The Best In-Person Things to Do in Portland This Weekend: October 16-18, 2020

Felipe Esparza, Walk the Vote, and More Top Picks
by Mercury EverOut Staff
October 16, 2020
2010's Last Comic Standing winner Felipe Esparza will post up at Helium Comedy Club for a weekend of live sets.

In addition to our guide to the best things to do at home this week (like SLAY and the Save Our Stages Fest this weekend), we've curated some recommendations for socially distanced things to do in-person this weekend, as long as you're wearing a mask and being careful. See our picks below, from fall colors and ceramics at the Japanese Garden to private movie screenings at Living Room Theaters and Cinema 21, and from Walk the Vote to an outdoor screening of a new art film set to the new Fleet Foxes album, Shore. Plus, you can always check out our complete in-person and streaming calendars for even more options, or our guides to the best movies to stream this weekend.


See fall colors and ceramics at the Japanese Garden. Green summer trees are just starting to give way to oranges and reds (we made a haiku!) at the tips of their leaves, and the Flat Garden and Strolling Pond Garden are the perfect spots to witness the seasonal transformation, which you can prime yourself for by watching this extremely calming video. While you can’t sip tea at the Umami Café quite yet, their gift shop is open at limited capacity, so you can treat yourself to a nice tin of loose-leaf tea or a candle scented with jasmine, acacia, and fresh grass, which our Arts Editor's mom got her for her birthday last year and which smells like the sky. During your timed 30-minute visit, don’t forget to check out (kyu), an exhibition of shuki (sake vessels) by all 38 of Japan's Living National Treasure ceramic artists, as well as pieces by the late Japanese ceramic artist Tatsuzo Shimaoka, on view through October 25. Plus, if you want your mind blown by miniature trees that have been around since Shakespeare was just a bun in the oven, pay a visit to the newly reopened Bonsai garden.

Other weekend events worth noting:

Halloween in Downtown Tigard
Tigard will make up for its canceled Main Street trick-or-treat event with a two-week-long scavenger hunt at participating downtown Tigard businesses. Put on a costume and pick up a "passport" at any of the participating spots, then find treasures and post pics on social media for the chance to win even more prizes.
Various locations, Tigard (Sat-Sun)

Peruse local Foster Area businesses and enjoy special deals on food, drink, and retail items from participating establishments. Share photos of your finds on Instagram with the hashtag #fostoberfest2020 for a chance to win free gift cards to local businesses.
Various locations (Fri-Sun)

Outdoor Skating at Oaks Park with the Skatemobile!
There's still time to join Rat City Rollers in the cutest outfit you've donned since quarantine for some outdoor skating through the 43-acre amusement park. Their Skatemobile will be onsite for those who need to rent gear.
Oaks Park, Southeast (Fri-Sun)


Celebrate National Pasta Day. We’re sure you don’t need any further encouragement to settle in with a warm bowl of comforting carbs, but just in case you do, this Saturday is National Pasta Day. Might we suggest paying a visit to Gumba, the food cart (and upcoming brick-and-mortar restaurant) that’s accrued a loyal following for its fresh handmade pasta and fried chicken sandwiches? The menu changes constantly to reflect what’s in season and features inventive specials, often with dreamy house-made burrata. Alternatively, consider swinging by the recently opened Italian market Cooperativa, which slings both fresh and dried pasta to-go alongside scratch-made sauces, cheese, olive oil, and other artisanal goods.

Get in on seasonal apple specials. The harvest season is in full swing, and nothing says fall like crisp, juicy apples. Whether you'd like to pluck some right off the tree at a local farm, get in on Bell's Orchard's ugly fruit sale, or just enjoy seasonal treats like portable hand pies at Bakeshop and Baker and Spice and mochi doughnuts at Chewyy and Coco Donuts, we've rounded up several options so you can choose your own adventure.

Other weekend events worth noting:

Elsy Dinvil | Creole Me Up with Day Wines
This year, the Portland nonprofit Growing Gardens' garden party fundraiser dinner series Chef In My Garden has switched to a takeaway multi-course meal experience available for pickup or delivery, appropriately called Chef In Your Garden. The package even comes with a pre-recorded video or group Zoom call with the chef, so guests can learn more about the inspiration behind their meal and how best to enjoy it. This edition features Haitian-born chef Elsy Dinvil of Creole Me Up, who aims to "provide chemical and allergen-free plant-based products with rich flavors."
238 SE Foster Rd (Sat)

Lucky #7 Release & Imperial’s 7th Anniversary Party
For their seventh anniversary, Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom teamed up with Zoiglhaus Brewing Company to release their Lucky #7 Magic Elixir, a "beefed-up, dry-hopped pilsner 'guaranteed' to bring you better luck throughout the rest of 2020 and cure all your pandemic ailments."
Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom, Southeast (Sat)

Sangria Saturday
Sip a trio of three wines and three fruity sangrias at the urban winery Hip Chicks Who Do Wine. Additional Spanish-inspired small plates are also available for purchase if you're feeling peckish.
Hip Chicks Do Wine, Southeast (Sat)


