Breaking the Summer Slump: What To Do Around Portland When You’ve Already Done EVERYTHING

It’s only July and we’ve already hit it…the Summer Slump. You parents of school-age kids might know what I mean. It’s the time when summer officially loses its glamor not just for me, the stay-at-home parent, but for the kids as well!

summer-slump-2We’ve signed up for the library reading program and gone once a week since summer started; done the $1 movies at Regal Cinemas each week, and gotten free lunches at local parks. We’ve visited nearly every local play place at least once, and the kids are tired of the sprinkler, kiddie pool and sandbox. They’ve played with every toy and read every book they own. We’ve been to Vacation Bible Schools, soccer and art camps and done swimming lessons. Our family has even taken a few trips to the beach, to the lake, gone camping and to some county fairs and local rodeos.

And here we are, still two months away from the changing of seasons and we are already summer’d out. The kids tell me each day how bored they are, and don’t want to do anything but lay around the house with the TV blaring and whining every five minutes that there is nothing to do.

Sound familiar?

So, what do we do to break the summer slump? Is there ANYTHING we haven’t done around Portland or the outlying areas yet? Seriously, even small-town events will be welcome at this point!

Here is my list of things we try to do each week or at least hit up once or twice during the summer. Maybe you can find a few new things on the list to end your summer slump, and if I’ve left anything off, please leave a comment with more suggestions so we can try out your ideas as well. (Especially more on the Portland east side, as I’m a west-side girl these days.)

Indoor (Air Conditioned!) play places/activities:

  1. John’s Incredible Pizza (Tigard)
  2. Safari Sam’s (Sherwood)
  3. Out of This World Pizza (Hillsboro)
  4. Outdoors In (Hillsboro)
  5. My Masterpiece Art Studio (Beaverton)
  6. Portland Aquarium (Milwaukie)
  7. Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark (McMinnville)


  1. Children’s Museum (Portland)
  2. World Forestry Center (Portland)
  3. OMSI (Portland)
  4. Gilbert House (Salem)
  5. Evergreen Air and Space Museum (McMinville)
  6. Portland Art Museum
  7. Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals (Hillsboro)
  8. Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation (Portland)

Outdoor Parks and Activities

  1. Oaks Amusement Park (Portland)
  2. Oregon Zoo (Portland)
  3. Oregon Pacific Railroad train rides (Portland)
  4. The Outpost FREE summer activities and lunch (Hillsboro)
  5. Bullwinkle’s (Willsonville)
  6. Enchanted Forest (Salem)
  7. Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro)
  8. Hillsboro Hops minor league baseball
  9. Portland Timbers and Thorns soccer
  10. Local, weekly Farmer’s Markets
  11. Neighborhood parks offering movies or concerts on the lawn (check your local or nearby Parks & Recreation website)

Fairs, Festivals and Rodeos

  1. Washington County Fair (Hillsboro)
  2. Clark County Fair (Vancouver)
  3. Oregon State Fair (Salem)
  4. Downtown Portland Waterfront activities & Saturday Market
  5. Molalla Buckaroo
  6. St. Paul Rodeo
  7. Clackamas County Fair & Rodeo (Canby)
  8. Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo (McMinnville)
  9. Tualatin Crawfish Festival
  10. Highland Games (Gresham)
  11. The Big Float down the Willamette River (Portland)

Summer Classes/Camps

  1. Local parks and recreation groups offer affordable and fun sports, art and cultural camps
  2. Vacation Bible School is hosted at multiple churches all over the area
  3. Swimming lessons are great in the summer and offered at most public pools


  1. County library activities
  2. U-Pick berry, fruit and vegetable farms
  3. Local water fountain play areas

For additional information on a number of the activities noted above, you can also check out our lists of local free indoor activities and free outdoor activities for families.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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4 Responses to Breaking the Summer Slump: What To Do Around Portland When You’ve Already Done EVERYTHING

  1. Amanda
    Amanda July 12, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Awesome list!!

    Don’t forget about Faerie Worlds!! It used to be in Eigene but got o massive they decided to move it up here! September 4-6

    And the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Air Show at the Hillsboro airport!
    July 17-19!

  2. Allison July 12, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    A great summer activity is painting pottery at Mimosa Studios (1718 NE Alberta St, Portland). The studio is air conditioned and located in the awesome Alberta Street neighborhood.

    We currently are hosting our 3rd annual gnome adoption — a fun summer event and fundraiser for the Oregon Humane Society. With over 8 gnomes to choose from, painters can find the gnome that fits their needs —whether traveling with their new companion, or having a new piece of garden art.

    New gnome owners receive a gnome adoption certificate to commemorate their special figurine and are encouraged to send photographs of their gnomes participating in fun summer events. Prizes are awarded in four categories:
    ~farthest from Portland
    ~highest above sea level
    ~favorite summer activity
    ~at a famous landmark

    10% of all gnome proceeds go directly to the Oregon Humane Society at summer’s end.

  3. Wynter Kaiser July 12, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Thanks, Amanda! I cannot believe I left off the Portland Air Show! LOL Also, I just remembered the Elephant Garlic Festival in North Plains, 8/7-8/8

  4. Tiffany August 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    If you are celebrating a birthday party or some other occasion you might want to check on Amazing Fairytale parties. They have an event location on 2137 East Burnside, Portland.