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  • Writer's picturePhil Evans

10 Awesome Parks in Portland

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

The moment one arrives in Portland they are amazed by the striking sight of Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helens on a clear day, so close it seems you could walk to them. Within a short drive we have a very versatile landscape with waterfalls, beaches, and mountains that offer endless opportunities for outdoor recreational activities.

For those that can't afford the time to get out of the city, one of the best ways to get outside is to just walk around our tree-lined neighborhoods and to visit some of the 257 parks you can explore to enjoy breathtaking views the Willamette Valley.

We’ve listed some of the parks that you should visit if you happen to be in the city or are planning to move here.

Sea Otter at Oregon Zoo

1. Washington Park - Probably the most well-known park in Portland, and for good reason. It not only has the Hoyt Arboretum and the Japanese Garden, this park offers many amenities and activities, including an archery range, the memorial, and the Oregon Zoo.

Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park

2. Leach Botanical Garden - This is a 16-acre botanical garden located in outer southeast Portland. The garden was donated to the city by John and Lilla Leach and maintains living collection of over 2,000 hybrids, cultivars, native and non-native plants, for the purposes of education, research and conservation.

3. Forest Park - Just north of Washington Park you’ll find Forest Park. One of the biggest urban parks in America with 5,200 acres with 80 miles of trails, right in Portland. It provides critical refuge for hundreds of native wildlife and plant species and acts as an important air and water filter. With more than 80 miles of trails, it also provides invaluable access to nature, exercise, and educational opportunities for the region.

Trail in Forest Park

4. Peninsula Park - This 16-acre neighborhood park in North Portland was purchased by the City in 1909 and includes its first public rose garden and first community center. It’s gardens, pool, and playgrounds offer a wide range of options for recreational activities and amenities

5. Council Crest Park - This park in Southwest Portland is probably the highest point in the city at 1,073 feet above sea level. This beautiful park overlooks the city and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. Park regulars recommend doing the 4 T Trail (Tram, trolley, train and trail). According to McArthur's Oregon Geographic Names, it was named in 1898 by delegates to the National Council of Congregational Churches, who met on the top.

View of Mt Hood from Council Crest Park

6. Fields Park - This 3.2-acre park is located on the Northern end of the Pearl District. It has one-acre lawn/common area, sitting areas, a strolling path, entry plaza, a large children’s playground, and an 8,000 square foot dog off-leash area, being the first of its kind designed as a dog area from the ground up.

7. Pittock Mansion Park - Another winner when it comes to amazing views of the city. Nestled high in the West Hills, Pittock Mansion’s viewpoint overlooks Portland’s skyline from 1,000 feet up. It’s also great for hikers. The woods behind Pittock Mansion are a part of Forest Park and the Mansion is a popular stop on the famous Wildwood Trail.

View of the city from Pittock Mansion Park

8. Cathedral Park - Named after the stricking gothic arches that support the St Johns Bridge, an iconic symbol of St. John’s district. This park is a favorite for photo sessions, from weddings and engagements to family portraits. The bridge alone is worth the drive there, but it is also a good place for a walk near the river.

St. John's Bridge seen from Cathedral Park

9. Overlook Park - This is another park that offers great view of the city and also a popular venue for weddings here in Portland. It has a covered picnic, a kids’ playground, and lots of space to play soccer or Frisbee.

10. Mt. Tabor Park - The only park in the city built atop a volcano! While walking around this century-old public park, you’ll be walking on ancient lava from Mount Tabor itself. The park offers many footpaths and paved roads crisscross Mount Tabor, making it easy to start a hike from any point in the park. Entertainment options include a basketball court, horseshoe pit, playground, volleyball and tennis courts, outdoor amphitheater, and a fenced, off-leash dog park.

View from Mt. Tabor Park

If you are thinking about buying a home in Portland, a great place to start is by taking our Portland Home Buying Class where you'll learn everything you need to know to successfully buy a home here. You can register here.


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