Waterfront Park provides the central downtown with a green-way connection to the river. During the day it can be quite busy with folks taking a break from the office, eating lunch or stepping out from a downtown condos. At night there are endless number of homeless people and unsavory types available to make you fell uncomfortable as you stroll. The large open area also provides space for large public events. During the summer you can find the Rose Festival Midway, The Oregon Craft Beer Festival, Portland Jazz Festival and many more. During the Rose Festival the Sea Wall is lined with Navy Ships. It is a good place to take a walk during the day and see the river and the features in the Park.
Starting at the north end or down river, you will find the Japanese American Historical Plaza. The is dedicated to remembering Japanese American interned during WW2. Next to this is where Portland Saturday Market sets up on the weekends. Not much to see week days but on weekend a very busy place full of hand crafted artisan items. As you walk along the side walk by the sea wall you will find inscriptions in the concrete related to Portland early settlement days. Further along you will find the Battleship Oregon Memorial and the Oregon Maritime Museum. As you stroll along you may want to take a side trip up to Natio Parkway to see Mill Ends Park. The smallest park in the country.
As you get further down the sea wall you will get to Salmon Street Fountain. When running in the summer it will often produce a variety of water displays out of its over 180 jets. In fall, winter and spring it is just open patch of concrete. At this plaza is also the ticket booth and the boarding ramp for the Portland Spirit that provides lunch and dinner river cruises. Also bike rentals are available here in the Summer. The waterfront sea wall walkway finally ends at a large grass amphitheater facing the river. Music festivals are often held here and the finish-line for Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races are here.
Should you want a longer walk you can take the stairs up to the Hawthorne Bridge pedestrian walk way to cross over to the east side of the river to walk back along the Eastbank Esplanade.