Walking in Portland is one of the great pleasures of the city, particularly when the weather is lovely. But don’t rule out a walk when it’s raining — it can still be pretty fabulous, and you just need to target coffee shops, dessert stops, and bars along the way.
In some ways, walking Portland is even easier than biking in Portland, particularly when you stay in the central core. There are a few places where the crosswalk lights will only turn to walk if you hit the button (HIT THE BUTTON) or the pedestrian route is oddly inconvenient, but these are usually surmountable problems.
As you head further east (82nd & beyond) and further south, the city shifts to be a significant challenge for walkers, and you should be very careful with crossing the larger streets.
But sticking closer in, one possible way to head North to South is to follow the suggested bike routes. These actually work better on foot than on a bicycle in places, and there are lots of great places to stop for a break to sit, eat, or drink.
View North to South walk in a larger map
Did you know that we have a rhododendron garden right here in the city of Portland? I did not, although I was informed that I was hauled off to visit when I was a kid.
The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is located in SE Portland across the street from Reed College and in the same “super duper” block as the Eastmoreland Golf Course. It’s a city park!
We went on a Sunday during peak blooming (April), and there were lots of people wandering around with kids. Duck and goose feeding was popular, and any shy birds were most definitely scared off.
But we still saw Wood Ducks, a furry mammal, some sort of dove, redwing Blackbirds, and lots and lots of gorgeous flowers.
Weekend parking fills up, but there was an overflow lot to the east of the Garden at Reed College. There is a $4 entrance fee on Thursday through Sunday.
Now that’re feeling pretty good about some general guidelines for walking around Portland, let me suggest some favorite walks and resources.
Walks (with a food spin):
Portland is a walkers paradise. Whether you are visiting or live here, there is a very real possibility to get around central Portland without a car. While we’ve gotten a lot of coverage for our bicycle culture, walking is just as enjoyable and slow enough to make all sorts of fun discoveries.
Things to remember when walking around our fair city:
- On the Eastside (particularly around the Convention Center and Lloyd Center), you will need to push the “walk button” to get the walk signal to cross the street.
- At an intersection that does not have a crosswalk sign, you have the right to cross the street and have traffic stop for you. Give physical signals that you are planning to cross and not just hanging out on the street corner. Be careful on multi-lane roads and use common sense. If one lane stops for you (pretty common), be VERY sure the next lane has stopped before walking into it.
- Many great walking paths are also used by bicyclists and runners — be careful and keep a steady and predictable line if possible.
- Bicyclists can ride on the sidewalk, but hopefully aren’t riding too fast or too close to you. Help them get by you if you notice them coming by walking to the side. It’s safe to assume that if they are biking on the sidewalk, they are either newer cyclists and a little nervous or that riding in that street is particularly unsafe. Give them a friendly hello so they keep on riding their bikes instead of their cars!
Bridgetown Comedy Festival, y’all! It’s on! I went to a 10pm show last night on a work night and even made it work on time the next morning. Woot!
So, I’m in this highly disorganized pack of passholders staggering around together this weekend (I think there are currently 7 or so of us), but I have a couple of shows I’d like to see this weekend that I thought I would share with you, plus a couple of comics I find funny!
Iron Comic: Saturday at 5pm at the Hollywood Theater. It’s going to be good and funny.
Show # 2:
All Jane, No Dick: Sunday at 9pm at the Hawthorne Theater Lounge (tiny space)
Bagdad Closing Show: Sunday at 8pm.
Another way to go is to try to see certain performers. Here are a couple of out of town folks (figure we can see the locals later so sorry if you’re not local. You should go see the locals instead/as well):
- Moshe Kasher: dude can talk an excellent speed (and wear a hat with panache)
- Nato Green: smart political humor
- Tim Hammer: puns puns puns
- Kate Berlant: the embodiment my fake college thesis
- Seth Herzog: dude can dance and carry off an amazing outfit
You’re going to have to look them up on Bridgetown site ’cause I gotta work a bit more.
To cross on the Hawthorne Bridge, you’re going to get to travel with a lot of other Portlanders! Just like the Steel Bridge, this is a popular way for us to get to and from work, so if you’re tootling around be aware that folks may be moving quickly around you on their bicycles.
