Lake Oswego is not just a southern suburb of Portland. This small lakeside city of approximately 36-thousand residents features a vibrant downtown, wonderful restaurants and numerous shopping options. A visitor to this gem of a city will also find an emerging arts scene and plenty of natural areas and beautiful parks worthy of exploring.
Start your day at Millennium Plaza Park, located in the heart of Lake Oswego and just off State Street. The impressive plaza is dedicated to Ann Parshall Schukart, a women who loved natural beauty and helped the city attain the property. Take a moment to relax on a bench and enjoy the great view of Lakewood Bay. Next, take a stroll along the Millennium path where you can have fun watching ducks waddle and swim.
For lunch, head to nearby Wanfu Chinese restaurant. This popular all-you-can-eat lunch offers familiar treats like Sweet and Sour Chicken, Kung Pao Beef and Won Ton Soup. Or make your way to the center of downtown, where you’ll discover Lake View Village and some great eateries, including Manzana Rotisserie Grill or Zeppo Italian Restaurant.
Lake View Village also offers upscale boutique shopping including Fusion, The Art of Flowers where you can examine exotic plant species such as Kangaroo Paws and the Calla Lily. Other specialty shops include CC MacKenzie, Chico’s, Grapevine, Meringue, Oswego Lake Gallery, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Ravenna Gardens, Sur La Table and Urbane Zen.
Next, head south on State Street toward George Rogers Park where you will find a great nature walk that incorporates a bit of history. This delightful slice of greenery is home to the remnants of Oregon’s first iron smelter. A plaque reveals that “The first pig iron made west of the Rocky Mountains was smelted here on August 24, 1867 by the Oregon Iron Company.” The park features a hiking path alongside some gentle waterfalls and provides access to a rocky beach, where you’ll find some more ducks. For the sports minded, George Rogers offers ball fields, tennis courts and a soccer field.
Afterward, head back downtown, and take a walking tour of historic Old Town. Start at Wilbur and Durham streets where you will find a plaque that commemorates “Albert Alonzo Durham who filed the first donation land claim here in 1850.” Among the charming homes, you’ll find the Odd Fellows Hall located at Church and Durham. The hall built in1890, is one of only two non-residential buildings in the city designed in the Italianate style. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Next, visit Chuck’s Cookies and Coffee on Fifth Street for a quick pick-me-up. Enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee and a scrumptious soft peanut butter cookie before continuing the day.
To appreciate Lake Oswego’s growing love of art, drop by the Lakewood Center for the Arts on South State Street. The Center houses the popular Lakewood Theatre Company, as well as a dance studio, the Children’s Theatre and the Piano and Organ studio.
For a light dinner or sweet treat, take a short hike up “A” Avenue to the Lake Oswego Ice Creamery and Restaurant. This charming eatery, which may remind you of a 1950’s high school hamburger hangout, features Guacamole Jack Burgers, Halibut Fish & Chips and Alpine Chicken Breast sandwiches and Tillamook ice cream.
Depending on the time of year, the city of Lake Oswego offers a Farmer’s Market, Movies in the Park and the Festival of the Arts. Only a short drive from Portland, Lake Oswego has plenty to offer and is a wonderful choice for a day of exploration.
What & Where:
Millennium Plaza Park (200 First Street; ci.oswego.or.us/parksrec/millennpark.htm)
Wanfu Chinese Restaurant (141 North State St; 503-636-2490)
Manzana Rotisserie Grill (305 1st Street; 503.675.3322)
Zeppo (345 1st Street, Suite 105; 503-675-2726)
Chuck’s Cookies & Coffee (430 Fifth St; 503-675-7861)
Lake View Village (Avenue A & Millennium Plaza Park)
George Rogers Park (Corner of Ladd and South State St; ci.oswego.or.us/parksrec/sites.htm)
Odd Fellows Hall (295 Durham St; ci.oswego.or.us)
Lakewood Center for the Arts (368 South State St; 503-635-6338)
Lake Oswego Ice Creamery & Restaurant (37 S.W. A Ave; 503-636-4933)