We all could use some fresh air and a heavy dose of green space after spending so much time indoors. The weather in Portland is lovely, so dust off your picnic supplies, pack a meal and head out to one of these perfect picnic spots.MoreLess
One of the largest urban forests in the U.S., Forest Park has over 5,200 acres for you picnic in. Maybe you and the little ones want to stretch your legs? Head up the hill on Firelane #13. It’s a bit of a trek (~2 miles), but worth it to enjoy a beautiful vista of the Willamette River from your own private, hilltop picnic table. If you have older kids who think they are over “the picnic thing”, challenge them to eat their lunch among the ghosts in the spooky Witch’s Castle.
Portland is a wealthy city when it comes to parks, so there are plenty to choose from for your al fresco dining pleasure. Tucked between Hwy 26 and West Burnside, Washington Park offers enough interesting picnic spots to keep you “eating out” all summer. If your kids want to get close to wild animals, check out the Oregon Zoo. Settle down in the shade at Hoyt Arboretum for a peaceful meal, while your kids frolic amongst the Dawn Redwoods.
This local treasure is considered a bit of a hidden gem and offers beautiful views of the city. Located along Interstate 205, Rocky Butte can be scaled by car on a road that winds its way about a mile uphill. Joseph Wood Hill Park is located at the very top. This park is a perfect place to perch and enjoy bites while taking in the sights but getting to it is half the fun as the ride offers beautiful views and a trip through a historic tunnel that will thrill the younger set.
Have dinner with a view at Council Crest Park. Perched on one of the highest points in the Tualatin Mountains, you can look out over the city at the real mountains beyond. From the observation platform, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson. There’s public art on display, and you can even bring your furry kids and let them run free in the off-leash dog park.
If you are considering a late evening picnic, this park is the place to be. Located on the Skidmore Bluffs in North Portland’s Overlook neighborhood, stunning sunset views can be had by all here. Situated on the lookout, this park also offers views the Willamette River, the West Hills and the rail yard. After you munch on some evening snacks, let your littles get out their extra energy on the 5.86 acres of park area.
For a different view, try laying out your picnic spread under the arches of the bridge in Cathedral Park. Want to know how it got its name? Just look up. The engineers of St. Johns Bridge must have been fans of Gothic architecture. Stand in just the right spot and you’ll feel like you’re back in France during the Middle Ages, looking up into a ribbed vault or across a flying buttress. And, if your kiddos aren’t impressed with architectural grandeur, they can build a sand castle on the beach.