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Annual Events and Festivals in Portland

Photo courtesy Travel Portland

There’s always something happening in Portland from concerts, movies, and holiday gatherings in “Portland’s living room,” (Pioneer Square) to waterfront festivities like the over 100-year-old annual tradition of The Portland Rose Festival, or Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association’s Cinco De Mayo, and the sultry summer sounds of the four-day Waterfront Blues Festival.

If you’re a foodie, there are Wine, Beer, Chocolate and Seafood festivals, as well as farmers markets that abound. If you’re into more outrageous fodder there are those slightly out-of-the-ordinary happenings like the World Naked Bike Ride, The Big Float, the Highland Games, and the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby.

Love music? Experience some of the country’s best music as world class musicians and their fans gather together at events like the Portland Jazz Festival, Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival, and Music Fest NW (a multi-venue two-day event that merges headliners with emerging local acts).

Peruse the wares of local artisans at Portland’s Saturday Market the nation’s longest-running open-air arts and crafts bazaar, watch the women of the Rose City Rollers throw elbows as they skate their way to roller derby victory, or walk through acres of brightly colored tulips at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.  Add to all that the many small local venues hosting dancing, karaoke, classes, live music, trivia nights and much more and you’ll find that in Portland there truly is something to fit everyone, all year long. For a full search of Portland area events, check out Travel Portland’s updated calendar at calendar.travelportland.com.

 

January February  March April
May June July August
September October November December

 

JANUARY

ChocolateFest
Love chocolate? You won’t want to miss ChocolateFest, a weekend dedicated to sampling and savoring everything from artisan truffles to drinking chocolate from more than 80 exhibitors at the Oregon Convention Center. www.chocolatefest.org

Rose City Rollers Roller Derby
Portland’s all-female flat-track roller derby league, the Rose City Rollers, holds local and national bouts at the historic Oaks Park rink in Southeast Portland from January to June. www.rosecityrollers.com

Chinese New Year at Lan Su Chinese Garden
The two-week Chinese New Year celebration, held in late January and early February at Lan Su Chinese Garden, includes lion dances, children’s activities, martial arts and cultural and historical demonstrations. The festivities culminate with a traditional lantern-viewing ceremony. www.rosecityrollers.com  www.rosecityrollers.com

Fertile Ground Festival
Founded in 2009, Fertile Ground is focused on new Portland art. The 10-day, citywide festival showcases play premieres, art installations, events and even in-progress projects, all created by local artists. www.fertilegroundpdx.org

Reel Music Festival
For 30 years, the Reel Music Film Festival has presented movies about music and musicians of every genre and era. Spanning several weeks, the Northwest Film Center festival often features live appearances by musicians and filmmakers. www.nwfilm.org/festivals/reelmusic

Chamber Music Northwest Winter Festival
Known for its popular summer series, Chamber Music Northwest also presents a suite of concerts in late January/early February.  www.cmnw.org
 

FEBRUARY

Portland International Film Festival
Held by the Northwest Film Center, the Portland International Film Festival is the granddaddy of Portland’s 20-plus annual film festivals, filling two weeks with 100 local premieres from around the globe. www.nwfilm.org/festivals/piff

Portland Jazz Festival
Celebrating both the jazz genre and Black History Month, the Portland Jazz Festival is packed with more than 150 concerts, including performances by major international artists and scores of free gigs showcasing local talent. www.pdxjazz.com

Chinese New Year at Lan Su Chinese Garden
The two-week Chinese New Year celebration, held in late January and early February at Lan Su Chinese Garden, includes lion dances, children’s activities, martial arts and cultural and historical demonstrations. The festivities culminate with a traditional lantern-viewing ceremony.  www.lansugarden.org

Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival
Scheduled smack dab in the middle of the Dungeness crab season, this upscale festival celebrates both the bounty harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the state’s vineyards. More than 130,000 square feet (3,962 square meters) at the Oregon Convention Center allows plenty of room for Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival-goers to wander while enjoying great food, wine and live music. www.pdxseafoodandwinefestival.com

