Best parks in Portland

Top 16 of the Best Parks in Portland Oregon

Home to over 200 captivating parks, Portland offers all sorts of options and activities. You will run out of time if you decide to explore these beauty spots. We’ve chosen natural places that will hopefully match everyone’s taste. From a volcanic site to naturalistic greenery gardens, here are our best parks in Portland, Oregon…

1. Tabor Park – an attractive park for hiker lovers that covers an extinct volcano

Mount Tabor Park - Portland

Mount Tabor Park is named after an Israeli peak that has the same name, and it became an official park in Portland in 1909. It has four different reservoirs, so you can have a beautiful background while you’re enjoying your activities.

The mountain offers a remarkable summit where you can see the beautiful views of the southeast of Portland. Lastly, it’s a great hiking spot because it’s easy to start a stroll or a hike regardless of where you begin, and you can choose between three different trails.

  • Address: SE 60th Ave &, SE Salmon St, Portland, OR 97215, United States
  • Tabor Park Website

2. Tom McCall Waterfront Park – once a hectic highway is now home to lively festivals

Tom McCall Waterfront Park - Portland

Also known as the Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, is a beautiful park you can find in downtown Portland. It opened to everyone in 1978, and since then, it has been one of many people’s favorite spots to spend some time with nature and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Most visitors go to this park to jog, walk, bike, do fountain play, play basketball, watch boats and fireworks. 

At the same time, it’s a common spot for bikers and pedestrians during rush hours because you can avoid vehicular traffic and enjoy a beautiful view if you take the park instead.

3. Peninsula Park and Rose Garden – a must-visit for the city’s most stunning public rose garden

Peninsula Park and Rose Garden - Oregon's oldest public rose garden

The Peninsula Park and Rose Garden is one of the most beautiful places you and your loved ones could visit. It has green lawns, a splash-pad that’s perfect for the hottest days of the year, several different playgrounds, and it’s wheelchair-accessible, so everyone can enjoy it.

If you visit this park, the first thing you might notice is that it’s below the street level, which makes it unique. Additionally, it’s historically important since it was the first community center of the city. 

Nowadays, hundreds of people visit it each year, especially when the weather gets hot and you might want to enjoy some time in the pool or connect with nature. 

4. Mill Ends Park – smallest urban park in the world with an interesting legend to tell

Mill Ends Park - smallest park in the world - Portland

Even though it’s an extremely small park compared to the other ones in Portland, Mill Ends is very popular due to the legend behind its history.

When Dick Fagan, a columnist for the Oregon Journal, looked out a window, he saw a leprechaun digging a hole. He grabbed him, and the creature granted him a wish – Fagan wanted a park.

However, he didn’t specify the size of the park, which is why the leprechaun chose to give him the hole.

Mill Ends is a small urban park, and you can find it in SW Naito Parkway. It consists of only one tree, but many people still love it.

5. Washington Park – said to be Portland’s most diverse park with tons of activities

Washington Park - Portland

Washington Park is another fantastic urban park in the state of Oregon. It’s immense and covers more than 458 acres of land. 

Some things you might enjoy at Washington Park are its tennis courts, archery range, areas for picnic, rose and Japanese gardens, archery range, playgrounds, and trails.

The Park offers many different things to do, so you can go to simply enjoy the beautiful scenery or have fun in the tennis courts and archery range. If you love hiking, it also offers trails you can explore.

6. Cathedral Park – an astonishing park perfect for a stroll

Cathedral Park - Portland

If you go to the peninsula of North Portland (specifically to the east shore of Willamette River), you can find a cathedral-like arch-supporting St. Johns Bridge, which is what gives the park its beautiful name.

Cathedral Park has several picnic benches and walking trails you can explore. Furthermore, it has a floating dock as well, which extends all the way to Willamette River.

Since the park is so beautiful, it’s a common location for weddings. Moreover, it hosts the Cathedral Park Jazz Fest, which is the oldest Jazz Festival on the west of the Mississippi River.

7. Director Park – a parking lot turned into a European-style city park

Simon and Helen Director Park - Portland

Its official name is Simon and Helen Director Park, and it opened in 2009. It’s an underground parking garage and includes a fountain, several artworks, and a café.

Even though this park lacks vegetation and has few natural areas, it’s still a fantastic place to visit when you want to have a cup of coffee in a different setting.

8. Laurelhurst Park – pioneer park to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Laurelhurst Park - Portland

The neighborhood of Laurelhurst has a beautiful city park with the same name, which opened to the public in 1911. Nowadays, it has a soccer field, basketball and tennis courts, an area to walk your dogs without a leash, picnic sites, paved and unpaved paths, public art, stages, and restrooms.

Laurelhurst Park has been named the most beautiful park on the West Coast, and it’s also the home of many ducks, catfish, algae, black crappie fish, and carp.