This bridge has fairly wide sidewalks on both sides, which then convert to bike lanes on the viaduct over inner SE Portland. The sidewalks will also be shared with the pedestrians, and you should plan on cycling on the side that is with the direction of traffic.
You can drop off the bridge just before the Eastside viaduct onto the Eastbank Esplanade (or cycle up to the bridge from the Esplanade) on these funny spiral sidewalks. Pedestrians will also use these, and you will need to merge at both the top and the bottom of the sidewalks. Don’t forget to get on the one that will be going with traffic in the direction you want to travel.
Hawthorne Bridge map
View Larger Map
So, you’re thinking about going for bicycle ride in Central Portland? Excellent! There are lots of bike lanes and multi-use paths to easily get from point A to point B.
One of the first questions when biking around central Portland is how to get across the river (assuming you need to). At this point, there are two bridges that are best suited to crossing on a bicycle, particularly if you are not a very assertive bicyclist: the Steel Bridge and the Hawthorne Bridge. In a year or so, we’ll have another bridge for alternative transportation just to the south of the Hawthorne Bridge.
The Steel Bridge has a multi-use path (MUP) on the lower deck. Be aware that there may be pedestrians and confused bicyclists who are not using this path as a high speed commute route (or conversely, be aware that there may be cyclists using this path as a high speed commute route).
From the west, you get onto this path from Waterfront Park, not from the on ramp. You’ll want to be by the water with the cherry trees.
From the east, you get onto the path from this funky turn off of the sidewalk on the west side of NE Lloyd. If you are riding west on NE Lloyd, you will need to get onto the sidewalk on the left around NE Grand or do a maneuver at NE Oregon and NE Lloyd to get left onto the path down the lower deck. However, there is more decent signage if you drop down on NE Multnomah heading west and then jog through the Rose Quarter transit center. Often you’re travelling with a bunch of bike traffic.
You can ride with traffic on the upper deck, but you do have to get up a fairly significant hill on either side. The sidewalk on the upper deck is extremely narrow, and while you can bike on it, you may run into pedestrians who are not inclined to yield to a bicycle. If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to deal with dropping onto the lower deck, you might consider biking with the cars.
Want to try another bridge? How about crossing on the Hawthorne Bridge?
Central Portland bridges:
View Larger Map
…that I’m particularly excited about! And I’m going into training this week so I can stay up past by normal lazy bedtime of 9:10pm.
Okay, no doubt I’m overwhelmed by all the fabulous, wonderful, delightful known and unknown shows that are coming in the Bridgetown Comedy Festival.
Today, I’m going to try to pick four shows (one a day) that I’m particularly excited about. And we’ll see if I make it to these particular shows.
- Thursday: Come Laugh with Us at 10pm (that’s going to be late night for me!) at the Bagdad because Moshe Kasher will be there. I am sorely torn by All Jane, No Dick (great fun separate festival) and the delightfully titled Don’t Get Bored of Us and Leave.
- Friday: DadBoner and Friends, You Guys at 9pm at Mt. Tabor Theater. Selected purely on the basis of a RAD name.
- Saturday: Iron Comic at 5pm at the Hollywood. This is a really fun format. You should come.
- Sunday: Hawthorne Lounge Early Show at 7pm. Not surprisingly, it is at the Hawthorne Lounge. I love the small venue shows — some of the best parts of this event.
A quick shout-out to our local Portland bakery, Grand Central Baking Company, which is a sort of local chain. There are seven of them in Portland (and a couple up in Seattle), and they also will be at our local farmers markets.
I tend to call them Grand Central Bakery, but after a little research today, I see that they are technically Grand Central Baking Company. And after a little more research, I’m reassured to see that the local shops are called a Grand Central Bakery. So I’m all good after all. Phew.
Our local bakery is in NE Irvington (more or less) has an impressively stable staff and is full of delicious treats: warm cinnamon rolls, tasty salami sandwiches, and fresh bread. Yum!
The Slabtown Grrrl Front Festival started yesterday (April 11) and goes through Sunday (April 14).
Looks like a lot of fun with Music and Comedy and Creativity. There may be more information on Facebook if you log into their fine service.