Portland may have you fooled as a city full of hipsters, but Oregonians love the 4th of July — and fireworks — just as much as any other red-blooded American state. So if you happen to be in Portland in July for Independence Day, here’s where to get your fireworks fix.
Fireworks in Portland
Waterfront Blues Festival
Oregon’s biggest fireworks show is on the first day of the Waterfront Blues Festival this year, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River. The show starts at 10pm.
Price: $10 suggested donation, plus 2 cans of nonperishable food
Tip: You can see the fireworks from just about anywhere in close-in Portland: downtown, east side of the river, west side, and south waterfront.
South on the Willamette in Sellwood, is Oaks Park’s annual fireworks show. Viewable from Sellwood, SE Portland and Willamette Park on the west side of the river.
Price: $5 (15 and under: $2)
Tip: Also viewable from the west side of the river in Willamette Park and a partial view of both Waterfront & Oaks Park can be found in the South Waterfront neighborhood.
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Technically not in Portland, Fort Vancouver, which is Portland’s closest National Park, across the Columbia River, is historically (nudge nudge) the biggest fireworks show in the Portland area. The holiday festivities begin in the morning, with the fireworks show starting at 10:05pm over Pearson Field.
Price: $5 advance, $7 at the gate (12 and under: free)
Tip: Fireworks can be seen from the Oregon side of the Columbia River too, so try Marine Drive.
If you want to avoid driving to check out the fireworks, TriMet usually adds extra MAX service on the 4th.
Photo by: Skimchee. Updated for 2012.
Miguel invited me out to some 4th of July festivities on Friday evening. We cruised down to the Blues Fest for a few hours, then over to a party at R-West (it was on the roof across the river from downtown, a superb place to watch the fireworks.
The Blues Fest was a massive city party with Beer Vendors and live music. Some highlights included, Sunny weather, kicking blues tunes, Miller Lite Draft, Fire Dancers, and general happy attitude among the revelers.
After a quick walk across the Howthorne Bridge we were among the 1st few to arrive at the R-west party…R-West is an Advertising Agency in Portland and most of the folks there were either employeed in the Portland’s Ad Industry or family of. It was an interesting scene and the folks I spoke with were friendly.
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The beer and Sangria were flowing and folks (including myself) were getting well wasted. I felt myself getting a bit tipsy so I switched to the Ginger Beer (was drinking PBR) that R-West also generously provided to sober up a bit. As it ususally goes with parties like this…you remember people that you met and learn from their stories and lives…a few folks I met were.
Oscar: He is 6 years old, had a Sony playstation hat on, and a big smile. For a time, I was sitting down with my Ginger beer, he was walking in circles singing “My Darling Clementine” and people loved it. He was charismatic and despite it being a mostly adult party, he had lots of fun. Our game of “Gimme Five, Up High, down low, too slow” kept us both entertained for about 20 minutes.
Celeste: She is starting a hair Salon for men – “HairM – Grooming for the Urban King” – Grooming services -plus free beer and wine, satellite TV at each station, and wireless Internet….we talked about her business/plans and I got amped while listening to her share her start-up plans (August 2003). Here is HairM’s website. Celeste is smart, saavy, and attractive. A killer combination and I reckon her business it going to do well. I’ll have to split my haircuts between Leon’s Barbershop and HairM….I wonder if she has a daily access plan…I could forward the office phone to my cell and drink the beer while utilizing the Wi-Fi and get my goatee trimmed everyday…. Strangely tempting….
Mark Radcliffe: I met this bloke a few weeks ago…but I saw him again and he is leaving wednesday for the Tour de France. He plans on riding his bike along most parts of the race. He will be publishing a travelog about it. The day of the party, he did a several hour training run up Mt. Hood. This type of training had him develop legs of steel and lose 25 pounds (forget these gimmick diets folks, start exercising!). I suspect his travelog will be compelling.