With its weird and wonderful traditions, Portland residents never find themselves with a lack of something to do or attend in the city. With literally hundreds of festivals and events every year, Portland always has something going on.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular events in the city that newcomers should be sure not to miss.
Annual Events in Portland
Portland Jazz Festival (February)
Celebrating both jazz and Black History Month, this two-week festival features more than 150 concerts by international and local artists in multiple venues across the city. Alongside the live music performances, the festival also hosts a number of educational events.
Rose festival (May/June)
The Portland Rose Festival, a tradition since 1907, features three weeks of family fun in celebration of the City of Roses. The festivities include a Grand Floral Parade, a Starlight Parade, a Junior Parade, a carnival in Waterfront Park, dragon boat races, concerts and fireworks.
World Naked Bike Ride (June)
Portland hosts the world’s largest naked bike ride each year in protest of the dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians on the roads, as well as the consequences of vehicle emissions on the environment. This protest takes place in the form of a clothing-optional night-time cycle through the city.
Waterfront Blues Festival (July)
This summertime Blues Festival takes place on the riverbank in Waterfront Park, and on the river itself. Besides a spectacular firework display on July 4th, the festival hosts live performances from the country’s top blues acts.
Portland Marathon (October)
Drawing thousands of spectators and participants from all over the world, the Portland Marathon has been voted as the 'most walker-friendly marathon' and is one of the top races in the US. In true Portland style, live entertainment features all along the route, providing the runners with pump-up background music to get them to the finish line.
Wordstock, also known as the Portland Book Festival, is the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest. Held at the Portland Art Museum, this festival features an extensive book fair, on-stage conversations and readings, small panels, pop-up events and writing classes. With more than 100 authors on display, this is the perfect event for avid readers of all ages.
Christmas Lights Display (December)
The beautiful lights display that leads up to Christmas each year is truly a sight for sore eyes. The spectacle of lights at the Oregon Zoo, The Grotto and the Christmas Ship Parade leaves Portland aglow with brilliant colours. Christmas spirit is never lacking in Portland!
►Learn about the attractions in the city in See and Do in Portland.
►Wondering what your transport options are in the city? See Getting Around in Portland.
Are you an expat living in Portland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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