It takes a fair amount of rain to keep Portland’s trees green and flowers blooming, so by June, we’re all more than ready for a long string of warm, sunny days. That pent-up desire for sunny weather may explain our skill at making the most of the long days and warm nights with outdoor concerts. Come summertime, Portland overflows with things to do — especially when it comes to music. Read on to discover some of our favorite summer concert series in The Rose City.
Oregon Zoo Concerts
The concerts on the lawn at the Oregon Zoo span summer and the decades — 2018 was the 40th year for the beloved series, which draws big names like the Indigo Girls, Trombone Shorty and Chris Isaak. Tickets include full-day admission to the zoo, so you can say hello to the elephants while you’re there.
With acts that have ranged from Al Green to ZZ Top, McMenamins Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn are an annual rite of summer and the hottest ticket in town.
Musicians and fans alike flock to concerts at the Oregon Zoo each summer to enjoy live music, sunshine and friends.
Chamber Music Northwest’s annual summer festival combines high-caliber classical music with a laid-back atmosphere.
For decades, Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland has hosted Noon Tunes, a free lunchtime concert series held every Tuesday and Thursday of the summer season. Bring your own brown bag lunch or buy something to eat at one of the Square’s food carts, then grab a seat on the brick steps to enjoy some midday music.
Music on Main
Held every Wednesday evening of the summer next to downtown Portland’s historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Music on Main fills the city center with the sounds of live music. Food and drink are available for sale, but seating is limited (so arrive early!).
Summer Free for All Concerts in the Park
Portland comes to life every summer with seemingly endless free and family-friendly things to do, provided by Portland Parks and Recreation’s Summer Free for All program. One of the program’s most popular offerings are the free concerts in public parks around the city, held almost every night in July and August. Enjoy live music along with local food carts and kid-friendly pop-up activities.
Portland Festival Symphony
Every summer, the Portland Festival Symphony returns with free weekend concerts performed by a full symphony orchestra. These concerts take place in some of the city’s most gorgeous public parks, so bring your picnic blankets and baskets for a perfect summer evening.
Since 2008, McMenamins Edgefield, a bucolic venue located 15 miles east of Portland in Troutdale, has welcomed musical acts to its Concerts on the Lawn series, which is a local rite of summer.
Every Fourth of July weekend, the Waterfront Blues Festival takes over downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park.
Every August since 1999, Pickathon draws diverse musical performers to celebrate music and the outdoors at the lush Pendarvis Farm just outside of Portland.
The Vanport Jazz Festival honors the city of Vanport and the voices who formed Portland’s jazz community. Near the site of the historic 1948 flood, the event transforms Colwood Golf Course into a cultural revival, welcoming nationally renowned artists and breathing new life into Portland jazz.