 

MARCH

Portland Dining Month
Top eateries offer four weeks of delicious deals during Portland Dining Month. In 2015, more than 100 restaurants participated, each presenting three-course menus. www.portlanddiningmonth.com

Portland Saturday Market
The nation’s longest-running open-air arts and crafts market, the Portland Saturday Market features artisans selling their wares in a scenic riverside setting — open Sundays, too. www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com

Timbers MLS Soccer
Catch a Portland Timbers game at downtown’s Providence Park or at a nearby Timbers bar and meet the fiercely loyal fans of the Timbers Army. The Timbers’ season runs from March until October. www.portlandtimbers.com

POW Fest
The annual Portland Oregon Women’s (POW) Film Festival focuses on the art and cinematic contribution of women filmmakers from around the world. Spanning four days, the roster of events comprises an exhibition of films made by women, moderated filmmaker panels and filmmaker workshops. www.powfest.com

St. Patrick’s Day
It’s no surprise that always-green Portland has plenty of St. Paddy’s Day festivities. Led by Kells Irish, the annual St. Patrick’s Festival includes plenty of live music, amateur boxing, Irish dance performances and plenty more inside the large pub and special festival tent outside. You might also catch locals and visitors — around 35,000 of them — taking to the street for the Shamrock Run, the second-largest running and walking event on the West Coast and a Portland tradition since 1979. www.kellsportland.com/st-patricks-festival

 

APRIL

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
The month-long Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival  showcases more than 40 acres of tulips and daffodils in bloom at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, 45 minutes south of downtown Portland. Weekend events include food, wine, pony rides for the kids, and, of course, tulip viewing. www.woodenshoe.com/tulip-fest

Faux Film Festival
Every year, on the weekend closest to April Fools’ Day, Portland’s Faux Film Festival highlights the finest in fake film. That means three days of side-splitting counterfeit commercials, phony movie trailers, mockumentaries and all forms of satire and spoof at the historic Hollywood Theatre. www.peripheralproduce.com

Soul’d Out Music Festival
The annual Soul’d Out Music Festival draws a diverse range of acts, from 2013 headliner Prince to Questlove, Mos Def, Diana Krall and many other internationally regarded performers. The 10-day festival packs some of the city’s best venues, including the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Doug Fir, Wonder Ballroom, Alhambra Theatre and Holocene. www.souldoutfestival.com

Spring Beer & Wine Fest
The Spring Beer & Wine Fest is an adults-only beverage exposition at the Oregon Convention Center celebrating handcrafted beers, wines and spirits. Dozens of Northwest microbreweries, wineries and distillers offer samples of their wares, and the festival also features food and music. www.springbeerfest.com

North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend
Discover wine country in Portland’s backyard during the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend, a self-guided tour of more than 20 wineries offering tastings, food pairings, entertainment and activities. nwvintners.org/events-calendar-for-north-willamette-vintners/annual-events

 

MAY

Portland Farmers Market
Most of the area’s farmers’ markets open in May. Among the items featured are fresh produce, flowers, seafood, breads and berries. There are three Portland Farmers Markets in downtown Portland: Saturdays, in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University; Mondays, at Pioneer Courthouse Square; and Wednesdays, in the South Park Blocks at Salmon Street. In addition to shopping, the markets feature chef demonstrations and other entertainment. www.portlandfarmersmarket.org

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, Portland’s largest Latino event, offers authentic Mexican music, crafts and entertainment in Waterfront Park, including performers from Guadalajara, one of Portland’s sister cities. www.cincodemayo.org

Bridgetown Comedy Festival
The popular Bridgetown Comedy Festival draws top comics like Reggie Watts and Janeane Garofalo, and was voted the nation’s best comedy festival in the 2010 Punchline Magazine readers’ poll. Spanning a weekend, the fest includes shows at multiple Southeast Portland venues, including Doug Fir Lounge.  www.bridgetowncomedy.com

Taste of the Nation Portland
Treat your taste buds to the very best at the Taste of the Nation Portland, one of the city’s premier food and wine-tasting events. This annual adults-only gourmet extravaganza features more than 70 Oregon chefs and restaurants, plus 40 wineries and microbreweries. Add local music and a silent auction for food, wine and travel packages, and you’ve got one unforgettable culinary experience.