9. Forest Park – premier urban park within a city, an ideal spot for runners and hikers

Forest Park - Portland

With more than 5.200 acres of native forest, Forest Park offers unmatched recreation to visitors who want to spend some time with nature. It’s a fantastic hiking spot since all trails are available to people on foot and dogs on a leash.

Additionally, if you want to go on a bicycle, you have more than 25 miles of road to choose from. Overall, Forest Park is one of the best places to visit if you’re going northeast of the West Hills of Portland.

10. Council Crest Park – a perfect site to register the best view in Portland

Council Crest Park - Portland

Among all parks in Portland, Council Crest is one of many people’s favorites since it’s different from the rest: it’s 1.071 feet above sea level, which makes it the ideal place to enjoy the view of the city and its surroundings.

You can visit Council Crest Park any day of the year, from five AM to midnight. Going allows you to enjoy a viewpoint, public art, various picnic tables, and even a wedding spot if you want to reserve it.

11. Arbor Lodge Park – an excellent place for kids and adults

Arbor Lodge Park - Portland

Another fantastic park to visit in Portland is Arbor Lodge Park, which is on Bryant Street and Delaware Avenue. 

Arbor Lodge offers different activities, such as a playground, public art, dog off-leash area, paved paths, baseball, soccer, softball, and tennis fields, picnic tables, and a horseshoe pit.

12. Ira Keller Fountain Park – stunning waterfall park perfect for relaxation

Ira Keller Fountain Park - Portland

Its original name was Forecourt Fountain or Auditorium Forecourt, but now, it’s the Ira Keller Fountain Park. It’s immensely popular because it’s one of the most memorable places in downtown Portland.

This beautiful park is famous due to its many waterfalls and fountains, and it’s designed for you to be able to stand on top of the waterfall. Even though it sounds dangerous, its construction keeps everyone safe, so you never need to worry.

13. Kelley Point Park – best park to reconnect with nature

Kelley Point Park - Portland

North Portland also offers Kelley Point Park, which opened in 1986. Originally, the place was part of the Island of Pearcy, but now it belongs to the city and it’s a fantastic place to watch boats, relax near the water, or even enjoy the sights of beautiful animals.

The name of the park has its origins in Hall Jackson Kelley, who was a resident of New England and promoted interest in the Pacific Northwest and Oregon during the first half of the 19th century.

Kelley Point Park has public art, restrooms, picnic tables, unpaved and paved paths. Additionally, it’s the home of osprey, gulls, Bewick’s wrens, and Caspian terns. 

14. Sellwood Riverfront Park – very popular waterside recreation for dog lovers

Sellwood Riverfront Park - Portland

The incredible Sellwood Riverfront Park is at Southeast Spokane Street and Oaks Parkway and offers relaxing scenery and a beautiful view of the water, which makes it an ideal spot to walk and unwind or spend some time with your loved ones.

Initially, this park was a mill site full of Himalayan blackberries, so people would have never believed it would be such a fantastic place to visit. However, nowadays, both the north and south areas of Sellwood Riverfront offer different options to all visitors.

If you go to the north, you can enjoy the sight of willows, marsh plants, and different kinds of native greenery. The south, on the other hand, is the home of many dragonflies, frogs, and other small animals.

Lastly, going during the summer is a great idea since you can enjoy free concerts. Performances vary, but sometimes you might listen to gospel, soul, blues, rock, alternative pop, and much more.

15. Tyron Creek State Natural Area – one of the best and most beautiful parks near Portland

Tyron Creek State Natural Area - Portland

The only state park in an Oregon metropolitan area is the Tyron Creek State Natural Area, which includes different options if you want to unwind and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

If you go to the Tyron Creek State Natural Area, you may enjoy a bicycle path, hiking, and horse trails. Additionally, you can visit the Nature Center near the park entrance, which has a gift shop, a play area specifically for toddlers, and educational areas.

16. Tanner Springs Park – wetland turned into a naturalistic park 

Tanner Springs Park - Portland

The last park on this list is in Oregon’s Pearl District: Tanner Springs Park. It was supposed to be named North Park Square when it was part of Pearl’s District plan in 1999, but things changed in 2005, and the site adopted the name you know now.

It’s a unique site to visit since it’s naturalistic, relaxing, and quiet. One time, the New York Times described it as a mix between an Italian piazza and an urban wetland with many benches.

Even though you can’t bring pets to Tanner Springs Park, it’s still a great place to visit, especially if you want to get away from the hassle of the city. Many people practice yoga there, or simply enjoy their quiet surroundings.

Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children's theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa'd in Cuba and road tripped down America's west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her cat and ukulele amid the misty valleys and rolling hills of beautiful South Wales.

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