Cycle Portland, Sightseeing Ride, Public Art Ride

Loop around the city to experience the beauty and culture of Portland through the lens of public art installations. Do not judge this route strictly on distance or elevation. The challenge of this bike ride is in seeking out art in our midst. There are many, many examples of public outdoor art in Portland and this short bike ride is a quick introduction to just a few.

Terrain

Smooth, paved, urban streets with bike lanes and bike/ pedestrian paths. One short section of on-street train tracks.

Traffic

Urban traffic on streets. Bridge crossings made safer with bike-designated paths.

Access

By car, from Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, travel north on SW Sixth Avenue. This road will put you directly in front of Union Station where the ride begins. On-street parking.

By public transportation, take the TriMet MAX Green line toward Clackamas Town Center to the corner of NW Sixth Avenue and NW Hoyt Street. Easily accessible by foot from Pioneer Courthouse Square by walking down SW Sixth Avenue (becomes NW Sixth Avenue after crossing Burnside Street).

Food and Drink

Readily available at copious places along the ride.

Side Trip

Do the Public Art Walking Tour in downtown Portland, visit the Portland Art Museum, the Museum of Art and Craft. Monthly art-centered events include First Thursday in the Pearl District and Last Thursday in the Alberta Arts District.

 

More Details

Begin at Union Station and bike ride the short distance to Jamison Square. Here you’ll find “Tikitotemoniki Totems” along NW 11th Avenue. Artist Kenny Scharf built these 30-foot totems to show that art should be fun. The next stop is SW 13th Avenue just after crossing Burnside Street. The “People’s Bike Library of Portland,” a wonderful collection of bicycles locked around a pole and topped with a small golden bicycle.

This sculpture was erected by artists Brian Borrello and Vanessa Renwick in collaboration with Zoobomb , and is a celebration of Portland’s bike culture. Travel up the SW 13th Avenue hill and find the Outside In building mural that was created by Debra Beers in collaboration with homeless youth. Continue through downtown Portland along SW Madison Street and stop for a peek at “Portlandia” perched above the entrance of the Portland Building on SW Fifth Avenue.

This, the second largest copper statue in the United States (after the Statue of Liberty), was created by Raymond Kaskey in 1985. After crossing the Hawthorne Bridge, where you’ll bike ride on the sidewalk, stop at the Multnomah County Building to appreciate the bronze sculpture by Wayne Chabre titled “Connections.” Being located in a heavily travelled area of town, this art installation is often overlooked and deserves a closer view. The Franz Bakery spinning loaf of bread is an example of commercial kitsch on NW 12th Avenue, which you will pass on your way to the Rose Quarter. Here you’ll find “The Little Prince,” an enormous crown in front of the Rose Garden Arena by Ilan Averbuch.

After returning to the west side via the Steel Bridge you’ll encounter “Friendship Circle” by Lee Kelly and Michael Stirling which commemorates the friendship between Portland and our sister city, Sapporo, Japan. Continue along the Waterfront Bike Trail and ride through the Old Town section past Chinatown streets on your way back to Union Station. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin at Union Station and turn left on NW Irving St.
  • 0.1 Right on NW Fifth Ave.
  • 0.2 Right on NW Glison St.
  • 0.38 Right on NW Park St.
  • 0.4 Left on NW Hoyt St then right on NW Ninth Ave.
  • 0.57 Left on NW Johnson St past Jamison Square.
  • 0.76 Left on NW 13th Ave, cross Burnside St and continue up SW 13th Ave.
  • 1.67 Left onto SW Columbia St.
  • 1.9 Left on SW Park St, also known as the South Park Blocks.
  • 2.0 Right on SW Madison St and cross the Hawthorne Bridge.
  • 2.8 Continue straight on SE Hawthorne Blvd.
  • 3.47 Left onto SE 12th Ave. Make a box turn at the traffic light to turn left.
  • 4.66 Left at traffic light onto NE Lloyd Blvd.
  • 4.92 Right on Seventh Ave.
  • 5.19 Left onto NE Multnomah Blvd.
  • 5.57 Left at traffic light onto NE Wheeler Ave, cross the MAX tracks, and take a left onto NE Lloyd Blvd.
  • 5.73 Cross NE Oregon St with the bike signal and ride onto the sidewalk; right at the green fence onto the bike path to cross the railroad tracks.
  • 5.84 Continue down the switchbacks onto the East Esplanade and continue straight over the Steel Bridge to cross the Willamette River and ride along the Waterfront Bike Trail.
  • 6.38 Right through the park, cross NW Naito Parkway onto NW Couch St.
  • 6.51 Right onto NW Second Ave.
  • 6.66 Left onto NW Flanders St.
  • 6.75 Right onto NW Fourth Ave.
  • 6.85 Left onto NW Hoyt St, then left onto NW Fifth Ave.
  • 6.94 Right onto NW Glisan St then right onto NW Sixth Ave to return to Union Station.
  • 7.1 End ride.
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    11.25 km / 6.991 mi

    Total Distance

    123 m / 404 ft

    Total Ascent

    123 m / 404 ft

    Total Descent

    47 m / 154 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: All
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 7.1
    Elevation Gain: 420
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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