Pioneer Courthouse Square is often referred to as Portland's Living Room as it is one of the best places to just sit back and relax in town. Found in the heart of Downtown, this attractive, open square hosts tons of fun events throughout the year. When special events aren't going on, visitors to this popular square in Downtown Portland often come to meet friends, to sit on the many steps that surround the central plaza, and to take a lunch or coffee break. It's also a good place to get a weather update, thanks to the Weather Machine. This 30-foot-tall metal column at Pioneer Courthouse Square features three weather symbols that relate to the area's typical climate elements. Every day at noon, a two-minute presentation of sorts ends with the displaying of the symbol that corresponds to that day's weather forecast.
Pioneer Courthouse Square occupies a full city block that is bounded by Southwest Broadway on the western side, Southwest 6th Avenue on the eastern side, Southwest Morrison Street to the north, and Southwest Yamhill Street on the southern side. The square's name pays homage to the Pioneer Courthouse, which was built in 1875 and is still in use today. The Pioneer Courthouse can be found on the block that is directly east of the square and is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in Portland History. The Pioneer Courthouse is the second oldest federal building found west of the mighty Mississippi River and has been named a National Historic Landmark.
Back across the street at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Weather Machine is just one of the things that you can examine on a visit. One of the square's other main attractions is a bronze statue called Allow Me. This life-size sculpture depicts a man holding an umbrella and was created by renowned artist J. Seward Johnson. Other works by Johnson, who hails from New Jersey, are on display in New York, Los Angeles, and a few other major US cities. Another artistic feature at this dynamic square in Downtown Portland is the series of classical columns that can be found on the north side. On top of some of the purposefully toppled columns are outdoor chess tables that are often used by chess-loving visitors during the day.
On the west side of Pioneer Courthouse Square, a beautiful waterfall graces the entrance to the visitor information center. At this center, visitors can get info on the Portland attractions, arrange tours, and more. When you're not hanging out at the visitor center and enjoying the other attractions at Pioneer Courthouse Square, you might take a closer look at the open plaza's brick floor. More than 70,000 bricks feature the names of people who donated money to the square over the years. Among the more famous bricks are those that display the names of George Washington, Elvis Presley, and Jimi Hendrix. As you might imagine, George Washington wasn't around to actually donate a brick. Some locals, in keeping in line with the city's overall fun-loving nature, have donated bricks under false names. There's even a brick with comedy character Mr. Bill's name on it.
As for the Pioneer Courthouse Square events, there are more than 300 to enjoy on an annual basis. These events include relatively large concerts and various cultural festivals. It's also where the Portland Farmers Market at the Square is held on Mondays between late June and late October. Among the most popular Pioneer Courthouse Square events is the Festival of Flowers, which sees the square blanketed by thousands upon thousands of colorful flowers over the better part of two weeks in June. A flower sale that features very affordable plants corresponds with the festival.
The Pioneer Courthouse Square events come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you might be surprised at how many people they can attract. The larger concerts, for example, see the surrounding brick steps filled with people who are there to take it all in. This square in Downtown Portland is almost always hopping, and when it comes down to it, no visit to the city is complete without dropping by for a look. Even if a special event isn't going on, there will be plenty to see and do before you move on to other attractions.
It is worth noting that some good shopping opportunities can be found in and around Pioneer Courthouse Square, so you might combine a visit with a shopping spree. As for nearby hotels, they include the Heathman Hotel and the Nines Hotel, both of which are attractive boutique hotels.