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Big List O’ Summer in Portland Fun

July 21st, 2006

Still not blogging. Sob. It’s weird, not blogging. Cuz I love you, Internet. Naw, it’s been alright. The kids and I are having fun. And fewer headaches since I’m not transfixed by the monitor. Ommm, ommm.

Here’s a list put together by the inimitable Portlander, Rebecca McVicker, so she’s the guest blogger today… Who knew there was so much fun stuff to do in Portland? (Some offerings are not limited to PDX.)

Stay cool.


Becca’s Summer List


FREE PLAYS performed by kids at Willowbrook Arts Camp in Tualatin, shows at 7 p.m.: A Midsummer Night’s Dream 7/20-7/21; The Importance of Being Earnest 7/27-7/28; Mary Poppins 8/3-8/4.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND is this year’s Portland Parks show in the parks. Show is free and runs from 7/20-7/30 at Mt. Tabor Park Amphitheatre at 6:30 pm. Blankets & picnics are welcome. (A kid cast runs during days call 823-PLAY for info.)

FREE SHAKESPEARE play in the parks by Portland Actors Ensemble: “The Merry Wives of Windsor” will be at 6 different parks at 3 p.m. – 7/29-9/4. Last year they had several kids workshops one hour before the show.

FREE MOLIERE play — Masque Alfresco will perform “Tartuffe” this year weekends at 6 outdoor locations in Beaverton and Lake Oswego 6-7:30 pm. 7/28-9/3. Blankets, lawn chairs & picnics welcome.

FREE OPERA — The Barber of Seville will be performed as part of the Washington Park Summer Festival on 8/16 at 6 p.m. in the amphitheatre.

PLAYLABS & classes at Northwest Children’s Theatre end in a performance done by kids who have taken classes; 7/22, 7/28, 8/12, 8/26. Call for exact times and shows; (503) 222-2190.

FREE MOVIES at Regal Cinemas started on 6/20 and runs for 10 weeks on Tuesday & Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. There are 2 different movies each week, a G and a PG — everything from “Curious George” to “Nanny McPhee.” Check out the list!

The Flicks on the Bricks series at Pioneer Courthouse Square will have 5 movies this year. The movies begin at dusk on Fridays 7/21-8/18. Check the website for movie listings.

ACROSS the river on some Wednesday & Friday evenings are a variety of movies beginning at sunset. Movies are shown in Esther Short Park, conveniently located downtown Vancouver, or at Fort Vancouver.

FREE BALLET — Oregon Ballet Theatre holds their annual OBT Exposed in the Park Blocks Sept. 5-9.

FREE CONCERTS — PORTLAND PARKS & RECREATION has free musical concerts many nights in July & August, 7 days a week. A variety of music is offered in lots of parks.

TUESDAYS and Thursdays at noon at Pioneer Courthouse Square running from 7/11-8/31 is a daytime series of free concerts. See website for artists.

WEDNESDAY at noon in Vancouver and Thursdays at 6 p.m. are free concerts in Esther Short Park. The series runs from 7/6 thru 8/10. Website lists artists.

FREE CHAMBER MUSIC — See Chamber Music Northwestrehearsals on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. in July if you’re 7 or older and have an adult. See webpage for exact dates.

SUNDAYS at Tryon Creek State Park there are free concerts from 2-3 p.m. thru the end of August. Guided hikes run from 3:15 to 4:30. Website lists music and hike topics.

MCMENAMINShas free concerts many nights of the week, at places like Edgefield.

WASHINGTON PARK SUMMER FESTIVAL has something each night at 6 p.m. from 8/3-8/17. Musical Theatre, African Stories/Songs/Dance, Opera, Jazz, Cuban, etc.


FREE books (from a specified list) can be earned by tracking reading on a journal available at Barnes and Noble stores. The program runs from 5/29-9/8 and is for kids in 1st-6th grade.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY has their annual reading program that runs through 8/31; kids get free tickets to Blazers & Beavers games, plus a T-shirt, prizes, etc.


END OF OREGON TRAIL CENTER — If you’ve never been to the Interpretive Center, the summer is a great time to go because of the Historic Oregon City Pass. For $5 per child and $9 per adult, you can get into this center which is a great & fun educational experience and other Oregon City attractions: the Museum of Oregon Territory, John McLoughlin’s house and another historic home. Last year, I went with my kids and a trolley ride from each location was included in the deal. If you happen to have an Entertainment Book, you can possibly use your End of Oregon Trail Center Coupon and get one free admission. My girls have already asked about doing this again this year.

