– For free and cheap stuff to do this weekend, please check out Aroundthesunblog or our Calendar tab: this weekend features the Elephant Garlic Festival in North Plains, ‘Celebrate Hillsboro‘ in downtown Hillsboro, the Central Library Block Party on Saturday, and McDonald’s Happy Meal 30th Birthday on Sunday at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
– Willamette Week’s new Cheap Skate for this week features free ice cream!, a free concert, happy hour at Lucy’s Table and more.
POTC SPOTLIGHT: LAURELHURST PARK
I grew up just a few blocks from Laurelhurst Park, spending my childhood by jumping my BMX bike off Devil’s Ditch and later honing my hoop skills on the basketball courts every day after the 3pm high school bell rang. For many of my schooling years, the park was my second home. That is, until I moved away to college and relocated years later to the west side. Only recently have I revisited my old stomping grounds and returned to one of the best parks in the Portland area.
Located roughly between SE 33rd & SE 39th streets and between SE Ankeny and SE Stark, this park is perfect for the active or the lazy in all of us.
For the active, you’ll find full court basketball and two single hoops, which usually include spirited competition from around the Portland area (just honor those foul calls fellas, and don’t argue, keep playing!). Close by are two tennis courts, volleyball net, children’s playground equipment (swings, teeter-totter, slide, merry-go-round, etc.), wading pool, a small community education building, a tennis-practice wall, and a wide open field perfect for soccer, ultimate Frisbee or just flying a kite. Cross over Oak Street into the main park, and find people jogging, biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, or playing horseshoes.
For the more relaxing state of mind and body, there are plenty of picnic tables for group gatherings, park benches for people-watching, secluded spots for napping, and wide open spaces for sun bathing, reading a book or tossing the football around. This is a park where people like to walk their dogs and families like to play; where you can watch the ducks and geese at the pond (but please don’t feed em’, as per the signs posted at the pond); where you can also catch a free neighborhood concert (upcoming August 15th & 22nd), have a barbecue or even a wedding. In short, this is a great place to go for an hour after work or a few hours on the weekend. Better yet, make it a full day by meandering the Laurelhurst neighborhood and admiring the houses, the architecture, and the many wonderful trees. Stroll five blocks south and you’ll find the funky shops along Belmont (and Wunderland’s Avalon!), go five blocks north and you’ll discover the shops and award-winning restaurants of Burnside clustered around 28th.
Truly one of the greatest aspects of living in Portland is the vision our city founders had for green spaces and public parks. Laurelhurst Park is certainly one of my favorites, but go forth and discover the other gems like Mt. Tabor, Washington Park, Peninsula Park and even the old downtown Park blocks or Waterfront Park. Chances are there is a park not too far from where you live just waiting to be discovered, or in my case, rediscovered. For more information on free concerts at Portland area parks, click here. Thanks for reading and for your support, now go seek out your park!