The city’s arts offerings come into full swing every fall, with a seemingly endless array of things to do, see and experience. Autumn is the prime time to explore Portland’s independent theater, big musical productions, opera, ballet, and symphony scenes. In addition to celebrations of the spookiest season (which brings Halloween events, haunted houses, and festive corn mazes), Portland starts gearing up for the holidays. The city’s lack of sales tax means built-in savings when you shop (we recommend finding some made-in-Portland souvenirs to commemorate your trip to The Rose City). Fall heralds the return of Portland’s NBA Team, the Trail Blazers, along with locally beloved annual events like Portland Open Studios, the Queer Film Festival, and the Portland Book Festival (just to name a few). Read on for our picks of the top things to do, see and experience during a fall visit to Portland.
Fall in Portland Quick Facts
What is the coldest month in Portland?
Does it rain more in Portland or Seattle?
Contrary to popular opinion, neither Seattle nor Portland is the rainiest U.S. city; they’re not even in the top ten. New Orleans ranks first, with 62.7 inches, and Miami, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, New York, Houston, and Atlanta all receive more than 49 inches of rain annually. Source: TripSavvy.
Is Portland cold in the fall?
In September and October, days tend to be mild and partly sunny as the weather begins to cool. Rain showers become more common, and the leaves start changing color (making hikes and outdoor strolls more beautiful than ever). Temperatures — and rain — both begin falling in earnest starting in November.
What to Pack
For a trip to Portland in the fall, we recommend packing several layers and a rainproof jacket. Old-school Portlanders tend to shun umbrellas, but they can come in handy to shield glasses and faces from heavier showers. To avoid getting stuck in the mud or drenched in a puddle, a pair of rain boots is also worth bringing on your trip to Portland.
The Oregon Mycological Society is holding its annual Fall Mushroom Show after two years of being gone. Join in to identify locally found fungi, books, displays and a tasty culinary treat from Morchella Restaurant. Tickets are available for the public now.
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A Guide to Portland Retro Gaming Expo
This annual celebration of classic video and arcade games features expert panels, cosplay competitions, dozens of local and international exhibitors with rare finds, and a 30,000-square-foot “retrocade” with hundreds of games to play.
The Corn Maize on Sauvie Island
The Corn Maize, located on Sauvie Island north of Portland, offers visitors eight acres of physical and mental challenges in a cornfield.
Grand Prix of Portland
Every fall since 2018, Portland International Raceway has hosted the celebrated open-wheel racing with the Grand Prix of Portland.
Portland Open Studios
For two weekends every October, Portland Open Studios invites visitors to explore the houses and offices of artists across the city.
West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta
This annual race series consists of paddlers piloting a gaggle of gigantic gourds through a watercourse.
The Portland Book Festival
Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”) returns every November with an impressive (and extensive) lineup of local and national authors.
As summer winds down, Portland ups the ante with performance art, live music and dining events throughout September.
October events in Portland include a giant pumpkin race, "can't miss" film festival, corn mazes, haunted houses and other autumn and Halloween-themed events.
Portland in November gets cozy with downtown’s holiday tree lighting, Willamette Valley wine tasting and a festival to help you find a great book.
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