Staying Active with Kids: Family Walking Routes in Portland

Portland is the perfect place to stay active with your kids. However, if you’re planning on walking or jogging around town with a little one in tow, make sure you’re headed to a nice, stroller-friendly location. That means no giant hills, no crazy traffic and no trails that are better suited for a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Rose City routes worth checking out

Laurelhurst Park – Located in the lovely Laurelhurst neighborhood, this 31-acre forested area sits just west of SE 39th Avenue and north of SE Stark Street. One loop around its perimeter clocks in at just under a mile. For added distance, there are tons of paved and unpaved trails to explore once inside the park. With duck-filled ponds, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog spots and plenty of picnic areas, Laurelhurst Park is perfectly designed for stroller-pushing parents and kids alike.

Northwest 23rd Avenue – If you’re looking for a more urban stroll, visit this quaint strip of restaurants, bars and boutiques, which was named “One of America’s Best Shopping Streets” by U.S. News & World Report. Start at Thurman or Burnside Street, walk down 23rd Avenue until you’re totally shopped out, and then head back on the opposite side of the road. Or, if your feet are tired and you need a quick pick-me-up, stop two blocks down at Ken’s Artisan Bakery on 21st Avenue and Flanders Street.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Nothing serves as a better backdrop for your walk or jog than the Willamette River and all of Portland’s beautiful bridges. This expansive, 30-acre city park includes a paved, pancake-flat path that lines both the east and west sides of the river, from the Steel Bridge down past the Hawthorne Bridge. You can either cruise along the Willamette on one side, or complete a 3-mile bridge-to-bridge loop. If you want to make it longer, tackle the east side’s Springwater Corridor.

Grant Park – President Ulysses S. Grant isn’t the only famous person honored within these roughly 20 green acres. Author (and Portland native) Beverly Cleary also has a sculpture garden, where you’ll find life-sized statues dedicated to her most popular children’s book characters — Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Henry’s dog, Ribsy. Located at NE 33rd Avenue and Grant Place, this park features paved paths, a track and plenty of other amenities, including basketball and tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, picnic areas and a pool.

Lindsey Emery

Lindsey Emery is a Portland-based health and fitness writer. Prior to her move to the Pacific Northwest, Lindsey was the senior fitness editor at Fitness magazine. A graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lindsey spends most of her downtime running, biking, hiking and baking. She lives in southeast PDX with her husband, Eddy, and their cat, Reggie. You can find her online at www.lindseyemery.com or on twitter @FITNESSlindsey

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