Outdoor party venues in Portland, OR?
June 8, 2015 2:12 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I are beginning to plan a 10th anniversary party for next summer, ideally in or very near our home in Portland, and I'd love some venue suggestions.

Our "wedding" was five friends, us, and our baby in our living room. We went out for sushi and ice cream afterward. (On top of which, we celebrate our togetherness anniversary, not our wedding anniversary.) We've never planned a big, community party before! This is daunting, but we want to do it!

I've looked at picnic area rentals at Oxbow Regional Park and Silver Falls State Park, but I'd love some other suggestions. We want to have a nice meal, some celebratory desserts and adult beverages, and spend the day with a crowd of people we love, playing and hanging out. We're looking at 60-75 people.

Our ideal venue would be:
- outside, with plenty of opportunities for playing physical games, maybe river access, but also shade and places to sit and chat.
- casual
- kid-friendly
- accessible (some attendees will be in their 80s, some will need physical accommodation)
- within an hour of Portland (no overnight traveling -- some folks will already be coming in from out of town)
- allow alcohol
- allow outside vendors if we decide not to self-cater/do a potluck

There won't be any kind of ceremony, and while there may be ambient music, I don't expect dancing.
posted by linettasky to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
It's a little more than an hour from Portland, but you may want to check out Camp Wilkerson. The last time we camped there, a wedding was taking place and seemed to meet your requirements (allow alcohol, outside vendor, etc.). It's also beautiful, peaceful, and completely in the middle of nowhere.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:38 PM on June 8, 2015

Pier Park is right in the city, in North Portland. If you rent picnic site A or B (or both, if it's a big group), it ticks all your boxes except river access and allowing outside vendors.
posted by pdb at 3:49 PM on June 8, 2015

You'd have to check on what's allowed, and if it otherwise fits your requirements, but a couple of my friends got married at Cathedral Park. (They had the reception in their backyard so I have no comments on its suitability for the party part, but it was very convenient for a small ceremony.) It's gorgeous and its church-like architecture but beautiful outdoor location made it a lovely untraditional wedding venue--perhaps you would enjoy it as an untraditional anniversary party location!

These are not my friends but they used a very similar setup to ours, to help you visualize it.
posted by spelunkingplato at 5:22 PM on June 8, 2015

Sorry, missed your lack-of-ceremony bit. It's still a beautiful park, though.
posted by spelunkingplato at 5:28 PM on June 8, 2015

I think Portland Parks are a great solution - they're BYOB, and you can bring in any caterer or food you want. You'll have to see which parks have reservable picnic sites. Narrow down your choices, and then do some driving around to see which ones you like best. They're all different. Mt. Scott and Columbia Parks are nice and wooded. Cathedral Park, right under the St. Johns Bridge is beautiful, and on the river too. Sellwood Park might also get you close to the water. Willamette Park might also work for you.

There's also the lakehouse at Blue Lake Park, run by Metro.

Or if your budget is higher-end, you can rent out the outdoor patio at many places. My choice would be Departure - amazing city views.

Multiple McMenamins offer outdoor party areas as well. I've been to multiple weddings at a few different locations, and they've been great. Bonus - there's hotels built into some of them.

Or search around the Bravo event guide for more ideas.
posted by hydra77 at 9:42 PM on June 8, 2015

nthing Camp Wilkerson, which is but 6 miles up the road from our place! So about 70-ish minutes of easy driving from Portland.
posted by MonsieurBon at 12:24 PM on June 9, 2015

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