Portland’s Willamette Riverfront is home to a variety of activities—from paddle boarding and kayaking, to dining, hiking and listening to music. Whether you’re looking for ways to spend a sunny day outdoors, or you’re seeking shelter from a gray and rainy day, you’ll find an activity to suit your needs along the mighty Willamette. Here are a few of our favorite ways to hang out along the river.
Stand-Up Paddle boarding
We think stand up paddle boarding feels a little bit like walking on water. There’s freedom and magic in using your own two arms and legs to power across something as mighty as the Willamette River. Never tried it before? Check out Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center for board rentals and classes.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Located near Sellwood in Southeast Portland, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a 141-acre park centered on a floodplain on the banks of the Willamette River. Featuring a large, shallow lake, dense woodlands, and a hiking and biking corridor, Oaks Bottom is a verdant oasis in the heart of the city.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park opened in 1974 after the city agreed to remove the majority of Harbor Drive, a large freeway that intersected with Interstate 5. The park is most commonly used for jogging, walking, biking, picnicking and boat watching. It hosts epic Portland events like the Waterfront Blues Festival, Pride, the Rose Festival, and Bite of Oregon. On any given weekend in the summer, you’re bound to bump into fun along the waterfront.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
Gracing the banks of the Willamette River on the outskirts of East Portland, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is an interactive destination for all things science and technology. Boasting three auditoriums, a planetarium, and a series of exhibition halls, it is one of the nation’s leading science centers. We particularly love its Willamette River submarine exhibit.