If you were hoping to dazzle the neighbors with your own fireworks show this Fourth of July, you can't—at least not legally within Portland city limits. Last year, the Portland City Council formalized its ban on the sale and use of fireworks—including roman candles and sparklers—citing climate change and the wildfire risk, though parents of nervous dogs and small children may be feeling heard too. After watching one firework destroy large swaths of the Gorge, we can't say we disagree with leaving the explosives to the pros, who have plenty of permitted shows. Here are a few spots to get the glow—plus one laser light show.
The party starts days before at the Blues Festival, but fireworks at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Independence Day launch around 10 p.m. Purchasing tickets for the Waterfront Blues Festival on the big day isn't wholly necessary, as you can still view the fireworks for free from a number of locations, including outside the festival at Waterfront Park, Eastbank Esplanade, Mount Tabor, or near the International Rose Test Garden.
The fireworks show at Portland's beloved amusement park pops off over the Willamette River, just north of the Sellwood Bridge. The park has an all-day Fourth of July Spectacular ticket package (the roller rink is unfortunately closed on Independence Day), but fireworks don't begin until approximately 10 p.m. The show is easily viewed for free outside the park gate from Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge or other spots along the river such as Sellwood Riverfront Park and Willamette Park across the river.
Catch the fireworks display after the Diamondback-affiliated minor league team faces the Vancouver Canadians at Ron Tonkin Field. Tickets begin at $8 for the 7:05 p.m. game, with fireworks to follow. If you have other plans on the Fourth, the Hops are also shooting off fireworks after their meeting with the Canadians on Friday, July 7, in honor of the birthday of the team's mascot, Barley T. Hop. Happy birthday, Barley, and may we note that it's somehow fitting that you share a birthday with Beck, Raffi, Kevin Bacon, and multiple Rockefellers.
Head to Foothills Park on the Willamette River in Lake Oswego for a free event with live music from funk ensemble Satin Love Orchestra followed by a laser light display (the city moved away from using real fireworks in 2019, though the Lake Oswego Corporation still does a firework show from a floating barge in the middle of the semi-private Oswego Lake), plus food vendors and activities for all ages of kids. The event runs from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Check the website for parking information.
Out of Town
Tuesday night's fireworks display over the Columbia River—which the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce promises will be "positioned to provide the widest viewing angle possible so that people can watch from their homes on the hillside and spread out across the waterfront"—is scheduled to start around 10 p.m. and will cap a weekend of festivities split between the two towns, including a parade, 5k run, car show, and more. There will also be fireworks Saturday, July 1, in Ilwaco, Washington. Revelers are encouraged to come back to the waterfront on Wednesday, July 5, to help with cleanup.
Seaside's huge annual fireworks display over the ocean is slated to begin around 10 p.m., with a parade earlier in the day at 10 a.m. Organizers note there are no tents allowed on the beach at Seaside, and that if you're lucky/unlucky enough to find parking on the oceanside of the Necanicum River, it might take you over an hour to get back to 101 in the post-show traffic.
Catch a parade in the morning, watch dachshund races in the afternoon, eat a Pronto Pup or three, buy sparklers for the city fundraiser, and watch Rockaway Beach's gigantic sky show around 10 p.m.
Home to many a kite festival, Lincoln City is used to having its skies awash in color. The 10 p.m.-ish show over Siletz Bay follows a boat parade around Devils Lake at 4 p.m. A shuttle from the Taft High School parking lot operating 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. allows for easier mobility as the roadways (especially US 101) around Siletz Bay typically clog up with traffic before and after the show. Pelican Brewing is hosting a watch party on the deck of its newest location right on Siletz Bay, with admission beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Claim your spot at Hood River Waterfront Park, or find one in town with a view of this 10 p.m. show in the Columbia River Gorge. The hour-long parade beginning at 10 a.m. will shut down 12th Street between its starting point at Pacific Avenue and where it ends at Jackson Park on May Avenue.