Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland

4.3
#11 of 40 in Parks in Portland
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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Tom McCall Waterfront Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
391 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • I went out for walk/run early in the morning (0530 to 0700) and the park starts to come alive with runners and bikers. While it is my first time to Portland in a long time, there are many homeless all...  more »
  • We were here on a Saturday and it was very, very busy. It was nice to watch the boats on the waterfront; we even saw the drawbridge open to allow a boat to pass. Nice place to see when in Portland.  more »
  • Located on the Willamette River, it is a simple City Park; green lawns in front of the River, a few trees to shelter the shadows, only paid parking around, nothing fancy than the fact that it is named after Tom McCall, Governor of Oregon journalist and thirtieth.
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  • All in all, and in general, this is a great place to walk year around with caveat about days and times. PROS: Great people watching | Oregon Maritime Museum | Saturday Market on Saturdays and Sundays | Fleet Week | Summertime events | Running and walking during no peak hours | Always close to good restaurants just across Naito | Cherry blossoms in Spring | Large grassy areas along entire Waterfront path | Plenty of public restrooms (Portland Loo's) | Safe during day-light hours | Walking access to all the bridges for crossing on foot | Plenty of room to stage family events or just to hang out | Friendly geese! CONS: Can host a number of homeless day or night | Kind of sketchy after hours - homeless hangouts near Steel Bridge, Hawthorne Bridge, Burnside Bridge, well all the bridges that span the waterfront - If you plan on exercising after hours, wear lights | You will see an occasional drug needle | Some folks do not clean up after their pets - watch out when you and your kids play in grassy areas | Sometimes the homeless lock themselves in the public restrooms (Portland Loo's) OVERALL: Look, all places have their cons. The scales are tipped in favor of the PROS. If you can soak in all the goodness that the waterfront has to offer, the CONS mentioned will be a fleeing memory. Just keep your wits about you, especially after hours. ALSO, please keep in mind that the City of Portland does an outstanding job maintaining the grounds and amenities. I don't think I have ever witnessed the park void of a few city vehicles and employees cleaning or performing some type of maintenance or general work during daylight hours.
  • Truly a wonderful part. Every season had it's own feel there with spring Cherry Tress and the rose festival over the summer really makes it a great place and an icon of Portland!
  • Great views of the river & city. Running& walking path along the river.
  • Great place for a sunny day walk on the water front
  • The drum circle at Vera Katz is where it's at. Sunday night .
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