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 and fun events that are also free. 

Before heading out, check the event information with the organizer by visiting their website. We made every effort to confirm accuracy, but there may be changes.

Image courtesy Classical Up Close

Enjoy the classics. Kick off May with a Classical Up Close for Kids concert. These concerts, crafted by the talented Oregon Symphony musicians, are a fun way to introduce classical music and orchestra instruments to children. Even better, your littles are encouraged to clap, dance or respond to the music in whatever way brings them joy. Don’t miss their Kids Concert on May 1, but concerts take place all month long at churches in Southeast, Northwest, Tigard and Hillsboro.

Image courtesy Stefano Iaboni

Juggling act. Watch as magician and entertainer Stefano Iaboni takes the stage at Favela Brazilian Cafe the first Sunday of each month from 4-5 pm. These fun performances combine magic, juggling and comedy, and participants might just be asked to join in! Donations appreciated.

See a parade. Don’t miss Portland Chinatown Museum’s Lunar New Year Dragon Dance Parade and Celebration on May 7.

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

Image courtesy Music Quest

Go on a quest. Join Music Quest every Monday from 10:30-11:15 am with a livestream show. His catchy songs with an upbeat tempo will have your littles grooving, clapping and more. (The weekly events are free, but all donations — Music Quest suggests $5 — go to Portland Homeless Family Solutions, or your preferred charity nonprofit.)

Free comics! Score some free comics at shops and libraries all over town participating in Comic Book Day on the first Saturday in May. Many shops are also hosting fun activities, like readings, author meet-and-greets, games, free food and more.

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

Image courtesy Portland Area Canine Therapy Teams

Read to Rover. Have kiddos practice their reading skills by sharing a story with a therapy dog. These 30-minute online sessions help the Portland Area Canine Therapy Teams (PACTT).

Grow a garden. Check out plants, flowers and more at the Annual Camas Plant & Garden Fair on May 7 from 9 am to 4 pm. Don’t miss the Kids’ Zone including garden activities, petting zoo, face painting and Rosie the larger-than-life puppet. Kids will also love participating in the Find a Ladybug game, where families can earn tickets to win a gardening basket.

Image courtesy UFO Festival

The truth is out there. Calling all fans of the extraterrestrial! The delightfully weird UFO Festival is back and features a spooky UFO parade, speaker panels on all things alien, live music, a family-friendly 5K and a pet costume contest. Friday and Saturday, May 13-14.

Barn burners. Join the Wilsonville youth service librarians for a mid-morning hoedown on Wednesday, May 4 during Storytime at the Barn. From 10:30 to 11 am, the library staff leads the crowd in songs and dance — plus, there’s story time and art activities — at the Stein-Boozier barn.

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

Image courtesy the City of Beaverton

Splash time. After months of renovations, the beloved fountain in Beaverton is reopening! On May 7 from 4-8 pm, the city is holding a free, family friendly event featuring live music, art, activities, all centered around the fountain’s grand reopening.

Let’s taco bout it. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Portland Mercado during its Makers de Mayo festival. The mercado will spotlight local makers, including several BIPOC business owners, with delicious food, artisan goods, live music and more. Saturday, May 7, 12-6 pm.

Image courtesy Thiselle Creek Farm

Celebrate mom. Head to Thiselle Creek Farm for Mom’s special day. The farm will feature local produce and gifts for sale. At 11 am, Red Yarn will hold a special performance. And be sure to visit the mama pigs and their new babies. (Free, donations welcome.)

Weeknight jams. Head to the Oregon Public House for free kindie concerts! On Thursdays, Mr. Ben takes the stage at 5 pm and on Fridays, it’s Tallulah’s Daddy, also at 5 pm. (Donations welcome!)

Image courtesy Portland Audubon

For the birds. Learn about local birds at Portland Audubon. Meet the nonprofit’s famed educational birds, check out the Wildlife Care Center and see the interpretive displays. If the weather is nice, take advantage of the sun with a walk along nearby trails to explore Forest Park and Balch Creek.

Hear a story. The Beaverton Library main branch has several storytimes for your littles, both online and in person, Sundays through Thursdays. There’s Toddler Storytime, Ready for Kindergarten Storytime and Family Storytime.

