September Guide to Family-Friendly Fun in Portland


Summer’s almost over, and school is back in full swing this week and next all over Portland. But there’s still lots of family-friendly fun to be had in the metro area in September. Check out these Portland family events to keep the wild times going for you and your little ones.

September Guide

Free Events

  • Vaux Swift Watch (All September, 6-8 p.m.) Vaux swift birds roost at Chapman Elementary School during their migration south for the winter. Bring your binoculars and a chair to watch these traveling birds roost every night in September starting one hour before sunset.
  • Movies in the Park  (September 1 at Montavilla Park, September 2 at Overlook Park & September 8 at Jackson Middle School) Entertainment starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by movies at dusk. Pack your picnic blanket and some outdoor chairs to catch the last three Movies in the Park of the season.
  • Art in the Pearl (September 1-3, 10 a.m.) The 21st annual Art in the Pearl festival features art, music, and an educational pavilion just for kids at the Northwest Park Blocks in downtown Portland.
  • Guided Forest Walk (September 8, 10-11:30 a.m.) Kids of all ages can learn about conserving resources and protecting the environment as they explore at Tryon Creek State Park.
  • Music on Main Street (September 5, 5-7 p.m.) Catch Jujuba in the final Music on Main Street outdoor concert next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
  • Ten Toe Express Walks (September 8 at 9 a.m.) On September 8, explore the path from St. Johns to Pier Park with local author Laura Foster.
  • Family Tours at the Portland Art Museum (September 9, 12:30-1:30 p.m.) Bring art to life with “Play that Tune: Music in Art.”  Tours free for kids 17 and under and free with museum admission for adults.
  • Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival (September 15, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Stroll along the streets in downtown Forest Grove and watch thousands of people paint the sidewalk. It’s free to check out the art, and only $12 to claim a square of the sidewalk for the day.
  • Museum Day Live (September 22)  Museums across the nation follow the lead of the Smithsonian in offering free admission for one day only. Participating Portland-area museums include the Oregon Historical Society Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver. Don’t forget to get your free ticket in advance by visiting the website.
  • American Indian Day (September 7, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.) Local American Indian groups host a celebration of culture including food, dancing, drumming, and vendors at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
  • National Public Lands Day (September 22) In celebration of the 100th birthday of the National Parks, enjoy free admission to various public lands including Crater Lake National Park, Fort Vancouver, and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Fairs and Festivals

  • Oregon State Fair (August 24-September 3, 10 a.m.) Featuring rides, events, and concerts, the state fair in Salem has something for everyone!
  • The Standard Volunteer Expo (September 6, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Volunteers and organizations can find perfect matches at this annual expo at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
  • Play Fair PDX at Rose City Comic Con (September 7-9) Head down to the Oregon Convention Center to play with the season’s hottest toys and games.  Meet characters like Peppa Pig and Branch and Poppy from Trolls.
  • Beaverton Celebration Day (September 8, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Catch the parade starting a 10 a.m. Stay for activities in City Park for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Tigard Street Fair (September 8).  Downtown Tigard’s Main Street is your place for food, vendors, kids’ activities, and more during this street fair.
  • Carlton Crush Harvest Festival (September 8, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) Competitive grape stomping, a barrel-rolling race, a watermelon-eating contest, and lots of food and drink are just a few of the fun activities in store for you at this harvest festival in Carlton.
  • Mt. Angel Oktoberfest (September 13-16) Oregon’s oldest and best-loved Oktoberfest, hosted in the small community of Mt. Angel, just outside Salem also boasts the largest folk festival in the Northwest. Featuring hundreds of food and craft booths, several venues of live, Bavarian music, a kindergarten for the little ones, and three biergartens with local NW beer, wine, and spirits, it is four whole days of family fun!
  • Mexican Independence Day (September 15, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) El Grito Fiestas Patrias at Rose Quarter is a celebration of independence from Spain for Mexico and other Latin American countries complete with mariachi, dancing, and traditional food and beverages.
  • Oktoberfest at Oaks Park (September 21-23) Put on your lederhosen and head down to Oktoberfest at Oaks Park. Visit the Kinderplatz (kids’ place) or cheer on your favorite hound in the dachshund race as you chow down on authentic German food and beverages.
  • Oktoberfest at McMenamins (end of September, various locations) Bop to the polka beat and grab some bratwurst at your favorite McMenamins locations.
  • Portland Juggling Festival (September 28 – 30) Learn to juggle or improve your juggling skills with the Portland Jugglers at the Reed College Sports Center.

Community-Submitted Events

Our community calendar is a free resource for Portland families and businesses. Below, you can scroll through many mom- or family-friendly events in the area this month. Have something to add to the calendar? Please add your event here!

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Any events we missed? Leave them in the comments!

As you can see, the end of summer is just the beginning of a new kind of fun in Portland.
Any September events we missed? Please let us know in the comments!

Previous articleMy Top Five Mom Fails This Summer
Next articleGoodbye Summer Nights
Aside from being a writer, Kendra is a Birth Trauma Doula at KarysMa Birth, where she helps moms find their joy after birth trauma. A former middle school English and theatre teacher, she has an insatiable love for learning and a flair for the dramatic. Among the best moments of her life, she counts marrying her husband Steve during a dream rainbow wedding, planning a princess picnic on the beach with her eight year old daughter Karys, giving birth to her one year old daughter Saryn in the middle of a blizzard, and sitting on stage with Glennon Doyle. A Navy brat for the first 13 years of her life, Kendra settled in Virginia for eighteen years before she was finally ready to move again, relocating to Portland in 2014. You can find her work on Portland Moms Blog, The La Leche League Blog, and The Not Your Average Mom Project, as well as the hard drive of her computer.