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Sale
This biannual sale from the popular purveyor of local crafts, Crafty Wonderland, turns the Oregon Convention Center into a true wonderland of all things handmade each spring and winter. The May event is scheduled so you can find the perfect made-in-Portland gifts in time for Mother’s Day. www.craftywonderland.com

Memorial Weekend in Wine Country
During Memorial Weekend in Wine Country, more than 150 Willamette Valley wineries — many not usually open to the public — open their doors to visitors. www.willamettewines.com

Portland Rose Festival
Since 1907, the Portland Rose Festival has been the city’s quintessential event. The family-friendly fest kicks off Memorial Day weekend and includes the Grand Floral Parade, dragon boat races, concerts and more.  www.rosefestival.org


JUNE

Portland Rose Festival
The Portland Rose Festival, which celebrated its centennial in 2007, offers three weeks of family events, spanning late May and early June. Highlights include the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade, the Starlight Parade, a family carnival in Waterfront Park, dragon boat races, concerts and fireworks. www.rosefestival.org

World Naked Bike Ride
Portland’s version of the World Naked Bike Ride is the largest one in the world. In 2014, 10,000 cyclists took to the streets in this free, clothing-optional nighttime trek through the city. www.pdxwnbr.org

Oregon Zoo Summer Concerts
Every summer, fans of folk, rock, world music and more stake out spots on the amphitheater lawn at the Oregon Zoo for the Oregon Zoo Summer Concerts, more than a dozen performances from some of the hottest, most diverse acts performing today. www.oregonzoo.org/Concerts

Portland Pride
Portland Pride, the city’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community celebration, features a parade, live entertainment and family events at Waterfront Park. www.pridenw.org

Chamber Music Northwest
Pre-concert picnics on the lawn at Reed College are a standing tradition among the enthusiastic followers of the annual Chamber Music Northwest concert series, which runs from late June to late July. Since it was launched in 1971, the festival has grown into one of the most successful chamber music events in the nation.  www.cmnw.org

Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts
Twenty minutes from downtown Portland, the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts features art demonstrations, an art show and juried craft show with 120 booths, wine, beer, food and entertainment. www.lakewood-center.org

Portland International Beer Festival
The Portland International Beer Festival draws more than 150 brews from at least 15 countries to a beer garden setting in the Lloyd District’s Holladay Park. www.portland-beerfest.com

 

JULY

Waterfront Blues Festival
The Waterfront Blues Festival — the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi River — rocks crowds on the riverbank in Waterfront Park and on the water itself with five days of top national acts, as well as spectacular fireworks on July 4. www.waterfrontbluesfest.com

Chamber Music Northwest
Pre-concert picnics on the lawn at Reed College are a standing tradition among the enthusiastic followers of the annual Chamber Music Northwest concert series, which runs from late June to late July. Since it was launched in 1971, the festival has grown into one of the most successful chamber music events in the nation. www.cmnw.org

Oregon Brewers Festival
Craft breweries from around the United States bring more than 80 beers to the Oregon Brewers Festival, the largest gathering of independent brewers in North America, held in downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park. www.oregonbrewfest.com

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Founded in 1981, the three-day Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is the now the West’s largest and oldest free celebration of jazz and blues. Held in Cathedral Park beneath the historic St. Johns Bridge, the scenery is almost enough to steal the show. www.cpjazz.com

PDX Pop Now!
The PDX Pop Now! festival highlights as many as 50 local independent artists at a single venue over the course of two days. The volunteer-driven nonprofit behind the festival also produces an annual compilation CD of local music. www.pdxpopnow.com

