Outdoors

Portland is the perfect launchpad for outdoor activities and adventure.

Home to a sprawling urban forest, dozens of verdant public parks, gorgeous gardens and a sparkling river running through the middle of the city, there’s never a shortage of ways to explore Portland’s outdoors. Whether you’re a fan of flowers, tranquil gardens, urban hikes or just looking to get some fresh air, Portland has something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast covered. Read on for our guides to getting outside, then head to our events calendar to find even more things to do outdoors in Portland.

View the Full Calendar

You’re currently viewing a page featuring a selection of events. To find even more things to do in Portland, visit our full calendar, which you can search by date and event type.

Parks and Gardens

Known as "The City of Roses," Portland is home to over 275 public parks and gardens.

Where to Walk

In addition to Portland’s many pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, your feet can take you to some fantastic places around town.

Camping in and Near Portland

Immerse yourself in nature with a camping trip near the city.

Yurt Camping Near Portland

Yurt camping near Portland offers a midway point between primitive camping and glamping with electricity, heating, windows and wooden floors.

Camping Near Portland

To truly appreciate the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, spend a memorable night under the stars at these scenic campsites located within an easy drive from the city.

RV Parks in and Near Portland

Whether you’re craving a woodland adventure, an urban exploration or just a great roadside view as you travel cross-country in your RV, Portland has it all – along with comfortable and convenient locations to park or set up camp.

Top 5

Urban Walking Spots

Explore these verdant strolling destinations throughout the city.

  • Mt. Tabor Park

    This popular park features expansive views, picnic areas, natural-surface and paved paths, a dog off-leash area, a playground and a performance stage, plus tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

  • Laurelhurst Park

    Surrounding a scenic lake, Laurelhurst Park was the first city park named to the National Register of Historic Places. It offers picnic and play areas, a dog off-leash area and a horseshoe pit, plus basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.

  • Washington Park

    Washington Park is one of the oldest, most popular parks in Portland. It features 15 miles of trails and more than 400 acres of trees, gardens, playgrounds and attractions.

  • Forest Park

    Portland's 5,200-acre urban forest, just minutes from the central city, stretches seven miles in length and contains more than 80 miles of trails.

  • The Grotto

    This clifftop site features 62 acres of lush gardens and dozens of intricately carved shrines. Built as a Catholic sanctuary in 1924, the Grotto welcomes over 300,000 visitors of all faiths each year and hosts an iconic Christmas celebration.

Outdoors Opportunities for People of Color in Portland

These five fantastic local organizations are helping people of every culture, race and ethnicity experience the Pacific Northwest's natural beauty.

Hiking in Portland

Get out and explore the many trails and nature areas within and near the city.

Explore Local Wildlife

Discover these wildlife natural areas and activities in Portland.

Wildlife Preserves

Experience nature not far from the city's hustle and bustle at these wildlife preserves.

Bird-Watching in Portland

Catch sight of 200+ types of birds at the Portland area's dozens of prime bird watching destinations, including sanctuaries, refuges and urban parks.

Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary

The Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary is a great starting place for hiking Forest Park and (of course) bird-watching.

Seasonal Outdoor Fun

All four seasons in Portland offer their own unique set of fun events and experiences.

Nearby

Columbia County

Bird-watch on Scappoose Bay, cruise around on a path or exploring the historic community of St. Helens – Columbia County offers countless family-friendly activities.

Water Sports and Adventure

From waterfalls to the Willamette River, Portland offers endless opportunities for aquatic adventure.

Upcoming Outdoor Events

Editor's Pick
Festival of Flowers
May 20–June 2, 2020

Festival of Flowers

Pioneer Courthouse Square Free

For more than 30 years, the Festival of Flowers at Pioneer Courthouse Square (in the heart of downtown Portland) has been one of city’s most renowned festivals. Every year, the Square works with a local artist or design firm to create a masterpiece of vibrant color utilizing more than 24,000 flowers and plant material, filling…

Editor's Pick
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races
June 6–7, 2020

Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races

Tom McCall Waterfront Park Free

EVENT POSTPONED. Please visit the event website for current information. The Rose Festival is proud to host the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races, an event that has been bringing an exciting Chinese tradition to Portland for more than two decades, beginning in 1989. Held on the Willamette River near the Hawthorne Bridge, the races…

Editor's Pick
Outdoors
Portland Rose Festival
Sports
Editor's Pick
Water Lantern Festival
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Water Lantern Festival

Laurelhurst Park Varies

Portland’s annual Water Lantern Festival is a beautiful experience where you’ll witness the magic of lanterns as they light up the water at Laurelhurst Park. This family-friendly event includes food trucks, pre-made floating lantern kits, markers, ascavenger hunt and more.

