Summer events and activities in downtown Portland

The city’s sunniest season makes it easy to fill your calendar with summer fun.

downtown-summer-1The farmer's market at Portland State University overflows with flowers, food and more.

Your grill is fired up, your flip flops are out of storage and your summer bucket list is drafted — now head to Downtown Portland for the summer’s hottest events. The city’s sunniest season makes it easy to fill your calendar with the ultimate summer fun.

Summer events in downtown Portland

Whether you want to enjoy Oregon’s weather under the blue sky or take a break from the sun inside, downtown Portland’s summer events have you covered.

Summer fun at Pioneer Courthouse Square

Festival of Flowers

“Portland’s living room” explodes with colorful hue thanks to more than 24,000 flowers artistically arranged for its annual Festival of Flowers. For the last 35 years, Pioneer Courthouse Square has collaborated with local artists and design firms to bring their floral vision to the heart of downtown, wowing locals and visitors with their vibrant masterpieces; this year, Portland’s own award-winning landscape architecture firm Walker Macy will “Paint The Town” with a tribute to the 35th anniversary of Pioneer Courthouse Square and its transformative role within Portland’s Downtown Plan. (May 22–June 7.)

Singin’ in the Square with the Low Bar Chorale: The Prince Edition

Celebrate the 35th anniversaries of Pioneer Courthouse Square and Prince’s epic Purple Rain album with a free, all-ages singalong concert with the Low Bar Chorale (presented by ShedRain). Portland’s one and only alt/indie/pop drop-in bar chorus, Low Bar Chorale brings to the stage an all-star band packed with musicians from Blind Pilot, Brandi Carlisle, the Eels, local nonprofit My Voice Music and more for their annual “Singin’ in the Square.” The event includes special appearances by recording artists Ruby Friedman, Arietta Ward and more — but the true lead singers are the audience members. Songbooks are provided. (June 22, 7 p.m.)

Noon Tunes

This outdoor summer concert series serenades tourists and office workers on their lunch breaks by bringing some of the region’s best musical talent to a stage in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Radio station 101.9 Kink has curated impressive lineups for the eight free concerts, so bring your brown bag—or grab a bite at Carts on the Square — and soak in the tunes. Noon Tunes are presented by The Oregonian/Oregonlive.com and 101.9 Kink.  (Tuesdays in July and August, noon–1 p.m.)

Noon Tunes at Pioneer Courthouse Square brings free concerts to Portland’s “living room.”

Flicks on the Bricks

Pioneer Courthouse Square transforms into Portland’s largest outdoor movie theater for five Friday nights this summer. Admission to Flicks on the Bricks free and movies begin at dusk. Bring a low-backed chair, cushions or pillows to snag a seat early and truly make the Square feel like a living room. (Fridays, July 26–Aug. 23, 7 p.m.)

Summer food and drink events in downtown Portland

Portland State University Farmer’s Market

This summer, Portland State University’s Farmer’s Market fills two entire city blocks with organic produce, baked desserts and prepared foods (which, by the way, make for excellent local gifts for people from out of town). You’ll also see chef demonstrations, market music and a lineup of food education events all summer long. (Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.)

Shemanski Park Farmer’s Market

With its carts and vendors selling delicious meals under a lush green canopy of trees, this downtown farmer’s market at Shemanski Park is a popular lunch spot for good reason. Portland residents and visitors also use this shaded destination to buy locally grown groceries for dinner — or supplies for an al fresco picnic. (Wednesdays 10 a.m.–2 p.m.)

Oregon Brewers Festival

Celebrate the diversity of brews at the Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the nation’s longest-running craft beer festivals, which feels right at home in Portland’s craft beer scene, one of the nation’s beer meccas. While admiring views of the Portland skyline and Mount Hood, sip your way through your favorites among 80 unique beers, from light lagers to hoppy IPAs; minors and designated drivers can sample free handcrafted sodas. (Waterfront Park, July 24–27.)

Summertime parades in downtown Portland

Starlight Parade

As part of the Portland Rose Festival for more than 40 years, the nighttime Starlight Parade brings Portland’s quirkiness to the streets. Unconventional hand-built entries and glow-in-the-dark umbrellas mingle with traditional marching bands and floats for funky, eclectic fun for grown-ups and families (if the kids can stay up past their bed times!). (June 1, 8:30 p.m.)

Grand Floral Parade

Flower-filled floats cruise down the Willamette river and across downtown Portland in this spectacular summer parade. Music, costumed characters, local celebrities and, of course, hundreds of thousands of blooms make this an iconic Portland event you won’t want to miss. (June 8, 10 a.m.)

