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Looking for ways to enjoy Portland without breaking the bank? The following is a list of fun and frugal activities, events, and attractions to get your imagination started! This list can be enjoyed by vacationers, newly transplanted Portlanders, and those who have lived in Portlandia for decades. Each listing includes a general pricing guide:
- FREE — won’t cost you penny!
- $ — Under $5 per person
- $$ — Under $10 per person
- $$$ — Over $10 per person
- (Portland, $): Enjoy a dip in a public indoor or outdoor pool! Be sure to also check out the summer movie events — enjoy a family movie from your floatie!
- (SE Portland, $$): Special dedicated area for preschool kids exhibits that will interest the entire family! $2 admission on the first Sunday of every month.
- (SW Portland, $$): Check out Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice, the new summer exhibit, along with all other types of educational fun for little ones. Get FREE passes through your public library and on the first Friday evening of the month.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE): Cool off at the huge outdoor fountains.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE); July 13 — Electric Vehicles and charging devices will be displayed on the Square to educate the general about the benefits of Electric cars. Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE): July 19-21, 2013 — Watch teams of sand artists create gigantic sand sculptures to benefit Kids on the Block. Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- (SW Portland, FREE-$$): Includes Portland’s Children’s Museum, The Oregon Zoo, Japanese Garden, World Forestry Center, International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, and one killer playground. Easily accessible by the MAX train.
- (NE Portland, $): Enjoy a refreshing soak in the non-chlorinated saltwater pool. A local favorite.
- (SW Portland, FREE): Head to Alpenrose Dairy’s Western-themed town located right on the 52-acre dairy farm! Visit a bakery, bank, school, and post office as well as watch model trains chug through tiny Oregon landscapes. Stop off at the Ice Cream Parlor for a delicious Alpenrose ice cream cone. Open Sundays from 1-4 pm, June 2-August 25.
- (Downtown Portland, $$$): Catch one of Portland’s two professional sports teams. Not a soccer fan? Don’t worry. Watching the is worth the price of admission so try to grab a seat at the north end of the park. You can also pick up cheap seats to for just $10.
- (SE Portland, $$): Kids ages six and under get the run of Oaks Park every Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 9:30-11:30 throughout the summer. Admission includes unlimited preschool rides, milk and cookies storytime with an Oregon Dairy Princess.
- (Vancouver, WA, $, FREE for kids): Explore the lands and structures at the center of fur trade and military history in the Pacific Northwest. Great fun for kids.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE): Peruse the largest used and new bookstore in the world.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE): Open every Saturday and Sunday through Christmas.
- (Portland, FREE – $$$): Memorial Day weekend – mid-June — Celebrate all things Portland during this three-week city-wide festival. Includes two parades, a 5K run, amusement rides, and so much more! Get an unlimited ride wristband two games at the Rose Festival CityPark for $25 (Tom McCall Waterfront Park).
- (Portland, FREE): Summer — Experience the music at seven events at area parks.
- (Portland, FREE): End of June – early September — Catch a summer flick at Portland area parks. Movies start at dusk; pre-movie entertainment begins at 6:30 pm.
- (Portland, FREE): July – August — Enjoy a free concert at Portland area parks. Starts at 6:00 or 6:30 pm.
- (Portland, FREE): June – September — Experience a new style of Shakespearean performance! Actors perform the way Shakespeare’s own actors did: in the open air, in natural light, with minimal sets, and with great, fast-paced, energetic acting and lots of audience interaction!
- (Portland Metro, $): Family friendly movies for $1 per person at participating Regal Cinemas on Tuesday and/or Wednesday mornings. Also check out for more options.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE): July – August — Enjoy music from local bands every Tuesday and Thursday from Noon – 1 pm at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- (Downtown Portland, FREE): End of July – August — Free movies each Friday at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- (Portland Metro area parks, FREE): Experience The Merchant of Venice in area parks (June-July) and The Tale of Cymbeline (August – September).
- (Portland, $$): Explore an incredible array of cheap and unique eats with carts located around Portland. You can even !
- (Portland Metro, FREE): Hit a market every day and enjoy local food and wares.
- (Portland Metro, $$$): Unique , , and . The food is good, but go to experience the renovated historical locations. Well, and the food.
- (Portland Metro, $-$$): The very best in fast-food. High quality ingredients, great prices, and crazy about local sustainability. Conveniently located throughout the Portland Metro area.
- (N Portland, FREE): Easy, 12+ miles of paved trail along the Columbia River.
- (SE Portland, FREE): Mountain bike and hiking trails in the middle of suburbia.
- (East Portland, FREE): A scenic, widely paved trail, encompassing wetlands, buttes, agricultural fields and pastures, residential and industrial neighborhoods. Bike and pedestrian friendly.
- (SE Portland, FREE): 1.5 mile trail that travels the Willamette River to Waterfront Park or wind your way back to .
- (Portland, FREE): Walk, bike, roll, and discover active transportation while enjoying various Portland neighborhoods. Five Sundays throughout the summer, sponsored by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
- (Downtown Portland, $$$ for adults, kids are FREE ): Sunday, August 11, 2013 — The only way to truly enjoy the Willamette River bridges – including the top decks of the Fremont and Marquam bridges. Bike and walk options available.
- (Portland, FREE – $): Enjoy 3+ weeks of bike fun with over 250 different events June 6-29. There are family-friendly events in addition to adult-only rides.
- (Portland, $$): Explore the city with this four-mile hiking trail and the combined rides on the OHSU tram, Portland trolley, and MAX train. Takes about 4 hours to complete.
- (SE Portland, $): Enjoy over 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants.
- (Portland, FREE): Eighty+ miles of jogging, hiking, and biking trails with 19 trailheads for easy access (maps are available at REI, New Seasons, Powell’s and ).
- (SW Portland, $$): Proclaimed the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Free guided tours with admission.
- (Columbia Gorge, FREE): Discover Oregon’s tallest waterfall from both the bottom and the top. Depending on your energy level, you can take the moderate 2.2 mile hike to the top, a difficult 5.4 mile look that includes Wahkeena Falls, or just enjoy the view from the bottom at .
- (NW Portland, $$): Take a self-guided tour of the home of Henry & Georgiana Pittock, Portland pioneers.
Looking for more Portland-area fun? Check out these resources:
The Ultimate Guide to Portland Family Fun — A gigantic list of affordable, family-friendly activities, events, and attractions in Portland
Summer Reading Programs for kids — A comprehensive list of summer reading programs in Oregon and Washington
Pacific Northwest Summer Fairs & Festivals — A huge list of Oregon and Washington fairs, festivals, and special summer events
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