At the top of SW Council Crest Drive or Marquam trailhead on SW Terwilliger Boulevard
Sometimes, you want to feel like you earned that ham-and-brie sandwich. A three-mile hike up the Marquam Trail means climbing more than 1,000 feet to the West Side’s iconic promontory and its clear-day visual buffet of snowcapped Cascades peaks. Please, feel justified in packing that second pie slice. You’ll burn it off on the descent.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
SE 28th Avenue & Woodstock Boulevard
Not that these nine-plus acres of floral glory in deep Southeast aren’t worth the $3 admission charge, but … pack in dinner after 6 p.m., when entry is free. The tranquil ponds and lush landscaping evoke Japan; the occasional beaver sighting is all Oregon.
700 N Rosa Parks Way
Dining among roses is a simple act of Portland patriotism; following the crowd is not. So leave overtrafficked Washington Park to the masses and spread a blanket among the 65 varieties abloom in North Portland’s elegant formal garden. With a New Seasons six blocks west, stocking the basket shouldn’t be a problem.
At the west end of N Skidmore Court
This semi-renegade parkland mere blocks from popular sunset-peeping spot Overlook Park attracts throngs of youthful bohemians with its rustic atmosphere and staggering views. Bring your own ineffable cool; stop at nearby Mississippi Avenue’s Pastaworks for anything edible you might require.
House for Summer, Hoyt Arboretum
4000 SW Fairview Blvd
Far away from the busy parts of Washington Park is a fitting place for a pagan ritual, a make-out session, or just a great picnic: artist Helen Lessick’s public artwork House for Summer. Planted in 1987, it comprises 15 Himilayan birch trees trained into the shape of a house. Bring a stick to chase away the gnomes.
This article appeared in the August 2011 issue of Portland Monthly.