Where to Catch Big Fireworks Displays around Portland and Beyond This Fourth of July
Even if you're not feeling very patriotic at the moment, it can still be hard to imagine July without some bombs bursting in air—in a safe, controlled, not-starting-a-devastating-wildfire way. If you were hoping to dazzle the neighbors with your own show, you can't—at least not legally within Portland city limits.
For the second year in a row, Portland City Council has banned the sale and use of fireworks—including everything from roman candles to sparklers—in the city, citing climate change and the risk of wildfires for the decision, though parents of light-sleeping children and dog owners may be feeling heard, as well.
Fireworks are also banned in some other Oregon cities, including Bend and Cannon Beach, and in state parks, national forests, and beach areas, though still allowed in Salem and other areas of the state. Overall, Oregon does not allow any consumer firework that “flies into the air, explodes, or behaves in an uncontrollable and unpredictable manner” without a special permit from the state fire marshal, though smoke devices, sparklers, grounds spinners, and other ground-based fireworks are allowed in places that allow personal fireworks.
The sale and use of consumer fireworks has been outlawed in the city limits of Vancouver, Washington, since 2015, and this year the city has once again canceled its official July Fourth fireworks celebration in favor of an alternate summer festival. People can discharge fireworks on Independence Day in other parts of Clark County, and even during other days this week in some places, such as Yacolt.
If DIY'ing your pyrotechnics is probably off the table this year, at least there are plenty of permitted, professional shows to catch in Portland and elsewhere. Here are a few spots to get the glow (plus one laser light show).
Around the city & metro area
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival
The party’s back this weekend at downtown's Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The Waterfront Blues Festival celebrates its 35th anniversary with over a hundred live music performances on four stages, dancing, and a fireworks display at dusk, around 10 p.m.Tickets for the Waterfront Blues Festival vary in price, with day tickets at $40 and four day passes ranging from $105 to $1,450. You can still view the fireworks for free from a number of locations, including outside of the festival at Waterfront Park, Eastbank Esplanade, Mount Tabor, or near the International Rose Test Garden.
Oaks Amusement Park
A Fourth of July ticket package includes all-day access, from noon to midnight, to Oaks Park's rides and the first-come, first-served picnic grounds for viewing the fireworks show over the Willamette just north of the Sellwood Bridge. Tickets, which run $36 for anyone age 3 and older, must be purchased online in advance. (Fans of the Portland-shot 1989 film Breaking In will be sad to hear the roller rink is closed on the holiday.) Fireworks will begin at approximately 10 p.m. The show can also be viewed for free outside the park gate, too, from Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge or other spots along the river.
Catch the fireworks display after the Diamondback-affiliate minor league team faces the Eugene Emeralds at Ron Tonkin Field. Tickets begin at $7 for the 7:05 p.m. game, with fireworks to follow. If you have other plans on the Fourth, the Hops are also shooting off fireworks after their 7:05 p.m. meeting with the Emeralds on Friday, July 8, in honor of the birthday of the team's mascot, Barley T. Hop. Happy birthday, Barley, and may we note that it's somehow fitting that you share a birthday with Beck, Raffi, Kevin Bacon, and multiple Rockefellers.
Head to Foothills Park on the Willamette River in Lake Oswego for a free event with live music by cover band Oncore followed by a laser light display, plus food vendors and balloon twisting for the little ones. The event runs from 8 to 10:30 p.m.—check the website for parking information.
Out of Town
Monday night's fireworks display over the Columbia River—which the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce promises will be "positioned to provide the widest viewing angle possible so that people can watch from their homes on the hillside and spread out across the waterfront"—is scheduled to start around 10 p.m. and will cap a weekend of area festivities, including a 5k run and more fireworks Saturday, July 2, in Ilwaco, Washington, and a car show in Warrenton. Revelers are encouraged to come back to the waterfront on July 5 to help with cleanup.
Seaside's annual huge fireworks display over the ocean is back after two years off, starting around 10 p.m., with a parade earlier in the day at 10 a.m. Organizers note there are no tents allowed on the beach at Seaside, and that if you're lucky/unlucky enough to find parking on the oceanside of the Necanicum River, it might take you over an hour to get back to 101 in the post-show traffic.
Catch a parade in the morning, watch dachshund races in the afternoon, eat a Pronto Pup or three, buy sparklers for the city fundraiser and watch Rockaway Beach's gigantic sky show around 10 p.m.
Home to many a kite festival, Lincoln City is used to having its skies awash in color. The 10 p.m.-ish show over Siletz Bay follows a boat parade around Devils Lake at 4 p.m.
Claim your spot at Hood River Waterfront Park, or find a spot in town with a view for this 10 p.m. show in the Columbia River Gorge.