As states around the country fight for civil liberties large and small, Oregon stands among the few that have indulged in the luxury of legalized marijuana. Beyond the privilege and sanctity of legality, Portland boasts a smoker-friendly culture and an abundance of tranquil settings for relishing recreational marijuana, or even an old-fashioned cigarette (hand-rolled, naturally) in complete serenity.
Getting your fix without being disrupted can be an arduous process, especially in a big city. However, Portland is home to many secluded areas you may have never heard of that are perfect for a moment of peace. The Rose Garden, as popular as it is, is filled with secluded paths and wooded glens that beg for a ganja break. Most notable is SW Washington Way, near the Oregon Holocaust Memorial: a quiet, trail-ridden loop of woodland scenery that many people will be upset with me for disclosing. Opposite the Rose Garden, on the way up to the Oregon Zoo, is SW Kingston Drive: a winding forest road complete with several spots to park and spark along the way. (Caveat: The Vanguard does not advocate driving under the influence of drugs, so remember to bring a designated driver, take an Uber, or just don’t tell us about it.)
If you’re on the other side of the river, Laurelhurst Park on the corner of SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Stark Street provides several picturesque benches by the pond to breathe some green and feed some ducks—if they brought enough to match, of course. (Caveat: The Vanguard does not advocate smoking out the city wildlife.) A bit farther out is Mt. Tabor Park, more than twice the size of Laurelhurst, which delivers a similar ambiance complete with benches, ponds and hidden tufts of grass for puffs of grass.
Stuck in the close quarters of North Portland? Germantown Road, between Skyline Boulevard and NW Bridge Avenue, yields a surfeit of pot spots. Cutting right through the grandiose Forest Park, you will never have trouble finding a secluded area for a bobo bush binge. If that’s too much beautiful forest scenery for you, cross the St. Johns Bridge and circle back underneath to the Cathedral Park Trail, which offers a remarkable view of the Willamette River and the underside of the bridge while remaining fairly isolated. Pro tip: Don’t bother the can-collectors and they won’t bother you.
For those who are more socially oriented smokers, the NW Cannabis Club at 1195 SE Powell Blvd, open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to midnight, affords all the necessities of the recreational smoker: drinks, snacks, foosball and a spacious outdoor deck for getting some fresh, THC-less, air.
If the devil’s lettuce isn’t your bag, and you’re just looking for a chill patio to get your tobacco fix, Bar of the Gods on Hawthorne is the place for you. With a heated back patio to bask in while you drink and light up, there really isn’t anything left to say. If you find yourself downtown when The Cravings hit you, head on over to Momo (at SW 10th and Yamhill) or Ash Street Saloon (at SW 3rd and, um, Ash Street).
Portland is home to a plethora of beautiful environments, many of which are perfect date spots for you and Mary Jane (or you and Joe Camel). When you’re an outdoor smoker, surreptitiousness is the name of the game. Finding a spot where aestheticism is at a high and disturbances at a low is sometimes part of the fun. But when you’re tired of playing that game, this guide should help you find an apt venue for your chronic desires.
Oh, and one last thing, fellow smokers of dried herbs: Wherever you choose to light up, remember to clean up after yourselves! Bring a bottle along, stick a portable ashtray in your pocket, or keep a couple of plastic baggies with your Chapstick and Visine. Let’s all do our part to keep Portland beautiful for the next generation of secret smokers!
If you think we actually told you our REAL favorite spots to smoke…you must be high!