Downtown to the South Waterfront by Trolley

4T Trolley Map
4T Trolley Map (Portland Street Car)
Previous 4T: Zoo to Downtown by Train
Next on 4T:   South Waterfront to OHSU by Tram
Duration:      20 minutes
Website:         Portland Streetcar
Operation:     Mon – Sun, 7:30 AM TO 10:30 PM
Frequency:    The trolley runs every 14-20 minutes.
Next trolly:   Text 9633 to 27299 to get a text telling when next trolley is due.
Trail head:     Directions to Downtown Trolley stop at library.
Tickets:           If you don’t already have a valid TriMet ticket, you’ll need to purchase one from a ticket kiosk. Adult tickets are good for 2 and a half hours and cost $2.50 ($1.25 for youths and $1.25 for seniors) . All day tickets cost twice as much. TriMet tickets, while valid, are good for use on both the Train, Trolley, and Bus.
Restrooms:    At Central Library at beginning of trip and OHSU Center for Health and Healing at end of trip.
Pets:                Unless its a service animal, your pet must be kept in a carrier.

The Trolley

Reminiscent of the early 1900s when trolleys were the only form of urban mass transit, the ride on the Portland Streetcar is relaxing and fun. For info on vintage trolleys, see here, here, or here. The trolley runs in a continuous 8-mile loop, so you don’t have to worry about the schedule or which one to take — they all go to your destination and they run frequently.

Trolley or street car
Trolley (also called streetcar)

Boarding the trolley

Because you are traveling southbound, board the trolley at the streetcar stop behind the Library at SW 11th & Taylor.  Follow the 4T signs with “to the tram” to the trolley (Portland Streetcar) headed for the South Waterfront neighborhood.

You can use your TriMet ticket if you have not used up all the allowable time. (Check the timestamp on the ticket.) If you need another ticket, it can be purchased and validated on the streetcar. The area around SW 11th and Taylor is a great area to grab a bite to eat. Within a one block radius, there are over a dozen restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine — enough to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.

Tram at South Waterfront Trolley station
Tram at South Waterfront Trolley station

Your trip will take you through the Portland State University campus, down a hill to the South Waterfront area. You will get a view of the new Tillikum Bridge.

Getting off trolley at South Waterfront

You can get off across the street from the Portland Aerial Tram entrance, or ride the trolley around until it stops at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU)  stop.

Darlene Hovde Gibbs Street pedestrian bridge
Darlene Hovde Gibbs Street pedestrian bridge
Click to enlarge

Across the street from the Tram entrance is an elevator up to the Darlene Hovde Gibbs Street pedestrian bridge.  It is worthwhile spending a few minutes ascending to this unique curved bridge.

Also nearby is the Tilikum Crossing Bridge  which is dedicated to walkers, bikers, the streetcar and the train. Cars are not allowed. You can view the Willamette River from middle of this bridge by walking a block north of the Tram station.

The South Waterfront neighborhood is much different from most of Portland with its high rise dwellings.  The city is currently extending the South Waterfront Greenway into this area with the goal of having a riverside walk south from here through Willamette Park to the Sellwood bridge and north to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Your next leg of the 4T is to board the Portland Aerial Tram.  The Tram doesn’t run on national holidays or on Sundays during the winter. See for tram schedule and fares. There is a $4.70 fee to ride the tram up the hill, but it is free coming down.