Portland parks offer plenty of free fun any time of year, but Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free for All program ups the ante, offering over 400 free events from June to August every year. The entertainment at parks across the city includes free movie screenings, concerts and Zumba classes. Take a look at their website to learn about some of the programs highlights, which include:
Movies in the Park
Launched in 2007, Movies in the Park consists of over 40 free screenings hosted at green spaces across Portland. The evenings begin with pre-movie performances by local musicians and free popcorn for attendees. Closed captioning, sign language interpreters and FM loop amplifiers are available for all events (request 10 business days in advance). Make sure to bring a jacket or extra blanket in case it gets chilly. Previous film selections have ranged from classics like The Sandlot to animated treats like Coco and Moana.
Concerts in the Park
For over a century, local musicians of all genres and traditions have been entertaining crowds in Portland parks every summer. Listen to diverse beats — like improvisational African jazz or Celtic folk rock — and enjoy a bite from local food vendors like Po’Shines Café De La Soul and Pip’s Original Doughnuts as you jam out with other community members. Throughout the summer, dozens of concerts attract tens of thousands of concertgoers, so be sure to arrive early and bring a comfy seat of your choice. Check their website for more information. (Note: The usual ban on alcoholic beverages in parks is waived only during Concerts in the Park events, so feel free to stock your picnic basket with a bottle of Oregon Pinot.)
Washington Park Summer Festival
For those looking to enjoy a musical experience on a bigger scale, time your visit to catch the performances at the Washington Park Summer Festival. In August, the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater hosts an array of acts, including multicultural music, opera, flamenco and African dance. Parking is usually limited, so consider taking MAX light rail.
Free Open Play Swimming and Rock Climbing
If you’re looking to beat the heat or get fit in the fresh air, the Summer Free For All includes free open swimming at a number of community pools as well as free outdoor fitness classes, like Zumba and Tai Chi. (Note: fitness classes are free, but you must register online first to participate.)
Whether you’re looking to take in the local arts and culture or get active in the sunshine with the whole family, the Portland Summer Free For All has something for everyone. To plan your summertime fun in the Rose City, check out Portland Parks & Recreation’s website for more information. Who says the best things in life aren’t free?