Spring is right around the corner and we are here for it! There’s plenty to do this month and we’ve rounded up more than 15 events, activities and more to do with your family. The best part? It’s all free!

Mardi on. This month kicks off in the most festive way with the Portland Mardi Gras Parade on March 1. This authentic Louisiana-style parade takes place at 7 pm on Mississippi Streetand features the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus, in eye-catching costumes. Try and catch one of their mini-umbrella throws! Pro tip: Head to Mississippi Pizza for a family-friendly after party featuring the band Swamp Thang. Let the good times roll!

Take a free tour. Thanks to the Juan Young Trust, Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals is offering free guided tours, March-November. Book yours here. The slots are limited, so don’t wait!

Story time! The adorable children’s book store, Green Bean Books on Alberta has a fun, engaging virtual storytime line-up this month. It’s a great way for littles to hear new books and there’s also a virtual sing-along on March 1.

Market shop shuffle. It’s back! The Portland Saturday Market, the nation’s largest continuously operating open-air arts and crafts market makes its 2022 debut on March 5. There’s something for everyone here: jewelry, art, kids clothes and more, all made by local artisans.

Hear a tune. Visit the Portland Piano Company on March 5 for the book launch party of this fun children’s book, The Piano. Mother daughter duo, author Chari Smith and illustrator Elle Smith are hosting a live reading, music and coloring event to celebrate the release of their book. The Piano spotlights the lasting bond between a girl and her favorite instrument and is told from the perspective of her piano.

Check out. Did you know that you can check out more than books and magazines at the Tigard Public Library. Enter the Library of Things! Here you’ll find games, toys, instruments, crafting tools, science models and more. (Parents: There’s also an array of devices for those home-improvement projects on your list.) And on March 5, register for the Zoom crafting class where everyone can learn how to make baskets from magazine paper! 

Budding blooms. Winter has passed and the sweet-smelling days of spring are upon us. There are plenty of places to witness this changing of the season. Here are favorites.

Snack attack. From the folks behind Portland Night Market comes a snack-focused event. Snack Fest is held from 5-10 pm March 11 and March 12 and features everyone’s tasty treats, live music, music, educational demos and more. Come hungry!

Sham-rock ‘n’ roll. The festive St. Patrick’s Day parade is back in person. Head to the Beverly Cleary School at 33rd and Hancock at 1 pm on March 13. Don’t forget to wear green! And if the family wants to celebrate from the couch, All-Ireland Cultural Society is hosting a free, virtual event on March 17. Here you’ll find bagpipe musicians, Irish dancers and more. 

Park pass. Take advantage of this month’s Enjoy this month’s free parking day at Metro parks on March 17 with a visit to one of the city’s spectacular parks, including Oxbow and Blue Lake regional parks, M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp, Broughton Beach and Chinook Landing Marine Park.

Search party. Spend the day in the storied Albina neighborhood for its first ever scavenger hunt. This family-friendly event has fun challenges — and the chance to win raffle prizes! It’s also the perfect opportunity to learn about Portland’s Black history and get moving. The free scavenger hunt runs from March 18 to April 3. 

Teen time. Got a bored teen at home? Then TeenForce just might be your answer. TeenForce, made possible by Portland Parks & Recreation, is a free, after school program at five community centers around the city and is available for youth ages 10 to 20. Registration is free and once your teen has their pass, they have access to designated open swims, gyms and more.  

Jazz legends. Visit the beautiful Central Library downtown this month for its We Had Jazz exhibition. Perfect for older kids, this photo exhibition displays the works of local photographer Carl Henniger, who took pictures of jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Duke Ellington in the 1940s and ’50s.  

Snack time! Your kids will learn how to make mini pizzas and Scottish shortbread cookies as they measure, cook and bake during this free Zoom cooking class with chef Edurne Garcia-Andre. And hopefully they’ll share a bite of their tasty creations! Register now for the free class. (You’ll get emailed the list of ingredients and recipes one week before the class.)

Take in the view. Now that the sun is shining more, take advantage of the clearer, warmer days at one of these playgrounds with a view

History revealed. The Oregon Historical Society is a great place to teach kids about our state’s rich history. Admission is free for all Multnomah County residents, too. This month, check out winter sports in Oregon, jobs with justice and botanical landscapes. 

Worst, best day. The Worst Day Ride returns on March 22. This festive event is so much more than a bike ride through Portland: there’s breakfast, a half-time party at Breakside Brewing, costume contest and a five-tier chocolate fountain! And while registration for adults is $49, kids 15 and younger are free! 

Watch whales. Every spring in late March, gray whales make their annual migration past Oregon’s coastlines en route to Alaska. Here are some of the best spots to catch them in action. 

Admire Alberta. Head to NE Alberta Street for the monthly Last Thursday art walk for new exhibitions, food, music and more. This month it’s on March 31. It’s a great way to end the month. 

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