Things may have changed in Downtown Portland over the course of the past year with the Covid-19 pandemic, but one thing remains the same: the Portland Waterfront Loop–it’s also basically the Eastbank Esplanade Loop. We added on to the loop though, because there’s nothing like walking over Tilikum Crossing, a pedestrian/bike/public transit only bridge.
We may have had some passing clouds and a few sprinkles on the mid-winter day, but overall it felt warm, especially since it was a week after the biggest ice storm in ages. It’s a rare day in February when you get to see the yellow orb in the sky here in the Pacific Northwest!
If you aren’t from or live in the Portland area, it seems like the biggest concern about going into town is parking! Trust me, even those of us who have worked in town struggle with parking sometimes. For this 2.5-ish mile jaunt, I’d recommend parking over by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). There are a couple of small parking lots with free weekend parking. Alternatively, you can park at OMSI and pay their small fee, which goes to a GREAT cause. Second alternative (and rather Portland-y), take transit and bike your way around the loop and don’t even bring a car! We went with option number 1, and parked for free!
The beauty of the loop is that you can start it anywhere along the route. You can go clockwise or counter-clockwise, you can basically make it as long or as short as you want, since there are bridges up and down the corridor, and there are plenty of places to stop along the way for snacks, sitting, and people watching.
We took the clockwise route, starting down by OMSI, crossing the aforementioned Tilikum Crossing, coming up the west-side of the river, crossing back over on the Steel Bridge, and then coming down the Eastbank Esplanade back down to the OMSI-ish area. One of my favorite parts of walking down the east-side of the river is the view of downtown Portland.
Say what you will about how much it rains in the PNW, but there is nothing like a walk around the Portland Waterfront on a partly cloudy winter day! Perfection, if you ask me.
Happy Hiking, Friends!