Parks and pavilions

During rain or shine in Portland—okay, mostly rain—there are various parks and places to visit that offer a host of activities and pleasant sights.

During rain or shine in Portland—okay, mostly rain—there are various parks and places to visit that offer a host of activities and pleasant sights. Below is a list of some spots that help cure the tedium of sitting through long classes, and many more can be found at

McCall Waterfront Park
Host to such events as the Waterfront Blues Festival, the Rose Festival and just about every beer festival you can think of, there are rolling hills of grass and fountains occupying the space between Southwest Naito Parkway and the west banks of the Willamette River. There is an esplanade of posh shops and cafes at its south end that merge into the South Waterfront neighborhood, and it’s great for strolling along with friends, on a date or even alone and pensive. ?

North Park Blocks
Fancy yourself a baller? Then keep going north past Lincoln Hall and up the Park Blocks until you pass Northwest Couch Street to play on some Portland’s most popular concrete hoop havens, either by yourself during off hours or in a pick-up game sometime after lunch and before dusk. There are various historic statues in the area as well, if you just feel like taking in some Rose City culture. ?

South Park Blocks
If you live on or near campus, you’ll grow weary of shopping at Safeway in a hurry. However, the South Park Blocks on and near campus offer a seasonal farmers’ market every Saturday, and a smaller gathering takes place each Wednesday (details at You’ll come to know these blocks well as a student, but unless you suffer from dendrophobia, it’s perhaps the best part of Portland State’s semi-urban scenery. ?

Washington Park
This park is home to several Portland landmarks, from its internationally renowned Rose Garden to the Hoyt Arboretum, and includes over 100 acres of trails, playgrounds, event stages and bird observatories. The expansive park is adjacent to the Oregon Zoo and has many entrances, though the easiest way there from campus is to head west of PGE Park and up the hill of Park Place. There is plenty of parking, and non-drivers can also reach the park via several bus lines or the MAX. ?

Skidmore Fountain
This storied fountain between Southwest Ankeny and Pine streets at Southwest Naito Parkway Avenue is home to the Saturday Market (, and attending at least one is practically a requisite for any Portlander. During the rest of the week, it’s none too exciting during the day, but be sure to head down there after midnight if you’re a danger junkie seeking the thrill of a possible mugging (or a smack junkie seeking smack). ?

Keller Fountain
As seen in The Hunted (Benicio Del Toro, Tommy Lee Jones), this water fountain is a gorgeous example of aquatic architecture with nooks and crannies galore. It provided hiding places for the aforementioned film’s antagonist, but it’ll likely just provide you with a place to cool off on warm days, and something to marvel at on cold ones. ?

Lents Park
Own a dog? Have kids? Hold interest in any outdoor sport known to man? Then this is the park you’ll come to call home away from home. With 28 acres of beautiful landscape and attractions, it’s a wonderful place to unwind when the pressure of studying, exams and long-winded professors becomes too much. Head out to Southeast 92nd Avenue and Holgate Boulevard to see what I mean, and be sure to bring Fido/the kids/a Frisbee along. ?

Woodlawn Park

Sometimes, a student just needs to be entertained. Woodlawn Park, at Northeast Dekum Street and 13th Avenue, has a great performing stage with everything from pre-planned shows with a few groups to random, bleary-eyed bums with a harmonica just looking for a crowd. It’s also home to some nifty water features to play in, so head over in some digs you don’t fret to get wet.