Visitors to Portland often think of Pioneer Courthouse Square (also known as Portland’s Living Room) as the famous square to visit, but there is another lovely open space just around the corner at SW Park and Taylor--Simon and Helen Director Park.
The granite-paved piazza is the size of one city block, and yet it contains numerous sources of beauty and entertainment. A portion of Director Park is covered by a glass ceiling lined with neon lights that glows beautifully and changes colors at night. There is a fountain for children to play in, and a giant chess board with huge pieces for the challenge of the year! Complete with plenty of tables, chairs and benches, Director Park is a delightful place to linger.
Director Park is also home to Elephants In the Park, a branch of Portland’s favorite deli chain, Flying Elephant’s Delicatessen. (The deli itself is adjacent to the park in the Fox Tower, but since the deli serves sandwiches, salads and hot items and Elephants In The Park serves burgers, fries, tater tots, ice cream and milkshakes, there is a purpose to having both so close together).
There are a variety of attractions and eateries in the vicinity. The Fox Tower cinema is directly next door, with the deli and RingSide Fish House in the building, as well. Pastini Pastaria, South Park Seafood and Tartberry Frozen Yogurt are in the area. The Paramount Hotel, home to Swank and Swine, a favorite “farm-to-table” restaurant, is also facing Director Park. You can easily walk to Shigezo (ramen and sushi), Picnic House (Pacific Northwest cuisine), Barlow (a Great Gatsby-themed bar) and The Heathman. Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Historical Society are a short distance away.
Director Park can be reserved for private events, and there is a line-up of entertainment and activities throughout the year (especially in the summer!) organized by Portland Parks and Recreation. Portland Lindy Exchange will get their swing on, much to the delight of viewers, Joy Now Arts Project will present their Marching Band & Circus Extravaganza and the Tai Chi flash mob will spontaneously create a revolution of relaxation. Director Park is also the site of noteworthy events on the larger scale Portland calendar of events, like Bastille Day and Feast Portland.
Director Park was named for and is dedicated to Simon and Helen Director, the grandparents of one of Portland’s most beloved philanthropists, art collector Jordan Schnitzer (son of Harold and Arlene Schnitzer, for whom the nearby concert hall was named). The lovely open space was created in their honor so that Portlanders and visitors alike could enjoy a beautiful place to rest, play, eat and connect with others.
Learn more about Director Park, its activities and events on the Portland Parks & Recreation website: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/52453