The Big Float
Every summer, The Big Float celebrates the river that runs through the city with a flotilla of inner tubes and inflatable toys and a beach party just south of the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown’s Waterfront Park. www.thebigfloat.com

Portland Highland Games
This celebration of all things Scottish features dancing, piping, drumming and fiddling, traditional food and the “heavy events,” which include the caber toss and the Portland stone — a 96-pound rock hurled by only the brawniest athletes. The Portland Highland Games are held just east of Portland in Gresham. www.phga.org

Portland Zine Symposium
Portland’s DIY culture is alive and well, and you can catch it in all its vibrant blacks and whites at this annual gathering of underground media connoisseurs. The Portland Zine Symposium is a free, two-day event includes workshops, panel discussions and tables of people buying, selling and trading zines. www.portlandzinesymposium.org

Top-Down Rooftop Cinema
Enjoy Portland’s temperate summer nights with Top-Down Rooftop Cinema. Film screenings, along with performances from local bands, cocktails, beer and barbeque are offered six Thursday evenings in a row atop the Hotel deLuxe parking structure. www.nwfilm.org/festivals/topdown

Flicks on the Bricks
Gather up the family and head to Pioneer Courthouse Square for free movies and popcorn under the stars on Portland’s “largest outdoor screen.” Catch Flicks on the Bricks four consecutive Friday nights, July through August. www.thesquarepdx.org/flicks-on-the-bricks

Noon Tunes
Since 2002, Pioneer Courthouse Square has celebrated summer with two free lunchtime concerts every week in July and August. The popular Noon Tunes Concert Series showcases the best in regional and local musical talent each Tuesday and Thursday from noon-1 p.m. www.thesquarepdx.org/events
 

AUGUST

Pickathon
Since 1999, the Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival, a celebrated six-stage folk festival at the lush Pendarvis Farm just outside Portland, has attracted headliners like Feist and Andrew Bird while establishing itself as the nation’s greenest music festival. www.pickathon.com

MusicfestNW
Established in 2001 to showcase local musicians and bring in national acts, MusicfestNW features two days of concerts on two stages in downtown’s Waterfront Park. www.musicfestnw.com

Top-Down Rooftop Cinema
Enjoy Portland’s temperate summer nights with Top-Down Rooftop Cinema. Film screenings, along with performances from local bands, cocktails, beer and barbeque are offered six Thursday evenings in a row atop the Hotel deLuxe parking structure. www.nwfilm.org/festivals/topdown

North American Organic Brewers Festival
Proudly touting all things green, the North American Organic Brewers Festival, a celebration of America’s most sustainable suds, has been a hit with beer drinkers and environmentalists alike since 2003. With more than 50 beers to sample, local brewers and nationwide beermongers alike vie to make a big splash with revelers, who also enjoy live music and organic eats in a compost and recycle-friendly setting at North Portland’s Overlook Park. www.naobf.org

PDX Adult Soapbox Derby
Fearless grown-ups hurtle down an extinct volcano in homemade vehicles during the PDX Soapbox Derby. It could be a recipe for disaster, but, instead, it’s a beloved annual event held in Mt. Tabor Park, which offers spectacular views of downtown. Spectators bring their own beer and cheer on the fastest — and kookiest — gravity-powered cars. www.soapboxracer.com

The Bite of Oregon
Benefitting Special Olympics Oregon, The Bite is one of the Rose City’s most popular festivals. Sample food created by local chefs, taste regional wines at the Oregon Wine Garden and sip Oregon beer in the beer garden, all while enjoying live music, chef demonstrations and family entertainment in Waterfront Park. www.biteoforegon.com

Bridge Pedal
The Providence Bridge Pedal is an annual bike ride across Portland’s bridges cements Portland’s bike-friendly status, as a total of 10 bridges partially close to cars, affording bicyclists rare views and a choice of relaxed rides ranging in distance from 14 to 36 miles (23-58 km). www.providence.org/oregon/events/bridge_pedal

