South Park Blocks
This stretch of the downtown area came to fruition in 1852, when its land was donated for public use by Daniel H. Lownsdale and William W. Chapman. The park became the first officially-designated greenspace in Portland.
Today, the park runs on Park Avenue, bisecting the street into one-way lanes and creating a green space in the middle. You can stroll here to see the plentiful public art—you'll find a different work on each block—and spot monuments honoring important American figures. If you're adding South Park Blocks to a wider itinerary exploring Portland, you can make several stops in a day if you book a hop-on hop-off bus tour. You can also learn more as you explore with a small-group walking tour or bike tour.
Things to know before you go
- Foodies should visit the farmers' market here, located between SW College and Montgomery.
- You pass several historic churches on South Park Blocks, including the gothic-style First Congregational United and gothic revival St. James Lutheran Church.
- Don't miss the art, including the park's monuments depicting Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
How to get there
Though hop-on hop-off tours and some private sightseeing excursions visit this stretch of Park Avenue, independent travelers can easily take public transit. Hop on the Portland Streetcar A Loop or NS Line to the SW Park & Mill stop. You can also take the B Line and disembark at SW Park & Market.
When to get there
You should add the park to your downtown itinerary, and stop by as a break between other activities. To visit the farmers’ market, visit on Saturdays—rain or shine—or stop by in the evening before a concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Expect warmer weather over the summer months, and more rain and chilly weather in winter.
Visiting the Portland Art Museum
Along the stretch of South Park Blocks, you can find the Portland Art Museum. Break on your walk along SW Park Avenue to check out the galleries here. In the 50,000-piece permanent collection, you can find American Indian art objects alongside decorative arts, graphic arts, and more. The museum is typically open Tuesday through Sunday—look out for free entry offers on the first Thursday of the month.
- Powell’s City of Books
- Portland Steel Bridge
- Portland Pearl District
- Pioneer Square
- Portland Chinatown
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
- Portland Art Museum
- International Rose Test Garden
- Portland Japanese Garden
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
- Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC)
- Pittock Mansion
- Hoyt Arboretum
- North Mississippi Avenue
- Oregon Zoo