30+ Free Things to do with Kids in July

We love summertime in Portland! Not only is the sun shining on a daily basis, but there are so many things to do — and for free! Here are our favorite family-friendly activities and events to check out, all without spending a dime.

Photo courtesy of Brit Forbes Photography

Light up the sky. One of the summer’s favorite holidays kicks off this month: July 4! And if you’re still figuring out your holiday plans, we’ve got you! Here are all the parades and celebrations happening in the Portland area, plus some in southwest Washington.

Lunch + Play. One of our favorite PP&R summer programs is its Summer Free for All. All summer long, kiddos can enjoy a free meal, activities and park time around the city. There’s also free movies in the park and concerts and cultural events.

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Courtesy of Pedalpalooza

Bike to it. Pedalpalooza, the summer long bike event series, is in its second month. There are rides everyday now through the end of August. This month, check out the 7-Eleven Ride (wear your best tie-dye!) on July 11, the super hero ride on July 19 and the Pee Wee Herman ride on July 30.

All the world’s a stage. Don’t miss the 16th season of the Original Practice Shakespeare at parks around the city. This month, there’s favorites like the Merry Wives of Windsor, King Lear, Henry V and more.

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Learn new skills. If you’ve got a 14-18 year-old looking for something fun to do, send them to the Bodecker Foundation in Northwest for the Free Arts Workshops for Teens. They’ll learn soft sculpting, watercolor painting, songwriting and more.

Playtime. The organization Pacific Refugee Support Group is hosting three Play Streets events this summer. Play Streets are pop-up spaces for inter-generational play aiming to bring previous residents and newcomers together, plus food, music and games. The first one kicks off on July 10 in Northeast.

Park day. Calling all moms of preschoolers. Head to Spring Garden Park in Southwest on July 10 for Mom and Kids Park Day. JoinMOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) and MomCo (Mom Community) for a fun morning in the park. Bring your own blanket and a snack to share.  

Freebies. It’s all free. Really. Hit up the Really Really Free Market on July 6 at Gateway Discovery Park. Bring items for others and grab what you need.

Treetastic. Visit Hoyt Arboretum for its first Family Forest Day of the summer. Learn the many ways “Trees are Homes,” during interactive stations focused on forest habitats (build a fairy house!) Tallulah’s Daddy will also be performing, and there will be a reading by local author Leslie Barnard Booth who will share her book, One Day This Tree Will Fall accompanied by a puppet show performance. Looking for more outdoor adventures? The arboretum also hosts its popular Pop-Up Nature! events.

Party at Bridgeport. Visit Bridgeport Village on Saturdays to hear some of Portland’s best kindie musicians during Bridgeport Summer Saturdays. This month hear Mr. Ben; Lori Henriques; Pointed Man Band and Triple Rainbow.

On your mark, get set, go! Portland Parks & Recreation’s 5K Series Fun Run takes place July 14 at Pier 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.

Courtesy of Topaz Farm

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. Wanna have story time on the farm? Join Scappoose School District Librarian, Keely Nudo, for fun Storytime sessions this summer! And get up close to a tractor during Tractor Talks with Farmer Jim.

Take a dip. It’s free Metro parking day! Take advantage on July 18 by cooling off at a Portland watering hole. Find a place here!

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.

Courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation

Keep cool. Have the littles splash around at one of the more than 50 splash pads and fountains across the Portland area. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Porch tunes. This fun concert series is going strong: Check out the Porch Concert Series on the second and third Saturday of the month (July 13 and 27). Beginning at 10 am at the Cathedral Park Performing Arts Collective, this month listen to Timmy Jim & Jen Kids Jam; Lizzy Kirby; Mo Philips and the Portland Mountain Boys.

Lakeside tunes. Enjoy a summertime concert at Hagg Lake during the Live at Hagg Lake series. On Saturday, July 13, musician Nate Botsford will be performing. Kids activities start at 5 pm; show starts at 7 pm. Food carts, watercraft rentals and a beer garden for the grown up will also be available.

Courtesy of City of Vancouver

And Vancouver tunes! There are so many fun concerts this month, and the best part is a good number of them are free! Head to Vancouver’s Columbia Tech Center each Sunday this month for Sunday Sounds concert series, a fun outdoor concert from 6-8 pm.

Wooden wonders. Part artisan marketplace, part maker space, the Wood & Other Wonders Market on Sunday, July 14 is a fun, hands-on way to learn a new skill and shop locally-made goods.

Park stewards. Visit Spring Garden Park in Southwest for the bimonthly stewardship events on July 2 and July 16 from 9-11 am. It’s a great opportunity to teach kiddos respect for nature, and connect with our families. Check out more family-friendly volunteer opportunities!

Courtesy of Clark County

Harvest celebration. Venture north to Battleground, WA for its Harvest Days celebration from July 19-21. There’s a parade; classic car event; a bustling marketplace; and lots of food.

Poetry in the park. Listen to Ed Edmo, a Shoshone-Bannock poet, playwright, performer and traditional storyteller on Northwest tribal culture every Friday at Director Park from 11am-12pm. He changes his voice, making it high for the women’s parts and low for the men’s. Sometimes he incorporates puppets or asks the audience to help him, urging them to repeat after him.

Courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation

Catch a flick. Take movie night outdoors during Friday Night Movies in the Park. Held at public parks across the city, this summertime tradition also includes fun, kid-approved activities before the movie starts. This month, don’t miss Shrek, Dr. Suess’ The Lorax and School of Rock.

Storytime with puppets. Listen to local children’s author, Leslie Barnard Booth as she reads her latest book, One Day This Tree Will Fall on July 20 at 10 am at Tryon Creek. There will also be puppets! And a craft time!

Saturday in the Park. Embrace the vibrant rhythms and flavors of Latine American culture at the Saturday in the Park events in Canby. Hosted by Bridging Cultures, this exciting celebration is our way of bringing the community together throughout the summer. There’s free food; live music; community booths and face painting for the kids. This month’s event is at Locust Park in Canby on July 20.

Courtesy of Pride Northwest

Celebrate Pride. One of Portland’s most vibrant festivals, don’t miss the annual Portland Pride Waterfront Festival on July 20 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. There’s a fun parade, music, food and much more. Keep the fun going with t he Portland Pride Parade the following day beginning at the North Park Blocks at 11 am.

Courtesy of Washington County Fair

Fair thee well. Don’t miss this month’s fun roundup of fairs and festivals! There’s the Washington County Fair; the Robin Hood Festival in Sherwood; the Portland Mermaid Parade and much more.

Backyard bounty. Is your garden overflowing with tomatoes or zucchinis? Join in the PDX Yard Share! The purpose of these events is to reduce food waste by creating a marketplace of free backyard produce, distributed and gathered by neighbors! This month’s event is on July 27. Check out the event page for details on how to get involved and the handy community map of neighbors sharing their bounties.

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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