20 Best Things to Do in Lake Oswego (Oregon)

old river road pathway

If you travel to the Pacific Northwest region and the area of Portland, Oregon, be sure to visit the City of Oswego Lake (often called just Lake Oswego).

It is a small community with a population of 38,705 residents and is known for its exceptional natural beauty.

Located about 60 miles (96 km) east of the Pacific Ocean, it has a mild and humid temperate oceanic climate.

With average daytime temperatures reaching 80°F (27°C), July and August are the best months to come here.

If you enjoy spending time in nature, you will love Oswego Lake and the surrounding area a lot.

Offering a mosaic of parks, forests and lakes, this place attracts numerous day trippers and holidaymakers.

Known as Oregon’s hike capital, Oswego Lake’s greatest advantage is the opportunity to explore a wide variety of parks, forest paths and hiking trails.

1. Lake Oswego Preservation Society

iron workers cottage
Iron Workers Cottage by Ian Poellet/CC BY-SA

Located in the small worker’s cottage of the Iron Company, Lake Oswego Preservation Society is an important landmark of the city.

Nestled under the thick shade of large trees, it is just 100 meters from the yacht marina of Lake Oswego.

This is a History Center and Museum of great importance for the city.

The building was completed in 1880 and has remained practically unchanged since then.

It is open to visitors on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 1pm and 4pm.

2. Tryon Creek Natural Area

tryon creek natural area
Tryon Creek Natural Area by SoulRider.222/Flickr

Tryon Creek Natural Area is the largest green space in the City of Lake Oswego and one of the biggest parks within the borders of a metro area of a city in the United States.

Although surrounded by neighborhoods and communities in all directions, however, the natural area looks completely secluded.

It is covered with dense forest, so you can enjoy a relaxing walk in without being disturbed of crowds.

The place also offers some of the most popular cycling trails in Oregon and in the country.

3. George Rogers Park

george rogers park
George Rogers Park by Bill Reynolds/Flickr

George Rogers Park is considered one of the most visited in the City of Lake Oswego.

It is located on the bank of the River Willamette and offers a wide range of opportunities for recreation and leisure, including barbecue tables, sports facilities and much more.

The park is especially popular with its old Iron Furnace, which was listed in the Register of National Historic Places.

Only a minute walk from the furnace you will find a lovely sandy beach, which attracts a number of visitors in summer.

4. Lake Oswego Farmers Market

lake oswego farmers market
Lake Oswego Farmers Market by City of Lake Oswego

The farmers’ market is not only very popular with tourists and day trippers, but it is also a favorite place for shopping by locals.

Here every Saturday they can find high quality and fresh products, including fruits, vegetables and flowers.

This is a European style of market, where most of the production comes from the farms in the vicinity of the city.

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The market takes place every week, during the period between mid May / early June and mid October.

5. Foothill Park

foothill park
Foothill Park by Bill Reynolds/Flickr

Foothill Park is one of Lake Oswego’s most popular tourist attractions.

Located near Oswego Pointe, it is a 5 minute walk northeast from Lakewood Bay.

The park is relatively small and covers an area of about 9 acres.

However, it is an attractive place for recreation as it is very well maintained.

What makes it special is its picturesque location on the bank of the Willamette River.

6. Portland Oregon Temple Visitors’ Center

spire of the portland oregon temple
Spire of the Portland Oregon Temple by Nathan Bullock/CC BY-SA

Being one of the most recognizable structures in the metropolitan area of Portland, the Portland Oregon Temple is an impressive building and one of the most visited landmarks in the area.

Completed in 1989, the temple belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Don’t miss to visit the Portland Temple Visitors’ Center, which has operated since 2012.

Explore the surrounding area, which is covered with superb gardens.

7. Oswego Heritage House

oswego heritage house
Oswego Heritage House by Mt. Hood Territory/Flickr

One of the most recommended places to visit in the area is the Oswego Heritage Council.

It is located about 300 meters north of the lake itself and is housed in an old traditional historical building.

Part of the house serves as a museum, so here you can get to know the culture and the history of Oswego.

While here, don’t miss to enjoy the beautiful historic rose garden, which is situated right next to the house.

8. Visit some of the summer concerts

summer concert series
Summer Concert Series by Mt. Hood Territory/Flickr

Dozens of concerts are held in the City of Lake Oswego every year during the summer season.

As you can expect, most of them take place in July, especially on the Fourth of July and during the week after.

Independence Day is well-known for its spectacular celebrations with live music, fireworks and barbecues.

9. Iron Mountain City Park

iron mountain city park
Iron Mountain City Park by AllTrails

Don’t miss to stop by Iron Mountain City Park, which stretches along the northern side of the green and quiet neighbourhood of Lakeview-Summit.

This is one of the must-visits parks in the City of Lake Oswego.

It covers approximately 69.2 acres of land.

Here you will find numerous opportunities to recreate and relax, including sport facilities, walking trails as well as a number of playgrounds if you travel with kids.

