Summer is here! With warmer temperatures, longer sunshiny days and no school on the horizon, summer in the Pacific Northwest is like nothing else.
Maximize your summer in the Portland area with our bucket list! These Portland-specific activities will help you take the season to the next level, whether you enjoy indulging in a sweet refreshing treat or embarking on an adventurous hike to a waterfall. See how many bucket list items you can check off the list — and challenge your friends and family to do the same!
Portland Summer Bucket List:
Visit a farmers’ market. No matter what neighborhood you live in, there’s a farmers’ market near you! Check out our complete list of farmers’ markets in the Portland area.
Jump in a local swimming hole. Nothing is quite as refreshing as jumping into a lake, river or pool on a hot summer day. Explore a few of our favorite swimming holes less than an hour from Portland.
Embark on a 4T adventure. The 4T trail is a unique self-guided urban nature trail that allows you to explore the city by train, trail, tram and trolley. The route takes about four hours, five dollars, and a bit of leg power to complete.
Attend an outdoor concert. All summer long, Portland comes to life with a number of outdoor concerts — many of which are free! Grab a blanket or lawn chair and take in the sights and sounds of this summertime tradition.
Get ice cream from Ruby Jewel. Opt for a sweet treat from local-favorite Ruby Jewel, which serves sundaes and to-die-for hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches. See our favorite Portland ice cream shops for even more options.
Photo Courtesy of Alan Weiner via Ruby Jewel
Eat at a food cart pod. Portland is known for its thriving food cart culture. Just visit one of the many food cart pods in the city, including Cartlandia, Happy Valley Station, BG’s Food Cartel, Cartopia, Portland Mercado, and the Alder Street Food Cart Pod. Try something truly unique if you’re feeling adventurous!
Attend a summer festival. Portland sure knows how to celebrate. In fact, there are plenty of summer festivals in the Portland area between Memorial Day and Labor Day, celebrating everything from beer to art, and flowers to music.
Participate in The Big Float. One of our favorite summertime traditions is The Big Float, an annual fundraiser event for the Human Access Project. Join the flotilla in the river atop a floatation device, then paddle to land on the west bank at the Tom McCall Bowl for an action-packed downtown beach party.
Volunteer your time. We are super passionate about giving back to the community, whether that’s through volunteering time, money or resources. Check out some of our favorite local organizations to join our efforts — or consider getting involved with the First Annual Hasson Company Give Back Day on July 19!
Pack a picnic. Dine al fresco in its truest form by packing a picnic and heading to one of the city’s many community parks to eat under a shaded tree.
Stop to smell the roses. Admire the many gardens packed with roses in Portland. The city is, after all, called the City of Roses! Take in the beauty of this fragrant flower at the International Rose Test Garden, which also offers one of the best views of the city.
Pick some berries. Nothing says summertime quite like a basket of freshly picked berries. Head to Bella Organic, Kruger’s Farm, Columbia Farms, Smith Berry Barn or South Barlow Berries for endless berry-picking fun.
Visit a new park. There is so much green space to explore in the city, from the city’s (and the world’s!) smallest park, Mill Ends Park, to the city’s largest, Forest Park. If you visit the latter, be sure to hike to the Witch’s Castle!
Attend a street fair. Many of Portland’s neighborhoods host a street fair during the summer, offering lots of live music, local food and tons of fun.
See a movie in the park. All summer long, the City of Portland maintains a jam-packed calendar of free movies in the park, from kid-friendly favorites to adults-only classics.
Photo Courtesy of Ben Brink and Portland Parks & Recreation
Play mini golf. Play a round at Twin Pines Country Club, a free, outdoor, six-hole course located in the Montavilla neighborhood. Or escape the heat at the indoor Glowing Greens, a black light miniature golf course!
Visit The Grotto. Surrounded by fir trees, colorful rhododendrons and other native plants, The Grotto is an inviting destination for all. This 62-acre Catholic sanctuary welcomes more than 175,000 guests of all faiths each year.
Take the little ones to a splash pad. On a hot day, let the kids splash around at one of the many splash pads and interactive fountains throughout the city!
Kayak in the river. Rent a kayak and travel along the Columbia Slough Watershed, Lower Hood River, the Tualatin River or the Willamette River — or a wide open lake void of rapids and turns, such as Clear Lake, Lost Lake, Timothy Lake and Trillium Lake.
Attend a beer festival. In a craft beer mecca like Portland, it’s only right to celebrate the drink — or the art, really — at a beer festival. Mark your calendars for the Portland International Beer Festival, the 2019 Portland Craft Beer Festival, and the Oregon Brewers Festival this summer!
