Best Picnic Spots in Portland

A sunny park with a checkered blanket, wicker basket, and scattered food items. Trees and grass in the background, with a view of a city skyline
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Portland offers a plethora of scenic parks and natural areas where you can unwind and enjoy a day in the sun. These spots provide the perfect backdrop for your outdoor activities, combining Oregon’s admirable landscapes with the convenience of urban amenities. Your picnic in Portland can be as varied as the city itself, from bustling rose gardens to serene hilltops. Embrace the outdoors and experience nature’s tranquility as you explore some of the best picnic destinations that Portland has to offer.

Washington Park

Within Washington Park, you’re treated to an array of picnic spaces amid lush gardens and rolling lawns. Notable for its International Rose Test Garden, the park provides a fragrant backdrop perfect for enjoying a leisurely meal outdoors. Ample picnic tables and open spaces are available, allowing you to soak in the vibrance of the impeccably maintained gardens.

Should you desire a more active retreat, the park boasts several tennis courts for your enjoyment. Nearby, the Oregon Zoo and the Rose Garden Amphitheater offer fascinating attractions and occasional live performances, complementing your picnic experience with an opportunity to observe wildlife and immerse yourself in Portland’s rich cultural offerings.

Forest Park

A picnic blanket spread under tall trees, with a wicker basket, fruits, sandwiches, and a thermos. A serene lake in the background, surrounded by lush greenery

Offering an escape within the city, Forest Park is a verdant expanse where you can enjoy a variety of outdoor dining experiences amongst a backdrop of over 70 miles of hiking trails. Your picnic in this historical area can be complemented by the ambient sounds of local wildlife, as Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States.

Whether you’re seeking solitude or a running trail with scenic views, Forest Park’s extensive network of trails provides the perfect setting. Here, you can immerse yourself in nature’s embrace while still being close to the conveniences of urban life.

Laurelhurst Park

Nestled just north of Portland’s Belmont neighborhood, Laurelhurst Park offers a serene escape for your picnic needs. With a spacious central lawn, you can lay out your picnic blanket and bask in the picturesque setting. Enjoy watching ducks glide across the park’s tranquil lake as you dine al fresco.

This 31-acre green space isn’t just for picnics; it boasts amenities that cater to varied interests. Your kids can play in the well-equipped playground, while sports enthusiasts can engage in a game at the basketball court. Laurelhurst Park embodies a truly multifaceted picnic spot.

Mount Tabor Park

Mt. Tabor Park, situated atop an extinct volcanic cinder cone, offers a picturesque setting for picnics with Portland’s skyline as a backdrop. Picnic areas are plentiful, while breathtaking views of the Columbia River, West Hills, and city skyline await, particularly at sunset.

Sports enthusiasts can enjoy a game of basketball on the courts. And if you’re up for a stroll after your meal, the numerous walking paths provide panoramic views—perfect for catching a breath-taking sunset.

Cathedral Park

Your visit to Cathedral Park will be a family picnic to remember under the breathtaking expanse of the St. Johns Bridge. This gem in North Portland is not just about the grassy expanses and the pleasant shade of towering trees; it’s a locale rich in stunning views of wildflowers and the serene river.

The park features enough amenities for a perfect day out including a beach area. Whether you’re looking to spread a blanket on the grass or find a spot at a picnic table, you’ll have the added backdrop of the iconic bridge — an awe-inspiring testimony to the grandeur of Cathedral Park.

Peninsula Park

Step into Peninsula Park and be welcomed by the vibrant colors and sweet scents of the Peninsula Park Rose Garden. You are surrounded by a stunning collection of flowers that promise a feast for your senses. As you meander through the park, find well-maintained picnic tables perfect for an afternoon meal nestled amongst the greenery.

For the active visitor, the park offers tennis courts and a playground to enjoy. Whether you’re engaging in a friendly match or watching over kids at play, Peninsula Park serves as a delightful backdrop. Its location in the heart of the neighborhood invites visitors to explore the community’s character before retreating to their picnic spread under the Portland sky.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Nestled alongside the Willamette River, Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a prime location for outdoor activities. Your afternoons can be spent strolling along the extensive jogging path, or reveling in a multitude of outdoor events and festivals that frequent the area.

Adjacent to the lively Pearl District, this picturesque park is a stone-throw away from a variety of food carts, offering the perfect grab-and-go option for your picnic feast. Every Saturday Market invites you to immerse in local arts, crafts, and flavors, enriching your weekend leisure experience.

Hoyt Arboretum

At Hoyt Arboretum, you’re invited to immerse yourself in nature amidst a diverse collection of trees. Here, peaceful picnic spots are abundant, offering you the tranquility of a forest sanctuary within Portland’s city limits. Whether you’re interested in dog walking, bird watching, or a leisurely stroll, the Arboretum’s well-maintained trails are a perfect backdrop.

For a more adventurous day, a hike to Council Crest—the city’s highest point—is accessible from the Arboretum, where the rewards of your effort are panoramic vistas. The Arboretum preserves a living library of global flora making your picnic experience both educational and serene.

Sellwood Riverfront Park

At Sellwood Riverfront Park, you’re greeted by the serene backdrop of the Willamette River, ideal for a calming picnic. The park offers picnic tables for your convenience, ensuring a comfortable spot to enjoy your food. The green space, coupled with refreshing river breezes, makes for a perfect outdoor dining experience.

For the active picnicker, the park features a waterfront trail, great for biking or a leisurely stroll. Anglers can enjoy fishing in the river, while the dog-friendly among you can take advantage of the dog off-leash area. Nearby, the Oak Bottom Wildlife Refuge invites nature enthusiasts for a visual treat.

Powell Butte Nature Park

Visiting Powell Butte Nature Park, you will discover a serene setting atop an extinct cinder cone volcano. It’s well-known for its thriving habitats and panoramic views, where you can unwind amid 611 acres of meadows and forest.

You’ll find a network of trails fit for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. With a 0.6-mile paved universal access trail leading to the summit, you can easily reach the Mountain Finder and soak in the vistas.

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