Waterfront Park view. Bo Koering/PSU Vanguard

Outdoor date spots

As spring finally approaches in Portland, it’s time to start thinking about local spots to heat things up for a cute and memorable spring date with friends, a significant other or even that special someone you’ve been eyeing through the cold winter.


Located on SE Hawthorne, this collection of food carts has something for everyone. The lot consists of a variety of food carts with outdoor seating and cute string lights. With choices ranging from Mediterranean to beer to dessert, there is truly something for every dietary want and need. Bonus points—at night, the fire pits light up, increasing the cozy factor.

Council Crest Park

Council Crest Park starts with a 1.7 mile-hike and ends in a beautiful view of Portland. For those looking for an exciting way to spend the day, the park is a great space to stretch out and have a picnic while looking down below to the city, as Council Crest is over a thousand feet above sea level. According to one reviewer, on a particularly clear day, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Jefferson are all visible from the top of Council Crest.

Portland Japanese Garden

This Portland favorite only gets more beautiful in the spring. The green paths of the garden are a great way to experience the beautiful spring in Portland while also learning about the traditions of Japanese gardens. The garden is composed of eight different garden spaces, each demonstrating a style of Japanese gardening along with various art exhibits inspired or made by Japanese artists. 

Tom McCall Waterfront Park 

Located a quick walk away from the Portland State campus, the waterfront can be a picturesque way to spend an afternoon with someone special. Grabbing Biketown bikes (90 minutes free per day as a PSU student!) can be a great way to enjoy the scenic Willamette River while getting some exercise. The park is also a great place to grab food and a blanket to have a picnic.

Willamette River Cruise 

If you’re really trying to impress your date, splurging and taking a ride down the Willamette River is a great option. Check out the Portland Spirit for lunch and dinner cruises that depart from downtown. Passing under the famous Portland bridges, admiring the spring scenery and seeing the historic Milwaukie waterfront are all part of the trip, along with catered meals and live piano music.