The heart of downtown Portland. Sometimes called “Portland’s Living Room”, Pioneer Courthouse Square is a pretty cool place to stop and take in the city. It’s a place to eat lunch (because all our famous food carts never have any tables).
It’s a place to meet, switch trains, and get maps of the city (Visitor Information is on the north side kind of under Starbucks). I’ve been to Christmas tree lightings there, beer festivals, danced to the Brian Setzer Orchestra and even seen Dave Chappelle at his surprise 1:30am Twitter appearance.
But some of the best things about Pioneer Courthouse Square are there ALL the time, like these super cool faces, part of the fountain around Starbucks. I used to get so excited about them when I was a kid. I always wanted to stick my fingers in each one’s mouth. (Is that weird?)
The best hidden secret in Pioneer Square is this little amphitheater. Go stand on the circle in the middle. No seriously. Go do it now. Then start talking. Do it. I promise no one will look at you weird for talking to your self. There are lots of crazy people talking to themselves in the square. No one will pay any attention.
One of the ways they paid for the construction of the square, was by selling the very bricks the square is build from. So when you walk around look down, you’ll see the names of thousands of Portlander’s. My mom’s name is there, along with some local celebrities. There is a map of the names on website or you can get on in the visitor’s center. You can still buy your own brick for $100.
Of course there is also this guy. A favorite among tourists and locals alike. Officially the statue is called “Allow Me” but most just call him Mr. Portland. Although many would argue that a true Portlander would never have that umbrella.
Every summer a Farmer’s Market sets up in the square n Mondays. There is a sand sculpting contest called Sand in the City in the middle of July. It’s a great even for kids and just fun to stop and watch. Then at the end of August is Festa Italiana. I’ve never been, but I hear it’s pretty fun. They have grape stomping, music and, of course, great food. Also in July and August is Flicks on The Bricks: free classic movie on Friday nights.