Don’t know what to do this summer? Here’s a list of awesome adventures to keep you busy until the rain returns.
Summer has arrived and that means GAME ON here in Portland. At least for me, I get kind of manic in the summer. Must. Not. Waste. Any. Time.
There are just too many trails to hike, patios to enjoy, parks to play in, and festivals to attend. So if, like me, you want to squeeze the most out of this season, here’s a list of fun things that will keep you going all summer long.
- Run/Walk the Waterfront Loop: Nothing connects you with the pulse of Portland, like doing the 2.5 mile waterfront loop between the Steel and Hawthone Bridges. Check it out on the weekend to get a two-fer with a stop at Saturday Market.
- Hike Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge: Dog Mountain is a beast of a hike in the gorge, but nothing beats the views and satisfaction when you reach the top.
- Ride the Bridge Pedal: One of the classic Portland races that allows you to bike over all the bridges in the city. You can chose between 6, 8 and 10 bridge routes. It’s so fun to kick the cars off the freeways for a day and let the bikes take over.
- Pick berries and produce on Sauvie Island: There are also great farms in Clackamas, Washington and Yamhill counties, but my favorite spot is Sauvie Island where you can pick raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and peaches as well as veggies and flowers.
- Hike the 4T Trail: An under appreciated but very cool loop that includes: train, trail, tram, & trolley. Take the train to the zoo, hike from the zoo to the OHSU tram, take the tram down to the south waterfront, then trolley back into downtown. Additional info and map here.
- Attend a Beer Festival: The Portland International Beer Festival is in June, Oregon Brewers Festival is in July, the Organic Beer Festival (this is my favorite because I love the location in Overlook Park) is in August and the Fresh Hop Festival is in September.
- Hit the rides at Oaks Park: Portland’s small but charming amusement park is open seasonally and includes carnival rides, a roller coaster, roller rink and putt-putt golf course. You get bonus points if you take advantage of the adjacent Spring Water Corridor Trail and ride your bike there.
- Alpine Slide: Head up to Mt. Hood where you can ride the chairlift up then toboggan down tracks on one of the ski hills. The alpine slide has been around for decades and there is a reason: it’s lots of fun!
- Float something: Most people like the Clackamas River, but Sandy River and Willamette are good options too. In July they also hold The Big Float on the Willamette River.
- Climb Mt. St. Helens: You have to plan way ahead for this one (meaning January or February) because you need a permit and permits sell out. As of this writing there are no permits available for the 2016 season until October, but if a pass happens to come your way, snag it. The hike is grueling, but how often can you say you conquered a volcano?
- Cool off in a Portland Fountain: There are 6 fountains around downtown that are made for wading and playing. Take an afternoon and enjoy them. You can find a walking tour map here.
- Drink a margarita on the water: The Island Cafe on Hayden Island is a classic spot but don’t forget about The Deck in NE Portland or the Puffin Cafe in Washougal.
- Go to a baseball game: There are now two minor league teams to see in the metro area. The Hillsboro Hops and the Portland Pickles! The Hops play from June thru September in a beautiful stadium near Hwy26 & Cornelius Pass Road and the Pickles play a shorter season at a new stadium at Lents Park.
- Spend a day a the beach: You could head for the coast but if you don’t have the gas money or time, stay in town. Check out Poet’s Beach right in downtown Portland, The Sandy River Delta, Sauvie Island’s Collins Beach (Be aware half of this beach is clothing optional) Kelly Point Park in North Portland or Cottonwood Beach in Washougal.
- Try kayaking or SUP: Rent boards and kayaks in Scappoose Bay, LaCamas Lake or on the waterfront or take a tour. I really enjoyed the trip around Ross Island with Portland Kayak Company.
- See a show outdoors: Free outdoor shows are all over the place this time of year. Movies in the park, free concerts, and Shakespeare. Plus, don’t miss the Top Down Rooftop Cinema in July and August, you have to pay admission but it’s a lovely way to spend an evening.
- Eat at a cart pod: As the city grows, the cart pods are slowly going away. Enjoy them while you still can. I like Cartopia, Tidbit, Mississippi Marketplace and Rose City Food Park as opposed to the downtown pods because there is seating.
- Ride the Springwater Corridor Trail: From SE Portland near the Tilikum Crossing you can catch the Springwater for 21 miles all the way to Boring, Oregon. But I suggest taking it just as far Sellwood, where you can stop for food or some fun at Oaks Park before returning back to the city.
- Swim in one of Portland’s Outdoor Pools: Portland Parks and Recreation has seven outdoor pools that are only open seasonally. Some are in classic buildings, other are modern complete with kiddie pools and lazy rivers.
I hope that keeps you busy. I know it’s going to keep me well into September.
Happy summer, Portland!