Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information. However, there are widespread closures to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of Covid-19. We’re doing our best to keep all of our stories and calendar up to date. Stay safe, and stay home! 

Portland parks offer stunning outdoor spaces where your kiddos can get out their wiggles and giggles. When your crew needs a breath of fresh air, it’s time to head out! We’ve rounded up some of our top picks for great places to play outside. Some have swings and slides, and some have basketball and tennis courts. Scroll down to find out where you can go for a break from the house.

photo: Tom Woodward via flickr

Pier Park
If you want to enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the city head over to Pier Park. It’s enormous! They have everything from a skate park, to a Frisbee golf course, picnic areas, a splash pad, a playground, and an attached dog park. Pier Park doesn’t attract huge crowds and is tucked away in far North Portland. You’ll find accessible bathrooms and easy street parking here. There’s a ramp going into the play area, sensory play elements, rope climbing structures, swings, spinning toys, and a slide for kids to enjoy.

N Lombard Street and Bruce Avenue
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Dickinson Park
Tucked deep inside the Crestwood neighborhood of Southwest Portland you’ll find Dickinson Park. This park hosts a modern playground made by Landscape Structures, lots of wide open spaces for kids to freely run and play, and a hill for tucking and rolling. While it doesn’t have bathrooms, so come prepared, it does offer a futuristic modern play environment. If you have tiny climbers in your household this is a perfect park destination. They have suspended rings, a 10 foot net wall to scale, rope ladders, and bars to hang from!

SW 55th Avenue and Alfred Court
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks/

photo: Matthew Nenninger & Tracie via flickr

Memorial Park
Located about 30 minutes outside of Portland near Willsonville’s library you’ll find the beautiful Memorial Park. The Murase Plaxo Playground sits right above this expansive park. In the Spring of 2015 the park went through some big renovations and now has several new play structures and a 24 foot long embankment slide. On the property you’ll also discover a Splash Shelter, Historic Barn, and an Interactive Water Feature. Kids might also enjoy the play volcano, climbing wall, or eagle’s nest made from netting. If you go during the summer months make sure to bring towels, bathing suit, and maybe even a change of clothes. The cascading water feature can be extremely enticing! Since the renovation a large percentage of the new structure is now inclusive for kids with physical and developmental disabilities.  All are welcome!

Murase Plaza
8300 Memorial Drive, Wilsonville
Online: wilsonvilleparksandrec.com

photo: Ron.K via Yelp

Washington Park Playground
Tucked away just south of the Rose Gardens lies one of Portland’s largest playgrounds! The Washington Park Playground hosts all of your kids’ favorites! There are swings for tots and bigger kids, a sandbox, and slides galore. The park has lots of space so if you have high energy kids who love to run this is a great spot! You might want to be prepared to stay on your feet during this visit to make sure you can keep kids properly supervised. On those super steamy days there are some shady areas for kids to take a break from the sun. This spot is great for kids ages 2-5 and comes equipped with public restrooms.

1546-1666 SW Sherwood Blvd
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

The Chelsea Anderson Playstation
The Chelsea Anderson Playstation at Marshall Park is part of a 14 acre community park that serves the downtown and central Vancouver area. Within this expansive park you’ll find ball fields, open lawn areas, a picnic shelter available for reservations during the summer months, a playground, and public restrooms. Within this amazing playstation you’ll find slides, a log roll, a big arch climber, chain links to climb, a balance beam, a spiral staircase, a fire truck structure, a nature area, and so much more! They’ve separated small tot and bigger kid play areas at opposite ends of the park so if you have both be prepared to be moving around a lot! This park is most certainly worth a trip across the river!
1015 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

Vancouver, Wa
Online: cityofvancouver.us/parksrec/page/marshall-park

photo: Shikha C via Yelp

Pirate Park
If you are looking for a land of adventure we found the perfect spot! Go pack up the kids and head to Pirate Park. Formerly known as Bethany Meadows Parks this destination park is nestled in the Bethany neighborhood of Beaverton. You may have already guessed that this park has a special pirate theme. On top of a steep hill there’s an island lookout where your adventures can slide down and find themselves in a larger ship play structure. There are multiple slides, walkway bridges, swing sets, a sand-pit, and turf that resembles the ocean. Imaginations will go wild! While there’s not a public restroom there is a portable potty available. Keep in mind that this park has a reputation for being hard to find which is perfectly fitting with the pirate theme. Treat the whole experience like a grand adventure. You can’t park right outside the park so make sure you come prepared with everything you’ll need. You can access it by walking down the trail that meets NW Kaiser Road just past NW Wismer Street. Click the link below to take you a map of the area!

Near NW Energia Street between NW Brandberry Drive and NW Graf Street 
Online: thprd.org/parks-and-trails/detail/pirate-park

Harper’s Playground
After realizing that their daughter, Harper, couldn’t access most playgrounds from her wheelchair, the Goldberg family created the nonprofit Harper’s Playground, which has one park open in Arbor Lodge, one opening in 2017 in Gateway Park, and a third playground currently being designed at Couch Park. Harper’s Playground parks feature at-grade play structures, safety swings, and sensory features like the water and sand station and beloved oversize xylophone found at the Arbor Lodge location.

2525 N Dekum St. (Arbor Lodge Park)
Online: harpersplayground.org

— Annette Benedetti

featured image: Olivia Bousau via unsplash


Free or Cheap Activities for Kids in Portland

The 6 Best Hikes for Families in Forest Park

Play For All! Best Inclusive Playgrounds