free walking tours in portland oregon

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Free Walking Tour of Portland

Free walking tours are the best way to explore a new city, and Portland’s tour is no exception! For history, great tips and suggestions throughout the city, look no further than the Secrets of Portlandia Free Walking Tour! The guide Erik is full of endless information, making this walking tour fun and informational. He’s been guiding the our for over seven years. The tour meets everyday at 11:00 am in front of the steps of Pioneer Courthouse (even if it’s raining). Look for Erik in a bright green neon shirt. The tour is free, but like any free walking tour, tips are requested.

Portland Original FREE Walking Tours

Daily: 11:00 am

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20 free things to do in Portland, Oregon

Feb 12, 2021 • 9 min read

July 2018: Visitors at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland.

July 2018: Visitors at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland.

Portland, Oregon keeps it low key – this is a place that's all about paperback books and beer, pinball machines and pretty urban hikes, street art and soapbox derby races down the side of a dormant volcano. So it's no surprise that it's easy to find plenty of free things to do in Portland, from trails accessible by public transit to community art projects, street fairs, and unusual museums. 

Here are twenty of the best free things to do in Portland, aka Rose City, Stumptown, Bridgetown, and PDX.

Editor's note: during COVID-19, there are restrictions on travel, and some of these free attractions may be temporarily closed or require pre-booking. Always check before departure, and be sure to follow local health guidance.

Fallen Tree In Lush Forest

1. Forest Park

Stretching more than 5100 acres along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains is Forest Park , the largest wooded urban park in the US. Flanking Portland's West Hills, its 70-mile network of verdant trails are a great way to witness the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest's forestlands without having to leave the city limits, and is accessible by public transit.

2. Powell's City of Books

Occupying five floors and spanning an entire city block, the iconic retailer is the largest independent bookstore in the country. Its nine color-coded rooms house millions of books on every subject imaginable, and with throngs of individuals wandering the stacks each day, it's one of the best places in Portland for people-watching. Each month, dozens of authors, artists and thought-leaders visit Powell's for free readings, panels and other events in the Pearl Room's Basil Hallward Gallery. The store also hosts children's story hours (some led by drag queens), poetry slams, book clubs, writing workshops and game demonstrations.

A tiny circular park is in the middle of a busy road in downtown Portland, Oregon. Orange flowers are planted in it, along with a tree. On the horizon, you can see the outline of skyscraper and trees.

3. Mill's End Park

Having the largest park (Forest Park) within city limits perhaps isn't an oddity, but having the smallest one might be. Mill Ends Park – located on the median strip at SW Naito Pkwy and Taylor St – is a circle of green 24in in diameter. It's the reputed home of leprechauns, and locals enjoy dressing the tiny park up for different holidays.

4. Saturday Market

The largest and longest-running open-air craft market in the US, Portland's  Saturday Market  is home to hundreds of vendors, which are all chosen by a jury. Despite the name, it's open on Sundays, too. You can easily while away hours as you wander through craft stalls selling everything from clothing, jewelry and handmade accessories to local art, knick-knacks and homewares. Grab a bite from the many food carts and take in the antics of street performers while you chow down – this is one of the best places in Portland for people-watching.

A mural is displayed on a wall in the Alberta Arts District of Portland, Oregon, U.S.

5. Last Thursday on Alberta 

Artists, musicians and buskers compete for attention among partying crowds on NE Alberta St during this iconic  street art event , which takes place on the last Thursday evening of each month. But the festivities aren't limited to the street – during this time, galleries will launch new exhibitions, and bars and restaurants hang new local artwork for sale. It's free to browse, but purchasing wares such as paintings, sculptures, handmade jewelry, and more is also a great way to support the local creative community. 

6. Tom McCall Waterfront Park 

On the west bank of the Willamette River,  Tom McCall Waterfront Park  spans a great stretch of downtown Portland and is home to many of the city's notable monuments and sights such as the Japanese American Historical Plaza and Salmon Street Springs . Its waterfront path is wonderful for strolling, jogging and cycling, and in springtime, you'll see an explosion of cherry blossoms from the trees lining the path. Named after the governor who established Oregon's urban growth boundary system to protect green spaces from development, the park hosts numerous festivals and events like the Waterfront Blues Festival and LGBTQ Pride.


