No doubt about it —we love our trees in Portland. But sometimes, kids just want to hit the nearest park to fly a kite, take that new remote-controlled helicopter out for a spin or lazily lie back on a picnic blanket and watch the clouds float by. The next time you’re looking for some glorious wide-open space, head to one of the below parks that offer anywhere from eight to 230 acres of green space.
Photo credit: Stephanie A. via Yelp
Arbor Lodge Park
It isn’t just the baseball fields, the soccer field, the horseshoe pit and the tennis courts that make Arbor Lodge Park so much fun. This 8.69-acre space is also home to Harper’s Playground, an innovative, inclusive and thoughtfully-designed playground that accommodates children of all ages and abilities. Between the climbing walls, the universally-accessible swings, the sand table and the xylophone that brings out the musician in every child, your family will need no excuse to play the day away.
N Bryant Street & Delaware Ave.
Photo credit: Yiling W. via Yelp
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
The 230-acre Cooper Mountain Nature Park isn’t your typical city park. What this hillside expanse lacks in dog runs and kite-flying space, it more than makes up in walking trails, wildlife habitats, nature camps and nature education programs. Visitors of all ages will find something to learn about and enjoy—along with sweeping views of the Tualatin River Valley.
18892 SW Kemmer Rd.
Photo credit: Mandi C. via Yelp
According to local legend, the land that is now Fernhill Park was once used as a dumping ground for stolen cars. But lucky for us, the rolling grassy hills of this 26-acre expanse have since been preserved as one of Portland’s loveliest green spaces. Today, Fernhill Park includes a playground; baseball, soccer and softball fields; a horseshoe pit; a running track; tennis and volleyball courts; and an expansive off-leash area for dogs. And there’s also plenty of open space for the sun to shine through.
NE 37th Ave. & Ainsworth St.
Photo credit: Roger M. via Yelp
The Fields Neighborhood Park
Completed in 2013, The Fields Neighborhood Park is the newest park on our list. But in only a few short years, Portlanders have come to love its proximity to the Pearl District, its wide-open grassy field and its well-maintained playground, sand box and dog areas. Best of all? The Fields’ waterfront location gives it a stunning perspective of the Fremont Bridge.
NW 11th Ave. & Overton St.
Not only is Irvington home to some of Portland’s most beautiful homes—it is also the site of one of the city’s most majestic parks. In the 16 acres of Irving Park, you’ll find basketball courts; baseball, soccer and softball fields; tennis and volleyball courts; an off-leash area for the dogs; a playground; and picnic tables aplenty. But what makes Irving Park especially appealing is its inclusion of both open and shaded space, for those hot summer days when the kids might need a break.
NE 7th Ave. & Fremont St.
Photo credit: Kurumi C. via Yelp
If you take your sunshine with a healthy dose of beautiful views, try spending an afternoon at the nearly 11-acre Overlook Park. Not only does this open green space include a playground, baseball, soccer and softball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, off-leash dog areas and picnic areas—these all come with a commanding view of the Fremont Bridge and downtown Portland.
N Fremont St. & Interstate Ave.
Adjacent to Chapman Elementary School in a charming pocket of northwest Portland, Wallace Park is the epitome of the multi-purpose neighborhood park. There are picnic tables tucked beneath the trees, space for the dogs to roam and a widely-accessible playground. But as an added bonus, this sunny park also comes with its own scavenger hunt. If you look carefully in the most unexpected of places, you’ll discover 11 small bronze objects—an art installation created by Bill Will in 1998.
NW 25th Ave. & Raleigh St.
Westmoreland Park has everything you would expect from a Portland city park—baseball, football, soccer and softball fields; basketball and tennis courts; a playground; and picnic areas. But the star attraction of this 42-acre park in Sellwood-Moreland is its connection to nature. The ponds are often full of ducks and geese that love to be fed, while the nature-based play area allows kids to scramble over tree stumps and boulders, build and dig in the sand and use their imaginations to make the most of natural materials.
SE McLoughlin Blvd. & Bybee Blvd.
What’s your favorite open-space park? Let us know in the comments below!
— Maura O’Brien