Home to 279 parks, there’s no denying that Portland takes public parks seriously. But not all parks are created equal, here's a quick breakdown of the 10 best parks in Portland, according to locals.Less
Washington Park is often considered the crown jewel of Portland's robust park system and it's not hard to see why. The breathtaking park spans 400 acres and houses six cultural institutions -- like the beloved International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon Zoo and Hoyt Arboretum. You can easily spend an entire day hiking the trails or popping off at the various institutions for a quick bite.
Sitting atop an (extinct) volcano, Mt. Tabor Park offers one of the best views of Portland. This is a great spot to bike, hike or simply enjoy a sunset picnic amidst other locals. Get your heart pumping by hiking to the top of the water reservoir before plopping down with your picnic basket and best friend in tow for a relaxing evening. Insider's Tip: You're only a stone's throw from Apizza Scholls, the BEST pizza in Portland -- swing by!
Peninsula Park is a formally-designed 16-acre park best known for the 5,000 roses that hit peak bloom between July and August (one of the best places to see roses in Portland). The layout of the park is unique for Portland and more reminiscent of European parks. But let me tell you, when the fragrant roses hit peak bloom you wouldn't want it designed any other way -- the park's glory is on full display! Bring a book and comfortable picnic blanket so that you can linger longer.
Portlanders take outdoor recreation seriously and nowhere is this more evident than the busy trailheads at Forest Park. Spanning more than 5,200 acres, Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the country. With more than 70+ miles of trails, you're bound to find a trail you love. Insider Tip: Try to find the Witch’s Castle, it's an epic hike beloved by locals for its fascinating (and haunting) past.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is named after Oregon's revered governor. The park swells with locals during lunch hour and it's inevitable that you'll be dodging bikers, walkers, skateboarders and young couples walking hand-in-hand. All this to say, this waterfront park is great for people watching! Local's Tip: Sit on a bench for a few minutes and watch the world go by while enjoying lunch from the nearby Pine Street Market.
Cathedral Park has two claims to fame: The stunning St. John’s Bridge and the epic (FREE) annual jazz festival held in July. Even if you can't make it for the jazz festival, don't miss an opportunity to have a picnic under this iconic bridge while watching the sun go down. Also, since Cathedral Park isn't located in the heart of downtown, it offers a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city. Hard not to like that!
Pittock Mansion Park has the best view of downtown Portland, so it should come as no surprise that this park is swarmed with locals and tourists alike during the summer and fall months. The views are worth the crowds! The park's high elevation makes it an ideal spot to catch a great view of Mt. Hood on a clear day. There's four picnic tables at the viewpoints, so bring a snack and enjoy your time.
Powell Butte is located in Southeast Portland and is worth the drive from downtown. As if the panoramic mountain views weren't enough, the nature is spectacular! What's more, Powell Butte offers some of the best hiking opportunities in Portland, so bring a pair of hiking shoes and come during sunset for a spectacular and colorful display of Mt. Hood on a clear day.
Fields Park is located in the lively Pearl District, a neighborhood that perfectly blends modern design while still exuding a relaxing Portland vibe. This Portland park is a great place to spend a weekday morning catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee from Ovation & Tea. Grab a delicious coffee and plop down on a bench or spread out in the lawn. Just know that the the lawn is an off-leash dog park, so you're bound to see many cute pups during your visit.
In a lot of ways, Laurelhurst Park feels like Portland's living room. On warm days you're bound to find locals walking the paved paths, picnicking in the lawns, throwing a Frisbee or enjoying the playground. This is the place where everyone comes together to enjoy the beautiful nature in Portland and the fact that the park is located in one of the best neighborhoods in Portland doesn't hurt either -- there's a plethora of great restaurants nearby!