Rent out a movie theater for a private screening. You: A person who yearns for thousands of light watts to blast your eyeballs while you inhale Sour Patch Kids. The world: Still grappling with a deadly pandemic. Living Room Theaters and Cinema 21: Your COVID-friendly saviors! Starting this weekend, the 21st Avenue gem is following the lead of the cozy Southwest movie house by offering private screenings for you and your quarantine pod. Rates at Living Room start at $200 for groups of up to 10 people, who are required to wear masks when not eating or drinking. Some of their offerings are outlined in our guide to the best movies to watch this weekend, including the freaky sci-fi Possessor, the zombie apocalypse romp Save Yourselves!, and the Jay Duplass-produced comedy Shithouse. We obviously recommend their housemade ginger beer. At Cinema 21, $250 gets you and your group (again, up to 10 people) a private theater and 100 boxes of Junior Mints $100 worth of concessions. They’re showing the zoological documentary Escape from Extinction (narrated by Helen Mirren), Miranda July’s new film Kajillionaire, and, starting next Wednesday, October 21, a Stevie Nicks concert film

Other weekend events worth noting:

'Shore' Screening
Kersti Jan Werdal's art film, shot on 16 mm (because art), pans over Pacific Northwest landscapes to the score of the new Fleet Foxes album, Shore. "The urban and narrative scenes interact with the more surreal landscapes, rather than sit in opposition of one another. My hope is that the film, much like the album does, reflects optimism and strength," writes Werdal. Rose City Rollers will host this screening at their new haunt, Oaks Park. 
Oaks Park, Southeast (Sun)


Vote that horrible Cheeto out of office! Now that the Portland Mercury has released its endorsements for the 2020 general election, it’s time to open your ballot, grab a black (not blue or any other color) pen, and vote for the good of yourself, the planet, and everyone around you by voting Trump out of office. Once you’ve done that, you can plop it in the mail or in a ballot drop box near you. If you want to add some celebratory, socially distanced gusto to the occasion, participate in Walk the Vote this Saturday at 4 pm, where a group will walk from Salmon Street Springs to the Pioneer Square dropbox. If you miss that, you’ll have two more chances next Saturday, October 24, at 10 am, which will start at Floyd Light City Park and conclude at the Multnomah County Library - Midland dropbox, and again at 4 pm at the same Salmon Street location. 

Other weekend events worth noting:

Austerity is Scary: A Halloween Parade and Ballot Drop
This DSA-sponsored, kid-friendly Halloween parade and ballot drop will show support for the "preschool for all” Measure 26-214. Check "yes," seal your ballot, and join the socially distanced procession in your costume. 
Sunnyside Environmental School, Southeast (Sat)

Drag Out The Vote Brunch
Local drag queen Poison Waters will endorse Eddy Morales for Gresham Mayor 2020 at this limited-capacity drag brunch featuring fellow Oregon stars Lylac, Meesha Peru, Alexis Campbell Starr, and Syra St. James. 
Sweet Betty's Bistro, Gresham (Sun)

PDX Women's Unity March For Justice
The organizers of the national Women's March are calling for a march in D.C. on October 17 to "make our resistance clear" and "finish the work we started three years ago." There will also be a companion march in Portland, which is unaffiliated with the official PDX Womxn's March organization, which refers to this weekend's event only as an "awesome pop-up" on their website.
City Hall, Southwest (Sat)

Portland March for Reparations to African People
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the reparations organization of white allies formed by and working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, calls on community members to march for Black American reparations.
N Williams Ave & N Stanton St (Sat) 


Branch out from those 10 songs you've been listening to on repeat and check out Portland Mercury contributor Jenni Moore's fresh Refresh Playlist, which includes five recent releases from nationally renowned and locally based artists, while you go on a walk around your neighborhood. This one includes Tank and the Bangas' new self-care anthem and rapper Karma River's new song about trust issues.

Other weekend events worth noting:

Felipe Esparza
The Last Comic Standing winner from 2010, Esparza (Translate This, They’re Not Gonna Laugh at You, The Eric Andre Show, the podcast What's Up Fool?) will bring some laughs all weekend long.
Helium Comedy Club, Southeast (Fri-Sun)

The Goose Cube Project
This series of installations by local artists will kick off with an infinity room (think Yayoi Kusama) that you can physically walk into. Six guests are allowed in at one time to allow for social distancing. 
Portland Armory, Northwest (Fri-Sun)

Kris Hargis: Outer Hebo
The artist shows self-portraits and fading floral still-life drawings in chalk pastel, graphite, watercolor, charcoal, and conte crayon, created during isolation. 
Froelick Gallery, Northwest (Fri-Sat)

Lakewood On the Lawn: A Free, Socially Distant Evening of Fun
Socially distance yourself on the Lakewood Lawn for an evening of live entertainment for all ages, including music from Lisa Knox, Erick Hailstone, Courtney Freed (who might perform some Freddie Mercury classics from her one-woman Queen tribute Mercury Rising), and David Saffert. 
Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego (Sat)

Rick Bartow: Crow's Instructions
This look into the archive of the late Native artist Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, highlights his love and attention to crows and ravens, whose behaviors he observed throughout his life.
Froelick Gallery, Northwest (Fri-Sat)