Portland’s South Park Blocks occupy the heart of downtown SW Portland.
PSU is our urban university which frames the upper blocks of the park and all that happens there. Festivals, protests, farmers markets all take place in this expanse of green. The lower South Park Blocks are lined by concert halls, museums and residential buildings. Think about how amazing it must be to wake up in the morning to see this little pocket of urban green outside your window!
Conceived in 1852 the South Park Blocks are 12 blocks long and one block wide. Each block features benches to relax on and public art to view while doing so.
Some of the South Park Blocks must see sights
- Shemanski Fountain – sandstone and bronze fountain installed in the mid-to-late 1920s to honor Portland Polish immigrant Joseph Shemanski. The statue is also know as “Rebecca at the Well” due to the statue of biblical Rebecca at its center. In addition to human drinking spots there is also a little dog dish below! One of Portland’s more interesting drinking fountains.
- Portland State University – founded in the 1940s and given official university status in 1964 PSU has over 28,000 students enrolled in its programs. Lining the upper blocks of the park are the main buildings of Portland State University’s campus.
- Arlene Schintzer Concert Hall – Portland’s Broadway Street, in earlier years, was once lined with theater venues. This concert hall is the last hold out of that time. Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Youth Philharmonic and the Oregon Symphony all call “the Schnitz” home. Arlene Schnitzer is a great patron of the arts and walking around Portland you will see her name on many buildings, among them the new Pacific Northwest College of Art campus on Glisan in NW Portland.
- Abraham Lincoln Statue and The Theodore Roosevelt “Rough Rider” Statue – placed close together (on block apart) these statues memorialize presidents past.
- Millar University Library – with over a million volumes this is a great stop to make if you need some quiet introspective down time; always something we underestimate our need for when traveling!
- Oregon Historical Society – with a photo-realistic mural facade this building really stands out! The Oregon Historical Society is one of the only museums open on a Monday! Beginning shortly before the beginning of the 1900s the organization has spent over 100 years tracking Oregon’s progress and history! Check it.
- Portland Art Museum – Portland’s resident art museum was established a few years before the Oregon Historical Society in the late 1800s, though it has only occupied its current location since the 1930s. It plays host to rotating exhibits, a local artist gallery and the NW Film Center.
Check out those or the extended list on the City’s website!