7. Portland Street Art

In a city whose mantra is "Keep Portland Weird," you can expect plenty of creative street art. From towering murals of beautiful women with living foliage for their hair on Division Street to graffiti on the concrete walls of Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District, there's no shortage of color wherever you wander. "Produce Row" on the east side is an especially fun place to stroll, with a skate park tucked under one of the bridges and colorful bunting waving in the air. The Alberta Arts District is another neighborhood with a flush crop of spray paint masterpieces. 

8. Walking with Ramona Quimby

Ramona Quimby may be Portland's most famous fictional resident – the beloved children's character created by Oregonian Beverley Cleary has been charming readers of all ages since 1950. Cleary's realistic portrayal of childhood made Ramona a perennial favorite, but she was equally faithful to her books setting in Stumptown. You can visit numerous locations in the series that really exist, from Klickitat Street where Ramona's family lived to a statue of Ramona in Grant Park. The Multnomah County Library has a printable PDF map you can use for your own free walking tour.


9. Washington Park

Tame and well-tended Washington Park contains several key attractions within its 410 acres of greenery. The  International Rose Test Garden  is the centerpiece of Portland's famous rose blooms; there are more than 700 varieties on show here, plus great city views.  Hoyt Arboretum features twelve miles of trails wind through this 189-acre ridge-top garden above the city zoo. It's home to over 6000 native and exotic plants and trees representing 1100 different species, and it offers easy walks any time of year. You'll have easy access to the Japanese Garden from here, too. Take the MAX light-rail to Washington Park station.

10. The Pittock Mansion

This grand and beautiful 1914 mansion was built by pioneer-entrepreneur Henry Pittock, who revitalized the  Oregonian  newspaper; his wife, Georgiana, also a pioneer, started the earliest of Portland's annual Rose Festivals. Guided tours are available, but it's also worth visiting the grounds (free) simply to have a picnic while taking in the spectacular views. If you're up for a wander, the mansion lies along the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, with dozens of miles of connecting trails branching off it.


11. Laurelhurst Park

A picturesque spring-fed pond is a favorite setting for locals to picnic. The gorgeous old trees and sprawling lawns of Laurelhurst Park were once part of a private farm, until the city of Portland bought the land and built a park in 1912 inspired by the landscape architecture Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City. It's a fantastic spot for people-watching, saying hello to cute dogs, and soaking up the summer sunshine – and the surrounding neighborhood is full of Portland's famously fine residential architecture.

12. Pioneer Courthouse Square

For a breather between bouts of sightseeing and shopping, head to  Pioneer Courthouse Square . Grab a bite from one of the food carts here and settle onto the brick steps for grade-A people-watching, or bring a chess set and play at one of the square's painted or bronze chess boards.

View of Portland skyline from the Portland Aerial Tram with Mt. Hood on the background.

13. Council Crest Park

At a peak perched in the Tualatin Mountains that form Portland's western edge, Council Crest Park offers stunning views of volcanoes on the distance, including Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, and Mount Jefferson. An observation plaza indicates which peaks you're looking at in the distance as you turn to take in the 180 degree panorama. 

14. Stark's Vacuum Cleaner Museum

A small sample of historical models collected by this large local retailer hangs on one wall of the Southeast Portland location . Since moving from its original space in 2017 to occupy a smaller portion of the store, with a new timeline of vacuum cleaners throughout history, you could say the museum sucks a little less than it used to.

