Pass the Piñata: 7 Outdoor Birthday Destinations

There’s no doubt Stumptown has plenty of amazing indoor birthday hot spots, but when the weather’s this nice, why not take it outside? Here’s a look at some of our fave destinations for an al fresco birthday bash.babywballoons




Jamison Square
On hot, sunny days, this Pearl District park’s interactive fountain –what locals refer to as “the community pond” — offers plenty of kid-friendly fun. Water pours from joints in a stone wall, creating a shallow pool to play in. Eventually, the water recedes and the process repeats – All. Day. Long. Throw a blanket down on the grass, grab some pizza from nearby Hot Lips, and let the party get started.

Good to know: There’s a Portland Loo nearby on the corner of 11th and Johnson.
810 NW 11th Ave. (NW Johnson St.)


Ramona and Henry Grant Park
Walking through this nearly 20-acre park feels like strolling through a school campus. You’ve got tennis and basketball courts, a gorgeous new track and paved bike trails for partygoers to cruise around on — not to mention a playground, public swimming pool and of course, the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden.

Good to know: Picnic sites can be reserved in advance through Portland Parks and Rec.
NE 33rd and Grant Place

Alberta Park
Even on the hottest days of summer, Alberta’s tall pines will net you some shade. Kids will dig the old-school playground, plus there’s plenty of space for a game of tag or capture the flag.

Good to know: Salt and Straw’s Alberta location is a two-minute walk from here.
NE 22nd and NE Killingsworth

Rose Garden Children’s Park
This playground near the zoo boasts a dazzling array of mazes, slides, monkey bars and swings. As a bonus for anxious parents or accident-prone kids, there’s a padded surface underneath. Score a picnic table near the old elephant barn or hike a short distance to any of Washington Park’s lovely open areas for your party.

Just so you know: This park fills up fast on nice days, so if you’ve got younger kiddos, think about recruiting other parents to help chaperone.
Washington Park, top of SW Park Place



Laurelhurst Park
At Stumptown’s (smaller, quainter) answer to Central Park, party guests can partake in whatever games they like — soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, horseshoes — or race/bike/roll down one of the park’s tempting hills. You’ll find plenty of sweet spots to picnic and there’s even a duck pond.

Good to know: Feeding ducks is a huge no-no, despite what the super-friendly mallards will try to tell you. Take any extra birthday treats home.
SE 37th Ave.

babies_bdayhatsOaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Here’s the perfect spot for budding ornithologists. Oaks Bottom, located along the east bank of the Willamette, is home to plenty of aviary wonders, including herons, egrets, hawks, and Osprey. Pass out binoculars and bird guides to guests and watch as a bird scavenger hunt takes flight.

Good to know: The two-mile loop is great for young hikers. To access, park in the lot on Milwaukie Ave., on the north side of Sellwood.

Vista Brook Park
Tualatin spent half a million bucks restoring this neighborhood park — and it shows. Kids will dig (pun intended) the sand pit and playgrounds (one for older and one for younger kids). Blazers fans can shoot hoops on the brand spankin’ new basketball courts.

Good to know: The paved pathway connects to the family-friendly Fanno Creek Trail.
6697 SW 88th Ave., Beaverton

–Stephanie Booth

Photos courtesy of Flickr via tiarescott and makelessnoise, and Yelp via John S. Momo B.Rinky N., Scott T., and Amy R.