Parking at a park in Portland
July 25, 2020 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Tomorrow I am getting rid of my car. Today, I would like to park somewhere in the Portland Metro area and enjoy a snack and a book for a few hours. I don’t really want to get out of the car, though. Where can I park to enjoy a nice view and not feel weird about doing it?

I’m in Vancouver (WA) so it’d be nice if there’s a good spot up here but I don’t mind driving since I have a full tank of gas and no reason not to use it. My only idea so far is the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge — I just feel like parking in one spot there for more than 30-45 minutes might be rude since it could be crowded and cars generally keep moving.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (7 answers total)
You could drive east through the Gorge along SR14 until you find a pullout with a good view, or just park in Stevenson and hang out by the river.
posted by monotreme at 12:12 PM on July 25, 2020

Best answer: The international rose test garden has lovely views in Portland proper but what you're really looking for is Vista House just east of Portland. It's literally a parking lot at the top of a hill with incredible scenery unrolling to the north, east, and west. No parking fee, no related tourist attraction to feel guilty about blocking, just a beautiful place unreachable without your own car.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 12:23 PM on July 25, 2020

Sadly, Vista House and the Columbia Gorge scenic highway are closed due to COVID-19.
posted by monotreme at 12:30 PM on July 25, 2020

Response by poster: Yeah, I should have mentioned that places like Vista House would be a no brainer but COVID limits my options. I hate driving, really, so I’m hoping to avoid driving somewhere just to find it closed because for (brain) Reasons I have a difficult time needing to find a new plan once one is set in my mind. It’s hard to find accurate info online about what’s open and what’s not right now, I’m leaning towards Ridgefield because they do say online that they’re open now.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:42 PM on July 25, 2020

Best answer: Chinook Landing Marine Park in Fairview, if you want river view?

Vista House, the parking lot is OPEN to view scenery.

Mt. Tabor's parking areas are open now, I think?

I have more suggestions, but they're between Cascade Locks/ Stevenson and The Dalles/Dallesport. If you might be willing to drive if it means you can visit giraffes and zebras and camels and maybe buffalo, Schreiner Farms in Dallesport/Murdock.
posted by stormyteal at 1:29 PM on July 25, 2020

How about Fort Vancouver?
posted by DixieBaby at 3:10 PM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ended up going to Vista House — if anyone is planning the same on the weekend, the main parking lot is closed; the lot that was open was full except for one or two spots in full sun, so I took in the views for a bit keeping as much distance from folks as I could and then headed the short distance to Portland Women’s Forum (State Park) which was less crowded. It was pleasant enough to sit in the car and read there for a bit despite many unmasked people, a drone, and loud motorcycles going in and out.

Thanks all! Will be considering the other suggestions for future weekends with my partner in her car, but it was nice to get out of the house today on my own!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 5:28 PM on July 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

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