Originally published Spring 2020.
Portland is a city with many magical vistas – but squirrely kids often don’t want to sit and admire the view. Here are some of our favorite playgrounds that also offer lovely views — plus they are all pretty cool in their own way.
Luuwit View Park
This is a huge, futuristic park with climbing structures, a rock climbing wall, swings, skatepark — I could go on and on. Instead of a splash pad, there’s a misting pad, and kids can walk through to cool down. It’s lovely. When we visited, it was busy, but it’s so large that it didn’t feel crowded.
Luuwit View Park offers expansive views, including of Luuwit – the Native American name for iconic Mt. St. Helens.
This is a superstar park – it’s large, modern, colorful and accessible for all abilities. There’s also a cool artistic mosaic sundial. Plus there’s a parking lot and restrooms.
NE 127th and Fremont, Portland
Cully Park is another recently built playground in Portland, and boasts new equipment, a modern design, lots of green space, plus views of mountains (Mt. St Helens and Mt. Hood on a clear day) and airplanes taking off and landing at the airport.
This former landfill offers lots of covered seating, plus cool cafe-style chairs and tables. The kids loved the sandpit, the climbing structure and the modern-design Teeter Totter. Like many of Portland’s newest parks, this one includes accessible play areas and natural elements.
There’s a lookout spot off to the side of the park — and the top of the slide is another great place to check out the views. There’s a good-sized parking lot, and when we visited, two Portland Loo toilets.
NE 72nd Avenue and Killingsworth Street, Portland
Vancouver Waterfront Park
The new — and still developing — Vancouver Waterfront includes walking paths, restaurants, benches and a playground. The Grant Street Pier, jutting 90 feet out over the Columbia River, is a great look-out and selfie spot.
The playground is on the smaller side, but includes a climbing structure and some natural play elements, and plenty of spots to admire the beautiful view of the Columbia. There’s also an interactive water feature for splashing. Easy, but metered, parking and restrooms.
695 Waterfront Way, Vancouver
This park is great for kids who love to climb. It’s got rope ladders, circles to climb through and DNA-like twists. There is also a smaller section of the playground that younger kids might feel more comfortable with; that has a small platform and a slide.
This one offers lovely views in a quiet, restful spot. Also, the playground is at the edge of a nice little hill, good for rolling down – plus there are nearby walking paths if you want to do some exploring.
There are no bathrooms here, not even the portable kind. Easy street parking in a residential neighborhood.
SW 55th Avenue and Alfred Court, Portland
Synder Park, Sherwood
This large and scenic park sits upon a hill and offers a few playground areas to play as well as a sand pit. There’s also a cool climbing structure for older kids.
There’s a nice water feature (maybe more suited to younger ones), and picnic tables, paved trails, and lots of space. Panoramic territorial views go on and on.
There’s a parking lot and single stall bathrooms.
15365 SW Sunset Blvd., Sherwood
Commonwealth Lake Park
The view here is of a lovely man-made lake circled by trees and bushes (in the summer, there is an algae growth on the lake, as you can see in the picture). The view may not be as impressive as some of the others, and the play structures are not as large, but this is a fantastic park.
There are two playgrounds, one that overlooks the lake, and a second across the street in Foothills Park. You’ll see people playing, picnicking, running, bicycling and fishing. It’s also a good spot for spotting wildlife including ducks and geese, and birds like blue heron and green heron. Easy, free street parking in a residential area, and two portable toilets (currently closed due to Covid-19 precautions).
SW Foothill and SW Huntington Ave., Cedar Hills
Readers also recommend:
Altamont Park in Happy Valley
Canemah Children’s Park in Oregon City (overlooks the Willamette and is a short hike to the bluffs)
For even more outdoor fun, check out our Top 10 Portland-Area Destination Playgrounds.
- Ultimate Portland-Area Playground Guide - September 30, 2022
- Playgrounds with a View - July 10, 2022
- Free Cultural Passes from Portland-Area Libraries - December 27, 2021