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Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland

4.1
#11 of 28 in Parks in Portland
Nature / Park
Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a 36.59acre park located in downtown Portland, Oregon, along the Willamette River. After the 1974 removal of Harbor Drive (a good example of freeway removal), the park was opened to the public in 1978. The park covers 13 tax lots is owned by the City of Portland (Portland Parks and Recreation). The park was renamed in 1984 to honor Tom McCall, the Oregon governor who pledged his support for the beautification of the west bank of the Willamette River—harkening back to the City Beautiful plans at the turn of the century that envisioned parks and greenways along the river. The park is bordered by RiverPlace to the south, the Steel Bridge to the north, Naito Parkway to the west, and Willamette River to the east. In October 2012, Waterfront Park was voted one of America's ten greatest public spaces by the American Planning Association.The most common uses for the park are jogging, walking, biking, skateboarding, fountain play, lunching, basketball, fireworks viewing, Segwaying and boat watching. Due to its recreational use, lunch hours (11:00 am to 1:00 pm) are peak-use hours for the waterfront park. In addition to recreational use, the park is also highly used by bike and pedestrian commuters during rush hours (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) because the park is easily accessible to the downtown Portland workforce and provides a pleasant, off street thoroughfare away from vehicular traffic. It is currently home to the Waterfront Blues Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival, Gay/Lesbian Pride Festival and the Bite of Oregon festival. The park is also the host of many Rose Festival events.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
357 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We walked along the "park" which is a sidewalk and a narrow strip of green way, and were unimpressed. There is a museum boat, and that is all. No benches for sitting on. No real attractions here. We w...  more »
  • This waterfront was across from our hotel and is nice for walking or taking a bike ride. There are cafes along the waterfront to grab a bite to eat also. I would have given it a higher rating, but the...  more »
  • Our hotel was right next door to the waterfront and it was a very beautiful place. It's nice to sit and people watch, or rent a bike, or walk down the trail.  more »
Google
  • The park runs directly alongside the Willamette river with beautiful views of all the bridges, downtown and the east side of Portland. There are lots of activities, currently it is Rose Festival season and a large part of the park is turned into a fabulous carnival with rides, beer/wine garden, those lovely fattening deep fried foods typical of fairs and festivals. There is live music and an adult as well as family atmosphere. Many other festivals, running races, and other cool events, especially beginning in May through October take place almost every weekend. It also a nice place to stroll or bike, with plenty of ways to rent a bike by the hour or day. One one section there is a Saturday Market, that is actually all weekends. It is a juried market with a lot of local artisans, live music, food, as well as adult and family atmosphere and beverages. On the South end there is a great water feature that young and old can cool off in. Lots of grassy area, trees, and plenty of space for all. It really is a terrific place to have in the city. Especially considering it used to be an Interstate highway! Transportation is a cinch, the MAX runs right alongside so no need to pay for parking! Especially if you are visiting our city, the public transport system is the BEST I've ever seen or used on the west coast! Leave your car at home, or your hotel! The area is also VERY handicapped accessible for all disabilities, as I have mobility impairments myself, and I never am concerned about going there!
  • Connecting downtown to the river, this park of more of a 20-block plaza that is great for viewing the river in about a million different ways. It's a great long stretch for walking or biking, yet there is plenty of green space to relax and soak in the ambiance. This park is a great "catch all" for a wide variety of vendors in case you want to eat or have a little entertainment. Overall, a great place to hang out.
  • Growing up in Portland, Waterfront has always been a great place to for a nice stroll or various forms of entertainment. It will always have spectacular views of the river and phenomenal people watching but unfortunately the transient population has taken a hard toll. Some areas are clean and beautiful but others are riddled with litter. Depending on the area of the park, it's very common to find people sleeping in the grass or on the benches. As an adult, it doesn't bother me too much but with my children, it can be very uncomfortable at times, not knowing the mental stability or sobriety of some of those folks, so we don't take them there.
  • I absolutely love the waterfront! Wether you are going down there for a lovely stroll, or a specific venue, it can't be beat! There is almost always something happening down there! I've been down there on a multitude of occasions, but most recently I went for the pride festival 2017!! It was such a spirited event filled with love and kindness all around! Of course right along the waterfront like every weekend(March through Christmas eve) was Saturday market! Which we also paid a visit to for some amazing food!! Great sights, sounds, smells. Handmade items for sale, what more could you ask for! All around great experience! I guess the only thing I would warn anyone about would be plan on paying to park, and walking alot!! Or taking public transit. Be prepared to see quite a few homeless people around because they are around down there, but they are no bother, they are actually friendly!
  • Amazing place with local flair. I went to the Saturday market here! It was perfect there were many talented artists, the food was on point -- there's something for everyone, and music

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For easy foot access to Portland's best shopping, dining, and entertainment, stay in or around the downtown area, connected to the rest of the city by light rail. This compact and busy part of Portland contains the highest concentration of hotel rooms in the city, allowing you to explore options ranging from boutique properties to big chains. Thanks to Portland's convenient transportation system, you can also choose a less expensive motel or bed and breakfast in one of the outlying neighborhoods, and still be within minutes of most major tourist attractions.
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