1. Spend a morning or afternoon at a craft or farmers market
Portland has tons of farmers markets that are taking place throughout the summer and into the fall. And of course, there's the infamous Portland Saturday Market where you can browse through craft and art stalls, listen to local musicians, and munch on some delicious bites.
Portland Saturday Market - Saturdays 10:00am-5:00pm & Sundays 11:00am-4:30pm, March 2 to December 22
Kenton Farmers Market - Every Wednesday from June 12 to September 25, 3:00-7:00pm
PSU Farmers Market - Every Saturday from June 8 to October 26, 8:30am-2:00pm
Lents International Farmers Market - Every Sunday from June 9 to November 24, 9:00am-2:00pm
King Farmers Market - Every Sunday from June 9 to November 24, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Shemanski Park Market - Every Wednesday from June 12 to October 30, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Portland's urban park hosts 300 community events each year, many of which are FREE. Head over to the Square for these awesome, free upcoming events:
So Delicious Ice Cream Social - Saturday, June 29 from 10:00am to 2:00pm
Noon Tune Concert Series - Every Tuesday from July 9 to August 27 from 12:00-1:00pm
Flicks on the Bricks - Every Friday from July 26 to August 23, 7:00-11:00pm
Hoyt Arboretum, Portland's museum of living trees, is home to over 6,000 trees and 12 miles of trails. The grounds are open 365 days a year from 5am to 10pm and are free to the public. Visit the Arboretum for one of their Family Bird Walks that take place every second Saturday of the month at 10:00am.
Explore the Pittock Mansion's beautiful property in the West Hills of Portland, and learn the history of Henry and Georgina Pittock, the mansion's original owners. Admission for adults is $12, and kids under 6 are always free.
5. Dive into a book at free story times around the city
Many places around Portland host free kids' story times. Story times are a great way for kids to improve their literacy and concentration, get excited about reading, and interact with other kids their age. Here are some of the places that offer free story times:
Every Wednesday from 9:00am to 3:00pm, the Historic Belmont Lighthouse is open for families to tour at no charge. Learn about the firehouse's history and take a ride down the fire pole. You can also visit the firehouse every second Saturday of the month from 9:00am to 3:00pm for "Safety Saturday."
There's a never-ending list of things to do in Washington Park. Spend a day walking through the park, take the kids to the playground at the Elephant house, or visit the International Rose Test Garden.
Throughout the summer, Portland Parks and Recreation and Pioneer Courthouse Square host free outdoor movies, and at some screenings there's free popcorn! Check out our Summer Outdoor Movie Guide for all of the upcoming outdoor movies.
9. Get techie at a free Apple workshop
Apple stores across the country host free in-store workshops for people who (like me) have an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.) but don't know how to use it to its full potential. They have workshops specifically geared to kids and ones for the entire family. Check out these upcoming workshops at Apple at Pioneer Place:
Visit Aloha Community library for Free Lego Play one Wednesday each month. They provide all of the LEGOs you could ever ask for and all you have to do is create!
One of the best things about living in Portland is our proximity to so many nature parks and great hikes. We've compiled a list of some of top kid-friendly hikes in and around Portland. Try your best to do all of them!
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry houses some of the world's best and state-of-the-art science exhibits. On the first Sunday of every month, admission is only $2 per person for all of the museum's permanent exhibits and only $5 for Submarine Tours, Theater and Planetarium shows.
13. Bowl a strike at Grand Central Bowling or KingPins
For the first time ever, select bowling centers around the country are participating in the Kids Bowl Free program, which is designed to give kids a safe, secure, and fun way to spend their summer. Kids ages 2-15 get up to two games free each day at Grand Central Bowling and KingPins. But don't let kids have all the fun! Take the entire family for a round or two of bowling. Who will bowl the first strike?
Oregon has a fascinating railroad history. Visit the Oregon Rail Heritage Center on Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00-5:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00-5:00pm to explore an exhibit or get up close to their big locomotives on a guided tour. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated!
PlayDate PDX is an indoor playground with a three story play structure, climbing wall, four slides, and lots of crawling activities for kids up to 12 years old. Every Monday after 5pm kids play for free! And parents always get in for free - there's a large space for parents to relax, drink beer and wine, and eat some snacks.
Have fun trying out these budget-friendly activities! Still looking for more fun things to do with kids in Portland? No problem. Scroll through our "Events" page to see all of the upcoming happenings and activities for kids and families.