Things to Do in Portland in Summer | Hostelling International USA

HI Portland Hawthorne District Hostel

3031 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, Oregon 97214
Call 1 (503) 236-3380

7 Reasons Why a Portland Summer is the Best

People enjoying the view of Portland Oregon at sunset

If there’s a city that knows how to do summers right, it has to be Portland, Oregon. A Portland summer consists of all the best that the region has to offer, from festivals and quirky festivities, to all the craft beer and food truck treats your belly can handle. Not to mention the great outdoors, whether you experience it from the tiniest park in the country, or on a hike through somewhere green and magical. The best part is none of this has to cost an arm and a leg, making Portland the perfect place to visit if you’re itching for a summer vacation on a budget. Take a look at just a few of the best things to do in Portland in the summer, then book your stay at HI Portland Hawthorne hostel to be in the center of it all. 

The street fairs and outdoor concerts

outdoor concerts in Portland summer

After hibernating all winter, locals come out in full force on to the streets for outdoor events taking place all across the city. Street Fairs are great for exploring neighborhoods – each has its own flair, but you’re guaranteed to find good food, live music, and local vendors at each. If you’d just like the music, there are various big outdoor concerts taking place throughout the summer, like MusicFestNW over the Waterfront. You’re also bound to stumble upon something free on any given weekend at a park or storefront. 

The outdoors in general

Forest Park in Portland, Oregon

A big part of Portland culture involves getting outside and enjoying the sunshine and greenery. First of all, there are plenty of cool parks to choose from, whether you’re just looking to laze on a blanket and people watch, or get involved with some Frisbee golf, hiking in Forest Park, or catching views of Hawthorn Boulevard from Mount Tabor. If you’ve got your own set of wheels, then drive just an hour out of town for breathtaking scenery and miles and miles of hiking trails beneath the iconic Mount Hood dome. 

Floating the Clackamas River

Floating in the Clackamas River near Portland, Oregon

Floating is just as relaxing as it sounds, and aside from the Big Float that takes place every year, you can find locals cooling off all summer long on inner tubes cruising down one of the many rivers that are around Portland. One of the most popular spots is the Clackamas River, not too far out of town within the Milo McIver State Park, which gets really festive on a hot day. Otherwise, the Willamette River, which runs through the city, is a good option that also ends near some good bars for a perfect day out. 

The beer is better

a man pouring beer

Bikes and beer are Portland’s way of life, so it’s only natural that the summertime things get amped up and local breweries go all out. Try the local summer beers (the Lime Kolsch from Burnside Brewery is supposed to be one of the best), or hit up one of the many beer fests and bar events like the Organic Beer Fest and Puckerfest at the Belmont Station to find your new favorite summer beverage.&nbp;

The farmers’ markets

a farmers' market

Eat fresh all summer long and do your food shopping at one of the many farmers’ markets that pop up across the city in the summer. The Hawthorne Market, which is in the same neighborhood as HI Portland Hawthorne, is a goodie to check out if you want to score some fresh produce to prepare back at the hostel. Plus, you can find delicious baked goods and lunch eats, or even gifts and souvenirs to take back home. 

Cherry picking at Hood River

cherry picking at Hood River near Portland

Sometimes the fruit tastes better when you pick it yourself, and while there are many great options in the Portland area for U-Pick fun, one of the favorites is Hood River. Their big crop every summer is juicy, plump cherries, which you can pick yourself starting from $4.75 per pound, but they also have fresh vegetables like kale and zucchini. Bring a picnic to eat with your fresh treats, and make day trip of it with wine tasting, biking, and swimming at Hood River Waterfront Park. 

The ice cream

ice cream in Portland

Portland might be known for its iconic Voodoo Doughnuts (and for its delicious and outrageous doughnuts in general) but when it’s nice and hot out, it’s only right to switch to ice cream. And true to form, Portland has some tasty and quirky flavors to try. From the wrong-but-right combinations at Salt & Straw, to the creative ice cream sandwiches at Ruby Jewel, you’re never too far from something tasty. 

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