When it comes to doing your patriotic duty of watching bombs bursting in air this Fourth of July, it’s all about finding the best place to perch and gawp at the biggest fireworks display in Oregon. It takes place right on Portland’s waterfront each year. Here’s five of our favorites spots.
1. EASTBANK ESPLANADE
Enjoy a sky full of whiz-bang without the bros-icing-bros Blues Fest throng. Roost on the rocks along the Willamette’s edge with hundreds of your closest blissed-out, fire-dancing, bongo-drumming friends.
Eat/drink: Popeyes takeout and a sixer of Simpler Times.
Southeast Water Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard. Free.
2. MOUNT TABOR PARK
Ooh and ahh among the drunk, barefoot barbecuers of Richmond atop a dormant cinder cone.
Eat/drink: The pork rib you carried up the hill, with a swig of warm beer.
Southeast 60th Avenue and Salmon Street. Free.
3. PORTLAND SPIRIT CRUISE
Watch the fireworks display from the middle of the river itself—just a couple hundred yards away from the fireworks launch barge—on a 150-foot yacht outfitted with a bar and a baby grand piano. You’ll get to see 360 degrees of fireworks, water and the city all at once.
Eat/drink: The Spirit offers two cruises—one with Northwest-y dinner grub and one with drinks and snacks available for purchase.
Info and tickets at 224-3900 or portlandspirit.com. $90 per passenger, includes dinner.
From the heights of Hoyt Arboretum, those fireworks—glittering like a zillion fireflies in the distance—look like that scene from Moulin Rouge! with top hats being tossed into the sky, and you won’t have to deal with whiny kids because everyone else will be on the Esplanade. Just don’t litter, dammit.
Eat/drink: A bottle of absinthe (or cheap champagne), baguette and Olympic Provisions saucisson sec ($8).
4000 SW Fairview Boulevard. Free.
5.CHAMPIONS SPORTS BAR
Celebrating the Fourth at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel’s cushy sports bar puts you in proximity to more than 20 TVs, a deep-fried pub menu and a climate-controlled vista of the riverfront fireworks display. God bless America.
Eat/drink: A dozen Buffalo wings ($8.50) and a shot of Southern Comfort with a Sam Adams back.
1401 SW Naito Parkway, 499-6393. 21+.
GO: The Waterfront Blues Festival Fireworks show takes place above the Willamette River between the Hawthorne and Morrison bridges. 10:05 pm Sunday, July 4. Free.
THURSDAY JULY 1
[MUSIC] Caleb Klauder, Jesse Lége, Joel Savoy
Though we’re about as far west as can be, Portland doesn’t have a lot of go-to classic country music. Caleb Klauder is the exception: He plays top-shelf classic honky-tonk with the pained enthusiasm of a grizzled Southerner twice his age. He releases a new album tonight. The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd Ave., 287-5800. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
[VIS ARTS] INNER FICTIONS
Seattle’s John Dempcy has a knack, if not an outright genius, for “How’d he do that?” fantasias of sumptuous abstract compositions based on microscopic cell divisions. If you have eyes, you owe it to them to see this show. Augen DeSoto, 716 NW Davis St., 546-5056. Show runs July 1-31. Free.
FRIDAY JULY 2
[STAGE] THE KING AND I
The Broadway Rose presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical about an English schoolteacher and the King of Siam. Joe Theissen and Amy Jo Halliday star, backed by 54 other performers. Deb Fennell Auditorium, 9000 SW Durham Road, Tigard, 620-5262. 7:30 pm. $20-$35.
[SCREEN] INDEPENDENCE DAY
Internet radio patriots Cort and Fatboy ask you to remember what this nation’s founding was really about: Will Smith punching aliens in the schnozz. Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-9234. 11 pm. $3. 21+.
SATURDAY JULY 3
[MUSIC] TY SEGALL, MEAN JEANS, PURE COUNTRY GOLD
A triple dose of catchy-as-hell garage fuzz at East End tonight, as Ty Segall—whose latest disc, Melted, is a messy, glorious triumph of the punk rock will—pairs with locals Mean Jeans and Pure Country Gold to kick-start the blurriest Fourth of July weekend you’ve ever had. East End, 203 SE Grand Ave., 232-0056. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
[SCREEN] MOVIES IN THE PARK: TWILIGHT: NEW MOON
Watch the second installment of Twilight the way Stephenie Meyer intended—in a park during a partial lunar eclipse, with a special appearance by Volturi vamp Cameron Bright. Colonel Summers Park, Southeast 17th Avenue and Taylor Street. Movies begin at dusk. Free.
TUESDAY JULY 6
[WORDS] TOM BISSELL
Video games are like crack. Author Bissell explains why. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm. Free. All ages.