Many Portlanders cross the Steel Bridge bound for Portland's Eastbank Esplanade public park, or head west into Downtown Portland. The busy thoroughfare is crossed by more than 20,000 vehicles (and 2,000 bikes) daily.
You can cross the bridge on the blue or red MAX Light Rail trains, or stroll across after exploring the esplanade. You can also embrace this city's cycling-friendly culture and rent bikes—or join an urban bike tour—and cross the Steel Bridge on the cantilevered cycling lane. For passing views of the bridge, you can try a cruise or jet-boat tour. Most cruises pass dozens of sights along the banks of the Willamette River, including a handful of Portland's bridges—such as Hawthorne, and Marquam.
Things to know before you go
- Engineering fans should check out this bridge—built in 1912—featuring decks that rise and fall independently.
- If you're biking over the bridge or exploring on foot, you should bring a rain-proof shell; Portland is often misty and rainy.
- Save time checking out Portland with a helicopter sightseeing tour.
How to get there
The Steel Bridge connects Northwest and Northeast Portland, and it's easily accessible whether you're strolling, cycling, or hopping on public transit. It's most convenient to walk from nearby Union Station—located in the Old Town Chinatown area—or stroll to the western foot of the bridge via Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
When to get there
There's really no bad time to visit Portland Steel Bridge, but if you're biking or walking, plan to visit during the day to admire the waterfront views. A summer visit—in June, July, and August—offers warmer weather, and the best chance to see the city's famed roses in bloom, while an October visit may mean lower hotel prices and still-pleasant weather.
How to Unpack Portland's Beer Culture
Portlanders love beer, and the hoppy brews pumping out of the city's best breweries are not to be missed. Not far from the Steel Bridge you can find several standouts—including Deschutes, Hair of the Dog, Rogue, and many, many more. Most have tasting rooms and food. You can take the guesswork out of picking where to go on a brewery bike tour. Most tours include at least a pint or two.
- Portland Pearl District
- South Park-blokken
- Powell's City of Books
- Chinatown in Portland
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
- Pioneer Square
- Portland Art Museum
- International Rose Test Garden
- Portland Japanse tuin
- Oregon Museum van Wetenschap en Industrie (OMSI)
- North Mississippi Avenue
- Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC)
- Pittock Mansion
- Hoyt Arboretum
- Oregon Zoo