The Willamette River, often hilariously mispronounced 'will-a-meaty' by visitors, is the dividing line between Portland's West side and East side. Portland has 7 bridges that span across the river. You can easily walk East across the Steel Bridge, meander down the East bank esplanade, and then walk West across the Morrison Bridge bringing you back full circle. The Willamette River is always in view, is great to gaze at, and is a beauty to capture in on film on a sunny day. Here are some other top choices for one to experience the Willamette River.
The Portland Sternwheeler tug boat, retired in 1981after maneuvering hundreds of boats & cargo under our vast number of bridges that cross the willamette, is now a museum. Tours go out every half-hour and even if you're not a maritime buff, you'll be captivated by what is shared during the tour.
Super fun, fast, wet and informative jetboat tours up and down the Willamette River. Adults and kids alike love this adventure. The ride is smooth, the guide/driver shares historical information and provides plenty of exhilarating 360 spins that has the entire boat squealing with delight. Boards right off the docks at OMSI. Dress warmly, weatherproof and a hood is better than a hat which will fly off your head once you hit top speeds.
Want to start your weekend off early, need an excuse- buy a ticket for the Friday Early Escape Cruise on the Portland Spirit. Sail down the willamette starting at 3pm while listening to local bands jam on deck. Check their website for bands scheduled.
A leisurely walk along the picturesque waterfront on a sunny ( and even not so sunny days) is a fantastic way to observe this city. 5 of the cities 7 bridges can be seen along this walk, a full spectrum of Portland people can be encountered and this is also home to many of the cities festivals such as the Shamrock run, Blues Fest, Rose Festival & many more.
A moonlight sail down the Willamette, with a bottle of wine and a blanket to cozy up under. It was a great experience and the captain was personable and shared interesting Portland factoids but did not over do it and dominate the moonlight sail with his rantings. It was lovely.
Kayak along the willamette from the docks in the River Place esplanade along Tom McCall waterfront park
Tour the waterfront on a dual chopper, a bike or rent a 4 person surrey and make it a family excursion. Soak up the sun, peddle across a bridge, coast down the esplanade and enjoy PDX via bike! Hour, 1/2day and full day rentals.
The perfect hotel for a stay-cation here in PDX. Rooms with balconies that over look the river. The hotel is a clean modern space that is comfortable and accommodating. Also a prime location for the many festivals that take place along Tom McCall Waterfront Park like the Blues Fest & Rose Festival.