They say the best things in life are free. Connect with nature, discover local artists or learn something new – all without spending a dime.
Free and Fun in Portland
Where can I find free things to do in Portland?
What are some free things to do in Portland with kids?
Where is the best view in Portland?
Where can I find murals or street art?
If you are an iOS user, you can download a free app that shows the location and description of public art throughout the city.
Portland’s Central Library is the oldest public library on the West Coast. Built in 1913, the library boasts more than 17 miles of bookshelves and artwork, much of which reflects a “Garden of Knowledge” theme. Highlights include the ornately decorated stairs and a 14-foot cast-bronze tree in the children’s room. The tree’s bark is a sculptural relief of images that intrigue children: vines, musical instruments, toys, ballet slippers, animals, storybook characters and letters.
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
Portland is home to more working steam locomotives than any other city in the country, and you’ll find them at the volunteer-run Oregon Rail Heritage Center, opened in 2012. Guided interpretation, presentations, exhibits and events tell the story of Pacific Northwest railroads and, during the holiday season, light-adorned “Holiday Express” trains tour passengers along the Willamette River. Located near OMSI and accessible via Portland Streetcar.
Monthly Gallery Walks
During the monthly First Thursday event, galleries in Old Town, the Pearl District and downtown stay open late, inviting the public to mingle with the artists and explore new exhibits. The streets buzz with performers, sidewalk artists and enthusiastic crowds, and many galleries offer free appetizers and wine. See a map of participating galleries.
Complementing First Thursday is Northeast Alberta Street’s Last Thursday event, which falls on the last Thursday evening of each month. Held on Northeast Alberta Street between 15th and 30th avenues, this event offers plenty of gallery shows, plus sidewalk vendors, live music and a street-fair vibe. Participating venues include Ampersand, Antler, Guardino Gallery and others.
Portland’s newest monthly art event is First Friday in the Central Eastside district, just across the Willamette River from downtown. Several First Friday shows and events are held in artists’ studios, cafés and other nontraditional exhibit spaces.
Free Museum Admission Days
The Oregon Historical Society has free admission days throughout the year, check their website for details. The Portland Art Museum offers free admission on the first Thursday of every month from 5-8 p.m. Admission is always free for ages 17 and under, veterans and active-duty military.
Sauvie Island, the Manhattan-size isle is one of the largest river islands in the country just north of Portland, is where families can find an entire day’s worth of adventures with swimming, hiking, birding and local farms.
Portland Saturday Market
Open every Saturday from March–December, Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts-and-crafts fair in the U.S.
Japanese American Culture
Connect with Portland's rich Japanese-American heritage at sites around the city.
Portland Farmers Market
Enjoy fresh, local produce, meals and treats at every Portland Farmers Market location.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Located in the heart of downtown Portland, the city’s “living room” is close to shopping, restaurants, and hotels, and hosts hundreds of events each year.
For outdoor enthusiasts, winter and fall are a wonderful time to hike through Forest Park, the nation’s largest urban wilderness. This nearly 5,000-acre wilderness has miles of hiking, jogging and mountain biking trails that are relatively free of traffic during the cooler winter months. Autumn sees the park’s mostly evergreen forest dotted with vibrant fall color. This is the perfect time of year to escape to the quiet solitude of the woods — and all within a 10-minute drive of most downtown hotels.
The Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic sanctuary, is one of Portland’s most visited attractions, greeting more than 175,000 guests of all faiths each year. Visitors can stroll through this natural gallery in the woods; view the marble replica of Michelangelo’s famous Pietà, carved into the base of a 110-foot cliff. The entire lower level is free. Ride the elevator ($6) to the top of the bluff for an impressive, panoramic view of the area’s highlights, including the Columbia River Valley, the Cascade Mountain Range and Mount St. Helens.
Home to plants from seven continents, this 185-acre hiker’s paradise contains more than 2,000 species of trees and 12 miles of trails. At the south end of the Hoyt Arboretum is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. An interpretive center offers restrooms, maps and brochures.
