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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go to an amusement park.Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood is a neighborhood favorite all year long — especially during the summer, when visitors can fully enjoy the 20+ rides and outdoor attractions.
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.
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.
Go to the zoo. With a myriad of exciting animal exhibits and events throughout the year (including their popular summer concerts!), the Oregon Zoo is an obvious choice for summertime fun.
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.
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.