Pride Northwest Parade

Portland’s diversity is on beautiful display at the Pride Northwest Parade. During Pride, Portland’s LGBTQ+ community comes together with rainbows aplenty in this welcoming, family-friendly summer event. (June 16, 11 a.m.)

Portlandia Mermaid Parade

Dive into mermaid mythology at this annual colorful, sequined, uniquely Portland parade. Sea creatures and humans are welcome at the third annual Portlandia Mermaid Parade, beginning at Waterfront Park sidewalk promenade, followed by a community swim from Poet’s Beach — mermaid tail optional. (July 27, noon.)

Summer art and music events in downtown Portland

Portland Art Museum

The city’s renowned art museum is open year-round, but its summer offerings make it the perfect destination to take a break from all your outdoor adventures. Stop in to see the Portland Art Museum‘s summer exhibit “Paris 1900” (June 8–Sept. 8) and get artsy on Friday evenings, when museum admission is just $5 after 5 p.m.

Waterfront Blues Festival

The largest celebration of blues, soul, funk, and rhythm and blues west of the Mississippi turns 31 this year — and you’re invited to its four-day party. Boogie down during the festival’s Fourth of July fireworks, internationally renowned artists across four stages, food and river boat cruises. The Waterfront Blues Festival also offers a chance to fight hunger, as prices support local organizations that provide emergency food relief to those in need. Check out our guide to Fourth of July fun. (July 4–7.)

Music on Main

Local and regional musicians take to the streets in the 14th annual Music on Main summer festival, where you can enjoy these free concerts featuring a diverse collection of musical genres. Held next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall’s iconic Portland sign, the outdoor concert series is ultimately dance-able — and Instagram-able. (Wednesdays in July and August, 5–7 p.m.)

First Thursday Art Walk

Art galleries in downtown Portland open up their doors to the evening air for the monthly First Thursday Art Walk. Stroll from gallery to gallery, where you can check out the latest installations and thought-provoking work while sipping wine and enjoying live music. (Thursdays, June 6, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5. July event scheduled for Friday. July 5.)

Summer events to move your body in downtown Portland

Biketown

Explore the city on two wheels by checking out one of Biketown‘s iconic orange bikes — just ride safe, follow the rules of the road and don’t pedal on sidewalks in the downtown area. Wondering where to start? Waterfront Park hugs the west shore of the Willamette River and is a favorite car-free thoroughfare for getting around.

E-scooting

Looking forward to zooming around The Rose City on an e-scooter? Be sure to wear your helmet and stay off sidewalks for a safe and enjoyable experience. Read our tips and tricks for staying safe and having fun using e-scooters in Portland.

The Big Float

Imagine the Willamette River as a giant pool party and you’ll have a pretty good picture of The Big Float, a summer event celebrating the waterway that runs through Portland. Sun-lovers float from Poet’s Beach to the Tom McCall Bowl in rafts, kayaks, tubes, even inflatable unicorns — anything, as long as it holds air! Kids’ activities (we’re talking a giant slip and slide), live bands, food carts, and a beer and wine garden await at the take-out. (July 13.)

Green Loop Sunday Parkways

Downtown Portland temporarily closes a long stretch of streets to car traffic from the West End to Lloyd to the South Waterfront, creating a motor-free bike boulevard. You can pedal right into the heart of downtown and the South Park Blocks, stopping at cultural hot spots including the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and Moda Center. (Aug. 25, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.)

Even more summer events in downtown Portland

CityFair

The Portland Rose Festival’s CityFair is a weekend wonderland for kids and adults. With amusement rides, live music, an arcade and local food, you’ll want to bring your littles — and your inner child. Visit the CityFair’s website for special events, including guided tech activities for kids and weekend themes (princesses, superheroes and pirates, oh my!). (May 24–27, May 31–June 2 and June 7–9.)

Fleet Week

Portland is a welcoming place, and the city’s veterans and residents go all-out to greet members of the U.S. Navy who call in our port during Fleet Week. You’ll get the chance to personally thank members of the military for their service, see the hulking ships firsthand and maybe even tour one of the ships temporarily docked in the Willamette. (June 5–9.)

Portland Saturday Market

While the largest, continuously operating, open-air crafts market in the U.S. runs rain or shine, the summer Portland Saturday Market usually enjoys the latter. Longtime Portland dwellers and visitors support small businesses selling everything from handmade soap and screen-printed shirts, to lawn art and mouth-watering truffles. (Waterfront ParkSaturdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m.)

Upcoming downtown events in summer 2019


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