Seasonal pocket park turns Milk Street into pedestrian freeway

Portland Downtown placemaking efforts to continue here through mid-November


PORTLAND, Me. — Portland Downtown has since early July fitted downtown cobblestone thoroughfare Milk Street with tools to make it a pedestrian-friendly freeway. 

Dubbed “Pop-Up Park on Milk Street,” the roadway is closed to all but foot traffic between Exchange and Market streets. Visitors have enjoyed access to brightly painted picnic tables and an onsite game chest full of free board games to use at their leisure since early July.

In addition to board games, Portland Downtown used chalkboard paint on several tabletops, allowing Milk Street guests a place to doodle, and painted a checker/chess board on another for players of those strategic games to enjoy, as well. 

“Milk Street is just as much the spot to sip morning coffee, eat lunch, and host outdoor meetings, as it is the spot to play a game with your child, challenge your buddy to a game of tic-tac-toe, or rest your feet after a long downtown stroll. We’ve been encouraged to see this space enjoyed by many and in a variety of ways since placing the first table there in early July,” said Portland Downtown Executive Director Cary Tyson. 

Portland Downtown has continued to add more amenities to the space, including most recently two child-size chalkboard picnic tables, colorful string flags, and multilingual signs that welcome folks from all over to sit back and relax on Milk Street. 

Milk Street is meant to serve all kinds of kinds. We hope our multilingual signs, which greet visitors in more than 20 different languages, let passersby know they are welcome on Milk Street, they are welcome in Portland. We also hope our two picnic tables that resemble the Pride and Progress Pride flags will carry that message even further, ” added Tyson. 

Under City of Portland guidance, Portland Downtown will continue to manage this stretch of Milk Street through mid-November.

Portland Downtown encourages residents and visitors alike to share their visits to Milk Street on Instagram, tagging the Portland Downtown account and using their favorite milk pun as the caption.

Portland Downtown is a 501c4 non-profit Downtown Improvement District. Our mission is to stimulate a vibrant, thriving, and sustainable downtown community.