Downtown Portland centers around Pioneer Courthouse Square, a lively central public meeting place. The Square is the most visited site in Portland and hosts more than 300 events a year such as political rallies, festivals, and concerts. Pioneer Square features an amphitheater, a central waterfall fountain, and handmade bronze tiles that depict Portland’s history. The more than 68,000 named bricks that pave the surface of the Square were purchased by local citizens and businesses.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is another center of activity in Downtown Portland. The green park blocks run the length of the downtown area along the Willamette River. Much of the fun can be found around the Salmon Street Fountain where children love to play in the summertime. Portland’s largest outdoor festivals are held at Waterfront Park. The wide concrete walkway that winds through the park and along the river is usually crowded with people strolling, on bicycles or rollerblades.
The downtown area has many decorative fountains, with a large percentage of the fountains using recycled water. Among the unique features in downtown Portland are the bronze four-bowl fresh-water drinking fountains known as Benson Bubblers. They were commissioned by Simon Benson in 1912 as a way to give fresh drinking water to the workers of the city.
Downtown Portland has a vibrant arts community which includes the Portland Art Museum, the internationally-known Oregon Symphony, and the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall, as well as many art galleries and museums. Outdoor art displays and statues, often whimsical, can be found all around downtown. A bronze statue in Pioneer Square named “Allow Me” (often called Umbrella Man) offers his umbrella to anyone strolling by. Portlandia, a copper statue made by Ramond Kasky kneels over the entrance to The Portland Building and is second only in size to the Statue of Liberty.