Chinatown Gateway

15. Chinatown and Old Town

The sights of Portland's oldest neighborhood include tranquil cultural gardens, reverent waterfront monuments and underground passages storied with local lore. The core of rambunctious 1890s Portland, once-seedy Old Town had a well-earned reputation as the lurking ground of unsavory characters. Now it's home to some lovely historic buildings, plus Waterfront Park, the Saturday Market and a few good pockets of nightlife. Old Town is generally lumped together with the city's historic Chinatown – no longer the heart of the Chinese community (that's moved to outer Southeast) but still home to the ornate Chinatown Gateway and the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

16. The Simpsons Streets

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening grew up in Portland, and included many of the city's street names in the long-running cartoon. Portland has embraced Groening's quirky creativity right back and the city is full of avid  Simpsons  fans. You can treat yourself to a free walking tour  of spots in the city that inspired Groening and use it as an opportunity to get oriented and experience some of the neighborhood's funky long-time neighborhoods. It's a perfectly cromulent way to spend an afternoon.


17. Mt. Tabor Park

Not many cities can say they have an extinct volcano in their midst, but that's exactly what Mt. Tabor is, despite the rows of pretty Craftsman Houses on its flanks and a popular park at its summit. There you'll find tennis courts, a rec center, trails for mountain biking trails, and plenty of places to stroll. Be sure to check out the large open water reservoirs surrounded by castle-like turrets, another 19th century example of the City Beautiful Movement, and Frederick Law Olmsted's influence.

18. The Eastbank Esplanade

The west bank of the Willamette River that runs through Portland has the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but the east bank has the esplanade. This paved 1.5-mile path gives you a lovely panoramic view of downtown Portland's distinctive skyline, from the Burnside and Hawthorne Bridges to the Big Pink – what the locals affectionally call The U.S. Bancorp Tower. Dotted with sculptures and other artworks, the Eastbank Esplanade is a great spot to wander with a cup of coffee to-go or to experience by bicycle.

Mausoleum in a foggy old Pioneer Cemetery covered

19. Lone Fir Cemetery

Dating back to the mid-19th century, Lone Fir Cemetery is a splendid garden-style resting place for some of the most influential figures in the last hundred and seventy years of Portland's history. With splendid mausoleums like that built by the MacLeay family, Lone Fir is a lovely place to walk, admire the ornate stonework monuments, and find a little peace and quiet in bustling Stumptown. 

20. Hunting for horse rings

Like many cities that date back to the horse and buggy era, Portland had a number of rings embedded in its sidewalks that once were used to hitch your ride. While many cities removed their horse rings once the age of the automobile made them obsolete, Portland residents not only insisted the city maintain them, but continue to use them for a kind of community-wide art project or happening. Keep your eyes on the pavement – particularly downtown – and you might just find tiny toy horses and other figurines hitched up to the horse rings. It's all part of what makes Portland weird and wonderful.

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  • Walking Tours

We offer three different tours of downtown Portland, all designed with young people in mind! All tours include information about the history, architecture and art of the city.

free walking tours in portland oregon

Becoming a City

free walking tours in portland oregon

Life in the City

free walking tours in portland oregon

  • Quick UTG: 27 Mini-Lessons from our Tours
  • Request a Tour
  • Teacher Information
  • Tour Information

Secrets of Portlandia

  • Erik’s Cooking Show
  • No Reservation Necessary
  • Private Tours
  • Tour Meeting Point
  • Tour Schedule, Summer 2015

free walking tours in portland oregon

The Tour Is Now Seasonally Closed- From Friday October 16th, 2015 to Sunday, May 1st, 2016.

free walking tours in portland oregon

Posted by secretsofportlandia on May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized .

  • This tour is about 2hours long. Think of the tour as stand-up comedy about Portland's history and culture. You'll laugh your butt off AND learn about Portland's fascinating evolution into the culture capital that it is today. Plus, you'll get great insider tips on restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. The Tour is FREE in the sense that there is no reservation necessary, no payment up front- if you liked the tour you can leave a tip in your tour guide's hat at the end! Feel free to email us at [email protected] with questions.
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Your Tour Guide, Erik Kennon

Follow Us On Twitter 4 Insider Tips On Portland Culture!

