28 Free Things to do with Kids in July

This summer feels like the closest we’ve been to the “before times,” and we are here for it! And what better way to experience summer than by doing something fun and free? Don’t miss these 28 events for the whole family happening this month.

Photo courtesy of Brit Forbes Photography

Light up the sky. One of the summer’s favorite holidays kicks off this month: July 4! Start off the month with a bang! If you’ve got littles with an early bedtime, there’s a free daytime parade and street fair at Oaks Hills Recreation Center in Beaverton, in Happy Valley, in Hillsboro, in Lake Oswego (don’t miss the pancake breakfast!) and in Tigard. If you’re looking for the traditional aerial celebration, view fireworks from the Eastbank Esplanade, Mount Tabor or the International Rose Test Garden.  The Waterfront Blues Festival also will have a stellar fireworks show; post up at a free viewing locations, on either side of the river. (Pro tip: Kids 12 and under are free at the blues festival!)

Make a splash. July 5 is is unofficially known as Oregon’s official start of summer. Splash at a Portland Parks & Recreation pool near you to celebrate! Check the website of your local pool for free swim times, and plan to arrive early as those time slots are very popular. Or check out local fountains and splash pads for more free fun!


Barn burner. Bring a picnic and a blanket and bop along to Micah and Me at the Troutdale Historical Society’s Barnyard Concert on July 7. There’s also popcorn and lemonade!

Lunch + Play. One of our favorite PP&R summer programs is Lunch + Play. All summer long, kiddos can enjoy a free meal, activities and park time around the city.

Party in the library. Head to Bethany Library for the Bethany Village Summer Concert on July 13 and July 27. There’s live music, pony rides, a bounce house and more.

Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation

Celebrate Summer. Each summer, PP&R brings free concerts, festivals and movies to a park near you. The East Portland Summer Arts Festival at Ventura Park is back with PJ Morton, the Grammy award-winning keyboard of Maroon 5, as headliner! Art activities at 4 pm, show at 6 pm.

All the world’s a stage. Visit the Round Amphitheater in Beaverton on July 8 to catch 10 spectacular performances — all happening on a 4’x4′ stage.


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!

Courtesy of Topaz Farm

Park time picnics. Meet up with the folks from Sellwood Community House for its weekly picnic and games in the park at Sellwood.

On your mark, get set, go! Portland Parks & Recreation’s 5K Series Fun Run takes place July 9 at Columbia Park. Stick around for raffle prizes, music, face paint, crafts, vendors and bananas! Free for 17 and younger and only $5 for 18 and older.

Track it down. This month, Trackers Earth is hosting a month-long, city-wide geocache treasure hunt. Gather clues to find the Compass of Mems. The hunt celebrates the launch of Trackers’ first graphic novel co-published with Dark Horse Comics: Trackers Presents Captain Nick & the Explorer Society: Compass of Mems.

Great Scot! Don’t miss the Portland Highland Games at Mt. Hood Community College. This Scottish festival features music, culture, history, traditional athletic games, food and more. Kiddos will love the wooly Highland cows!

A summer of concerts. Gateway Discovery Park is your summer concert destination with weekly concerts, movies and events. All for free!

Courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation

Slurp it up. It’s 7/11, which means free slurpees!

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

Take a dip. It’s free Metro parking day! Take advantage on July 20 by cooling off at a Portland watering hole. Find a place here!

Photo courtesy of Blueline Studios

Go medieval. The Sherwood Robin Hood Festival from July 14-15 features medieval reenactments, a parade (with lots of candy-catching opportunities), a castle-building contest, a kids’ area, vendors, food and more.

Celebrate North Portland. Visit Mississippi Avenue for the annual Mississippi Street Fair!

Chalk it up. Head to Hillsboro for this unique arts festival, the La Strada die Pastelli Chalk Art Festival, July 15-16. Watch as more than 20 professional chalk artists transform downtown with 10’x10′ chalk drawings. This year’s theme is Creative Critters.

Have Pride. Let your rainbow flags wave at the Portland Pride parade that weaves through downtown! And don’t miss other family-friendly Pride celebrations happening.

Courtesy of Pride Northwest

Roll with it. 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. Happy riding!

Get crafty. Peruse the talents of more than 125 local artists during the Gresham Arts Festival on July 15. There’s also tasty food and good music.

Photo courtesy of Cathedral Park Jazz Festival

Support local jazz. Revel in the music at the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival on July 14-16 in St. Johns.

Celebrate Oregon City. Celebrate Portland’s neighbor to the south with a festival block party, live music, food and more.

Music is life. Celebrate the connections music gives us during the Playing for Change Band concert for youth at the Reser in Beaverton on July 18. The concert features features 11 musicians from 10 countries.

Step right up. The Washington County Fair is back! Head to Hillsboro from July 21-30 to see prize-winning livestock, eat fair food, go on carnival rides and more.

Courtesy of Washington County Fair

Let the good times roll. If you’re looking to stay cool during some friendly competition, head to more than five bowling alleys in the Portland area for a summer of free bowling! Register your kiddo (ages 2 to 15) here.

Catch a flick. Take movie night (or afternoon!) outdoors during Flicks on the Bricks at Pioneer Courthouse. There are classic, family-friendly faves like The Sandlot and Space Jam. Don’t forget a comfy chair to sit in!

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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