OREGON ZOO — For those that don’t have a zoo membership, “2-Buck Tuesdays” (the second Tuesday of every month) are the way to go! Zoo admission is available for the discounted price of $2 per person. If you do have a membership, don’t forget to take advantage of the OREGON ZOO” title=””>reciprocal arrangement program and get into other zoos for free if you travel (including 2 in WA).

WILDLIFE SAFARI in Winston has a 50% discount with an Oregon Zoo membership.

OMSI doesn’t have any discounted admission times to my knowledge, but if you happen to have a membership, don’t forget to use the reciprocal admission program that offers free admission into lots of other museums, including the A.C. Gilbert Children’s Museum in Salem.


FREE TV – Go see a live taping of a TV show for free — KATU’S AM NORTHWEST uses audience members, provided that they are able to sit through the hour long show without being disruptive. You’ll need to contact KATU ahead of time with several date options.

METRO has lots of events such as Oxbow Adventures some Tuesdays and Campfire Programs on Friday evenings. Also, Blue Lake Park now has a “spray ground” in addition to its other activities. Also, there are a number of paddle trips over the summer with rented canoes.

FREE SWIM TIMES — PORTLAND PARKS & REC POOLS have weekly free open play swim times – Grant on Wednesdays from 1:15 to 3:15, Dishman on Thursdays from 1:10 to 3:55, Montavilla on Fridays from 1-2:30.

PARENTS swim free at all PORTLAND PARKS & REC POOLS on 7/22. See the flyer for more info & other pool activities.

FREE BEAVERS GAME on 8/20 for kids doing the Library Summer Reading Program. Adults need to buy tickets. See the gamecard for details.

TRYON CREEK STATE PARK has nature hikes several days per week, including a “Story and Stroll” time for families with younger kids. They also have a Sunday program.

RADIO DISNEY sponsors activities, including a regular Tuesday morning event.


HANDS ON PORTLAND is an agency that helps people who want to volunteer in the Portland area. If an event is listed on the HOP calendar as “Family Friendly” it means kids may accompany adults to help, but you’ll need to register with HOP & RSVP.

INTERNATIONAL SUMMER STAYS is in need of host families for their college-aged Japanese students who will be visiting in August. I think there are about 300 students coming for stays 1 to 3 weeks long. Families get paid a small stipend and from my experience, it sure is a lot of fun to host a student. They really need families this year, so if you are at all interested, I encourage you to check out the website & give them a call (503)274-1776.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARIES use volunteers as young as age 10 as Summer Reading Assistants.

OREGON FOOD BANK has opportunities 3 times a week in their “Volunteer Action Center” for ages 6 on up (with adult):


OLD SPAGHETTI FACTORY lets kids 10 and under get a free kid’s meal when they fill out a bookmark stating the books they’ve read. Just print out the form from the link:

POOR RICHARD’S has free kids meals Sunday- Thursday for ages 10 and under.

KID MEALS are 99 cents on Sundays at Taco Del Mar!

FREE LUNCHES are available for kids at many parks, like Dishman, Montavilla and Peninsula.


OREGON STATE FAIR runs 8/25-9/4 and offers discounts and has no parking charge this year.

WATER MUSEUM — The webpage isn’t very impressive and not too many people seem to know about this quaint museum in Vancouver. It’s a great little free place and has a park down the road to extend your time in the beautiful surroundings. If the movie room is not in use, you can ask to see a Magic School Bus or other movies on the big screen.

Tillamook Forest Center — A new center that is a little more than an hour away from Portland and is free. Open 7 days a week in the summer.

EVENTS PAGE for some outings outside of Portland, but not too far. Lists free concerts & movies in parks, festivals, historical outings, Wildlife Foundation, Guide Dogs of the Blind Graduations, etc.


FREE STUFF from the Portland Office of Transportation to encourage walking & biking is available for many Northeast residents. Fill out the online form to get your free pedometer, book about local hikes, etc.



Oregon Live


1 Comment

  1. Andy says

    What a great list, thanks for sharing!

    July 23rd, 2006 | #

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