Two things I love; summer and making lists. I don’t know if it’s the sense of accomplishment I get from checking an item off or that it gives me direction for my day/month/year but whatever it is, our family makes lists. We also love to be intentional, making sure we do things we value, not just sidetracked by the urgent, so making a list can be helpful. We value experiences, getting outside, a little adventure, and being together. So to prepare for a summer of fun we’ve made a summer bucket list, some in Portland and others in surrounding areas.
This is a family experience. We usually take friends, make it fun (not just slave labor) and it’s delicious. My kids may or may not eat more berries than they pick. It’s definitely a family tradition. We love the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. Here is an extensive list of farms around the area.
Music in the park
We love taking a picnic dinner and enjoying the free music in the park.
Watch a movie in the park
Nothing says summer quite like breaking the bedtime rules, staying up late, and watching a movie in the park with a hundred other people.
This is an important one on our family’s bucket list. Here is a list of Portland fountains.
Our goal is to kayak around Ross Island but there are other great spots around the city as well.
Take a beach day
We love that the beautiful, rugged landscape of the Oregon Coast is only 90 minutes from Portland. Some of our favorite spots are Seaside, Cannon Beach and the quieter Manzanita. Family favorite activities include Haystack Rock for tide pooling, Hug Point, and Oswald West State Park to lounge for the day.
Plan a neighborhood event
We believe in helping create community in our neighborhood, being present and knowing those who live around us. Some of our favorite summer events include backyard movie nights, s’mores over the fire pit, and the National Night Out block party.
Go see a movie
Going to the theater for a movie is always a treat and Regal does $1 movies for their Summer Movie Express on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s throughout the summer.
Visit a Street Fair
There are many great street fairs in Portland. Full of fun and of course that wacky Portland culture we love so much, it’s a summer must-do.
A hot day calls for a swim. We LOVE the free options at the public pools around Portland.
Go get ice cream (at least once)
There are many great spots to get ice cream in Portland. One of our favorites is Cloud City. I’m also determined to say yes at least once this summer to the daily neighborhood ice cream truck!
Sign up for the library’s summer reading program
My daughter would read all day if I’d let her so this program is the best. It’s also great for kids who have a harder time wanting to read because they give incentives and prizes!
Visit Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens isn’t far from the city and has great hikes and history to learn about. A must-have PNW bucket list item!
Give back or volunteer
Showing kids the needs of others, and helping to meet those needs can be incredibly rewarding and life-altering. If you want to do something to give back, Hand On Greater Portland, Lemon:Aid stand, and Refugee Care Collective are great options.
Go to the Zoo
We love the zoo! Check out cheaper prices on Second Tuesdays.
Experience the 4-T Trail
The 4-T Trail is a fun way to experience public transportation and a great hike all within the city.
There are spots around Portland to do this but our favorite is to take a picnic and paddle around Trillium Lake or Timothy Lake. The kids are learning to paddle or sit on the board while we paddle them around.
Visit Oaks Amusement Park
My kids LOVE Oaks Park. You can skate on a cold day or have a thrilling spin on a hot day.
For even more ideas of what to do around Portland this summer, try these Free Outdoor Activities around Portland. If you’ve checked off all your bucket list items and find yourself in a slump, here’s another great list to break summer boredom.