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Jonathan Stull | 07.01.2016

The Fourth of July is a time to gather friends and family together for that most American of pastimes: watching things explode. It may take some time for us to work out our proclivity for things that boom, and there’s no better place to reflect on human nature with a beer and a buddy than some windswept pinnacle or an inner-city, outdoor outpost with a view of the city skyline and the spectacle that occurs every year when we celebrate our independence from tyranny. We Americans take our independence very seriously, and the West’s biggest cities are no exception. Here are some of the best places to relax and catch the show.

There are three main fireworks displays in Portland. The shows at Waterfront Park in downtown Portland are fixtures, and in years past, Independence Day at Fort Vancouver has been billed as one of the biggest fireworks displays west of the Mississippi.

  • The West Hills of Portland are ideal for viewing fireworks on the Waterfront. Without a doubt, one of the highest points and clearest views of downtown Portland is at Pittock Mansion. Council Crest offers an alternative viewpoint, though the foliage may obstruct views in places.
  • The Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is the best near-in spots to check out the show. Prepare for crowds!
  • Washington Park, including areas near the International Rose Test Garden, may also harbor some viewpoints with a southerly angle toward the show.
  • Terwilliger Boulevard and the campus around OHSU is sure to have some spectacular viewpoints, and they are especially close to the action.
  • Sellwood Riverfront Park offers northerly views of the cityscape, and situated in between downtown Portland and Oaks Park, may offer a view of the Oaks Park show as well.
  • Higher vantage points a little farther out include Mount Tabor and Joseph Wood Hill Park on the east side and Council Crest on the west side.


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