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Festival of Balloons
June 26–28, 2020

Festival of Balloons

Cook Park Prices Vary

Hot-air balloons take flight mere minutes from downtown Portland every summer.

Editor's Pick
Events
Festivals
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Sunday Parkways: North Portland
Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Parkways: North Portland

North Portland Free

UPDATE: The June Sunday Parkways event will be digital-only due to the coronavirus pandemic. See the Facebook events page for details. Join Sunday Parkways in this 9.5-mile loop of North Portland, which will pass by Arbor Lodge Park, Peninsula Park & Rose Garden, Kenton Park, McCoy Park and Columbia Annex. An accessible ride (by EveryOne…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Harefest
July 10–11, 2020

Harefest

Clackamas County Fair & Event Center $39 and up

The annual Harefest music festival in Canby presents the Northwest’s best tribute bands performing on three stages over two days. The Harefest experience has been described by many attendees and performers as “adult summer camp” not only for the fun-loving, good-natured attendees, but also because of its rustic location and tent camping around the festival…

Editor's Pick
Festival
Music
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Oregon Country Fair
July 10–12, 2020

Oregon Country Fair

Oregon Country Fair grounds Ticket Prices Vary

Delight in the Oregon Coutnry Fair’s world class entertainment, handmade crafts, delectable foods, educational displays and magical surprises at every turn of the path. The Oregon Country Fair is nestled in a wooded setting 13 miles west of Eugene, Ore., and offers an other-worldly path ambience, parades and more. The Oregon Country Fair creates events…

Editor's Pick
Festival
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
The Big Float
Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Big Float

Tom McCall Waterfront Park $5-$175

Every summer since 2011, thousands of people swim and float in the Willamette River for the annual Big Float event.

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Summer
Editor's Pick
Northwest String Summit
July 16–19, 2020

Northwest String Summit

Horning's Hideout Ticket Prices Vary

The annual Northwest String Summit celebrates Bluegrass, roots, and Americana sounds during its multi-day festival in North Plains, Oregon. Visit their website early to purchase tickets, as they usually sell out fast.

Editor's Pick
Festival
Music
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Oregon Northwest Merfest
Saturday, July 18, 2020

Oregon Northwest Merfest

Director Park Free

Oregon Northwest Merfest is a festival for the entire family that brings awareness to conservation with a fun “under the sea” theme. Join Oregon Mermaids for a day of mermaids, pirates, sea-themed entertainers, puppet shows and ocean-themed yoga. Oregon Mermaids impart their love of the briny deep, its wildlife, the ocean beaches and conservation information…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Sunday Parkways: Gateway
Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday Parkways: Gateway

Northeast Portland Free

Head to Gateway in Northeast Portland for Sunday Parkways’ 4.8-mile loop of the neighborhood. One of the shorter routes of the summer, Gateway’s Sunday Parkways is a great option for families and friends who want to walk (instead of bike) at the event. Parks along the route include Hazelwood Hydro Park, Gateway Discovery Park, Knott…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Bridge Pedal
Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020

Bridge Pedal

Multiple locations $35-$70

THE 2020 EVENT IS CANCELED. The Bridge Pedal is scheduled to return Aug. 8, 2021. Please visit the event website for current information. Portland’s annual Bridge Pedal is a community celebration of the city’s iconic bridges and biking culture. Join your friends and neighbors for the one opportunity each year to bike or walk on…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
PDX Adult Soapbox Derby
Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020

PDX Adult Soapbox Derby

Mt Tabor Park Free

The PDX Adult Soapbox Derby at Mt. Tabor Park pits grown-up kids against each other every August in pursuit of speed and laughs.