International Rose Test Garden
In Washington Park, you can also explore one of the largest and oldest rose test gardens in the country — for free. This is the largest of Portland’s three rose gardens. Started in 1917, the International Rose Test Garden, just minutes from downtown Portland, has 10,000 rose bushes, spectacular views of the city and an on-site gift shop.
Free tours are offered daily at 1 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Round out your floral explorations of the Rose City with a visit to Southeast Portland’s lush Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. The park boasts more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, with blooms from late February -June.
This year-round wonder taking up an entire city block houses an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden built by Suzhou artisans. Lan Su Chinese Garden offers a peaceful escape in Portland's historic Chinatown district.
Discover outdoor fun for the whole family — plus thousands of blooms — at Oregon’s oldest public rose garden.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is affectionately known as the city’s “living room.” Once a grim parking structure, the square is now a thriving urban park and the single most-visited site in Oregon, attracting more than 9.5 million visitors annually. The square’s on-site resources include TriMet’s bus and light rail ticket office. The square is also one of Portland’s leading outdoor venues, hosting 300 events each year, from large-scale concerts to cultural festivals.
Portland Farmers Market
Enjoy live music and samples of wonderful locally grown and prepared foods. During peak season, farmers’ markets are held on most days of the week around the city. At the Saturday market, chefs demonstrate how to create dishes with fresh market ingredients.
Locations/dates: The flagship market is held year-round on Saturdays in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University. On Mondays, the market comes to Pioneer Courthouse Square (June-Sept.), and Wednesday’s market is held in the South Park Blocks of the Cultural District (May-October). Hours vary by location.
Portland Saturday Market
Even though the Portland Saturday Market shuts down in January and February, it’s still a great summer, fall and early winter attraction. You don’t have to buy anything, just browse through booth after booth of handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing and artwork. Street musicians, local performers, tarot card readers and international food kiosks round out the scene. The people staffing the booths are typically the artists who created the crafts for sale and they’re always happy to talk about their trade.
Powell’s City of Books
Spend an afternoon exploring Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, covering an entire city block. Boasting more than 1 million titles, Powell’s is a mecca for bibliophiles searching for used, out-of-print, rare or autographed books. While the browsing is free, book-lovers will be hard-pressed not to purchase something — especially from the bargain tables. Browsers are welcome to take up to three titles into the coffee shop for perusing. Ride Powell’s three-door elevator — one of only a handful in the United States — or check out the Rare Book Room.
The Benson Portland, a Curio Collection hotel by Hilton, invites the public back again for a live unveiling of the 2022 Gingerbread Masterpiece, a 50-year holiday tradition. This year’s theme celebrates a major Oregon attraction (to be revealed at the event). It honors the hotel’s founder and local designer, Simon Benson’s decade of public service…
Portland’s small business community is coming together to put the fun back into holiday shopping. The annual Portland tradition, Shop Small Win Big, returns for the 2022 holiday season with an expanded three weeks to explore the city’s unique neighborhoods with more than 100 participating independent retailers and pop-up shops. Shop Local and Win Prizes…
Unordinary Makers Collective will transform the Commonwealth Building into a hub for social wellness. Shop locally and intentionally this holiday season at this supportive space surrounded by opportunities to engage with small and local businesses. Explore local vendors and makers such as: Birds and Bees NurseryVeeVee Victoria SkincareR&Arie Quality Life GoodsIshq Ancestral Healing for Skin…
The Japanese American Museum of Oregon’s holiday pop-up shop features unique Japanese-inspired gifts and crafts by local artists, designers, and authors. They invite you to visit the Omiyage Museum Store for the holiday season and choose from jewelry, fashion and home accessories, cards, origami creations, art objects, books, and a selection of curated vintage items….
What started as a lone ribbon-clad sailboat from the Portland Yacht Club in the 1950s became a decades-long nautical Christmas tradition with dozens of boats lighting up the riverfront.
The Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University will be open every Saturday, year-round. April through October hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. November through March hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Market at PSU is located in Downtown Portland in the South Park Blocks between SW College & Montgomery Streets.
