Your Destination Guide to Portland

Destination Guide Portland - Your Destination Guide to Portland, OR

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Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square
Pioneer Courthouse Square


Portland's foremost outdoor venue, Pioneer Courthouse Square, is fondly referred to as Portland's "living room"and plays host to more than 300 events annually. Situated in the heart of downtown Portland close to popular shopping and hotels, it's one of the city's main attractions. Events take place here year-round, including musical concerts, cultural festivals, political rallies and even a regular, live newscast.

Erected with the help of public funds, Pioneer Square celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009. The former site of the Portland Hotel was a parking structure before undergoing a stylish remodeling to the sea of reddish brown brick it dons today. Laden with laser-inscribed names, these bricks have been purchased for $100 each from city dwellers, a small price to pay for those who want their name permanently inscribed in Portland infamy.

Of the numerous, regularly-scheduled events here, Yoshida's Sand in the City and the Christmas Tree Lighting usually draw the most visitors. In July, Sand in the City attracts an array of family folk to watch the sand castle building contest. The child-like frenzy extends to professional artists who fervently compete, building monumental sand castles with 450 tons of imported sand. The day after Thanksgiving marks the lighting of the Christmas tree. Welcoming the December-long display is a night music festival celebrating the 75-foot, sparkling Blue Spruce.

With a large, semi-circle amphitheater design on its south side, you'll see a variety of people traipsing through the square, from business professionals having a quick drink at Starbucks to the local college kid doing some fancy footwork in a game of hacky sack. While lunching, don't forget to check out all the original art pieces like "Allow Me," a great photo op also referred to as Umbrella Man, the daily-changing Weather Machine located on the Square's northwest side, and the mileage signpost, a quirky poll listing distances to over nine of Portland's sister-cities and other geographical locations including Walden Pond and The Great Wall of China.

Attraction Information

  • Hours:
  • 5am to 10pm daily
  • Max Stop:
  • MAX Green Line, Yellow Line and Mall Shuttle to Pioneer Courthouse/SW 6th Ave
  • Contact:
  • Location: 701 SW 6th Avenue bordered by SW Morrison, SW Yamhill and SW Broadway
  • Phone: 503-223-1613
  • Website:
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