Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Washington and Waterfront Parks (Portlandia from A to Z)

What a city of jewels! Today I'm writing about two of Portland's most-used and beloved parks, Washington Park and Waterfront Park.

Washington Park

I've referred to Washington Park in many of my previous posts...about the amphitheater (E is for endless free or cheap entertainment) and the rose gardens (R is for roses, rivers, and recycling). 

Covering more than 410 acres of mostly steep, forested hills, Washington Park is one of Portland's prized parks. It contains a zoo (look for more details in my Z post!), forestry center, arboretum, a great children's museum, rose garden, Japanese garden, amphitheater, memorials, archery range, tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, soccer field, and miles of trails in dense forests. It's perched on a hill overlooking the city and it offers great views.

The City of Portland purchased the original parkland (40.76 acres) from Amos King in 1871, but it wasn't until the city hired Charles M. Meyers as park keeper in the mid-1880s that the park began to be transformed from untamed wild forest. Meyers designed the then-named City Park around his memories of European parks (he was from Germany). By 1900, the park had roads, trails, landscaped areas, hedges, flower gardens, and a zoo. He added cable cars in 1890, and they continued to operate until the 1930s. When the county poor farm closed in 1922, 160 acres were added to the park.

Back in the days when our kids were younger, we had an annual pass to the wonderful Portland Children's Museum situated in the park near the zoo and World Forestry center. I must confess that I haven't been to the forestry center for years! I also have yet to visit the Holocaust or Vietnam Veterans' memorials.

Every time I go to Washington Park, I think about how I need to go up there more often. We tend to reserve the Rose Gardens for when visitors come. That's a shame! Here are some photos of Washington Park:

Mike's cousin Tammy on a layover in Portland--we went to the park for a picnic!

The roses were in bloom!
View of the city from the park

Holocaust memorial
Holocaust memorial
A great playground--although it's so big that I worried about losing my kids!

Amphitheater steps

Zoo train, which travels through the forest from the zoo to the
 Washington Park station, above the rose gardens--
you can get off and go down into another part of the park
 and then take another train back to the zoo

A show at the amphitheater
Hoyt Arboretum


Japanese Garden (more about that in my upcoming Y post)

Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

Overlooking the rose gardens


Children at a performance in the park

MAX station in the park

Plentiful hiking trails

Where to go?
Nicholas at the Children's Museum several years ago

Waterfront Park

Officially named the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in 1984 to honor Oregon's former governor, whose creative ideas led to the park's redesign, greater use, and popularity, Waterfront Park covers 36.59 acres along the Willamette River. It's bordered by RiverPlace to the south, the Hawthorne Bridge to the north, and Naito Parkway to the west. The American Planning Association named the park as one of the country's ten greatest public places in 2012.

Waterfront Park is most often used for walking, biking, jogging, playing in the fountain, listening to music, going to festivals (like The Bite, Waterfront Blues Festival, or the Rose Festival), watching fireworks, shopping at the funky Portland Saturday Market (which moved to the park from its previous location under the Burnside Bridge in 2009), and watching the boats. My teenager just informed me that it will be the site for Music Fest NW this summer. (Any time you want to attract his attention, just site a concert somewhere.)

I love to walk down to Waterfront Park on my lunch hour. Here are some photos, starting with a walk in the park one evening last May with my mom and sister:

View from our hotel room in the morning
Photo taken on a lunchtime walk--people eating in the park on their lunch hours

View of the harbor on one of my walks

The Bite Festival

Waterfront Blues Festival
Saturday Market

Saturday Market

Fountains (full of kids on hot days!)

View from the bridge

Watching the dragon boats

Cherry blossoms

Fireworks over the river (Blues Festival)

Dragon Boat Races (part of the Rose Festival)

 Read my other A to Z posts here, and stay tuned for Monday: PDX and excellent Portland swag.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pics with loads of fun to take....I hope I can visit both places, some day.