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parks in portland

Portland OR Best Parks [2024] | 👪 Tips, List, Guide & Map for Portland

Last Updated on: 16th June 2023, 02:59 am

No matter where you choose to settle, it’s no secret that having nearby access to the lovely and serene essence of outdoor parks is a must-have. Are you a newcomer to the city? You can expect to enjoy numerous top-rated and exceptional parks and recreation in Portland.

The scenic and vibrant city of Portland is known for having thousands of acres of rich land and green space. Portland has some of the most notable parks, forests, and breathtaking mountaintops in the state of Oregon. Most, if not all parks in Portland offer guests an array of opportunities for relaxation and exercise in the incredible landscapes.

Whether you’re reading a book in the grass while playing fetch with your furry best bud, challenging your friends to a game of golf, or kayaking down a charming tree-lined stream, this marvelous city offers something for everyone. Portland parks are filled with trails, sports, and activities that promote the appreciation and exploration of the beautiful outdoors.

If experiencing exciting city events, playing fun sports, and putting your mind at ease with the delightful presence of Mother Nature sounds great to you, then check out our ultimate list below of the top parks and recreation in Portland!

1. Washington Park | Most Popular & Famous Park in Portland with a Zoo, Rose Garden, and Arboretum

With over 410 acres of beautiful land, Washington Park is by far the most famous and popular park in Portland. This urban park sees over 3.5 million visitors each year and proves to be one of the best parks in Portland. If you’re seeking an area that has some of the best facilities, amenities, and public attractions, then Washington Park is a can’t-miss place to go!

When you’re not utilizing the park’s tennis courts, soccer fields, archery range, picnic area, playground, or 15 miles of trails in the wild forest, you can visit the several well-known attractions it has to offer. These attractions include the World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Children’s Museum, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, and the iconic Oregon Zoo.

2. Tom McCall Waterfront Park | Best Park in Portland for Events, Activities, and Festivals

The Tom McCall Water Park is one of Portland’s most popular places to visit– let alone parks. This riverfront park in Portland is the perfect place for outdoor events and activities with the family. On top of admiring the park’s historical monuments, public art, paved paths, and the stunning fountain, you can sit back in the grass and enjoy the beautiful view of Mount Hood and Portland’s iconic bridges.

Situated next to the Willamette River, this riverside gem has more than 36 acres of bikeable, strollable, and dog-friendly paths as well as numerous benches to sit on and people-watch. If you’re not renting bikes or observing the surrounding wildlife, you can go enjoy the annual Portland Rose Festival that takes place in the park. It features waterfront carnival rides, parades, fireworks, dragon boat races, concerts, and a barrage of beautiful roses.

3. Mt Tabor Park | Ancient-Volcanic Park in Portland that is Perfect for Hikers

If you enjoy hiking surrounded by the captivating essence of Mother Earth, then this top-rated park in Portland is your go-to place! The large and forested Mt. Tabor Park is known for being situated on an extinct volcanic vent that is now one of the top parks to visit for hikers in Portland.

Along with taking advantage of the park’s playgrounds and tennis courts, you and your friends can hike up the rocky mountain and enjoy 360° scenic views of the city and forested slopes before utilizing the drinking fountains and joining the crowds of visitors at Mt. Tabor SDA Church complex.

4. Laurelhurst Park | Dog-Friendly Park in Portland with a Pond Full of Wildlife

If you have a furry best friend you don’t want to leave at home, take them with you to Laurelhurst Park! As one of the most dog-friendly parks in Portland, it provides dog owners with a well-maintained off-leash dog area so your canine buddy can get outside, run around, and make friends!

This 31-acre park is also home to a paved pathway for runners, walking trails for adventurous hikes, picnic areas, tennis courts, a horseshoe pit, and a separate play area that’s perfect for kids to play. Most notably, the park boasts a lovely pond swarming with thousands of fish, ducks, and turtles to observe.

If spotting wildlife in the pond while treating your pet to a fun day outside at the park sounds good to you, then Laurelhurst Park is the place to go!

5. Forest Park | Portland’s Largest Park & Wildlife Refuge

With over 5,200 acres of rich land resting along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains, Forest Park is the largest park in Portland. The park provides a refuge for hundreds of native plant species and wildlife while acting as water and air filter. While visiting here, you’ll have access to over 80 miles of trails, forest roads, and fire lanes for endless possibilities for exercise, nature, and even educational opportunities.

The park is encompassed by a lovely wooded area of towering fir trees which is one of the largest urban forests in the U.S. There’s also a 30-mile route that is ideal for biking, hiking, and bird-watching. Likewise, this park in Portland is especially popular for cyclists, runners, hikers, and equestrians like yourself who want to escape everyday life by exercising in the serenity of the outdoors. When you’re done exercising, you can relax and enjoy the park’s beautiful views of Northwest Portland as well as the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

6. Powell Butte Nature Park | Family-Friendly Park in Portland with Mountain Biking Trails

Looking for a place to let the kids loose? The Powell Butte Nature Park is a very family-friendly park in Portland that offers a natural area perfect for an easy day hike with the family or with the dog. Similar to Mt. Tabor Park, this park lies on top of an extinct cinder cone volcano that has evolved into a unique nature park with over 10 miles of biking, hiking, and incredibly picturesque equestrian trails. With over 611-acre of land, Powell Butte Nature Park is the second-largest park in Portland.

This park is also a popular destination for mountain bikers– so if you’re new to the sport, this is the place to learn! The mountain biking trails run through pristine forests and meadows that lead to remarkably scenic views of Mount St. Helens and Mt. Hood.

7. Peninsula Park | Best Park in Portland for Outdoor Sports & Activities

The Peninsula Park is the place to go if you’re seeking to treat yourself and your family to the entertainment of outdoor sports. Whether it’s teaching the little one how to swing a baseball bat, having a picnic with the family in the emerald green lawns, or challenging a friend to a game of tennis, this park in Portland has it all.

This park offers over 16 acres of land with tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, playgrounds for toddlers and older kids, walking paths, a splash pad, and even a seasonal swimming pool for cooling off on hot summer days. This true gem is also home to a historically designated bandstand, Portland’s second oldest playground structure, and the city’s first community center and public rose garden.

8. Cathedral Park | Portland’s Most Historic Park with Gothic Architecture

Named for the towering gothic towers and supports of St Joseph bridge, the Cathedral City Park is one of Portland’s most treasured green spaces. This park is believed to be a landing site of Lewis and Clark and is known for the arch-like cathedral legs of St. Johns Bridge

History isn’t the only point of interest this park has to offer– it’s also home to dog-walking paths, picnic areas, boat docking, and even a breathtaking amphitheater for weddings. It’s also home to the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival for all you music lovers! From arguably being a site of America’s first European settlers to the beautiful Gothic architecture, Cathedral City Park goes down as Portland’s most historic park.

Map of Portland Parks

Curious about the local parks in Portland prior to moving there? Allow our professional Portland movers to give you a smooth and stress-free relocation! Contact PDX Movers at 503-746-8795 or complete the “ Request a Quote” form for an accurate moving estimate!


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