Events and Activities in Portland, OR

Plan your GA-cation! There's so much to do and experience in the city of Portland. Prepare for your trip by perusing the list below of local area attractions and happenings. The list below is fueled by theTravel Portland Calendar of Local Events, Check Travel Portland for updates and more local area information to inform your travels.

A landscape view of the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, OR. Row upon row of blooming roses are growing in rows across the garden, with a center stone pathway.

Pre-GA and Post-GA UU Home Stays in the Beautiful Columbia River Gorge

Located only 60 miles east of Portland, the Columbia Gorge National Scenic area has something for everyone. Those looking for action will find hiking, biking, river rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and world-class windsurfing. More laid-back activities include scenic drives (check out our waterfalls!), fascinating geology, wineries, brew pubs, shopping, and delicious fresh local food. Your UU hosts will provide a comfortable bed, breakfast, and lots of expert advice. Cost is $100 per room, and accommodations are available for two or three days either immediately before or immediately after GA. All proceeds benefit the Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship. Please email Lori, lorigolze@gmail.com, to schedule your stay.

Free Experiences

  • Portland Saturday Market
    Date: Saturdays 10am-5pm, rain or shine March - December
    • Portland Saturday Market combines the vibes of an art show, a live street concert and an open-air bazaar at this beloved Rose City tradition since 1974. In fact, the market is considered the largest continually operating arts-and-crafts fair in the United States, drawing up to 750,000 visitors during its annual season. Shoppers can tap their heels to bluegrass pickers and jazz musicians and sample ethnic eats like falafel or kielbasa while browsing wares handcrafted by more than 250 vendors. Free to all.
  • Portland State University Farmers Market  
    Date: Saturdays 8:30am-2pm, rain or shine year-round
    • Staying at Portland State University housing? Checkout the PSU Farmers market on Saturday morning to experience the authentic taste of Portland. The Portland Farmers Market is a nonprofit organization, providing a direct connection to more than 200 vendors with deep roots in Oregon and Southwest Washington, including farms, nurseries, bakeries, meat and seafood providers, cheese makers and specialty food producers.
    • Location: The Market at PSU is located in Downtown Portland in the South Park Blocks between SW College & Montgomery Streets. The closest address is 1803 SW Park Ave in Portland, Oregon.
  • Washington Park - International Rose Test Garden
    Date: Open Mon-Sunday, 5am - 10pm
    • The Portland International Rose Test Garden is the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States. Unofficially known as the Portland Rose Garden, the space features more than 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world enjoy its sights and scents annually. The garden also offers spectacular views of downtown and Mount Hood. Free to all.
  • Worship Service at First Unitarian Portland
    Date: Sunday, June 19, 11am
    • Get to know a local area congregation! First Unitarian in Portland is one of the UUA's largest congregations, with a history of more than 150 years of progressive religious leadership in Oregon. The Rev. Dr. Bill Sinkford, Senior Minister, will be ending his ministry in Portland at the end of the 2021-2022 church year. The worship team at First Unitarian, including Rev. Tom Disrud, DeReau Farrar, Cassandra Scheffman and Carter Smith, began offering hybrid worship several years before COVID-19 forced most congregations to move toward multi-platform worship. Learn more about First Unitarian Portland Worship Services .
  • Three Waterfalls Tour or simply Hiking the Columbia Gorge
    Dates: Ongoing Tour (Dates Vary), 8am - 11am
    • Meet downtown and head to the Columbia Gorge to enjoy 3 amazing waterfalls. All of the waterfalls are located in the Columbia Gorge which is about 30 mins outside of Portland. Each of the hikes will be about a mile or less. We will have the opportunity to get as close as you like to the falls and learn about this amazing part of the world. This experience is appropriate for all fitness levels. Other things to note: It might be a good idea to bring some shoes with decent traction but it's not absolutely necessary.
      Waterfall tour price: $57 // Hiking + Parking is free

Concerts and Performances

  • The Indigo Girls and Neko Case LIVE
    Date: Friday, June 17 • 6pm Pioneer Courthouse Square

