Portland’s downtown “living room” is a beloved town square and a symbol of the city’s commitment to lively public spaces.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is one of Portland’s true icons, a lovely brick-lined public square where locals and tourists take a moment to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Appreciate a break at the heart of the city’s revitalized downtown.
As you explore the square, realize that it very nearly did not become what it is today. From 1890, this was the site of the Portland Hotel, which was later replaced by a two-story parking garage. The city eventually purchased the land and incorporated the public square into its groundbreaking 1972 Downtown Plan.
It was not until a group of citizens named “Friends of Pioneer Square” raised $1.5 million in the 1980s that the plans for a city square could be realized. Now Pioneer Courthouse Square is a beloved and vital element of Portland life, referred to affectionately by locals as their downtown “living room.”
Stroll around the square to appreciate its many design features, from Greek terra-cotta columns and maple trees on the northern and southern sides to the grand brick amphitheater that dominates the large space. Admire the square’s many public artworks, including the iconic Allow Me life-sized sculpture of a man offering his umbrella.
Follow the patterned brick path across the street to the Pioneer Courthouse, one of the oldest functioning buildings of its type in the United States. This beautiful Italianate structure, which gave its name to the square, is said to be the oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest.
Check the online event calendar to see what is happening at Pioneer Courthouse Square during your visit. Events are held almost daily, ranging from free live music and summer outdoor movies to Thanksgiving celebrations and holiday tree lightings. The Portland Farmers Market takes over the square on Mondays from June through August, offering delectable lunch options in addition to local produce and baked goods.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is located centrally in Portland, easily accessible on foot and by public transportation. Purchase food and drink from vendors at the square. You can also find the Visitor Information Center and TriMet ticket office here.