Open every Saturday from March–December, Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts-and-crafts fair in the U.S.
The season of gifting is upon us. Get your holiday shopping done and support local Native artists at the Native American Youth and Family Center’s (NAYA) Native Made Winter Marketplace. You’ll find beautiful jewelry, clothing, crafts, prints and much more. Enjoy delicious Sisters’ Frybread with your family, get those unique gifts and make a day…
The PORTLAND BAZAAR is the city’s finest holiday gift showcase and sale. Started in 2011, our mission is to create an exciting event to highlight the skilled artists, makers and small businesses of Portland, Oregon. When you shop small, you are putting your dollars directly back into the community by supporting someone’s small business, their…
We welcome you back to downtown for this holiday tradition. Experience the melodic sounds of big brass as 150 tubas play in unison for the 30th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert in Portland’s Living Room. This COVID-safe seasonal performance is FREE for the public.
St. Helens Riverfront celebrates the annual Christmas Ships Parade with a holiday celebration at the Columbia County Courthouse Plaza. Cozy up for a photo-op with the holiday alpacas among festive decorations. Families with kids can enjoy meeting Santa and his elves while listening to holiday music classics from Tom Grant and Alyssa Schwary. Complete the…
Each house in this quaint southeast neighborhood has been decorating for Christmas for decades. Mostly Tudors, the houses are adorned with not only beautiful sparkling lights but also nativity scenes, rotating Christmas trees and stunningly life-like replicas of Santa and Frosty. Come see the lights on Peacock Lane and you’ll find nothing but good, old-fashioned…
Year-round on Saturdays, the Hollywood Farmers Markets hosts 50+ vendors, bringing you the best of the region’s agricultural bounty. In addition to amazingly fresh, local food, you’ll find live music, children’s activities, and fun events throughout the season. April through September, every Saturday 8 AM to 1 PM,October and November, every Saturday 9 AM to…
Celebrate Kwanzaa with Food, Music, Candle Lighting, Performances, and Dancing. Food, Music, and Performances provided by: Marcus Branch, Heavy Plays Restaurant and CaféMC’s Angie Harris, Tyler West and Malcom HooverSebe’ Kan African Drummers and Youth DancersMichelle HarperJacQuiNikki Brown ClownMichael “Chappie” Grice503 Sliders and DJ Eddie
The Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest presents the Annual Sobriety Powwow. The NARA New Years’ Eve Sobriety Powwow is one of the country’s largest sobriety new year powwows. It is undoubtedly the largest sober New Year’s party in Portland, where thousands close out the year with drums, songs and dance (all alcohol-free).
Brighten your February with glowing sculptures and thousands of twinkling lights at Portland’s annual Winter Lights Festival.
Join the Oregon Chinese Coalition for the 2022 Chinese Festival in the Square. Celebrate Chinese American culture and enjoy nonstop entertainment, delicious Chinese food, authentic arts and crafts, and much more. For more information visit pdxchinese.org.
Enjoy a variety of free holiday performances at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland’s Living Room, where Portland comes together. In the heart of downtown Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is the urban park at the center of events, community, and all things Portland.
Treat yourself to something sweet and delicious, like ice cream, frozen yogurt, ice cream cake or bubble tea. So many creative, small businesses make fabulous, tasty delights. Explore some favorites today.
The Jantzen Beach Amusement Park officially opened on May 26, 1928. It added a new attraction in July of that year—an impressive four-abreast carousel built by C. W. Parker. The Odyssey of the Historic Jantzen Beach Carousel examines the carousel’s journey from Parker’s Leavenworth factory to California’s sunny shores to the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park,…
SHOP LOCAL THIS SEASON Win 1 of 4 Raffle Baskets Take a photo inside a St Johns Retail businesspost on Instagram with #lightupstjohns and tag the business.The more businesses you go into and enter, the more chances you have of winningWinners will be drawn and notified on 12/19 via Instagram.
Over 200 pieces of art are for sale that will make wonderful gifts. The Oregon Society of Arts has been dedicated to the education and nurturing of talent in the visual arts since 1926. All are welcome.
