lake Regional Park
Blue Lake Regional Park is a nature-themed playground, which gives 185 acres of land to its visitors. It’s a family-friendly enjoyment-centered park with a natural lake. Looking for a spot to cool off on a hot day? Well, you should definitely visit Blue Lake, Regional Park.
You will see wildlife running around in the park, you can go fishing, swimming and ride a boat as well. You should also try the Frisbee golf course it’s a heart-winning game and you will definitely love it.
15. Director Park
Director Park is a European-style plaza in the heart of downtown Portland, opened in 2009 it’s operated by Portland’s Parks and Recreation. It makes for wonderful outdoor events with a lively urban vibe.
You can visit the popular teacher fountain, which is encircled by handcrafted wood. It’s a great place from where you can enjoy performances, food, and beverages.
Best RV Parks in Portland, Oregon
Here are the Best RV Parks that you definitely need to put on your list:
- Crater Lake National Park
- Portland Woodburn RV Park
- Jantzen Beach RV Park
- Portland Fairview RV Park
- Columbia River RV Park
Best Kids Parks in Portland
If you’re looking for some great parks for your kids to enjoy, here are a few best ones that you should consider visiting with your kids.
- Harper’s Playground – Arbor Lodge Park
- Ludwig View Park
- Khunamokwst Park
- Couch Park
- Grant Park
Portland Parks is a popular, must-visit place among tourists and locals. For a break from every day’s busy life, some views of nature, and some free-of-worries kind of time, the parks of Portland City are the best options. No matter what your age is, Portland Parks has a lot to offer everyone.