25 Free Things to Do With the Family in August

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

Courtesy of Multnomah Days

Free for all. Thanks to PP&R, there are more than 25 fun-for-the-whole-family performances happening this month — at parks all across the city!

A summer of concerts. Gateway Discovery Park is your summer concert destination with weekly concerts, movies and events. All for free! This month, don’t miss Aaron Nigel Smith; the Tonga Day Festival and Ballet Folklorico Corazones Alegres – Traditional Mexican dances performed by youth from Latino Network.


Farm time. Head to Topaz Farm on Sauvie Island with your little for the weekly Animal Walk with Farmer Kat. Kiddos will love seeing the farm’s chickens, ducks, goats and more. Have a little tractor enthusiast? They’ll love the weekly Tractor Talk with Farm Jim!

Get festive at Washington Park. Don’t miss the Washington Park Summer Festival, August 11-13!

Courtesy of Washington Park

Have fun on Fremont. Your littles will love the Kid Zone activities at Fremont Fest on August 5.

Head to Hawthorne. Then visit the vibrant Hawthorne neighborhood for its 40th annual Hawthorne Street Fair on August 27.

Visit Vancouver. Vancouver is having its own festival! Don’t miss the inaugural Vancouver USA Arts & Music Festival from August 4-6.


Fun stinks. Speaking of festivals, don’t miss the Elephant Garlic Festival on August 11-13.

Don’t miss the India Festival. This family-friendly celebration gets bigger every year. Head to Pioneer Courthouse Square on August 6 for the fun.

Courtesy of the India Festival

Can’t get enough festivals? Multnomah Days is happening August 19!

We can’t stop. Check out yet another celebration — the Chinese Festival on August 5 at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Celebrate your ancestors. Head to the Oregon Buddhist Temple on August 5 for its annual Obon Fest. Partake in bon odori (Obon dance), and take in all the hanging lanterns and other memorials.

Try a new park. Visit one of these amazing playgrounds.. 

Too hot? Then hit up a playground with lots of tree cover. These local playgrounds offer lots of opportunity to run and climb, while staying cool in the shade.

Or go to a splash pad. Revisit an old standby or find a new favorite in our roundup. 

Courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation

Free parking. Enjoy free parking at Oxbow, Blue Lake, Broughton Beach, M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp and Chinook Landing Marine Park on August 17, thanks to Oregon Metro. And get free entrance to national parks on August 4 (visit Crater Lake National Park and Lewis and Clark National Historic Park).

Enjoy free lunch. It’s the last month to catch free lunch+play, plus concerts and cultural events and more. Huge thanks to Portland Parks and Rec for making summers so magical.

Take a hike. We’ve gathered some of our favorites here.

Go by bike. Cyclists know summer for one thing: Pedalpalooza. Families can get in on the two-wheeled action during the organization’s array of family-friendly events.  And on August 12, don’t miss the Kidical Mass PDX bike ride, when families bike from Westmoreland Park Nature Playground to Sellwood park and back. Plus check out our roundup of kid-friendly bike paths.

Take a dip. Portland Parks and Recreation opens up its pools for free open swims across the city. Check out the schedule here, and look for the words “free of charge.”

Have fun at the market. Portland has some amazing farmers markets. Don’t miss out on their summer bounties!

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 on August 19. While we don’t recommend having kids race the cars, it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Courtesy Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Picnic time. Meet up with the folks from Sellwood Community House for its weekly picnic and games in under the trees.

Saturdays at Bridgeport. Visit the village green at Bridgeport Village for free summer kindie concerts every Saturday from noon- 2 pm.

Music in LO. Lake Oswego is also hosting a free summer concert series at Westlake Park in the evenings.

Looking for more fun things to do with kids near you? Check out Kids Calendar or our Summer of Fun Calendar with our editors’ daily event picks.

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