10. Rogerson Clematis Garden

rogerson clematis garden
Rogerson Clematis Garden by Facebook

Located one mile (1.6 km) south of Lake Oswego, Rogerson Clematis Garden is a charming place to enjoy a relaxing walk outside.

With more than 700 plants, it is a must if you are a lover of flowers, trees and bushes.

Here you can enjoy the irresistible scent of the flowering plants, and you will be amazed by the great variety of colors and shapes of the flowers.

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Because of the mild and favorable climate in the area, here you will find species from all over the world.

11. Willamette Shore Trolley

willamette shore trolley
Willamette Shore Trolley by Steve Morgan/CC BY-SA

Don’t miss to take a ride on the Willamette Shore Trolley, which is a leading tourist attraction in the area.

This is a replica of the important in the past trolley system connecting the area with the downtown of Portland.

The route of the vintage trolley from the late 19th century runs through several very important historical areas of the city before reaching the river’s coastal area.

The trolley is completely authentic so you will definitely have a great experience.

12. Cycling

cycle around the lake
Cycle around the Lake by YouTube

There are dozens of cycling routes in the area of Oswego Lake, some of which are among the most attractive in the US.

They vary widely in terms of level of difficulty. In the easiest case, the differences in altitude are insignificant, and ascent or descent are practically almost missing.

If you just want to cycle around the lake itself, the distance is less than 7 miles.

This is a pretty good way to feel the atmosphere in the surrounding area and is especially recommended in case you have planned a limited time in the city.

13. Old River Road Pathway

old river road pathway
Old River Road Pathway by Bill Reynolds/Flickr

Old River Road Pathway is of historical importance and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the area.

It is about 1.3 miles (about 2 km) long and extends south of Oswego Creek and George Rogers City Park, whose area was inhabited by Native Americans in the past.

Following the curves of the Willamette River, Old River Road Pathway is a popular place for walking, cycling and recreation.

Because of the moderate length, you can easily explore the entire route within a single walk.

14. Go to Millenium Plaza City Park

millenium plaza city park
Millenium Plaza City Park by City of Lake Oswego

Milenium Plaza City Park is the central most part of the City of Lake Oswego.

Wherever you want to go in the city, this is the most convenient place to start from.

In the area there are numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and places to stay.

This is a wonderful place to enjoy the Alpine charm of the area as well as the lush pine forests in the vicinity.

The heart of the city could be easily explored on foot because of the wide sidewalks shaded by beautiful trees.

15. Bryant Palisades Loop

bryant palisades loop
Bryant Palisades Loop by AllTrails

Bryant Palisades Loop is located a mile (1.6 км) south of the western end of Lake Oswego.

This is one of the top places to walk in the city.

To the south, the beautiful park reaches a calmly flowing river, a tributary of the Willamette River.

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The park is covered with dense vegetation, and the open spaces between the trees are occupied by meadows covered with wildflowers.

The place is very quiet and pleasant for recreation.

16. West Lake Grove Loop

west lake grove loop
West Lake Grove Loop by City of Lake Oswego

With a total length of 6 miles (almost 9.7 km), West Lake Grove Loop is one of the most popular and attractive walking routes in the City of Lake Oswego.

Most of the pathway is paved so visitors can enjoy a long and relaxing walk, no matter the weather.

17. Lake Loop

lake loop path
Lake Loop Path by Ethan R/Flickr

Considered one of the most popular walking routes in the City of Lake Oswego, Lake Loop is also one of the longest.

The length of 7 miles (or a little more than 11 km) allows you to combine the tour of the lake with a long, healthy and pleasantly tiring walk.

The route passes through some of the most beautiful residential areas in the city.

At some points, Lake Loop reveals a breathtaking view of the lake in front of you.

This is also one of the popular cycling routes.

18. Lakewood Center for the Arts

lakewood center for the arts
Lakewood Center for the Arts by Facebook

The Lakewood Center for the Arts is housed in a beautiful building right next to Lakewood Bay and 5 minutes walk from George Rogers City Park.

It hosts a wide variety of theater performances, art festivals and many others.

Here you will be able to visit some of the temporary exhibitions as well as to attend a course by your choice.

Visiting the center is a great way to feel the rhythm of the city and the everyday life of the community.

19. Boat tour

boat tour
Boat tour by drburtoni/Flickr

A short boat tour of Lake Oswego is a must for every traveler and day tripper.

Considering that swimming into the lake is not allowed for non residents, even in the swimming park, this is the best opportunity to experience a closer contact with the lake.

If you have the chance to book a history boat tour, you will be able to see some of the most beautiful historical houses in the area from the boat.

It is recommended to book your mini cruise in advance as the seats are usually limited.

20. Springbrook City Park

springbrook city park
Springbrook City Park by Taylor D./Yelp

If you need a relaxing walk alone, or with your friends, of family, or with the dog, Springbrook City Park is a great choice.

It is located half a mile north of Lake Oswego and only a few minutes walk from Iron Mountain City Park.

The park is relatively small and covers an area of about 52 acres but its natural beauty is really outstanding.

Since the pathways are not paved, it is recommended to avoid rainy days for your walks or to go equipped with an appropriate pair of shoes / boots.