Tennis, Swimming, and Golf
A number of Portland parks offer free tennis courts. Most convenient to visitors staying downtown are the courts near the Rose Gardens in Washington Park, while only a few minutes’ drive south are the courts at Gabriel Park, which are lighted for evening play.
On the east side of the Willamette River there are outdoor courts at Laurelhurst Park. The Portland Tennis Center (324 NE 12th Ave., 503/823-3189, www.pdx10s.com) offers both indoor and lighted outdoor courts; reservations are accepted three days in advance for indoor courts ($24 per court for 1.25-hour sessions).
The following Portland Parks public indoor pools are open year-round and are convenient to downtown: Dishman Center (77 NE Knott St., 503/823-3673), Buckman Pool (320 SE 16th Ave., 503/823-3668), Southwest Community Center and Pool (6820 SW 45th Ave., 503/823-2840), and the Metropolitan Learning Center (2033 NW Glisan St., 503/823-3671). In summer the outdoor pool at U. S. Grant Park (503/823-3674), near the corner of NE 33rd Avenue and US Grant Place, is a great place for hot kids.
Public beaches and swimming along the Willamette and Columbia Rivers are popular in summer. Sellwood Riverfront Park, at the east end of the Sellwood Bridge, is a good place for a picnic and a wade in the Willamette River; there’s also an outdoor pool.
Ten miles north of Portland, the beaches along the east side of Sauvie Island are also popular; they are reached from U.S. 30. Nude sunbathing becomes more the norm the further north you go.
If you’re headed up the Columbia River Gorge, Rooster Rock State Park (I-84 Exit 25) has three miles of sandy beaches on the Columbia River, with the easternmost beaches being clothing-optional.
For golfers, Portland has more publicly owned golf courses per capita than any other U.S. city. Two of these, Heron Lakes and Eastmoreland, are ranked by Golf Digest as among the top 75 public courses in the country; both are operated by Portland Parks and Recreation. Portland public course fees average around $25–40 for 18 holes.
Heron Lakes (3500 N. Victory Blvd., 503/289-1818, http://heronlakesgolf.com) is the premier public golf facility in Portland, with 36 holes (the Greenback and Great Blue courses), a grass driving range, and good short-game practice areas. The two courses offer varying challenges for different greens fees. The easier and shorter Greenback is good for beginners and moderate players, though it doesn’t drain as well. The more challenging—and costlier—Great Blue, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, is better manicured and drains better in wet weather.
Eastmoreland Golf Course (2425 SE Bybee Blvd., 503/775-2900, www.eastmorelandgolfcourse.com) is Oregon’s second-oldest course and one of the most beautiful. Located near Reed College in Southeast Portland, the mature and lengthy (6,529 yards) 18-hole course is lined with statuesque trees and gardens. Eastmoreland features a two-tier driving range, a pro shop, and full bar and restaurant facilities. The course was designed by former U.S. Amateur champion H. Chandler Egan, who later helped redesign Pebble Beach Golf Links in the early 1900s.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel