Portland’s art scene has so much going on, it merits at least three regular celebrations, held in different creative neighborhoods around town.
Know Before You Go
To slow the spread of highly transmissible variants of COVID-19, a statewide mask mandate is in place. Oregonians and visitors ages 5 and up are required to wear face coverings in all public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking. Masks are also recommended in crowded outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
Additionally, some event organizers and venues may require proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test, for admission. Other events may be canceled, postponed or held virtually. Please check individual event websites for the most up-to-date information.
First Thursday, in the Pearl District and downtown, has been going strong since 1986. On the first Thursday of each month, galleries and businesses, including the Pacific Northwest College of Art debut new exhibitions, stay open late and throw a soiree, complete with free wine and snacks and great people-watching. Of course, it’s also serious business for local galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, one of the celebration’s pioneers.
During Northeast Alberta Street’s Last Thursday, the art openings at spaces like the Guardino Gallery set the scene for a boisterous street fair that attracts independent artists and performers, from local bands to troupes of acrobats. Held year-round, the event is biggest from May through September, when the street is closed to traffic during the festivities.
First Friday, hosted by Central Eastside galleries, studios and alternative art spaces, brings visitors up close with working artists in this burgeoning district. As its name implies, this art walk happens year-round on the first Friday of each month.
The chic Pearl District features galleries and cultural institutions, as well as stylish shops and acclaimed eateries on loading docks with cobblestone streets, which hint at this former warehouse district’s past.
Lined with street art, galleries, restaurants and bars, this Northeast Portland neighborhood is best known for its colorful monthly street fair.
Criss-crossed with train tracks and lined with old industrial factories, some of Portland's favorite restaurants, microbreweries, boutiques and events call the Central Eastside home.
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