Pop-up Gallery for two months starting November 1 – December 24, 2022, in downtown Lake Oswego. 40 local artists of the Pacific Northwest. Rain Spark Gallery is a group of professional artists who exhibit their work seasonally in person and year-round through this website. Member artists work cooperatively to curate, run, and maintain the gallery….
Drive by or take a stroll past the campground on Duke Street to enjoy thousands of lights, a life-size nativity, and the tallest decorated Christmas tree in Southeast Portland. Lights will be on daily from dusk to dawn, beginning Thanksgiving weekend through the end of the year. Seasonal music will also play from 4:30 p.m….
Boardgames, boardgames, boardgames Come out for an evening of games and goofing around. Bring your own or play one of theirs. 4th Wall strives to create a very casual, welcoming environment for anyone looking to get to know some new games and maybe some new friends. All ages are welcome; snacks and drinks are available….
The Pearl District is about to get the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream shop in the universe, serving treats made from the best ingredients on earth. Eugene-based Cosmic Bliss, formerly Coconut Bliss, officially opens its all-organic and gluten-free ice cream shop to the public in Portland’s Pearl District – and will be giving away free ice…
Weekly free trivia hosted by Mike May Trivia. EastSide Bar and Grill on the corner of Russell and 82nd just got new owners. They have already started making some improvements to the property and menu. Come support them by coming out to one of many weekly concerts, comedy night Tuesdays or Trivia night on Thursdays….
Simpsons pub quiz featuring questions only from seasons 2-8. Every 2nd Thursday of the month at Tomorrow’s Verse Taproom. Free to play and prizes given.
Join every Thursday for general knowledge pub trivia in the Community Room The Oregon Public House is a public benefit corporation that was founded with the belief that any business, any person can do more for their community. We invite our neighbors, friends, and visitors from afar to eat in the community and drink to…
The Juicy Jam’s only goal is to jam, and The Juicy Jam’s only rule is no covers. Instrumentalists can blast off on space jams and be the backing band to songwriters from all over the place. Songwriters can find their band and explore new material in an environment that’s soaking wet with excitement. Parker’s Hideout…
Beginning December 1st, Laurelwood Brewing Co will host weekly trivia with Last Call Trivia. Each Thursday, teams will square off during a two-hour trivia session and compete for prizes (and bragging rights, of course, this is trivia). 1st Place: $50 Laurelwood Gift Card 2nd Place: $25 Laurelwood Gift Card 3rd Place: $10 Laurelwood Gift Card…
An annual series of micro-markets featuring handmade gift items crafted by local makers. Hosted in a small, independently owned book and yarn shop with a robust cookbook section, this event highlights artisans crafting with wool and paper and creating beautiful kitchenware.
Oregon Contemporary and home school present i gently place my brain in cold rice, on view from November 2022 to January 2023. The first exhibition in home school’s curatorial residency at Oregon Contemporary presents works of sculpture, video, photography, and writing that orbit ideas around the tactile, the textile, the virtual, and the ritual. The…
OJA Portland Market is the indoor shopping and gathering place for winter 2022. Curated out of a desire to represent the depth of Portland’s diverse communities, OJA, is the Yoruba word for Market. Guiding Portland Back to Community Art + Culture + Food + Music + Drinks + Retail including a Live Entertainment Stage and…
Back with another weekend of local shopping, beer, cider, food and holiday fun. Jewelry, hand-forged knives, stained glass, bath and body products, art, crafts, vintage and more are all in “The Old Pawn Shop” next to The Lion’s Eye. All ages welcome Always free to enter Email email@example.com for press or vendor inquiries
Coming off of performances with three different bands at the 2022 Waterfront Blues Festival, Ben Partain takes the reins with his own group every Second Friday at The Hoppy Brewer. He’ll be playing soul classics like the music of Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Al Green, and Ray Charles as well as some rare cuts and…
