Traveling on a budget? There’s plenty of live entertainment to be found in Portland, including these free evening shows. Read on for our day-by-day list of free comedy shows or jump to the list of free music in Portland.
Free comedy in Portland
In addition to weekly free comedy shows, several theaters and bars across Portland offer regular open mic nights. These local happenings are a great way to catch free comedy (or try it yourself).
“It’s Gonna Be Okay” | Eastburn – 8 p.m.
Local and traveling comedians can often be found Monday nights at Eastburn. This beloved neighborhood pub offers a seriously delicious food menu (including one of the country’s best grilled cheeses). Their showcase, “It’s Gonna Be Okay,” starts at 8 p.m. and is hosted by Portland’s bubbliest nerd comic, Barbara Holm. Consider coming back the next morning for Eastburn’s brunch offerings, including a $12 cocktail flight.
Open mic | Brody Theater – 9:30 p.m.
The Brody Theater, Old Town Chinatown’s dedicated comedy and improv theater, hosts open mics on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. While there’s no cover, a one-item minimum purchase is required.
Open mic | Lamp Tavern – 10 p.m.
Open mic | Funhouse Lounge – 7:30 p.m.
Bizarre theater and bar Funhouse Lounge offers an open mic on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Open mic | The Brody Theater – 9:30 p.m.
The second of back-to-back open mic nights at the Brody Theater. No cover; one-item minimum purchase is required.
“You’re Welcome” | Mississippi Pizza Pub – 9:30 p.m.
Founded by Caitlin Weierhauser, Matt Monroe and Nariko Ott in 2016, You’re Welcome features both local and out-of-town comics. You’ll also hear short sets by the very funny founders. In 2016, Ott was named Portland’s Funniest Person by the Portland Mercury, while Weierhauser was among Willamette Week’s “Funniest Five.”
Comedy Night | Al’s Den – 10:30 p.m.
Beneath McMenamins Crystal Hotel downtown, you’ll find Al’s Den, a historic basement bar offering late-night music and comedy. On Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30 p.m., the popular spot hosts a free showcase of Portland’s best up-and-coming comedians. Hilarious hosts Jon Washington and Whitney Streed emcee the shows.
Open mic | Funhouse Lounge – midnight
Late-night Friday offers another opportunity for free laughs at Funhouse Lounge.
Comedy Night | Al’s Den – 10:30 p.m.
Open mic | Kelly’s Olympian – 3:30 p.m.
Visit classic downtown bar Kelly’s Olympian for afternoon comedy on Sundays at 3:30 p.m.
Open mic | Helium Comedy Club – 8 p.m.
Portland’s premier spot for touring comics, Helium Comedy Club hosts an open mic every Sunday at 8 p.m.
“Control Yourself” | Alberta Street Pub – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday night’s free laughs are brought to you by “Control Yourself” at the Alberta Street Pub. This cozy bar on Northeast Alberta Street boasts a spacious, partially covered outdoor patio and generous space for live music and comedy. If you’re ready to brave the stage yourself, there’s an open mic session following performances by local and national comedians.
Free music in Portland
Musician in residence | Al’s Den – 7 p.m.
Al’s Den makes the list again thanks to its artist residencies. Each week, a different musician-in-residence (from folky solo artists to singer-songwriter duos) performs nightly at no charge.
Happy hour shows | Laurelthirst Pub – 6 p.m.
You can catch great live music with no cover charge several nights a week at Southeast Portland’s Laurelthirst Public House. From 6-8 p.m. daily, happy hour shows — often featuring acoustic, Americana or bluegrass artists — are always free.
NEARLY EVERY NIGHT
Mississippi Pizza – time and format varies
Mississippi Pizza, a beloved neighborhood haunt, offers frequent free shows. Delicious yet unpretentious pies are also on the menu, including vegan and gluten free options. The laid-back event space, dubbed the Atlantis Lounge, is full of red vinyl benches and stained glass windows. Traveling with little ones who might appreciate live music? The spot offers frequent regular free performances from unique kiddie bands, like Mr. Ben and Red Yarn. (Red Yarn is all the rage amongst four-year-olds.) Some shows here do charge a cover, but it’s usually quite small.
Goodfoot Pub & Lounge – format varies – 10 p.m.
Head to the Goodfoot on Tuesdays for free shows featuring everything from funk to metal to bluegrass. The upstairs bar at this Southeast Portland institution offers food and pool tables. Goodfoot is best known for the music and dance venue in the basement, which feels like a snug, grungy speakeasy. Pro tip: if Tuesday’s band doesn’t suit your fancy, the Goodfoot gives away free tickets to all of their shows. You can sign up each week on the pub’s website for a chance to win.
Sack lunch concerts | The Old Church – noon
When it comes to venues, the Old Church is one of the most stunning that Portland has to offer. This historic church faced demolition in the 1960s, but was restored as a non-denominational event space. It features original architecture and an awe-inspiring pipe organ. Their free Sack Lunch Concerts occur every Wednesday at noon and range from solo piano concertos to string quartets.
“Sunday Sessions” | Rontoms – 8 p.m.
Central Eastside mainstay Rontoms offers free concerts on Sunday nights. Called Sunday Sessions, these shows feature a lineup of multiple bands from Portland and beyond. Looking for an outdoor concert? In the summertime, bands perform under the geometric eaves of Rontoms’ back patio. The space is one of Portland’s most popular sun-kissed spots.
More free (and nearly free) fun
Looking for more free fun? Check out our guide to exploring Portland on a budget and finding free and nearly free activities in Portland.