Plywerker's Guide: Best Parks in Portland

If you live in Portland, Oregon, you know that spring is trying with all its might to arrive. Daffodils! Crocuses! Occasional several-minute bursts of sunshine! And after a long winter, we’re all ready to welcome the season with open arms. We’re an outdoorsy bunch here in Portland, so we’re very excited to start enjoying the outdoors again. That’s why we’re putting that excited energy to use and naming some of the best parks in Portland.

Spring is the ultimate time to visit the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. If you enjoy pointing at things and saying “Ooooh, that’s pretty,” this is the place to go. They have an outstanding collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, and soon they’ll be in full bloom. It's a good place to do some outdoor photography (which you can later put on Plywerk). And if you’re looking for a place to take your mom this Mother’s Day, just follow the crowds and they will lead you here.

5803575346_a0529aecf3_b Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens will not disappoint. Be sure to visit in
the spring when it's in full bloom! Image by Wendy Cutler

The 140-acre Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic wetland just east of the Willamette River in Sellwood. If you like birds, grab some binoculars and get watching. The marshes of Oaks Bottom are a great place to find your feathered friends, including the great blue heron.

Forest Park is really the park of all parks in Portland. Located northwest of downtown, this forest in the city covers over 5,000 acres of land. Forest Park lets Portlanders get out of the city without actually getting out of the city. Go there for hiking, biking, dog walking, and bird watching. It’s got trails galore, plus it also hosts the Audubon Society Sanctuary and the historic Pittock Mansion. In short, Forest Park is your one-stop shop when friends from out of town visit.

8677518398_edd5afa2b7_b You'll find trilliums and other native flowers in Forest Park. Photo by www.55cascadia.org.

And I just can’t talk about parks in Portland without mentioning the most Portland-y park of them all. Mill Ends Park is the world’s smallest park. Only 24 inches in diameter, it’s easy to miss. But look for it in the median of Southwest Naito Parkway at Taylor Street. Also, a leprechaun named Patrick O’Toole is rumored to live there, so be careful where you step.

All of these parks are fabulous places to snaps some shots for you to Plywerk!

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