24 Free Things to Do with Kids in May

The sun has (finally) arrived in Portland! But whatever the weather, there is so much to do in Portland in the spring! And the great news is that this May, there are plenty of family-friendly events — that are fun and free. 

Courtesy of Portland Art Museum

Admire art. Don’t miss the free admission day at the Portland Art Museum, held on the first Thursday of the month from 10 am to 8 pm. Pro tip: Even better, kids ages 17 and under are always free! And on the first Sunday of the month admission to the Oregon Jewish Museum and the Japanese American Museum of Oregon are also free.

Make music. The littlest musicians — ages two to five months — can participate in a special baby-oriented music class at The Musikry, held the first and third Thursdays of the month. For older littles ages 1-5, join in the Music Exploration class at the Craft Factory on Fridays at 9:30 am.


Read comics. Comic book fans unite! May 4 is annual Free Comic Book Day. Other World Games, Tasteecat Comics, Books with Pictures and Floating World Comics will all have kid-friendly comics on hand — and many shops have special activities throughout the day.

Listen and make. Visit Musical Monsters every Sunday this spring from 10-10:30 am for a musical story time plus craft, designed just for your budding bookworm.

May the 4th be with you. If your family loves Star Wars, LEGO, or both, stop by Washington Square for its May the 4th Be With You Star Wars Weekend. There will be Star Wars LEGO creations on display, live building demonstrations, plus meet a LEGO Masters season four contestant, members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, and build your own spacecraft to take home (while supplies last).


Courtesy of Classical Up Close

Enjoy the classics. Head to Central Library on May 5 for these kid-appropriate concerts by Classical Up Close. Comprising the talented Oregon Symphony musicians, these 45-minute concerts are a fun way to introduce classical music and orchestra instruments to children of all ages. Even better, your littles are encouraged to clap, dance or respond to the music in whatever way brings them joy.

Spring clean. Help your kids earn money and get organized by selling their old toys to consignment shops.

Courtesy of Denise Castañon

Hit the market. May means it’s officially Farmers Market season again, with markets opening back up or extending their hours.

Playtime. On May 8, head north for the grand opening of Junebug Play and Learning Space, a new indoor play space in Ridgefield. There will be free goodies, balloon artists, face painting and more!

Courtesy of Camas Plant & Garden Fair

Tree-mendous fair. Held the day before Mother’s Day, on Saturday, May 11, the annual Camas Plant & Garden Fair is a must visit for plant and tree lovers. And for the kids: hit up the Kid Zone, featuring crafts, garden activities, petting zoo, face painting, and Rosie the larger-than-life puppet!

Go back in time. The Archaeology Roadshow once again returns to Portland State University, Saturday, May 11, 10 am- 2 pm.  Come immerse yourself in the history and archaeology of Oregon through our exhibits and hands-on activities hosted by archaeologists and heritage specialists from PSU, Tribes, museums, private and nonprofit organizations and government agencies.  This year’s theme is Archaeology of Food:  Try salmon, elk, or wappato and learn more about foods that continue to be important to people in our area. 

Free play. On Saturday, May 11, Oaks Amusement Park is hosting the Play PDX free kids festival. There will be kindie performers, kid-approved activities and a preschool fair for prospective students.

Take a look. For aficionados of birds or wildflowers, or both, don’t miss the Mother’s Day Birding and Wildflower Festival at Silver Falls State Park on Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12. There will be guided bird and flower walks, info booths, live bird presentations, demonstrations and more.

Courtesy of the Rose Festival

Float builders. The Rose Festival parades kick off next month and in preparation for the cutest of them all — the Junior Parade — learn how to craft your own float before the big day! Just make sure you have a way to get your masterpiece home.

Roll out. You know it’s officially almost summer when the first Portland Sundays Parkway event pops up. Portlanders can stroll, bike or roll a 3.3-mile down-and-back route through East Portland, on Sunday, May 19. Gateway Discovery Park, Ventura Park and Lincoln Park are stops along the route where your family will find community booths, vendor markets, and free activities and entertainment.

Courtesy of UFO Festival

The truth is out there. The 24th annual McMenamins UFO Festival touches down in McMinnville for a weekend of ufologist speaker panels and a block party and street fair, complete with costume contests, live music, food and drinks, and more.  Friday and Saturday, May 17-18.

Fair thee well. Get ready for fair foods, free entertainment and lots of fun at the Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Amusement Park. Pro tip: Your kids — and you — can earn ribbons (and cash!) by entering the food, photo, or arts and crafts competitions! The fair runs Saturday to Monday, May 25-27, noon-7 pm.

Courtesy of Downtown Ducky Drop

Quacktastic time. Celebrating the opening of Teachers Fountain at Director Park on May 24 with the Downtown Ducky Drop. Around 800 rubber ducks will be dumped into Teachers Fountain. Play in the fountain with the rubber duckies and take home you favorite ones. Pro tip: If you find a Dolly Parton ducky, there will be a prize! There’s also music, Nico’s ice cream, gigantic bubbles by Whimsy Care, Spencer Sprocket, clowns and more!

Have a playground adventure. Visit one of these Portland-area destination playgrounds.

Courtesy of Green Bean Books

Hear a story. Foster a love of reading and books during a fun story time. There are several free ones throughout the Portland area, tailored for young readers from littles to tweens.

Courtesy of Deposit Photos

Go by bike. Try one of our recommended kid-friendly bike paths!

Courtesy of Washington County K-9 Trials

Doggone. Who’s a good dog? Head to Hillsboro Stadium on Saturday, May 20 from 10 am to 1 pm for the return of the Washington County K-9 Trials.

Listen up. Listen to some fun podcasts for kids, or make your own podcast with your kids.

Scavenge the city. For a competitive, but fun adventure, have your family participate in the Rose Festival Treasure Hunt. Look for hidden clues for prizes in this city-wide scavenger hunt. Clues released online daily.

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