Free Family-Friendly August Fun in Portland

August?! Already?! In this final full month of summer, Portland really shines. There are street fairs galore, cultural explorations, music and dance, theater, movies, active fun — oh and a little solar eclipse thingamajig. And best of all? All this stuff is free. Check out some of our top picks for free family-friendly Portland fun below.

Check out a Street Fair. Wow, so many street fairs coming up this month! You can explore Fremont, Lents, Alberta, Multnomah Village and the Hawthorne neighborhoods as they fill their streets with crafts, artisans, food, games, freebies and more. Check out all the upcoming street fairs here.

Celebrate Community. Join in on your local National Night Out event on August 1. This event is meant to connect community members with their local public safety officers with the goal of increasing neighborhood safety. Many events have music, food and kids activities.

Get Your Groove On. Head to Director Park on the weekend of August 3 to take part in everything dance with the Polaris Galaxy Dance Festival. You can check out dance performances, and take part in free dance classes of all genres. Fun for all ages and all abilities.

Learn About a New Culture. There are many, many cultural festivals going on around town this month. Check out the India Festival, Festa Italiana, the Pan-African Festival, the Middle East Festival and more. See our calendar or Fairs and Festivals page for more information.

See Shakespeare in the ParkPortland Actors Ensemble is presenting Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, a romance-comedy. The show run begins July 28 with performances across town. You can also check out performances of All’s Well That Ends Well, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and more by the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival at parks around town.

Take in the Classics. Hear the members of the Portland Festival Symphony play their annual series of free concerts at some of Portland’s most beloved parks. The festival includes music by Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven and many others. See them on August 5 at Peninsula Park and August 6 at Grant Park.

Take a Dip. Portland Parks and Recreation opens up its pools for free open swims across the city Mondays through Fridays throughout the summer. Check out the schedule here.

Paddle the Slough. On August 6, head out for the 23rd Annual Columbia Slough Regatta in NE Portland. Over 500 people will have the chance to rent a canoe or kayak for free to explore and learn more about the Columbia Slough. There will also be free and fun activities for families.

Fossilize This. The Northwest Fossil Fest takes place at the Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro on August 12. You can hear lectures, check out exhibits, and take part in lots of kids activities, including screening for shark teeth, a fossil hunt and other educational games. Plus you’ll gain free entry into the museum.

See Stars. OMSI’s largest star party of the year takes place on August 12. Head to either Rooster Rock State Park or Stub Stewart State Park to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower through OMSI-provided telescopes. Although this event is free, there is a nominal parking fee.

Get on Your Soapbox. Teams of soapbox car enthusiasts from around Portland can spend months building their contraptions to race in the annual Portland Adult Soapbox Derby in Mt Tabor. While we don’t recommend having kids race the cars, it’s a lot of fun to watch on Saturday, August 19.

Take Part in History. The solar eclipse is coming to our neck of the woods on Monday, August 21. Although Portland isn’t in the path of totality, you’ll still get a view of the partial eclipse without leaving your house. Or travel just a bit south to be in the path. There are lots of events leading up to it and day of, which you can see here. And read our tips for the big day here.

Everything’s Coming Up Roses. Celebrate 100 years of roses at the International Rose Test Garden. Wander the garden and discover music, art, crafts, face painting (and cupcakes!) for the whole family. This event takes place August 26.

Eat, Dance, Love. Enjoy free music during your lunch hour as part of the Portland’5 Summer Arts on Main Street program. Performances happen every Wednesday from 12 to 1, but head over at 11 to take part in children’s activities and check out local vendors selling their wares. July performances include big band music and classic and pop tunes. Other options for summer music include Noon Tunes in Pioneer Square (held on Tuesdays at, well, noon), and PP&R’s extensive summer concert series.

Get in Your Outdoor Screen Time. Does it even count as screen time if you’re watching it outside? Nah. Come check out one of PP&R’s summer free for all movies at parks all across town. Movies include Sing, The BFG and Zootopia among many others. Here’s the full schedule.

What’s your favorite free August event? Let us know below!

Ali Wilkinson
Follow me

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
Ali Wilkinson
Follow me

Latest posts by Ali Wilkinson (see all)