  • I've heard great things about @Ramys_LambShack . Gonna go in and see if it lives up to the hype! What should I order? #pdx 1 year ago
  • I'm excited to try all the new food carts in Portland! @PDXfoodcarts #pdx one of my tried and true favorites will always be @KOifusionpdx 1 year ago
  • I start my COMEDIC FREE WALKING TOUR season May 1st! I offer a FREE TOUR of #portland every day at 11am! #pdx #oregon #or 1 year ago
  • I'm excited for 2015 @CityRepair Village Building Convergence, always one of PDX's most refreshing, original events. 1 year ago
  • Gotta love that Portland is so pro ride-your-bike-to-work that we even have a special cycling forecast! #pdx 1 year ago

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free walking tours in portland oregon

  • United States

Portland Walking Tours: Your Essential Guide to Exploring the City on Foot

free walking tours in portland oregon

  • 21 May 2023

Portland, Oregon, is a city known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes. Exploring the city on foot provides an intimate and engaging way to discover the diverse neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and local gems that make Portland a truly unique destination. Walking tours are a popular way for visitors and locals alike to get an in-depth look at the city’s architectural and historical sites, as well as experiencing the charm of its bustling streets, parks, and hidden corners.

There are a variety of walking tours available, including ones led by knowledgeable guides who share their insights and passion for Portland’s heritage. Among these offerings, the Architectural Heritage Center conducts year-round tours highlighting significant historical and architectural sites in different neighborhoods. Other options, such as Slabtown Tours and Around Portland Tours , focus on diving deep into Portland’s captivating past and its dynamic present.

Whether you are a first-time visitor looking to experience the best of the city, or a long-time resident seeking to uncover a new perspective on familiar streets, Portland walking tours offer an accessible and enjoyable means to uncover the stories, characters, and places that define this Pacific Northwest gem.

Types of Portland Walking Tours

Historical tours.

Portland’s rich history can be explored through various historical walking tours. These tours showcase the city’s architectural marvels, fascinating tales, and significant events from the past. Highly knowledgeable guides share interesting anecdotes and facts while leading the group through Portland’s iconic landmarks and historic districts.

Neighborhood Tours

free walking tours in portland oregon

Discover Portland’s diverse neighborhoods on foot, experiencing their unique charm and character. Neighborhood walking tours allow visitors to explore the city’s distinctive areas, such as the Mississippi, Alberta, and East Bank neighborhoods.

These tours provide an authentic taste of local life and culture while bringing to light the stories behind the city’s colorful street scenes.

Food and Breweries Tours

Portland is well-known for its thriving food scene and craft breweries. On a food and brewery walking tour, participants can sample the city’s gastronomic delights while learning about the history and production of locally brewed craft beers.

These tours cater to food lovers’ appetites and curiosity, offering a delicious experience that combines exploration and culinary adventure.

Nature and Hiking Tours

Nature enthusiasts can relish the breathtaking views and natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge on walking and hiking tours. These outings often include stops at scenic spots such as the Vista House and Women’s Forum Park.

Explorers will also get the chance to admire stunning waterfalls like Latourell and Multnomah and enjoy some invigorating exercise along picturesque trails.

Private Walking Tours

For those who prefer an exclusive and personalized experience, private walking tours are an excellent option. Available for individuals or small groups, these tours can be tailored to suit specific interests, schedules, and preferences.

Advance bookings are typically required, and pricing may vary depending on the tour length and itinerary.

Ghost History Tours

Delving into Portland’s spooky past, macabre ghost history tours lead brave souls through the city’s haunted sites and spine-chilling stories. These eerie adventures offer a unique perspective on Portland’s history while uncovering its dark secrets and supernatural encounters.

Prepare to be spooked as your guide recounts tales of ghostly occurrences and legendary haunted spots across the city.

Top Portland Neighborhoods for Walking Tours

Pearl district.

The Pearl District is one of Portland’s most iconic neighborhoods, known for its blend of historic warehouse buildings and modern architecture. A walking tour through this area offers a chance to explore the unique urban landscape, from converted industrial spaces to sleek condos and trendy eateries. Along the way, you may encounter some of the neighborhood’s numerous art galleries and boutique shops, as well as picturesque parks such as Jamison Square and Tanner Springs Park.