    • On their 16th studio album, Indigo Girls tell their origin story. Look Long is a stirring and eclectic collection of songs that finds the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers reunited in the studio with their strongest backing band to date as they chronicle their personal upbringings with more specificity and focus than they have on any previous song cycle. “We’re fallible creatures shaped by the physics of life,” says Saliers. “We’re shaped by our past; what makes us who we are? And why?” 
      Price: $60+
  • Andrew Bird and Iron and Wine LIVE
    Date: Saturday, June 18, 6pm Pioneer Courthouse Square
    • Andrew Wegman Bird is an American indie rock multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. Since 1996, he has released 16 studio albums, plus several live albums and EPs spanning various genres including swing music, indie rock, and folk music. 
      Now entering its 20th year, Iron & Wine have released seven full length recordings, numerous EPs / singles, and collaborations with Calexico, Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) and Jesca Hoop all on their way to becoming a four-time GRAMMY nominee.
      Price: $56.50+
  • RENT [the musical] at Portland Center Stage 
    Dates: May 21 - June 26, 7:30pm performances
    • Don’t miss this sensational, iconic musical hot off its 25th Anniversary! Rent took Broadway by storm with its deeply resonant look at a deadly virus, financial precarity, and love as a radical act. As a group of young artists fight for justice and visibility during the AIDS crisis, they revel in the beautiful bonds of friendship and chosen family. With its profound message of joy and hope in the face of uncertainty, this timeless musical reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters — love. 
      Price: $25 - $92, price varies based on seat location. Buy tickets online.
  • Shawn Mendes: LIVE with special guest Dermot Kennedy
    Date: Monday, June 27, 7pm
  • GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes kicks off his Wonder: The World Tour in Portland with special guest Dermot Kennedy. The tour follows Shawn’s most recent album Wonder – which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, making Mendes one of three male artists ever to score four #1 albums by 22 years old – as well as his new hit single, “Summer of Love” with Tainy. 
    Price: 50+

