Locally known as “Portland's Living Room,” Pioneer Courthouse Square sits at the heart of downtown and takes up an entire city block.
Pioneer Square was officially opened in 1984. Prior to that, it had been the site of a hotel (built in 1890) and later a two-story parking garage. When a new and much larger parking garage was proposed in 1969, the idea of creating a public square instead gained momentum, and was the beginning of Pioneer Square. The square takes its name from the nearby Pioneer Courthouse, built in 1875.
One side of the square is a sloped staircase, akin to theater seating and perfect for the many concerts held in the square each year. There is a local TV news station at the square, an information center for the city's public transportation system, outdoor chess tables, and a 33-foot-tall weathervane sculpture that changes at noon each day to show the following day's forecast.
Today, Pioneer Square is home to a multitude of special events throughout the year, including the annual Christmas tree lighting, plays, and concerts, as well as festivals for food, beer, and art. Particularly during the summer, the square is typically quite busy.