Slabtown boasts a rich history and a distinct architectural character, making it perfect for a walking tour. One option is to join a historical walking tour through Slabtown, which will highlight significant sites and share stories of the neighborhood’s past. During your exploration, you might discover the area’s various breweries, coffee shops, and eclectic shops. Additionally, you’ll encounter beautiful green spaces, such as Wallace Park and the North Park Blocks.

Nob Hill, also known as Northwest Portland or the Alphabet District, is characterized by charming Victorian and Craftsman-style homes, tree-lined streets, and a bustling shopping district. Embarking on a walking tour through Nob Hill allows you to appreciate the neighborhood’s architectural highlights while visiting local businesses, cafes, and boutiques. Don’t miss out on exploring the Wallace City Park or Macleay Park, which offer a serene environment for a leisurely stroll.

Lents Neighborhood

The Lents Neighborhood, located in Southeast Portland, is an up-and-coming area that has been experiencing significant growth and development. One of the most popular walking routes in this district is the Lents Green Ring Walk , a loop that circles the neighborhood and provides a glimpse into its unique character. The walk will take you past vibrant community gardens, spacious parks, and a mix of residential and commercial properties. This neighborhood is an excellent option for those looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience.

Points of Interest and Activities

free walking tours in portland oregon

Cannon Beach and the Oregon Coast

Cannon Beach, famous for its stunning coastline and iconic Haystack Rock , is a popular destination for visitors to Portland. Several walking tours offer day trips to explore this area, including guided visits to the nearby Ecola State Park and Oswald West State Park.

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square is a bustling urban park in the heart of downtown Portland. Walking tours often include a stop here to learn about the city’s history, admire the surrounding architecture, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Food carts, local events, and public art installations can be found throughout the area.

NW 23rd Avenue Shopping

For those who enjoy shopping and exploring local boutiques, NW 23rd Avenue is the place to be. This popular shopping district is lined with unique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Many walking tours include a stop here, allowing time for visitors to browse and discover what makes this area special.

Portland Rose Garden

The International Rose Test Garden is home to more than 10,000 rose bushes, making it an idyllic spot to learn about and appreciate the beauty of roses. Several walking tours offer guided visits to this iconic garden, where you can enjoy panoramic city views and the serene ambiance.

Forest Park Urban Hiking Tour

Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States, offering over 80 miles of trails and an impressive array of wildlife. An urban hiking tour can guide you through the park’s lush landscape, introducing you to its diverse flora and fauna. It is an excellent way to escape the city and experience the great outdoors without leaving Portland.

Willamette River Vista

The Willamette River is a significant feature in Portland’s geography, and many walking tours take advantage of its scenic views. Stops at waterfront parks, historic bridges, and lookout points offer opportunities for visitors to appreciate the city’s unique relationship with the river. In particular, the Willamette River Vista provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area, making it a must-see stop on any walking tour.

Practical Information and Tips

What to wear and pack for a portland walking tour.

Portland is known for its frequent rain, so dressing appropriately is essential for a comfortable walking tour experience. Wear layers, as the weather can change throughout the day, and consider bringing a waterproof jacket or poncho. Sturdy, comfortable shoes suitable for walking on various surfaces are also important. Some popular destinations during your tour may include breweries and coffee shops, so consider packing a reusable water bottle or coffee mug to stay hydrated and environmentally friendly.

Safety and Pedestrian Etiquette

Keeping safety in mind, follow pedestrian laws and be mindful of traffic, especially when crossing streets. Stick to the designated pathways and sidewalks, and always respect the local community and their spaces. When walking in a group, maintain a reasonable distance from other pedestrians and avoid blocking sidewalks.

Tour Maps and PDF Guides

To enhance your experience, consider downloading a map or a PDF guide for your specific walking tour route. These resources can provide you with valuable information about the sites you’ll be visiting, as well as help you stay on track and navigate Portland’s streets with ease.

