The Tom McCall Waterfront Park, named after a former Oregon governor, borders the west side of the Willamette River. It's a great place to walk, bicycle, people watch, or just hang out on the grass.
Several Portland festivals, like the Blues Festival, are held in the park, and it's a popular place for families on weekends.
The day we were there, some young artists were making chalk drawings on the pavement.
Portland is famous because of the Rose Festival and it is commemorated here at the Watefront Park. This is like what venice beach is to los angeles so the center of festivals, event, parties, etc in the portland area is here. there are also restaurants, bars and shopping areas in it so you can enjoy the atmosphere.
Every year the biggest Microbrew festival takes place in Portland at the Waterfront Park. Breweries from all over the country bring their beer for you to sample. There are dozens. You can get Ginger beer from Hawaii to Cherry Stout from Virginia. Many brew pubs from Portland are also there, of course.
In my pictures there is a program of all the breweries that attended in 2007.
My advice is to go early and go on the first or second day. At night it gets very very crowded and rowdy. Plus they run out of beers. If you are serius about beer tasting, go early.
There are plenty of food booths also with seating, there is seating under the tents where the beer is also.
It's usually 2 cans of food for the food bank to enter
See the second photo for the full and official story. According to Guinness, Mills Run Park is the world's smallest, located not too far from the river in Portland. I happened across it as I was leaving one of the amazing Saturday markets on my way to OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) to see the BodyWorld exhibit. The park's decorations have changed throughout the years, and various figurines and plants have come and gone. I wouldn't say it's the most exciting thing to see, but for those interested in world-record superlatives, it's another one to add to the list.
Waterfront Park itself (officially named Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park) is a strip of land that was once occupied by Harbor Drive and industrial and port related facilities.
By 1968 Harbor Drive was less important to the transportation in the city, and a study initiated by Tom McCall resulted in the eventual completion, in 1978, of a park along the waterfront that had originally been proposed in 1903. It is fitting that the official name of the park would include the name of the man who initiated its construction.
The park contains a number of memorials, among them the Battleship Oregon memorial, memorials to the Japanese residing in the USA that were held prisoner during World War II, a fountain, the Friendship Circle, the founders stone, and a number of smaller plaques including a note of thanks to the Canadians who housed USA citizens during the Iranian embassy crisis in 1979.
In the warm months, the park is a frequent location of all manner of celebrations, including Cinco de Mayo, the Portland bite, a beer festival, and the Rose Festival Fun Center and Rose Festival Fleet.
Much of the park is a grass corridor, and during quiet days you can find a number of Portland residents relaxing or exercising here. During a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood.
Waterfront Park contains several monuments, including this one dedicated to the Battleship Oregon. For a breif period this ship was on display on the south side of Portland's waterfront, near what is now called "Riverplace", at the far south side of Waterfront Park.
During World War II, the ship was taken back by the US Navy, most of it was broken up and used as scrap metal for the war effort, but the hull itself was used for a number of purposes such as training exercises.
100 years ago, the ship was quite famous for its role in running around Cape Horn to join the Spanish American war, and served as a motive to start construction of the Panama Canal.
These are the last large remnants of the ship, but sometimes I have also occasionally found small remnants of the ship (such as lights) in places such as the very oldest of Portland restaurants.
The photos shown here are from 2003, but the idea behind the Portland Fireworks is pretty much all the same: a barge is moved into the middle of the river, between the Hawthorne Bridge and the Morrison Bridge. Right around sunset, the fireworks start going off.
The fireworks are viewable from a number of locations: East Bank Esplanade and Waterfront Park are the closest to the fireworks. Some of the hills overlooking downtown can be good too, and all of these photos were taken from Mt. Tabor Park - which is far away from the crowds, but also far away from the show too!
One of the odd effects of viewing the fireworks from Mt. Tabor is that, while it is dark in downtown Portland due to the shadow cast from the hills behind the city, the height of Mt. Tabor eliminates the shadow and there is still quite a bit of light. You can see this in photo 3.
Fireworks shows generally happen at least twice a year: 4th of July and on the first Friday of the Rose Festival. Sometimes (but not always) they have also happened on the Friday of the Cinco de Mayo festival. THERE IS USUALLY NO SHOW ON NEW YEARS DAY!!!
When it was installed in Waterfront Park, the local newspaper made comments about this likely becoming a commonly used landmark and location for people to meet.
It is a frequently used landmark, and both children and adults love to play in the fountain. However, the mobs of teenagers and others have not shown up. There are some that stay around here, but the crowd is far larger at Pioneer Courthouse Square - most likely because of the nearby shopping malls and department stores.
Originally, the fountain had a large center pillar of water, but it was turned off after several people were injured by running through the fountain and hitting this jet of water.
During certain summer days, the sun light will line up down Salmon Street during sunset, and create some spectacular colors in the fountain.
After "The Grill" dinner it is very nice to find your way to Water Front Park. It is close... Just couple of blocks. Fresh air and beautiful view of the river. Not much people over there. Plenty of air and green grass.
Visitors might like to experience Portland from the waters of the Willamette, itself. Several tour boats take guests – mostly in the warmer months – on a series of different cruises – sightseeing, dinner, partying. The Portland Spirit is one of the larger vessels and is docked next to the Salmon Street Springs on the westbank near the Hawthorne Bridge. Other tour boats include the Portland Rose Sternwheeler and a couple of jet boats that had earlier lives on the waters of the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon.
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