11 Free Things to Do in Portland Oregon That You'll Love!

Free Things to do in Portland Oregon - F*ckity bye - Funny Travel Blog

Portland Oregon is a place that I proudly started calling home after I left my office job. Well... Sort of. I'm a bit of a nomad and spend a lot of time between places but seriously, Portland rocks.

You may recognize Portland from shows like, "Portlandia" and consequently think of it as this really over the top, weird place. While Portland is definitely weird, I'm not sure it lives up the craziness touted by movies and TV.

Bottom line, if you love nature, incredible food, and mid-sized cities that have a throw-back feel to them, you'll love Portland and its surroundings.

Below, I'm going to be breaking down for budget travelers a few of my favorite free things to do in Portland Oregon that I think you'll love.

1. Chill Out by the Willamette River

Hang out willamette river free things to do in Portland Oregon - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

This is probably one of my favorite free things to do in Portland Oregon and something I find myself enjoying most weekends when the sun is out. Just outside of city center (off of the "Oak/SW 1st Ave" stop on the Red and Blue MAX lines) is the Willamette River. Flanking the river's banks is Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Grab a bench at the park and watch boats as they sail by. Bring a blanket and have a picnic on the grass.

If you're lucky, you might even see them raise one of the massive bridges over the river.

2. Window Shop at Pioneer Place

Pioneer Place free things to do in Portland Oregon - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

Alright, Pioneer Place mall is certainly not the most impressive mall you've been to. It's functional though and makes for a great way to ditch the rain (which is just about constant in Portland).

This free things to do in Portland Oregon option gains extra points because, like most malls, it has a variety of stuff you can enjoy once you're there.

There's window shopping, there's grabbing a semi-affordable bite to eat in the mall's brand new food court, there's playing arcade games upstairs at "Punch Bowl Social", and more!

3. Tour Nike World Headquarters

NIke Tour free things to do in Portland Oregon - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

Did you know that Nike has their world headquarters in a suburb just west of Portland city center called Beaverton? I certainly know because I live in the area and Nike's money is making all of the prices in the area SKYROCKET THOSE DAMN SON$ a #@!$#@%#@#(%@#%.

I digress...

For those of you that don't reside in the area, popping into Nike when you're looking for free things to do in Portland Oregon is a great idea since it's one of the biggest brands in the world and their campus is pretty darn impressive.

Head over to their website to learn about visiting opportunities.

4. Take a Stroll at Tualatin Hills Nature Park

While you're in Beaverton hanging out at Nike, be sure to swing by Tualatin Hills Nature Park. THNP is gorgeous, peaceful, and helps you really feel in tune with nature.

It's actually kind of crazy to see a park so dense in the middle of a major city. It makes you think about how Portland and its surrounding areas probably looked hundreds of years ago before the bulldozers came roaring in.

If you find time to pass through the nature park, don't skip the visitor's center where they have some fun digital telescopes you can play with.

5. Eat Free Chicken Nuggets

If you're a McDonald's chicken nugget fan and it's basketball season, you may be in luck. As of right now, whenever Portland's basketball team (Portland Trailblazers) score 100 points or more in a game, win or lose, the next day everybody gets free 6-piece chicken nuggets!

In my opinion, this is one of the best "free things to do in Portland Oregon" secrets.

All you need to score this deal is the McDonald's app on your phone.

6. Hike Through Washington Park

Free Things to Do in Portland Oregon - Hang out at Washington Park - F*ckity bye - Funny travel blog
Fall at Washington Park

Oregon has a pretty cool Zoo on top of a massive hill. The area on top of the hill is called "Washington Park".

While the zoo costs money, hanging out around the park does not.

Washington Park has a ton of hiking trails and picturesque picnic spots.

7. Drink Water... Or Better Yet, Don't.

Drink Water free things to do in Portland Oregon - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

If you're walking around Portland city center, you'll probably notice a number of free-flowing green drinking fountains. While it can be tempting to grab a free drink of water from these, I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

One of Portland's absolute worst qualities is its homeless problem and I've seen people take full on baths in these fountains.

I wouldn't put my mouth near those spouts, but hey, you're probably braver than me.

8. Play Bocce Ball at a Winery

Play Bocce Ball at a Winery free thigns to do in Portland Oregon - funny travel blog - F*ckity bye

Nothing says "Instagram photo" quite like playing bocce ball at a breathtaking winery around sunset. I'm a frequently-flyer at a ton of wineries around Portland and, in my opinion, they're among the best I've experienced in the world (and I've been to Napa and Tuscany).

While it would be in pretty POUR taste (get it? POUR as in wine pour?) to just show up at a winery and start playing bocci ball without ordering anything, you could definitely get away with it at some places.

I'd recommend going to a more crowded winery like Ponzi so you don't get called out... Seriously though, if you're at Ponzi, just order one of their $3.00 grape juices (DELICIOUS) and save yourself the shame of looking shady.

9.  Enjoy a Free Play at a Winery

If you're looking for free things to do in Portland Oregon in the summer, one of your best options is to catch a free play at a winery. Traveling theatre troupes will do outdoor shows that are a ton of fun to watch (especially if you're drinking) all season long.

As I mentioned in my last point, it's in poor taste to show up to a winery and not buy a drink or a concession from the theatre troupe. You could get away with it though.

My recommendation is to pack a cheap picnic, buy a cheap drink at the winery, and buy a candy bar for dessert from concessions.

That way you'll have an awesome time for relatively cheap and won't feel like an @ss.

10. Get Lost in Powell's City of Books

Every travel blogger shouting about free things to do in Portland Oregon talks about Powell's so here's me doing the same... Go to Powell's... If you like books.

They serve coffee on the ground floor of the bookstore and have a "rare books room" you can visit on the top floor that's pretty interesting.

11. People Watch at the Saturday Market

Saturday Market free things to do in Portland Oregon - Funny travel blog - F*ckity bye

On Saturdays during most months of the year, Tom McCall Waterfront Park has a Saturday market that takes place just off of the "Skidmore Fountain" stop on the MAX. There are a ton of cool crafts to buy and places to eat. It's also just fun to find a place to sit and watch all of the crazy people in the area do crazy stuff (Skidmore Fountain is a homeless hangout so there are plenty of shenanigans going on near the market).

Wrapping Up Free Things to Do in Portland Oregon

Portland is a city that can be done extraordinarily well for no money (as I'm hoping my free things to do in Portland Oregon list above illustrated). If you're willing to spend a little cash though, your options open up big-time as there are a ton of incredible food trucks, breweries, and quintessential "weird experiences" to be enjoyed in the area  (I went on a bizarre ghost hunting tour a couple of months ago...).

If you're wanting to hang out in Portland but don't have the money or time, I can help you with that!

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