Particularly Portland Playgrounds: 10 of the Best Places to Play

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Your family probably has a favorite neighborhood park within walking distance of your home, but Portland also has hundreds of unique places to play. Here are TEN local playgrounds that are totally worth packing a picnic and taking a trip out of your neighborhood to explore. Why not see if you can hit every one this month?

Northwest

  1. Bethany Creek Park (NW Delia St.)
    This newly-opened park features structures for climbing, spinning, and sliding. Nearby picnic tables give parents and caregivers a place to sit while they watch their kids playing. Part of an effort to prevent soil erosion in the rapidly developing Bethany area, the playground is surrounded by natural areas full of trees and walking trails. Nearby parking and restrooms.
  2. Pirate Park (NW Energia St.)
    It’s ships ahoy at this pirate-themed paradise. Kids can face off in opposing pirate ships and roll down grassy hills under metal palm trees, without having to worry about walking the plank. There’s even a sandbox and a periscope for your nautical kiddo. Street parking, a bit of a walk, and a port-a-potty restroom.playgrounds

Southwest

  1. Spring Garden Park (SW Spring Garden St.)
    Opened in the summer of 2018, Spring Garden Park is one of the newest nature-based playgrounds in Portland. Stroll on paths winding through wildflowers, hang out in “The Nest,” a huge ball made of bamboo, and cool off on the splash pad during the summer. Street parking and on-site restrooms.
  2. Marshall Park (SW 12th)
    Stepping into Marshall Park feels like walking into a fairy tale. A moss-covered stone bridge straddles a babbling creek under a canopy of tall evergreens. With a small climbing structure, a leaf-shaped swing, and meandering walking trails, you’ll forget that the center of the city is just a few miles away. Nearby parking, but no restrooms.

North/Northeast

  1. Harper’s Playground at Arbor Lodge Park (N Delaware St.)
    This space is designed around the idea of “more play for more people.” The park features soft rubber surfaces, paved concrete paths, and play structures that are accessible for kids of all ages and abilities (as well as adults). Water features, swings, and percussion instruments make for hours of play. Street parking and on-site restrooms.
  2. K’hunamowkst Park (NE Alberta St.)
    This park’s name comes from the Chinook word for “together.” It blends traditional playground features like slides and climbing structures with nature-based play.  Kids can scale boulders, skateboard in the “skate dot,” and play with rain water in the rain garden. Street parking with nearby restrooms.

west portland playground

Southeast

  1. Sellwood Park (SE 7th)
    Shaded by a stand of old trees, Sellwood Park feels like a flashback to playgrounds gone by. With a tall metal slide and traditional chain swings, this park proves that you don’t have to be fancy to be fun. Bring your little one’s bike or scooter to explore the trails around the park and near the riverfront. Street parking with nearby restrooms.
  2. Westmoreland Nature Park (SE McLoughlin Ave.)
    This park was reopened in 2014 with the goal of helping kids develop an appreciation of the environment. Featuring boulders to climb, sprawling sandboxes, and ponds populated by ducks and other water birds, this park fulfills its mission. Even though there are usually many families there, it is spread out enough that it doesn’t usually feel crowded.  Street parking with nearby restrooms.

Downtown

  1. South Park Blocks Playground (PSU Campus)
    If you’re looking for a place to let your kids get their wiggles out before or after your visit to the Saturday Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland, just look south. Located on the Portland State University Campus, this playground has slides, climbing features, and room to run. Paid parking and restrooms in campus buildings.
  2. Washington Park Playground (SW Park Place in Washington Park)
    This playground is fun for all ages. Situated beneath the trees in Washington Park, the play structure even has a tree growing right through the middle of it. There’s also a huge sandbox. Pair a visit to this park with a trip to the Oregon Zoo, the Forest Discovery Museum, the International Rose Test Garden, or the Portland Children’s Museum. Limited parking nearby, paid parking in the main parking lot, and nearby restrooms.

What are your favorite Portland Playgrounds? Leave them in the comments!

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Aside from being a writer, Kendra is a Birth Trauma Doula at KarysMa Birth, where she helps moms find their joy after birth trauma. A former middle school English and theatre teacher, she has an insatiable love for learning and a flair for the dramatic. Among the best moments of her life, she counts marrying her husband Steve during a dream rainbow wedding, planning a princess picnic on the beach with her eight year old daughter Karys, giving birth to her one year old daughter Saryn in the middle of a blizzard, and sitting on stage with Glennon Doyle. A Navy brat for the first 13 years of her life, Kendra settled in Virginia for eighteen years before she was finally ready to move again, relocating to Portland in 2014. You can find her work on Portland Moms Blog, The La Leche League Blog, and The Not Your Average Mom Project, as well as the hard drive of her computer.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Sellwood Park has to be part of this list. Large with room for summer swimming, two baseball fields and easy access to the Oaks bottoms trails this park has connections everything that makes me love Portland. You could walk to the river and a small dock, or Oaks Park, and a little further to the library and shops on SE 14th. The play area is gated from the street and feel this keeps teens from taking over the area as van happen at small playgrounds.

  2. I’ve heard about this amazing Park called “Pirate Ship Park” or the Bethany Meadow Park Hillsboro near the Claremont Golf Course! Apparently it has a giant pirate ship that littles can climb all over!

  3. Michael, I guess I need to brush up on my PNW ornithology! Lana, I haven’t been to Sellwood Park, but I’ll put it on my list of places to visit. Amanda,Pirate Ship Park is definitely on our list of places to visit!

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