Portland Public Transportation

Portland’s public transportation, TriMet , offers a convenient and affordable way to explore the city and access various walking tour starting points. Make sure to familiarize yourself with bus and light rail schedules, and consider purchasing a TriMet pass to make your journey even more seamless.

Walking Tours for Families and Groups

If you’re looking for a fun and engaging activity that the whole family can enjoy, a walking tour around Portland is the way to go. Walking tours allow families and friends to discover the beautiful city while getting some exercise and learning about their environment.

One option worth considering is the Intro to Portland Small-Group Walking Tour , which is suitable for both families and mixed-groups. This tour helps visitors get their bearings in the city and covers Portland’s most famous sights.

Another great walking tour for families is provided by Slabtown Tours . With more than 15 years of experience, the founder of Slabtown Tours has been taking families, Portland Public Schools groups, summer camp kids, and college students on guided walks around the city. These tours last for approximately 90 minutes and are accessible for people of all abilities. The cost for adults is $30, making it an affordable option for groups.

For those interested in exploring the outdoors, consider taking a hike in and around Portland . There are numerous self-guided tours available that utilize the GPSmyCity app. This app lets you explore the city at your own pace, ensuring an enjoyable and personalized experience for everyone involved.

Last but not least, the Bike Around Portland Oregon tour is perfect for those who prefer biking over walking. This tour takes participants through Portland’s beautiful neighborhoods, with a focus on the city’s famous bridges, poetry, and roses. It starts at $45 per adult, making it a budget-friendly option for families and groups.

In summary, walking tours around Portland offer an engaging and educational way for families and groups to explore the city together, get some exercise, and appreciate their environment.

Jay Y

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Secrets Of Portlandia Free Walking Tour - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Official City of Portland seal. The image depicts Portlandia holding her trident backdropped by mountain and river, accompanied by the text 'City of Portland, Oregon 1851'

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free For All Returns for 2024!

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is bringing back an amazing series of Summer Free For All events for 2024. The wildly popular annual program, made possible by the 2020 voter-approved Parks Local Option Levy ( Parks Levy ), will begin with Free Lunch + Play on Monday, June 24 at 20 parks citywide - including eight in East Portland. 

Filling the summertime meal gap with Free Lunch + Play

More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year. Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break when most schools are not in session. PP&R’s  Free Lunch + Play meals are accompanied by play activities including sports, games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities provided by trained staff, PP&R’s arts centers and community program partners. 

Free Lunch + Play is delivered in partnership with four local public school districts including Portland, Centennial, David Douglas, and Parkrose at about two dozen parks across the city (Monday through Friday) and five Mobile Lunch + Play sites in East Portland (days vary; see the online schedule for details).

Mobile Lunch + Play

Portland Parks & Recreation brings the Free Lunch + Play experience to children at four apartment complexes and one park for kids to enjoy meals, arts, crafts, games, and sports.

Summer Free For All HAS it all

This year’s program features more than 50 events for people of all ages, including multicultural festivals, free outdoor movies, concerts, and more fun across the city. 

For schedules and information, visit the Summer Free For All webpage . Schedules are currently available in English and Spanish, and will soon be posted in Russian, Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese, and many other languages.

Fun at a All Free Lunch + Play event, part of Portland Parks & Recreation's Summer Free For All

“Summer Free For All is one of Portland’s signature annual event series,” says Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan. “This year’s lineup is full of fun, diverse entertainment for Portlanders of all ages.”

The Summer Free For All programs could not be held without the  Parks Levy , a critical community investment. As promised to Portland voters, the Parks Levy is delivering for the city, providing recreational programs including family-friendly movies and concerts, fitness and art classes, teen- and senior-focused programs, life-saving swim lessons, and more. The Parks Levy also allows PP&R to remove financial barriers, and Summer Free For All’s free programming eliminates cost as a barrier to participation. Thank you, Portland, for your support of the Parks Levy!

