10 Outdoor Activities for Summer Fun in Portland, Oregon

In Portland, Oregon it is vitally important to take advantage of the excellent summer weather. Typically the nicer months in Portland are the summer months and that is why we have created a list just to highlight outdoor activities in Portland during the summertime. These are 10 of the best summer outdoor activities Portland has to offer.

For the outdoor enthusiast we recommend heading out the Scenic Columbia Gorge area where you can hike one intense trail after another and of course visit Multnomah Falls. This is a short 40 minute drive from downtown Portland. If you do not want to drive that far out you can hike in downtown Portland through Forest Park or go for a bike ride on the Springwater Corridor.

For those that like to keep things low key we suggest on a hot day head to Wilson pool and cool off in their kid-friendly pool or head out to Blue Lake Park where you can enjoy the beach on the lake, a splash pad, walking trails, and playgrounds. On a nice evening make a picnic, grab and blanket and enjoy a free concert at one of Portland Parks like Sellwood Waterfront park or check out a movie at the Rooftop Movie Series. 

There is so much to do in Portland and even more so in the summer and we hope this list helps you find fun things to do. 



The Springwater Corridor is a multiuse trail that runs from SE Ivan St. in Portland all the way to Boring, OR. The trail is currently 14.2 miles one way. The Springwater Corridor connects many parks including Tideman Johnson Nature Park, Beggars-tick Wildlife Refuge, the I-205 Bike Path, Leach Botanical Garden, Powell Butte Nature Park, and Gresham's Main City Park. These parks are the best places to access the trail. The entire trail is at least 10 feet wide and paved, making it ideal for walkers, joggers, bicycles, strollers, and wheelchairs. East of I-205 and at the end of the trail in Boring there are separate soft surface paths for equestrian use.

West Hills


Forest Park is Portland's own enchanted forest. Forest Park is well known for being the largest urban forest in the country located within a city. Forest park encompasses more than 5000 acres full of dense trees, rivers, waterfalls, and bridges. It has more than 40 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Most trails are wide and well taken care of, making them good for runners and bicyclist. The park can be found on the eastern portion of the Northwest Hills and is only 10 minutes from downtown. Taking even a short hike through Forest Park allows you to truly appreciate Oregon's beauty. Deciding where exactly to enter can be confusing. McCleay Park at 29th and Upshire is a good place for entry.

Top Down: Rooftop Cinema Film Series


You just can't beat the Top Down downtown summer Portland film series; it wraps up great old movies, live music, snacks, cocktails and outstanding views of the city into one fun-filled event. Festivities start at 8pm each Thursday during late July and August, and it's held atop a five story parking garage at the Hotel deLuxe. Doors open at 7 p.m., live music begins at 8 p.m. and the film begins a little after dusk. There are chairs set up or you can bring your own. Lots of restaurants are nearby if you want to eat before seeing the movie.



Oaks Amusement Park is one of the oldest, continuously operating amusement parks in the country. Built in the early 1900's, Oaks Park is a collection of classic entertainment and smaller thrill rides. Hidden away in Southeast Portland, the park is tucked in-between the WIllamette River and the Sellwood neighborhood. It's location provides for a secluded, country feel. Surrounding the amusement park are large grassy picnic areas overlooking the river and Portland's Southwest river shore. While the outdoor rides close during the winter months, the famous roller rink is open year-round. Oaks Amusement Park is also home to the Multnomah County Fair held in early summer.



Blue Lake Park is a large recreational park located in Fairview, OR less than twenty minutes from downtown Portland. There's a small admission fee of $5 per car to enter the park. Inside the park there's an exciting splash pad for kids that's open any time it's over 70 degrees. Near the spray ground is a sandy beach on the man-made lake, Blue Lake. A small section of the lake is marked off for swimming. This area is shallow, but only for those over the age of five. Sometimes there is a lifeguard on duty. Also found at Blue Lake Region park is playground, picnic tables, a Frisbee golf course, archery ranch, and a nature area.

Financial District


Among Portlanders with kids, spending a day at the zoo is probably the most favorite of family activities. Located up above the city in Washington Park, the zoo is home to more than 1000 animals. The staff work constantly to improve the living environments and enrich the lives of the many species they house. Exhibits mimicking the environments on all seven continents add to visitors' understanding of the natural world while offering great views of authentic animal behavior. During the summer, the Zoo's main lawn is a popular live music venue with a broad range of evening concerts. During the Holiday Season, more than a million bulbs create a shimmering wonderland called Zoolights.



Majestic and much-photographed, this Columbia River Gorge attraction is one of Oregon's biggest draws. Hiking trails lead up the face of the mountain, and a bridge crossing the waterfall offers an impressive vantage point. Standing in front of the falls can be quite romantic. Legend has it that the falls were created to honor an Indian chieftain's daughter, who threw herself from the precipice to appease the gods and relieve the sickness that plagued her tribe. No matter its origin, visitors are constantly awed by the spectacle. The nearby Multnomah Falls Lodge provides refreshment and a resting place for weary hikers.



Not only will you see roses that you've never seen before here, you will also have an incredible view of the city and Mt. Hood from these terraced gardens. Instituted in 1917, the gardens give trial runs to various rose hybrids before they're introduced into the mass market. With over 8000 plants representing more than 400 different species, this garden is sure to have at least one rose type that captivates you. Should you find yourself tempted, however, know that it's illegal to pick any of the blooms. Summer is the best time to visit the displays and is also when you'll find a repertoire of seasonal concerts available in the gardens. The Washington Park Rose Garden Store offers unusual items for both the home and garden.



The Wilson pool is part of the Portland Parks and Rec program and offers affordable swimming throughout the year at their open swim sessions. They also offer swimming lessons. At Wilson pool you will find 2 outdoor pools. One of them is a lap pool with 6 lanes and a diving board. The other pool is a family leisure pool featuring a 170 foot long current channel with vortex. It also has a little frog slide, zero-depth entry, a waterplay structure and 114 foot long water slide. Families will love spending a day together here playing and enjoying the sun and pool.



Pack a picnic dinner, bring a blanket or chairs, and spend time with family and friends while enjoying a free concert this summer at Sellwood waterfront park. All concerts at Sellwood Waterfrong park are on Monday and start at 6:30. For summer 2015 they are having five free concerts starting July 6 with Chervona and ending on August 3rd with Catarina New & Brazilian Touch. Visit the website to see the rest of the concert schedule and to see the other 15 Portland parks offering free concerts throughout the summer. These free concerts are available almost any night of the week.


Meet Meagan Wristen

Meagan Wristen is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl, she has lived all around the United States,...  More About Meagan