Image courtesy Leach Botanical Garden

Get outside. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through Leach Botanical Garden’s weekly Bumble Bee Hikes. These one-hour walks begin at 10:30 am and are made for curious littles who want to get outside and explore!

Hop around Hillsboro. On May 3 from 5-8 pm, head to Hillsboro for its First Tuesday Art Walk in downtown. Check out local art, plus, there’s live music, activities and food.

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

Play time. BIPOC families can enjoy fun and free indoor playtimes on Tuesdays from 9-11 am at NE Swap & Play. (The play space also has Thursday morning playtimes for families for $7). For children 0-4. Proof of vaccination and masks required.

Trivial pursuits. From Scrabble to Super Mario, the 4th Wall on Hawthorne is the place to be for the gamer in your family. On Wednesdays from 6-9 pm, there’s Nintendo Game Night and for board game fans, there’s Tabletop Thursday, also 6-9 pm. And if cartoons are your family’s thing, each Saturday, the cafe and lounge hold Saturday Morning Cartoons — screened on a 150″ projector — from 8 am to 3 pm.

Image courtesy Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Trail time. Celebrate the reopening of the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge trail system with a ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 10 am, including family-friendly activities and light refreshments. It’s also the perfect excuse to get outside and appreciate nature.

Book talk. Got a hungry book worm in your house? Satiate their love of reading with the free monthly bookclub meet-ups (both in person and over Zoom) hosted by Maggie Mae’s Kids Bookshop. The You + Me book club is geared for readers ages 5-10, and meets monthly at the Gresham book store on the second Tuesday at 6 pm. The Middle Grade club is perfect for tweens ages 8-12 and meets over Zoom the third Wednesday at 6 pm.

Image courtesy Wilsonville Library

Teen time. Every Wednesday this month the Wilsonville Library will an have a fun zone for tweens and teens where they can play videogames, watch movies, do puzzles and more.

Image courtesy Washington County K-9 Trials.

Doggone. Who’s a good dog? Head to Hillsboro Stadium on Saturday, May 21 from 11 am to 1 pm for the return of the Washington County K-9 Trials.

Nature at noon. Join the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve staff and volunteers each Wednesday from noon to 1 pm for its Nature at Noon program. Perfect for bird watcher and families who just want to get outside and explore, the weekly meets are held in different park or natural area in the Hillsboro area. Don’t forget your binoculars! (Loaner binoculars are also available.)

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

Free market. The Really, Really Free Market is just that: 100% free. The give-what-you-don’t-want, take-what-you need market is the last Saturday of each month from 3-6pm at Gateway Discovery Park.

Honor and preserve. Running from May 20 through June 7, the 7th Annual Vanport Mosaic Festival celebrates Vanport (built 80 years ago in 1942) with art performances, screenings, tours, exhibits and more.

Image courtesy Oregon Symphony and Portland Rose Festival

City reunion. Portland’s favorite festival is back! The mark the return of the Portland Rose Festival, the talented musicians of the Oregon Symphony will perform in Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Thursday, May 26 at 6 pm for a free concert. Don’t forget a blanket to sit on!

Image courtesy Portland Rose Festival

Light up the sky. The next night, on May 27, head back to Tom McCall Waterfront park for an epic fireworks display. Fan favorite, Hit Machine kicks off this Rose Festival celebration.

Image courtesy Level Beer

Celebrate summer. Visit Level Beer in Northeast for the free, day-long Howard’s Heart Summer Kickoff. The family-friendly event features kindie musicians, balloon animals and face painting from 11 am to 1 pm. For adults, there’s also an all day corn hole tournament for $35.

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 starting Memorial Day weekend.

Have fun at the fair. Admission to the Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park is free for all (but you’ll need to purchase a ride bracelet to ride the rides).

Dino-myte. Portland artist and public joy creator Mike Bennett is back with Dinolandia, a two-story, immersive exhibition. The fun displays are open to the public starting May 31 (and running through September). Admission is $5, but kids 8 and under get in free.

Tiffany Hill
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