Portland Summer Outdoor Concert Guide for Families


It’s that time of year folks, when the rain subsides (mostly) and we get to really enjoy our fabulous local outdoor entertainment. One of my family’s favorite activities is going to outdoor concerts and festivals. And Portland has quite a few. Between the Blues Festival, Edgefield Concerts on the lawn, Oregon Zoo concerts, and Portland Parks and Recreation Concerts at the Park there is no shortage of outdoor music fun. Last summer I took my daughter to FIVE concerts and boy, did we have fun!


When it comes to concerts and kids, I prefer the outdoor variety for these reasons:

  • Room to move. Kids love to move especially when there a good beat dropping. Outdoors where you can set up a blanket is perfect place to let kids jump, dance, run around, and get all their wiggles out without disrupting other concert goers.
  • Fresh air. Get your kids outside, enjoy a local brew, and dance to your favorite tune. Um, yes please!
  • Family-friendly. Most outdoor venues are pretty family friendly as I mentioned about room to move. Some concerts have beach balls to toss back and forth or a bubble machine.

After three summers of taking my daughter to concerts I’ve learned a few things. First of all, I’m a minimalist when it comes to packing.

Here’s my must-haves that fit in a small backpack:PMB-Outdoor-Concerts-Pack

  • Water bottle. Leave empty (or security will make you empty it out before entering) and fill once inside the venue.
  • Snacks. This is just in case the venue food isn’t enough for the little ones. I love Annie’s Organic bunny crackers and dried fruit.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes.
  • Sunscreen and hats.
  • Layers. A hoodie or light coat is good for the evening when temperatures drop.
  • Small toys/books/doodle board. I have a bag of my toys and mini coloring books that are only for traveling or concerts. My daughter only plays with them then and so they never lose their novelty. I let her choose a couple of these items before we leave the house.
  • Rain gear. I carry a clear plastic poncho in my concert bag, because we’ve had rainy weather during concerts
  • Monkey Mat. If you’ve never tried a Monkey Mat, you don’t know what you’re missing. They are light, pack away small, easy to clean, and perfect for outdoor concertconcertss.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Time. You may need to leave the concerts early. In the last three years, I don’t think I’ve ever stayed through an entire concert with my daughter. Though I miss my encore days, it’s okay. I’ll take what I can get.
  • Be flexible. Bedtimes go out the window on concert night. Be prepared. I usually keep a pair of PJs and pull-ups in the car to change my girl into when we leave.
  • Potty breaks. Be prepared to deal with port-a-potties. Need I say more?
  • Chill. Most of all, relax, dance, and have fun!