See a Dive-In Movie. Each year, Portland Parks & Recreation hosts a movie series at pools around town. See an all-ages movie from the pool deck or while floating in the pool, which will be heated to a warmer temperature than normal.
Eat on a rooftop patio. Take your dining experience to new heights (literally!) by dining atop one of Portland’s best rooftop patios, including Departure, Noble Rot, The Roof Deck at Revolution Hall and more.
Visit a local brewery. With over 60 breweries in the city (and counting!), there is no shortage of hand-crafted brews to sample. Check out a few must-visit breweries in Portland this summer.
Go chasing waterfalls. The PNW is dotted with an overwhelming number of waterfalls, including the popular Multnomah Falls, the Trail of 10 Falls at Silver Falls State Park, and many more throughout the region.
Ride the Willamette Shore Trolley. Take in the scenic views of the Willamette and surrounding features with a ride aboard the Willamette Shore Trolley. This vintage trolley travels from Lake Oswego into a dark tunnel, meandering through posh neighborhoods, along the Willamette into Powers Marine Park, and then back to Lake Oswego.
Visit a nearby winery. Simply head to Willamette Valley, home to over 500 wineries, encompassing over two-thirds of the state’s wineries. Overwhelmed? Consult our list of must-visit wineries in the region.
Take advantage of free swim days at the pool. In case you thought the free activities were done, think again! Many pools in the city offer free swim days on specific weekdays all summer long — take a look at the list of free open play swimming.
See a Portland Pickles game. See the premier collegiate woodbat baseball team, the Portland Pickles, play at Walker Stadium in Lents Park this summer!
Attend a farm dinner. Portland takes farm-fresh dining to the next level by hosting a myriad of farm dinners throughout the region each summer and fall. Complete with local wine pairings, live music and educational opportunities, these farm dinners in the Portland area provide the ultimate culinary experience.
Go through an art walk. Get artsy at one of the city’s many monthly art walks, including First Thursday in the Pearl District, Last Thursday along Northeast Alberta Street, and First Friday in Portland’s vibrant Eastside Arts District.
Do yoga in the park (for free!). Keep an eye on the many free yoga classes offered at parks throughout the summer, plus Tai Chi, Zumba, U-Jam and Pound classes.
Rent a bike from Biketown. Take advantage of Portland’s bike share system, Biketown, offering a fun, affordable and convenient way to explore the city!
Enjoy happy hour. Discounted apps and drink specials? Yes, please. Take a look at some of the best daily happy hours in Portland to make your happy hour even happier.
Sip coffee on a patio. It’s no secret! Portland sure knows coffee. Just take a look at the best coffee shops in Portland, many of which have outdoor spaces so you can sip on your iced latte on an airy patio.
Cheer on the Timbers or Thorns. If you’ve been to an MLS game — especially in Portland — you know how lively and exciting the atmosphere is! Check out the Timbers schedule and the Thorns schedule to get tickets for an upcoming game.
Take a photo in front of a mural. Street art makes for a colorful and exciting Instagram backdrop! Track down one of the many murals dotting the city’s landscape to get the perfect shot.
Visit Pittock Mansion. Built in 1914, the Pittock Mansion museum tells the story of Portland’s transformation from pioneertown to a more modern and industrialized city. Explore the mansion and the 46 acres of lush land surrounding the property, offering beautiful views of Portland, Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood.
Go to the Portland Japanese Garden. Clear your mind at the peaceful and serene Portland Japanese Garden, an oasis in the heart of the city with a series of gardens, walkways, streams and a traditional Japanese tea house.
Savor brunch. After all, it’s the best meal of the day! Make your brunch reservation at one of the best brunch spots in the city for pancakes, Benedicts and of course — mimosas.
People watch at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Visit “Portland’s Living Room” — otherwise known as Pioneer Courthouse Square, where you can sit with a cup of coffee and people watch on a sunny afternoon.
Take a road trip. While Portland has plenty to do all summer long, it might be nice to embark on a road trip to a nearby destination. Consider these adorable tiny towns in Oregon, from Cannon Beach along the coast to Joseph in the state’s northeast corner.
Get donuts at Blue Star Donuts. That’s right — there are other doughnut shops in the city other than Voodoo Doughnuts! Go to Blue Star Donuts, a local favorite with mouth-watering donuts and many locations throughout the city.
Above all, have a fun and safe summer. And let us know what activities are on your summer bucket list! Let us know in the comments below.