By spring, when the rain clouds in Portland, Oregon, have begun to dissipate, locals ditch the umbrellas and head for open air. Thanks to good greenspace planning, this city boasts thousands of acres of undeveloped greenery within city limits, including massive Forest Park, which alone takes in over 5,000 acres. Not unexpectedly, the parks see brisk business once the weather starts to improve, but there is also a very good selection of outdoor cultural, very “Portland” pursuits worth considering when the sun makes an appearance.
A good place to start? People-watching in Pioneer Courthouse Square. There’s a fair amount of shopping in the immediate vicinity, but if you’d rather stay out in the sun, take instead a walk six blocks down to the Willamette River, and enjoy a stroll through Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. You might want to ditch the non-shoppers in your party at a cafe somewhere, but then don’t miss the Saturday Market under the Burnside Bridge, a huge crafts market that runs roughly from March to Christmas. While you’re in the area, consider a wander through Old Town, and a meander up through the Pearl District, the renovated industrial area that now sports modern shops, cool bars and sophisticated art galleries. Another hip pick? NW 23rd Avenue. Not only will you find superb sushi here, but there’s also a good mix of urban stores and tiny boutiques to browse.
And finally, get both fine views of the city and easy access to more of the city’s best outdoor attractions riding Portland’s MAX (their public rail system) up to Washington Park. Here find the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Gardens, the latter a fine place to see the fragrant blossoms that give Portland, Oregon, its nickname: the “Rose City”.