Hood to Coast Relay
The Hood to Coast is the world’s largest running relay race, stretching 200 miles from the top of Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside. The overnight event culminates in the West Coast’s largest beach party and draws more than 12,000 runners and walkers annually. The race fills up months in advance, but there’s no charge to watch the dedicated and costumed runners make their way down the mountain and onto the beach. www.hoodtocoast.com

Art in the Pearl
More than 100 artists offer up their creations, from painting and photography to jewelry and hand-crafted furniture, for Art in the Pearl over Labor Day Weekend in the North Park Blocks, with food vendors, musicians and family activities rounding out the offerings. www.artinthepearl.com
 

SEPTEMBER

Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival
During the Time-Based Art Festival, presented by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), visual artists, musicians, dancers and other creative from all over the world push boundaries with installations, performances and interactive art experiences. www.pica.org/tba

Feast Portland
International culinary festival Feast Portland taps into the wealth of renowned Portland chefs — and welcomes noted culinary stars from around the world — to make the most of Oregon’s bounty. In addition to events at restaurants around town, you’ll find happenings at Director Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Portland Art Museum. www.feastportland.com

Art in the Pearl
More than 100 artists offer up their creations, from painting and photography to jewelry and hand-crafted furniture, for Art in the Pearl over Labor Day Weekend in the North Park Blocks, with food vendors, musicians and family activities rounding out the offerings. www.artinthepearl.com

Portland Film Festival
Portland has its fair share of film festivals, but Portland Film Festival is one not to miss. The weeklong celebration of film that MovieMaker magazine called “one of the coolest film festivals in the world” is jam-packed with networking, workshops, guest speakers, film premieres, financing talks, director Q&As and more. www.portlandfilmfestival.com

Vegan Beer & Food Festival
The Vegan Beer & Food Festival has drawn thousands to the Los Angeles Rose Bowl Stadium, but it makes its way to Portland for the first time in 2015. The event at the South Waterfront’s Zidell Yards will feature a smorgasbord of vegan food from more than 50 vendors, over 100 varieties of vegan beer and live music. www.veganbeerfest.com

 

OCTOBER

Portland Trail Blazers Basketball
Winners of the 1977 NBA Championship, the Portland Trail Blazers play at the Moda Center; Blazers faithful take in games from October to April at the nearby Spirit of ’77 and other Blazers sports bars. www.trailblazers.com

Portland Fashion Week
Portland Fashion Week, the world’s only comprehensively sustainable fashion week, features independent, eco-couture, street and active wear offerings from North American and international designers, all at downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. www.portlandfashionweek.net

The Corn Maize on Sauvie Island
Just 25 minutes north of downtown Portland, The Pumpkin Patch celebrates the harvest and Halloween with two giant corn mazes: one “haunted,” and one sporting a different locally themed design each year. www.portlandmaze.com

Haunted houses
Portland likes its scares as much as any other city, and has the haunted houses to prove it. Some of the biggest annual options include Fright Town at Memorial Coliseum, and the 13th Door and Fear Asylum in nearby towns Beaverton and Milwaukie, respectively. www.frighttown.com, www.13thdoor.comwww.fearasylumhauntedhouse.com

The Spirit of Halloweentown
Thirty miles (40 km) north of Portland, the town of St. Helens celebrates The Spirit of Halloweentown all month long with giant scarecrows, a haunted house and 10 nights of spooky ghost tours.