“Summer Free For All is one of the best ways to get introduced to all that Portland Parks & Recreation has to offer,” says Parks Director Adena Long. “And when school is out, Portland Parks & Recreation helps fill the summer meal gap with Free Lunch + Play offerings in parks, and even at apartment complexes. It’s going to be another lively season full of memorable events. I hope people take part in them, and even better,  come work with us this summer!”

Summer Free For All Kickoff Event

Play for days at  Free Lunch + Play , where kids come to share a meal together and have fun in the sun!

Portland Parks & Recreation welcomes everyone to join the Summer Free For All Free Lunch + Play kickoff celebration on Thursday, June 27 at McCoy Park from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Lunch will be served from 12-1:30pm. Get summer started with free meals and a live performance featuring Ballet Papalotl performing authentic Mexican culture and folkloric dance, Arts in the Park, and the Rose City Rollers. It’s free and fun for all!

It’s back! East Portland Summer Arts Festival: July 6-7 at Ventura Park

This year’s festival headliners are Grammy-nominated soul and R&B artist Allen Stone and Grammy-winning percussionist and pop icon Sheila E.

The event will run from 6-8:30 pm each day. 

Attractions include multicultural music and dance performances, free drop-in music activities, arts and craft activities, and more. Portland Parks & Recreation's Community Music Center and Multnomah Arts Center staff will be on hand to join in the fun as well.

Washington Park Summer Festival: August 10-11 at the Rose Garden Amphitheater

Events begin at 6 pm each day.

A weekend of live outdoor performances by Dance Church and Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater with live music by Darrell Grant and his ensemble on Saturday, August 10. Sunday, August 11 will feature Ballet Papalotl and Edna Vazquez with Mariachi Portland.

The giant screen is silhouetted against Portland's summer sunset as a movie in a PP&R park gets underway on a clear, warm, gorgeous evening in 2023.

Highlights of movies, concerts, and cultural events

  • Movie highlights include a screening of Barbie and some classic films like Independence Day, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Little Mermaid, and much more. 
  • A few concert highlights include BridgeCity Soul, Melao de Cuba Salsa Orchestra, Opera in the Park Portland, and King Louie and Andy Stokes. 
  • New and special event highlights include the inaugural Samoan Festival, Television in the Park, and Hip-Hop in the Park.

Summer Free For All events at Gateway Discovery Park

Building community through culture and play at PP&R’s Gateway Discovery Park ! Free summer fun includes daily drop-in activities for youth ages 18 and under from 10 am-4 pm Monday through Friday with free lunch offered 11-11:45 

am. Performances for youth and families will be held on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, June 26 through August 21. This series features local artists including Aaron Nigel Smith, DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid, Olive and Dingo, and more! 

Special summer cultural events in the park include People of the Drum, featuring live music and drumming workshops by Mexica Tiahui, Alex Addy Drummers, Oregon Korean Performing Arts, and Portland Taiko on Saturday, July 20 from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. The 2024 Tonga Day Festival will be held on August 17 from 12-5 pm celebrating Tongan heritage through cultural performances, live music, community, and food.

Free Open Play Swim sessions at PP&R pools, part of Summer Free For All

Portland Parks & Recreation’s  popular outdoor pools will be open from June 20 through August 23. Creston Pool and Peninsula Pool will remain open through September 6 with a modified schedule. Each outdoor pool listed below will host a weekly free swim session in addition to regularly scheduled swim lessons, open play swims, and water fitness offerings:

  • Creston Pool – Free swim on Mondays 6:30 pm-8 pm
  • Grant Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 1 pm-3 pm
  • Montavilla Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 6:30 pm-8 pm
  • Peninsula Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 1 pm-3:45 pm
  • Pier Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
  • Sellwood Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 6:30 pm-8 pm

Fitness in the Park

Fitness in the Park offerings are all FREE beginning this summer! Free fitness classes begin June 24 and run through August 30 at seven Portland parks and one Portland Parks Golf course. Portland Parks & Recreation’s Fitness in the Park program helps Portlanders stay active and achieve their fitness goals while connecting to people and nature in parks. Look for the schedule online starting on the week of June 3rd.

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