20 Free Things to Do in Portland This June

Summer officially arrives this month, along with the end of school. There is a lot to look forward to!  But how to enjoy this lovely month without breaking the bank? We’ve put together 20 ways below. 

  1. Explore nature. During Metro’s Free Parks Day, parking fees are waived at all your favorite Metro parks. Think Oxbow, Blue Lake, Broughton Beach, and others. This year, it coincides with the solstice on June 21—so get there early and stay late!
  2. Bowl free. As part of the Kids Bowl Free program, you can sign your kids up for two free games of bowling per day all summer long at participating locations. Read more about the Kids Bowl Free program here.
  3. Hit the market. Did somebody say strawberries? Head to your local farmers market to taste your way through the delicious vendor offerings.
  4. Enjoy a night-time parade. The Starlight Parade has marching bands, floats, glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and more—all while highlighting Portland’s diverse community groups. Plus come on—a parade at night? How cool is that! This year’s parade takes place on June 3.
  5. Sign up for your local summer reading programs. Worried about your kids forgetting everything they learned at school the past year during summer break? The summer reading program keeps kids motivated to read and learn all summer long. Sign up for free to get a game board, encouraging your kids to read for a certain number of minutes or do a reading-related activity. At stops along the way, they can pick out a toy, book or coupon for local fun. At the end, they get a free t-shirt or onesie. Here’s the link for Multnomah County, Clackamas County and Clark County’s programs.
  6. Climb aboard. Say thank you to a sailor, climb aboard a ship for a free tour, or just be awed by the size of these massive vessels. Fleet week coincides with the Rose Festival, and will take place June 7-11 this year.
  7. Go au natural. Take a break from the monkey bars! Climb, scamper and dig in all-natural materials like wood, sand and water at one of these nature playgrounds.
  8. Try out a new playground. There are playgrounds. And then there are these playgrounds. These ones are unique and utterly wow-worthy—totally worth the trip.
  9. Go for a dip. Portland Parks & Recreation offers free swim times on weekdays throughout the summer, beginning June 20. Find the free summer swim schedule here.
  10. Explore a new neighborhood. Street fairs are a great way to soak in the culture of a neighborhood. This month, you can explore Parkrose, Lake Oswego, North Portland and more. Check out the full schedule of street fairs and festivals.
  11. Take to the streets. Sunday Parkways begins this month! Pump up your bike tires and hit the streets of Portland, as neighborhoods around town are closed to street traffic. June’s ride is in North Portland on June 25.
  12. Enjoy a free lunch. Portland Parks & Rec’s Free Lunch & Play begins on June 20. Your kids will get free lunch at parks around town, along with sports, games and arts & crafts activities. Find the schedule here.
  13. Kick it out. Have a soccer fan on your hands? Check out the third annual ORANGEfest at the Portland Montessori School on June 10. There will be soccer-themed activities for the whole family, all with the theme of “Superheros.”
  14. Learn something new. Many museums around Portland are free (Oregon History museum for Multnomah County residents; Historic Belmont Firehouse; Oregon Rail Heritage Center). Or time your visit for one of these free museum days.
  15. Make (and see) art. Vancouver’s Recycled Arts Festival celebrates waste reduction, reuse and recycling in an artistic, family-friendly environment. Check out local bands, make recycled instruments and arts & crafts and more. The festival takes place June 24-25 in Esther Short Park.
  16. Go for a swim adventure. Is it warm enough yet? Is it warm enough yet? Check out one of these local swimming holes for a break from the heat.
  17. Get bugged. Learn more about the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest during a guided nature walk. There are lots of options to choose from, and many are free. (Check out our roundup at the end of this article.)
  18. Get those little toes tapping. The Little Ears free concerts for children series wraps up its 2017 season on June 20th. Hear the music of local favorite Red Yarn at 10 am at the Old Church.
  19. Tap into your inner archaeologist. Learn about archaeology while participating in hands-on activities as part of this free program. This year’s Archaeology Roadshow will take place on PSU’s campus on June 3.
  20. Maaa-ke memories. Sure you can see the Belmont goats all year long—but you’ve gotta admit it’s nice to visit them without getting rained on. Find out all the details you need here.

Do you have a favorite to add? Let us know below! 

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at www.runknitlove.com.
Ali Wilkinson
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  • Rachel Kroll

    Sunday parkways continues in June (not begins)…there was one in May already.