Know Before You Go
Pre-registration is encouraged for this event, and life jackets are required for all participants. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the event website.
Every summer since 2011, thousands of wet and wild revelers have formed a massive flotilla on the Willamette River next to downtown. Why? From Portland’s mayor to a bare-chested Batman, they do it because they can.
Every July, The Big Float sets sail! A celebration of the river that runs through the city, this collection of inner tubes, floating loungers and inflatable toys makes a scene with a pre-float parade, but nothing beats the image of this motley crew enjoying the sun and splashing around at the height of Portland’s summer.
The flotilla drifts downstream about half a mile before putting out at the Tom McCall bowl just south of the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown’s Waterfront Park. Floaters supply their own tubes and life jackets, and the most outlandish watercraft and costumes earn awards.
The Big Float usually begins with a morning beach clean-up, followed by a synchronized swim performance by the Rose City Raindrops. Two inner tube parades then take to the street to march toward their put in point at Poet’s Beach, while a floating barge with live music sets the mood throughout the day. The Big Float culminates in an after party at Tom McCall Bowl Beach where the most creative float and costume winners were crowned.
More of a landlubber? You can watch from the Hawthorne Bridge or breeze into the beach party, where food carts and live music make a real splash. The Big Float is also the main annual fundraiser for the Human Access Project, a non-profit local organization that helps increase access to the Willamette River.
Upcoming Dates & Times
- July 10
Swimming Holes Near Portland
Stay cool all summer long at these serene swimming spots, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest — and all less than an hour away from Portland.
Make a Splash in the Willamette River
The river, which bisects the city into east and west sides, is a virtual aquatic playground, with kayakers, fishers and swimmers enjoying the water.
Amusement & Water Parks
Portland and the surrounding region offer a variety of amusements and entertainments for the young and young at heart.
Kayaking in and Around Portland
When the weather heats up, folks flock to the water. For paddlers, that typically means hitting one the many rivers in and near Portland.
Where to Stand-Up Paddle Board Around Portland
Find a fresh perspective on local waterways with these paddling classes, lake tours and even SUP yoga classes.
Whitewater Rafting Near Portland
Conquer rapids, spot wildlife and experience nature in a new way at these favorite spots for whitewater rafting near Portland.
In 2021, Rose Festival Fleet Week will be virtual, with ship tours and stories about members of the sea services shared virtually, on video. Please visit the event website for current information. Since the very beginning of the Rose Festival back in 1907, visiting ships and other fleet-related elements (like submarines) have been making their…
Pedalpalooza 2021 will last all June, July and August to allow more opportunities for smaller group rides. All ride leaders and participants will be required to wear face masks. Visit the Pedalpalooza website for more details. Every year, Pedalpalooza brings over four weeks of biking fun with special rides and events throughout Portland. With over…
Portland Rose Festival features multiple parades, waterfront carnival rides, concerts, dragon boat races, fireworks and plenty of roses.
Open every Saturday from March–December, Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts-and-crafts fair in the U.S.
The popular Woodstock Farmers Market features fresh produce, baked goods, fresh juices, sweets, cheese, meat and more from 30+ vendors, along with artisan-made products like jewelry, ceramics and art.
Every June, the Portland Pride Festival & Parade makes a name for itself — and LGBTQ+ community members — all over town.
Juneteenth Oregon celebrates the date in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger read “General Order No. 3,” in Galveston, Texas, declaring that all slaves were free. This year live stream this annual celebration at pdxjazz.com or juneteenthor.com.
EVENT CANCELED FOR 2021 . Please visit the event website for current information. Bring family and friends to enjoy non-stop Italian food, entertainment, dancing, vendors, wine and beer gardens at the annual Festa Italiana.
Hot-air balloons take flight mere minutes from downtown Portland every summer.
The 2021 festival is taking place virtually. Please visit the event website for current information. The Bloody Mary Festival scours Portland for the craftiest and most delicious Bloody Marys. Your ticket includes over two hours enjoying Portland’s most creative and innovative Bloody Marys, created by the finest restaurants, bars and bottled mix companies, along with…
Returning this June is the third-ever Edgefield Brewfest, on the same lawn where Edgefield Concerts take place. Coming together are more than 100 of Oregon and Washington’s best breweries & cideries for a day full of merriment. Wander the rows of taps to find a new favorite, or put together a strategic tasting plan, Feel…
The region’s largest cider festival returns to the Pearl District every June, featuring ciders made by artisanal producers, cider cocktails and small bites available for purchase. From 2011-2019 the Cider Summit has brought the PDX festival to cider lovers throughout the region. Unfortunately, for the second consecutive year, the festival won’t be produced as usual….
Chamber Music Northwest’s annual summer festival combines high-caliber classical music with a laid-back atmosphere.
Every Fourth of July weekend, the Waterfront Blues Festival takes over downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park.
Oregon Country Fair will be hosting Fair in the Clouds: A Virtual Event from July 9-11, 2021. Please visit the event website for current information. 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…
Celebrate racing history at Portland International Raceway’s 60th annual Rose Cup Races! Enjoy great racing, pageantry and honoring an iconic family-friendly event in the Pacific Northwest.
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.
Every summer since 2011, thousands of people swim and float in the Willamette River for the annual Big Float event.
“Billed as the longest-running jazz-and-blues festival west of the Mississippi, this annual summer favorite is a prime showcase of Portland’s homegrown talent, natural beauty and neighborly charm. Picnicking families relax on a grassy slope nestled by the foot of the majestic St. Johns Bridge to enjoy the likes of trumpeter Farnell Newton (sideman to the…
The 2021 event will be held virtually; please visit the event website for current information. The Portland Zine Symposium is an organization that hosts, among other events, a yearly free conference and zine social exploring facets of independent publishing and DIY culture. This event has been held in Portland, Oregon every summer since 2001 and…
Portland hosts dozens of beer festivals every year, but none compares to the Oregon Brewers Festival. With offerings from 80 craft brewers, the event draws nearly 70,000 attendees to the downtown waterfront every July.
The Vanport Jazz Festival is scheduled to return Aug. 7, 2021. See website for details. 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…
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 Portland’s car-free streets and bridges…
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…
EVENT ON HIATUS IN 2021 AND EXPECTED TO RETURN IN 2022. Please visit the event website for current information. Considered the “hub” of the annual Portland Rose Festival, CityFair fills Waterfront Park with carnival rides, concerts, food and fireworks for multiple weekends during the festival.
EVENT POSTPONED UNTIL 2022. Please visit the event website for current information. For more than 40 years, Portland’s Starlight Parade has offered funky, eclectic fun for everyone. From traditional marching bands and flood-lit floats, to glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and unique hand-built entries, you’ll see the best of Portland’s diverse community groups (and surrounding Northwest region) together…
EVENT POSTPONED UNTIL 2022. Please visit the event website for current information. A cherished highlight of the Portland Rose Festival, this popular procession is more than a spectacular floral-filled parade; it’s a beloved annual tradition. For more than 100 years, Portland families, visitors and community groups have been making memories at the Rose Festival Grand…
Was this page helpful?