Kids and kids at heart are invited to come stuff themselves silly on a veritable feast of animation and sugary cereal. Whether you’re seeking some nostalgia or just happy to have your kids stare at a bigger screen than normal while you zone out on a laptop, we are here for it. Add on plenty…
Decorating gingerbread houses is a cherished way to celebrate the holidays. They’ll supply the gingerbread houses; you’ll bring the creativity, laughter, and fun. Once your gingerbread house is decorated, you’ll also have the chance to enter your decorated house into a contest for a $50 IKEA gift card. Free for IKEA Family members. Register on…
The Crow Moon Markets and the Ankeny Alleyway Association are hosting the Ankeny Alleyway Makers Market every Saturday. Visitors can shop a rotating selection of local artists and makers in Portland’s historic Old Town neighborhood every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Makers Market was created to help support local artists and makers…
a useless task it seems Midgray (Kris Blackmore and Simon Boas) Featuring Pat Boas Holiday Hours: Christmas Day: Closed, Christmas Eve + New Year’s Eve: 12-4pm, New Year’s Day: 12-5pm The art and design duo Midgray (Kris Blackmore and Simon Boas) presents new work reflecting the cyclical nature of repression, resilience, and resignation. The artists…
Join in on Sandy Blvd for a Kerns Neighborhood Holiday Market on Sat, Dec. 10th, from 12-7 p.m. Celebrate the season with gift shopping, food, drinks, and live music. Daffodill Studios, Church Bar, Paydirt, Make & Mary, Sonny’s House of Tattoos and Treasures, Dava Beads, Outlet, Duality Brewing, Astral Food Truck, and more will have…
Best-selling authors. Portland publishers. The inaugural Portland Independent Book Fair features Portland’s small publishing houses and their wide selection of books. All sales go directly to the indie publishers. Recognizing the plight of the small press, The Portland Independent Book Fair ensures that the participating indie publishers receive 100% of the sale and are not…
Looking for ways to keep your holiday spending local while supporting small businesses? Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co and ASSEMBLAGE are teaming up again to showcase Greater Portland’s outstanding maker network while making holiday shopping fun, festive and meaningful. The Makers Fair returns as several small-scale Holiday Markets held inside Hammer & Stitch Brewing Company….
It is like waxing philosophical, but instead of experiencing existential dread, you will get a barrel of laughs. This won’t be held to FCC PG-13 for kids, but they are welcome. No one is too young to learn the world is dark and sad and deserves to be laughed at. Showcase hosted by Dani Schi
Tap That Comedy Showcase and Open Mic A weekly comedy showcase highlighting some of the up-and-coming comedic talents in the Portland metro area.
World’s Hottest Goss: A Comedy Show come on down to the lobby of the fanciest movie theater in town for a weekly extravaganza of silly little guys and big secrets.
Enjoy free admission all day, celebrating the Portland Art Museum’s 130th birthday. Visit special exhibitions Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe and Jeffrey Gibson’s They Come From Fire and To Name An Other. Free admission tickets can be reserved online beginning Wednesday, Dec.7th. Tickets will be available for walk-in visitors on Sunday, Dec. 11th.
World Forestry Center offers free admission to the Discovery Museum on Sundays from November 13, 2022, through January 29, 2023 (excluding Sunday, December 25, and Sunday, January 1, when the Museum will be closed). Located in Portland’s Washington Park, steps from the MAX Light Rail, World Forestry Center’s Discovery Museum will change how you see…
The Market of Mysteries is a pop-up experience at John Fluevog Shoes. If you’re searching for unique gifts, this is the place to go. The vendors are an eclectic mix of amazing local artisans bringing magic and awe to the space. Featuring: Argentum.xx- hand-crafted botanical and fauna-inspired silver jewelry.Amaranthyne Designs- one-of-a-kind entomology and taxidermy art…
A few things to know …. You are encouraged to bring your own supplies, there will be some available for purchase but it’s better to come prepared. Beer, wine, and cider will be available at Tomorrow’s Verse Taproom. Outside alcohol is not allowed. Bringing your own snacks is very much allowed. There is no charge…
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