Tickets to the Burnside Bridge

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About Burnside Bridge

The bridge is accessible 24/7.

The walking tour of downtown Portland takes place in the neighborhood and includes Burnside Bridge, among other attractions.

The bridge is usually quite busy with traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. Traffic levels decrease in the evenings and early mornings and on weekdays. The bridge is totally worth visiting in sunny weather if you wish to enjoy the views of the river and the waterfront; besides, it is easily combined with a stroll through the riverside park and a trip to the Saturday Market. Alternatively, go at night: the bridge offers a great view of the iconic White Stag sign.

Built in 1926, the Burnside Bridge is the second bridge at its location carrying this name. One of the heaviest bascule bridges in the country, with its concrete deck that weighs 5,000 tons and two concrete counterweights weighing 1700 tons each, the bridge carries one of the longest and busiest streets of Portland. Streetcars and trolley buses used to cross the bridge until the 1950s. 

Burnside was the first Willamette River bridge in Portland designed with an architect’s help — resulting in the structure having rather elegant Italian Renaissance-style towers and decorative metal railings. It offers an incredible view of the illuminated White Stag “Portland Oregon” sign on the west side, and its neighboring bridges to the north and south. With Burnside Skatepark under its east end, Saturday market under the west end, and pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes on both sides, the bridge is a great place for an urban stroll on a sunny weekend. 

A few more facts about the bridge:

  • Burnside opens about 300 times per year.
  • Initially, it used to have six traffic lanes, but one of those was converted into two bike lanes in 1995.
  • Its bascule lift mechanism was designed by Joseph Strauss, the same engineer who was behind San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The bridge straddles the river in one of most seismically vulnerable zones of the area and was identified as a critical lifeline route that should be able to withstand the next earthquake and remain open or reopen quickly after a major earthquake event — reinforcing the structure is planned for the upcoming years.

The bridge spans the Willamette river, stretching Burnside Street across the river and highlighting Portland’s north/south division. It connects Old Town with the Eastbank Esplanade. The Bridge is easily accessible on foot, by bike, or by public transport.

Skidmore Fountain light rail station is the nearest to the bridge. Buses 12, 19, and 20 stop at W Burnside & Burnside Bridge. 

If you’re driving, there is paid parking in the streets, and a few parking lots/garages in the vicinity.

FAQ about Burnside Bridge

Access to the bridge is free.

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