Health & News

Ways to Enjoy Portland for FREE!

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Not only are fun activities, well…fun – they are also great for your health! Here are some amazing FREE Portland activities:

Get Outside Year-Round

Forest Park: There are 5,000+ acres of woods just west of downtown Portland ready for you to take to the trails!  

People Watching

Portland is known for keepin’ it weird. Head to Pioneer Square, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Saturday Market, or Skidmore Fountain to find evidence!

Hoyt Arboretum: Home to over 2,000 different kinds of trees, including 63 that are vulnerable or endangered. 

Fountains: Relax next to one of our six gorgeous downtown fountains. 

Parks: There are over 200 parks within city limits – how many have you been to? 

Leach Botanical Garden: Discover Portland’s secret garden! Nature paths, activities, and abundant flora and fauna.


First Thursday: The first Thursday of every month The Pearl’s galleries stay open late for an evening of art, wine, and music.  

Last Thursday: Every Last Thursday fifteen blocks of NE Alberta Street show off artists, musicians, street performers, and even fire artists! Be sure not to miss June, July, and August when the street shuts down to traffic.  

First Friday: The party’s on the eastside every first Friday! Come enjoy galleries, boutiques, eateries, and unique spaces.  

Public Art: Portland is beautifully adorned with public art, make a day of taking it all in. The link to the left will show you where. Keep your eyes peeled for street art too! 


Hellenic (Greek)-American Cultural Center & Museum: Exhibits of Greek artifacts, costumes, cultural items and more.  

Ping Pong’s Pint Size Puppet Museum: Come experience a world of puppetry and movie magic! Play with the puppets and learn all about them from the passionate owner and puppet maker. 

The Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum: Come see and learn about a diverse variety of indigenous small watercrafts, and how they’ve helped shape human history. 

Movie Madness Museum: Did you know that you could go see memorabilia from movies like Casablanca, Bonnie and Clyde, or Fight Club on SE Belmont? You sure can, plus about 100 more… 

First Fridays at Portland Children’s Museum: Enjoy the popular Children’s Museum free from 4-8pm every first Friday! 


Flicks on the Bricks: On five Friday nights in July and August Pioneer Square is transformed into Portland’s largest outdoor movie theater! 

Movies in the Parks: The City of Portland’s Parks and Recreation organizes movies in parks around town every weekend! Pre-movie entertainment starts at 6:30 and movies begin at dusk. 

Concerts in the Park: The City also has concerts going on in the parks, on weekends as well as many weekdays. There is a huge variety of music – sure to be something for everyone! 

Sundown Concerts at EcoTrust: The annual concert series brings in favorite local bands, eco-oriented organizations and businesses, and lip-smacking food and drink. Kid’s activities too! 

Free Open Play Swims: Free swims at public pools! 

Playgrounds in the Park: Organized sports, games, and crafts at parks all over Portland parks on weekdays in June and August. Some even have kids’ lunches! 

Shakespeare in the Parks: Portland Actors Ensemble has presented Shakespeare’s plays every summer in various outdoor settings since 1970! See their website for schedule. 

Rose Festival: Opening night fireworks and concert, three parades, and even a Milk Carton Boat Race are free! 

International Rose Test Garden: Stop and smell the roses – over 1,000 different kinds! Free tours offered daily at 1pm Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

Secrets of Portlandia: Portland’s free walking tour! Locals will take you on a hilarious tour that includes Shanghai tunnel ghost stories, the world’s smallest public park, the history of the World Naked Bike Ride, and more…  

Adult Soap Box Derby: Watch racers brave the slopes of Mount Tabor in this competition that’s been “Flexing Portland’s Creative Muscle Since 1997”.  

Summer Arts on Main Street: Free music (and other miscellaneous) performances are set up every Wednesday from 12 p.m.-1 p.m. in July and August outside of the Antoinette Hatfield Hall.  


Swift Watch: Every September thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather in the city as they prepare to migrate south. Catch their aerial acrobatics evenings at Wallace Park. 

Art in the Pearl: Every Labor Day the Pearl District’s North Park blocks turn into an arts festival, named one of the top ten in the country!

Tree Lighting Ceremony: Watch a 75 foot tall tree transform to the sounds of live music, every late November in Pioneer Square. 

Christmas Ships Parade: Since 1954 Portland’s boats have gotten all gussied up for Christmas and paraded for two weeks on our Columbia and Willamette rivers. Don’t miss this Portland tradition! 

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