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The 4th of July in Portland: 5 Places to Watch the Fireworks


Every summer, Independence Day fireworks (even of the illegal variety) fill the night sky over Portland. And while our Vancouver neighbors to the north in lay claim to the biggest display in the region, Stumptown holds its own with several impressive shows and innumerable neighborhood displays throughout the city.

If you haven’t yet made plans for the 4th of July in Portland, these ideas offer great inspiration for making the most of the summer holiday. They run the gamut from convenient and family-friendly to mildly-difficult-but-rewarding forest treks, but they all promise views of Portland’s innumerable firework displays, both large and small.

1. Oaks Park

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Oaks Park, noted for its popular roller skating rink, offers a family-friendly fireworks display at dusk. Chrismas w/a K

The family-friendly Fourth of July celebration takes place at Oaks Park, one of Portland’s best-known landmarks. The park’s all-American holiday fun starts early and includes mini golf, midway games, roller skating, rides, and (at dusk) the celebrated fireworks display.

2. Pittock Mansion

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Pittock Mansion offers picturesque views of Portland, making it an ideal place to watch the city's fireworks displays (for those willing to hike, of course). Ray Terrill

More than anything, the Pittock Mansion lawn affords visitors pristine views of dozens of less-than-legal fireworks throughout the city. Northeast, Southeast, and Northwest Portland are all visible from the mansion, making it a popular spot for enjoying the area’s various displays.

Insider Tip: Pittock Mansion’s gates close at 9 pm, and any remaining cars will be ticketed. Try parking at the Upper Macleay Trailhead and taking the Balch Creek Canyon trail (aided by flashlights, naturally) to enjoy the show. Round-trip, the well-maintained trail covers a little less than three miles (with about 400 feet in elevation gain), making it an ideal, doable trek. But be sure to wear bright clothing and bring flashlights for the return trip.

4. Veritable Quandary

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Veritable Quandary's outdoor dining area (and neighboring field) feel a world away from the hustle of downtown, making it a unique place to enjoy nearby fireworks. Tom Woodward

Reservations are recommended at Veritable Quandary, a mainstay on the Portland dining scene since 1971. The upscale menu is mouth-watering, but what sets VQ apart is its pristine location: The downtown Portland restaurant, not far from the banks of the Willamette River, offers outdoor seating and a luscious garden, helping the restaurant earn the nickname “Portland’s Dining Oasis.”

4. Mount Tabor

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Mount Tabor provides great views of downtown Portland, making it an ideal spot to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks. Joshin Yamada

Mount Tabor , towering over southeast Portland, hits just the right note for crowd-adverse fans by providing some of the best views of the Waterfront Blues Festival fireworks display.

Insider Tip: The park is closed to cars between 10 pm and 5 am. To access the park, either take public transit or park in the surrounding neighborhood, and find a viewpoint via one of the park’s many hiking or cycling trails. (Take care to wear bright, reflective clothing, and bring a flashlight, as well.)

5. Ross Island Bridge

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The Ross Island Bridge, just south of downtown Portland, is now obstructed by the Tilikum Crossing but still offers views of the Oaks Park and Waterfront Blues Festival fireworks displays. Greg Younger

This under-the-radar viewpoint offers some of the best views in the city. To the south, fans can enjoy the Oaks Park celebration in all its splendor; to the north, the Waterfront Blues Festival fireworks display isn’t far away. The bridge’s height over the Willamette River makes it an ideal spot for enjoying both displays at once.

Parts taken from an article written by Matt Wastradowski.

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