The Dock

Your guide to Portland's chillest summer party scene!

It's hot and about to get hotter. On average, Aug. 8 is the warmest day of the year in Portland. So what are you going to do this week? You're going to the hottest place in town: the Dock.

Somehow, the decade-old freeboard dock south of the Hawthorne Bridge—officially known as the Portland Boathouse and Light Watercraft Dock—has become the center of Portland's coolest summer scene. Everybody is at the Dock. Here's what you need to know about this popular moorage.

Where is the dock?

In the shadow of the Hawthorne Bridge, on the east side of the Willamette, just off the Eastbank Esplanade. The Dock is accessible by bike, foot, car or bus. On weekdays you can only park in the lot nearest the Dock for up to two hours until after 3 pm.

What do you bring to the dock? 

Sunscreen, because there is no shade at the Dock. Your preferred mind-altering substances. Snacks.

Who's at the dock? 

Everyone who's anyone. In the mornings, the Dock has an active vibe thanks to swimmers, paddlers and dragon boaters. In the afternoons and evenings, the Dock is shoulder-to-shoulder with pretty people drinking tall boys. Skater dads take their kids there to eat burritos. We've seen nude bathers and standup paddleboarders. Occasionally, your boss might visit the Dock on his sailboat.

Is the dock free? 


What do you wear to the dock? 

You can wear pretty much anything. Sandals and swimsuits are popular. Or you can dress up a bit with Dockers. Fun fact: Dock shoes were designed for this exact purpose.

What do you do at the dock? 

Drink, chat, take in the view of downtown. Exchange goods and services with fellow dockers—our friends once traded a couple of Rainiers for a chance to try out a passerby's standup paddleboard.

Can you drink at the dock? 

Everyone drinks at the Dock.

Is is safe to swim near the dock? 

Thanks to the Big Pipe project, the Willamette River's water is quite clean. If you're at all worried about water quality, might we suggest the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Wash.? 

What do people say about the dock? 

The Dock has developed a loyal following. We've heard it called a "sanctuary." Some regulars refer to a trip to the Dock as "river thirty" or "the new happy hour," or say "it's Dock o'clock."

GO: The Dock is on the Willamette River near the southeast corner of the Hawthorne Bridge. Don't fuck this up, Portland.

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