Portland Open Studios
The artist’s life is a lonely existence, save for Portland Open Studios: two weekends in October when visitors are invited into the studios to watch, learn and — the creators hope — buy. Through the purchase of the Open Studios Tour Guide, guests (two per guide) can get up close with sculptors, painters, printers and more and explore Portland’s participating art spaces. www.portlandopenstudios.com

Portland Queer Film Festival
The annual Portland Queer Film Festival showcases feature, documentary and short films offering a glimpse into the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and communities in different parts of the world. The festival attracts thousands of filmgoers during its 10-day run at Northwest Portland’s Cinema 21. www.pdxqueerfilm.com

Portland Marathon
The Portland Marathon, founded in 1972, is consistently ranked as a top national race. Named “Most Walker-Friendly Marathon” by Runner’s World magazine, it attracts tens of thousands of spectators and draws participants from around the world. In true Portland fashion, the route tons of live entertainment; in that past, that’s meant rock, jazz and country bands, street performers, a mandolin orchestra, a jug band, two 18-piece big bands, aerobic dancers, high school cheerleading squads and more. www.portlandmarathon.org

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest
The counterpoint to April’s Hood River Valley Blossom Festival, this is your chance to catch the tail end of the fruit-growing process at the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. The fruit is picked and it’s time to party with music, food, wine and a quilt raffle. One hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Portland. www.hoodriver.org/harvest-festival

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta
Watch giant pumpkins race across the lake at Tualatin Commons, 25 minutes southwest of Portland, as boaters navigate these over-sized gourds toward the finish line of the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. This free, wacky and entertaining event is the only one of its kind on the West Coast. www.tualatinoregon.gov

NOVEMBER

Wordstock
After nine years, Portland’s premiere literary festival experienced a renaissance. Now a one-day event, Wordstock is the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest. It includes an extensive book fair, large-scale events, smaller panels, on-stage conversations and readings, all held at the Portland Art Museum. www.literary-arts.org/wordstock

Portland VegFest
Founded in 2005, VegFest features speakers, cooking demonstrations and samples galore at the Oregon Convention Center — all highlighting the health, environmental and taste benefits of a plant-based diet. www.portlandvegfest.org

Holiday tree lighting
On the day after Thanksgiving, thousands of people gather in downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to see the ceremonial lighting of the spectacular 75-foot-tall tree and celebrate the official start of the holiday season. www.thesquarepdx.org

Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival
The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival presents features, documentaries and short films by independent Northwest film and video makers. The offerings are chosen from more than 400 entries by a prominent member of the independent film community. Past judges have included local luminaries Gus Van Sant, Matt Groening and Todd Haynes. Founded in 1973, the festival attracts more than 6,000 attendees annually. www.nwfilm.org/festivals/nwfest

Wine Country Thanksgiving
During Wine Country Thanksgiving, more than 160 wineries and tasting rooms in the Willamette Valley open their doors for special tastings and holiday festivities over Thanksgiving weekend (Friday-Sunday), offering an opportunity to visit some of the region’s small, family-owned wineries that aren’t usually open to the public. Meet winemakers, enjoy specialty food pairings and live music, all while savoring the region’s acclaimed wines. www.willamettewines.com

ZooLights
It wouldn't be the holidays in Portland without a visit to the Oregon Zoo's annual winter festival ZooLights. As you walk around the zoo, you'll see a dazzling display of a million and half lights, and experience your zoo in a whole new light. ZooLights runs late November to just after the New Year. www.oregonzoo.org/visit/zoolights

 

DECEMBER

Holiday Ale Fest
Packed with revelry and cheer, this winter beer festival is held right under the city’s holiday tree, in Pioneer Courthouse Square (better known as Portland’s living room). The five-day Holiday Ale Fest celebration features more than 40 of the Pacific Northwest’s best-tasting seasonal suds, many not available anywhere else. www.holidayale.com

Christmas light displays
Some of Portland’s bright spots include ZooLights, a display of more than a million lights at the Oregon Zoo, an awesome display at The Grotto, and the Christmas Ship Parade, featuring brilliantly decorated boats on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. www.oregonzoo.org, www.christmasships.org,

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale
This biannual sale from Crafty Wonderland, a downtown haven of locally made goods, turns the Oregon Convention Center into a true wonderland of all things handmade each spring and winter. The December event is scheduled so you can find the perfect made-in-Portland gifts in time for the holidays. www.craftywonderland.com

For a full search of Portland area events, please visit Travel Portland’s website at calendar.travelportland.com.