John Patrick Pullen

Alcohol-Free Fun in Portland

Portland's nightlife options go beyond the usual bars and clubs.

2 min read

John Patrick Pullen

Just because you’re older than 21, doesn’t mean you have to act like it. Portland has a wide range of events that require no alcohol whatsoever to enjoy.

Brainiacs can test their knowledge at Mississippi Pizza‘s weekly Quizissippi. Grab some friends, study up, win prizes, eat pizza. What could be better? Well, maybe classic video games. In that case, look no further than downtown’s Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade.

It’s all fun and games when regular events like Rock Band Karaoke and indie game nights fill the space with 8-bit themed fun. But with more than 60 games, 27 pinball machines, a full menu and hours until 2:30 a.m., this coin-operated mecca is a go-to any night. For more arcade games head to Avalon Theater and Wunderland, where the 100+ classic games, from motorcycle racing to skee ball, are still operated with nickels.

To explore Portland’s local art scene, check out any of the city’s monthly art walks, including First Thursday and Last Thursday. Most art walks often include live music performances, food carts and the chance to peruse work by dozens of local artists at once.

Monthly Art Walks in Portland

Explore Portland's art gallery scene with three regular art walks, held in different creative neighborhoods around town.

Of course, learning is a life-long adventure, and as the packed houses of the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) Science Pub show, Portland is full of brave brainiacs. The 21-and-up discussions of science and technology bring in leading minds like astronauts and environmentalists to explore and explain the world from new perspectives.

Looking at it from ground-level, Back Fence PDX is a quarterly gathering of local and out-of-town storytellers who share personal tales based on the night’s theme. Never told in public before, these tales are equal parts heartfelt, cringe-worthy and hilarious, and they feel like intimate secrets shared by friends.

Live Storytelling Events in Portland

Hear true stories about love, sex, history, movies and even middle school at six regular live storytelling events in Portland.

Speaking of friends, you may want to gather your best buds for battle at one of Portland’s many bar trivia nights. Held all over town every night of the week, these competitive gatherings of geeks stretch the limits of the mind through puzzles, games and good old questions, with winning teams walking out with everything from prizes and gift certificates to cold, hard cash.

And if you know a thing or two about music — especially lyrics to some rock anthems — Karaoke From Hell can turn you into a star. But leave your MIDI tracks at home, because this crooning is backed by a live band, which has a 500-song repertoire to make you sound better than you ever have before. (Karaoke From Hell takes place at multiple locations; check their website for more information.)

Portland Karaoke Bars and Nights

Choose from private suites, pop-up events, tiki drinks and Chinese food as you select your ideal Portland karaoke venue from among the city’s top spots.

Where to find trivia in Portland

  • Mississippi Pizza

    Based on three guiding principles — great pizza, family-friendly live music and serving the local community — Mississippi Pizza has been a local favorite for food and entertainment since 2001.

  • McMenamins Kennedy School

    This 1915 elementary school was renovated in 1997 to encompass hotel rooms, bars, a movie theater, a saltwater soaking pool, a restaurant in the former cafeteria and even a working brewery set in a former girls’ lavatory.

  • Pope House Bourbon Lounge

    This Kentucky-themed lounge is a destination for bourbon lovers. Soak up summer sun on the patio while enjoying thoughtfully crafted cocktails and Creole-inspired dishes.

  • Beulahland

    At this eccentric bar, you’ll find pinball machines, daily soups, infused vodkas, Pabst Blue Ribbon, all-natural beef burgers, sardine sandwiches, displays from local artists and soccer matches on the screens.

  • Breakside Brewery – NW Slabtown

    Breakside Brewery is known for their wide-ranging selection of beers, including sours, India pale ales, and barrel-aged beers.

  • Gigantic Brewing

    This brewery makes unique, seasonal beers, most of which are only brewed once.