Local Tours + Events

  • Oregon Zoo
    Dates: Open Monday-Sun, 9:30am - 4:30pm
    • Community-supported since 1888, Oregon Zoo provides exceptional experiences to guests to inspire them to create a better future for wildlife. From education programs to on-the-ground conservation efforts, the zoo is working to save species regionally and worldwide. The Oregon Zoo is community-funded through visitor admissions, public funds from Metro (a Portland-area regional government) and charitable donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation. With more than 1.5 million guests a year and more than 2,600 animals, Oregon Zoo is the top paid attraction in the Pacific Northwest.  Located in Washington Park, approximately 2 miles southwest of downtown Portland. (Credit: Oregon Zoo)
      Price: $9.50 - $12. Buy Tickets Online.
  • Portland Museum: APEX: Sharita Towne & A Black Art Ecology of Portland
    Dates: Open Wednesday-Sun, 10 - 5pm
    • The Portland Art Museum’s collection of more than 50,000 objects, displayed in 112,000 square feet of galleries, reflects the history of art from ancient times to today.
    • The exhibition (APEX: Sharita Towne & A Black Art Ecology of Portland) provides a glimpse into Towne’s burgeoning project “A Black Art Ecology of Portland” (BAEP), an initiative she launched in 2019 to bring together community organizations in support of creating, reclaiming, and redefining spaces for Black art and audiences in Portland. BAEP remaps historical and contemporary Black creative life in Portland and beyond. Activities have included developing co-creative spaces for art, murals, public art activation, video, COVID relief, residencies, DIY publishing, a comedy show, memorials for Black life, and more. Towne’s ongoing research has led the artist into Black geography and assistance in local organizations that center Black life.  (Credit: Portland Art Musuem Exhibitions)
      Price: $22 - $25. Minors age 17 and under are free. Children age 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Grateful Dad Half Marathon, 10K & 5K Run 
    Date: Saturday, June 18, 8am - 1pm
    • What better way to gear up for Father’s Day than running with (or for) your old man? Participants can sign up for a half marathon, 10k, 5k, or kid’s race, so the entire family can enjoy this event.  The courses are super flat and fast with a few inclines, but no major hills. The course provides great views of the Columbia River as well as the Cascade Mountains in the distance. And with such close vicinity to the PDX airport, watching a plane take off or land during the half marathon is likely, so make sure to look up every now and then while running the course! The event starts and finishes at the Kliever Memorial Armory, where a family pancake breakfast, free beer & cider, local vendors, and groovy live entertainment make up the fun post-race party.
      *Price: $25- $80 depending on participation type. All virtual races available!
      *Rates increase April 2
  • Portland Underground Donut Tour
    Date:  Tuesday, June 21, 2-Hour Tours (Times vary)
    • On this tour, you'll explore the city and food culture through the medium of donuts. Learn history of Portland, each donut location, how they fit into the larger food scene, as well as try some amazing donuts. We start near the PSU campus where we begin at Sesame Donuts and try some of their amazing sesame donuts as well as many others. We then take a nice walk through central Portland over to Fills Donuts to sample some of their daily specials. Their menu changes often. From there, it's off to NOLA Doughnuts where we'll sample beignets and some of the best chocolate donuts you've ever had. We'll finish the tour at Voodoo Doughnuts, where you can even skip the line (sometimes a 30-60 minute ordeal). Other things to note: Currently, many of these shops do not have gluten free or vegan options, so options are very limited.
      Price: $25 for kids, $40 for adults.
  • Portland Ice Cream Tour
    Date: June 19 and June 23 - 26, 6pm - 8pm
    • Entertaining and informative walking tour through downtown Portland and our unparalleled food culture. Sample numerous different flavors of ice cream at four different stops throughout a two-mile walk in the heart of Portland. This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers. Get the inside scoop on where to eat and drink from our hilarious guides while you gorge yourself on the world's best Ice Cream.
      Price: $45 (from Groupon)
  • Gay Skate at Oaks Park Roller Rink
    Date: Monday, June 20, 7 - 9:30pm 
    • Roll out with your friends and loved ones to our monthly Gay Skate Session. Everyone is welcome at this all-ages event! Admission tickets allow access to the Oaks Park Roller Rink for the selected Gay Skate Session date/time. Includes conventional skate rental. Before purchasing tickets, review the  Gay Skate Ticketing Policies.
    • $10 per skater. Tickets are available starting 40 days in advance.  Specialty skates are available to rent at the Skate Shop during your session (subject to availability) for an additional fee of $3 - $4. Personal skates are welcome, subject to inspection.
  • Oregon Wine Tasting Experience
    Dates: June 23 - June 26, Afternoons 2 - 3:30pm or 4 - 5:30pm, at Stem Wine Bar
    • You will get to experience 7 different natural & organic local and world wines - primarily award-winning pinot noirs from Oregon as well as a mix of premium French, Italian, Eastern European (Slovenia, Rep. of Georgia, Hungary) S. African, New Zealand, or others. The focus is on natural wines, but each flight can include traditional wines for compare and contrast. We customize the tasting to your wine preferences, something you will not get elsewhere. This experience will give you exclusive access to some of the best wines in Oregon and the world, so you won't be limited to a single winery! It will also introduce you to unusual and interesting winemakers who focus on the natural wine movement, whether local or otherwise.
      Price: $80 (additional fees apply for cheese pairing) *21+ Only*

Additional References

Learn more about Restaurants and Eating at General Assembly

View the art of Sharita Towne at the Portland Art Museum

Learn more about Sharita Towne

Experience the unforgettable vistas of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden 

Learn more about the Rose Test Garden.

Visit the elephants (and 2,500 other animals) at the Oregon Zoo

Reserve your tickets

Visit the largest continuously operating open-air arts and crafts market in the US.

Learn more about the Portland Art Museum

Visit Portland's famous Voodoo Doughnut

Visit Voodoo Doughnuts Website

Take a car-free trip!

The Columbia Gorge Express offers $10 daily service to the most scenic views in Oregon.

Learn more about Columbia Gorge Express