Editor's Pick
Sports
Summer
Weird
Editor's Pick
Sunday Parkways: Green Loop
Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020

Sunday Parkways: Green Loop

Green Loop Free

Sunday Parkways heads to the historic North Park Blocks forit s 7-mile route along Portland’s Green Loop. This ride will pass by multiple cultural hotspots, including the Portland Art Museum, North and South Park Blocks, Lovejoy Fountain, Portland State University and the city’s Central Eastside. To view the complete route (and find more rides), visit…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Hood to Coast
Aug. 28–29, 2020

Hood to Coast

Timberline Lodge $1,670 per team

Hood to Coast is the world’s largest running relay race, stretching 200 miles from the top of Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside. The overnight event culminates in the West Coast’s largest beach party and draws more than 12,000 runners and walkers annually. The race fills up months in advance, but there’s no…

Editor's Pick
Health & Wellness
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Dahlia Festival
Aug. 29–Sept. 7, 2020

Dahlia Festival

Swan Island Dahlias

Portland’s annual Dahlia Festival is a must-see for the dahlia lover, or if you just love flowers. View over 400 floral arrangements of dahlias and over 15,000 cut dahlia blooms on display in the three indoor display rooms. This is the largest display put on by one grower anywhere in the United States. The annual…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Shopping
Editor's Pick
River Lantern Lighting
Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020

River Lantern Lighting

Sellwood Park $45

Join family, friends and neighbors to celebrate life together. The River Lantern Lighting brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one memorable night to celebrate community in Portland, Oregon. Every participant gets a lantern, candle, marker, beer or cider (over 21), snacks and live music.

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Chapman Swift Watch
Sept. 1–30, 2020

Chapman Swift Watch

Chapman Elementary School

Every September, spectators gather to see the world’s largest roost of Vaux’s swifts swarm and spiral into the chimney of a Northwest Portland school.

Editor's Pick
Attractions
Fall
For Kids
Outdoors
Weird
Editor's Pick
Portland Dragon Boat Festival
Sept. 12–13, 2020

Portland Dragon Boat Festival

Tom McCall Waterfront Park Free

Enjoy Portland’s annual Dragon Boat Festival, featuring dragon boat racing along with food vendors, a beer garden and more. The event features as many as 96 dragon boat teams from all over the world who race in Taiwan-style dragon boats.

Editor's Pick
Festival
Outdoors
Sports
Editor's Pick
Cambia Portland Classic
Sept. 17–20, 2020

Cambia Portland Classic

Columbia Edgewater Country Club Varies. Kids 17 & under enter free with purchase of adult admission.

The Portland Classic is the longest-running stop on the LPGA tour, and 2020 marks its 49th year. Watch world-class women golfers who are “keeping Portland diverse, legendary, strong and powerful.”

Editor's Pick
Outdoors
Portland Rose Festival
Sports
Editor's Pick
Sunday Parkways: Northeast Portland
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020

Sunday Parkways: Northeast Portland

Northeast Portland Free

Come out and enjoy the last Sunday Parkways of the season with this 7.6-mile ride in Northeast Portland! Enjoy the walking/biking boulevard of Ainsworth along with the neighborhood greenways of Going street, Holman street and Alberta Court. Parks along this route include Alberta Park, Woodlawn Park, Fernhill Park and Khunamokwst Park. To view the complete…

Editor's Pick
For Kids
Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Portland Marathon
Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020

Portland Marathon

Tom McCall Waterfront Park $99-$165

Taking runners along a loop of Portland along the east and west sides of the city’s Willamette River, the Portland Marathon is an excellent way to see a lot of Portland in one great run. The race starts and finishes at Waterfront Park, crossing four bridges and passing by some of the city’s most iconic…

Editor's Pick
Outdoors
Sports
Editor's Pick
West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta
Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

Lake of the Commons Free

This annual race series consists of paddlers piloting a gaggle of gigantic gourds through a water course.

Editor's Pick
Events
Fall
For Kids
Halloween

High-Flying Fun West of Portland

This aerial obstacle course combines the childhood thrill of tree climbing with zip lines, rope and tire swings, trapezes, ladders and tightropes.