Your grill is fired up, your flip flops are out of storage and your summer bucket list is drafted. It’s now time to head to downtown Portland for the summer’s hottest events. The city’s sunniest season offers plenty of ways to fill your calendar with fun.
Downtown Portland events
Whether you want to enjoy Oregon’s weather under the blue sky or want to take a break from the sun by going indoors, downtown Portland’s summer events have you covered.
Pioneer Courthouse Square events
Festival of Flowers
“Portland’s Living Room” explodes with every hue thanks to the thousands of flowers artistically arranged for the annual Festival of Flowers. For more than 30 years, local artists and design firms have brought their floral art to Pioneer Courthouse Square, wowing visitors with their vibrant masterpieces. This year, Portland’s own award-winning landscape architecture firm Walker Macy will bring the Columbia River Gorge to downtown Portland with its colorful vision, “oFISHially GORGEous” from June 1–15.
2018 Noon Tunes
This outdoor summer concert series serenades tourists and office workers on their lunch breaks by bringing the region’s best musical talent to a stage in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Radio tastemakers from 101.9 KINK FM have curated impressive lineups for the eight free concerts, so bring your brown bag — or grab a bite from the nearby food carts — and soak in the tunes. Concerts are held from noon–1 p.m. on Tuesdays from July 11–Aug. 28.
Flicks on the Bricks presented by SmartPark
Pioneer Courthouse Square transforms into Portland’s biggest outdoor movie theater on Friday nights during the summer. Bring a low-backed chair, cushions or pillows and snag a seat early to enjoy live music before the movie starts at dusk. Don’t forget the popcorn! Movies are shown on Fridays at 7 p.m. from July 20–Aug. 17.
Food and drink in downtown Portland
Pioneer Courthouse Square Farmers Market
“Portland’s Living Room” turns into the city’s bustling kitchen with a bounty of fresh, locally grown food and lunch options. Bring your reusable tote bag to carry home your berries, baked goods and much more. Farmers Markets at the Square are held at 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Mondays from June 18–Aug. 27.
Portland State University Farmers Market
This summer farmer’s market fills two entire city blocks with organic produce, baked desserts and prepared foods (which make for excellent local gifts for out-of-towners). You’ll also see chef demonstrations, live music and a lineup of food education events all summer long. The Portland State University Farmers Market takes place from 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. every Saturday.
Shemanski Park Farmers Market
With carts and vendors selling delicious meals under a lush green canopy of trees, this downtown farmer’s market 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. Find the market at Shemanski Park on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Oregon Brewers Festival
Celebrate the diversity of the local brew scene at one of the nation’s longest-running craft beer festivals, which feels right at home in one of the country’s beer meccas. Sip your way through your favorites among 80 unique beers, from light lagers to hoppy IPAs, while admiring views of the Portland skyline and Mount Hood. Minors and designated drivers can sample free handcrafted sodas. Head to the festival at Waterfront Park from July 26–29.
Parades in downtown Portland
As part of the 110-year-old Portland Rose Festival, this nighttime parade brings Portland quirkiness to the streets. Unconventional, hand-built entries and glow-in-the-dark umbrellas mingle with traditional marching bands and floats during this funky and eclectic event. Fun for grown-ups and families (if the kids can stay up past their bed times!), the parade is held at 9 p.m. on June 2.
Grand Floral Parade
Flower-filled floats cruise 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. See the festivities June 9 at 10 a.m.
Portland Pride Parade
Portland’s diversity is on beautiful display at the Portland Pride Parade. The LGBTQIA+ community comes together with rainbows aplenty in this welcoming and family-friendly summer event. Catch the parade on June 17 at 11 a.m.
Portlandia Mermaid Parade
Dive into mermaid mythology via this colorful, sequined and uniquely Portland parade. Sea creatures and humans alike are welcome at the third annual Portlandia Mermaid Parade, which is followed by a community swim from Poets Beach (mermaid tails optional). Dive into the fun July 28 at noon.
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 of your outdoor adventures. Stop in to see summer exhibits like The Shape of Speed (June 16–Sept. 16) and works by Richard Diebenkorn (June 16–Sept. 23), 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 30 this year — and you’re invited to its four-day birthday party. Boogie down for the festival’s Fourth of July, performances by internationally renowned artists across four stages, food and river boat cruises — all while fighting hunger by supporting local organizations Oregon Food Bank and Sunshine Division, which provide emergency food relief to those in need. Don’t miss the action on the waterfront from July 4–7.
Music on Main Street
Local and regional musicians take to the streets at Music on Main Street’s in the 13th annual summer festival, where anyone can enjoy free concerts featuring a diverse collection of musical genres. Held next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall’s iconic Portland sign, this outdoor concert series is highly danceable — and Instagrammable. Catch one of the shows on Wednesdays in July and August from 5–7 p.m.
First Thursday Art Walk
Art galleries in downtown Portland open their doors to the evening air during this monthly 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. Stroll down for the events, which will take place June 7, July 5 and Aug. 2.
Events to move your body
Explore the city on two wheels by checking out one of BIKETOWN’s iconic orange bikes. (Just be sure to ride safe, follow the rules of the road and don’t pedal on the sidewalks of the downtown area.) Wondering where to start? The Tom McCall Waterfront Park hugs the west shore of the Willamette River and is a favorite car-free thoroughfare for getting around.
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 running through Portland. Sun-lovers float from Poet’s Beach to the Tom McCall Bowl in rafts, kayaks, tubes and 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 spot. Experience the float July 14.
Green Loop Sunday Parkways
Downtown Portland temporarily closes streets along the planned route of the Green Loop 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 Portland and the Park Blocks, stopping at cultural hot spots like the Portland Art Museum, OMSI and the Rose Quarter. Grab your bike for this July 22 event from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
More summer events in downtown Portland
The Portland Rose Festival’s City Fair 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 own inner child — along for the adventure. Visit the City Fair’s website for special events, such as guided tech activities for kids and weekend themes (princesses and superheroes and pirates, oh my!). The City Fair returns May 25–28, June 1–3 and June 8–10.
Portland is a welcoming place, and the city’s veterans and residents go all-out to greet members of the U.S. Navy who arrive at our port during Fleet Week. 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 River, from June 6–10.
Portland Saturday Market
Although this largest continuously operating open-air crafts market in the country happens rain or shine, the Portland Saturday Market in the summertime usually enjoys the latter. Longtime Portland dwellers and visitors alike support small businesses selling everything from handmade soap and screen-printed shirts to lawn art and mouth-watering truffles. Head down to the market on Saturdays from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m.