Monthly Guide

Your Guide to Things to Do in Portland This February 2021

The PDX Jazz Festival, Dumpling Week, Valentine's Day Events, and More
February 3, 2021
The Biamp PDX Jazz Festival is going virtual, bringing a whole week of shows and events (like a Feb 18 screening of Nick Capezzera and Sam Osborn's Miles Davis-centered documentary Universe, pictured here) to you. (Courtesy PDX Jazz Festival)

To help you keep track of everything going on this short month (there's a lot!), we've compiled the biggest virtual and otherwise socially distant events worth putting on your calendar, including things to do for Valentine's Day, Black History Month, and the Super Bowl. See them all below, from Dumpling Week to the PDX Jazz Festival, and from the live comedy drive-in Love in the Time of COVID to a Literary Arts talk with Ibram X. Kendi. For even more options, you can always check out our complete streaming, in-person, or on-demand calendars. 


Jump to: Valentine's Day | Lunar New Year | Black History Month | Film | Food & Drink | Readings & Talks | Music & Performance | Visual Art | Sports & Recreation


Events are online unless otherwise noted.

VALENTINE'S DAY

Brain Chemistry for Lovers
In partnership with Science on Tap and Grammy-nominated vocalist Valerie Day, the OHSU Brain Awareness Lecture Series and the Portland Chamber Orchestra's multi-media performance "inspired by a National Geographic article about love and the chemicals in the brain" will be revived for the internet, incorporating the discoveries of neuroscientists "who are finally crossing into the territory of the poet, the philosopher, the songwriter, and the comedian to explain the feelings associated with romantic love."
(Wed Feb 10)

Jinkx Monsoon: Leave Loathe Lie
Not in the mood to throw heart-shaped confetti on Valentine's Day? Neither is Seattle drag legend Jinkx Monsoon. Her virtual Live Laugh Love Leave Loathe Lie performance will cater to happily single or otherwise V-Day-averse people, and will also include a virtual meet-and-greet.
(Sun Feb 14)

Love in the Time of COVID: A VD Weekend Comedy Event
The Rose City Rollers and our very own Portland Mercury will bring five local comics (Shain Brenden, Amanda Arnold, Shrista Tyree, Adam Pasi, and Dylan Carlino) to Oaks Park's drive-in stage to riff and raff on Valentine's Day, COVID-era romance, and life in general. Food will be provided by South Portland saloon Buffalo Gap, and a beer garden will be up and running an hour before the show starts for your drinking-in-your-car needs. 
Oaks Park, Southeast (Feb 19-20)

Love Struck Drive-In
Watch crowd-pleasing romantic comedies like The Notebook, P.S. I Love You, and 10 Things I Hate About You with your valentine/galentine/quar pod-entine from the safety of your car at this three-day drive-in at Washington Square. What's more, admission includes a full dinner and wine selection for two.
Washington Square Mall, Southwest (Feb 12-14)

My Muddy Valentine
What's more romantic than hurdling through an obstacle course and getting covered in worm food with your dearest valentine? This socially distant 5K or 10K V-Day obstacle course at Lee Farms invites you to do just that. Alternatively, you can complete a challenge on your nearest muddy trail and submit your photos online. 
Lee Farms, Tualatin, and online (Sat Feb 13)

Valentine's Weekend with Kellen Erskine
Laugh your pre-Valentine's Day feelings away, whatever they may be, in a pod of four or fewer as comedian Kellen Erskine (whom you may have seen on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, or America's Got Talent) graces the Helium stage with Cupid-related material. 
Helium Comedy Club, Southeast (Sat Feb 13)

LUNAR NEW YEAR

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Portland Chinatown
The Portland Chinatown Museum's 150-foot dragon is "sheltering in place," as it were, but they won't let the Chinese New Year go uncelebrated. Join them for a virtual event reviving footage and photos of past drag dance parades, fireworks, and drumming performances. 
(Sat Feb 20)

Chinese New Year Lantern Viewing
Lan Su's annual Chinese New Year celebration will continue social distancing style with four evenings of traditional lantern viewings, including a brand-new 18-foot phoenix lantern sculpture all the way from China. The Garden Teahouse will offer to-go snacks and tea for visitors.
Lan Su Chinese Garden, Northwest (Feb 12-28)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films
This local film festival, which shows African films made by African filmmakers and encourages Western viewers to engage authentically with African cultures, will move online this year. The program, which lasts for over a month, includes buzzy new features like You Will Die at Twenty (Sudan’s first Oscar submission) and Sam Soko's Softie, about a human-rights activist and provocative photojournalist who decides to run for office in a regional election in his native Kenya.
(Feb 5-March 10) 

Ibram X. Kendi
Literary Arts presents an evening of conversation with Ibram X. Kendi, the acclaimed author of 2019's How to Be an Antiracist (which followed his National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America).
(Thurs Feb 18)

Mercury Music Series presents: YAWA (Formerly Amenta Abioto)
"I just can't shut my trap when it comes to Amenta Abioto, whose work is a fluid combination of jazz, hip-hop, soul, and African music," wrote Mercury contributor Jenni Moore. Catch her performing live under her new moniker, Yawa, as part of The Mercury's new online music series. 
(Thurs Feb 18)

FILM

Frozen: A Sing-a-Long Cinema Experience!
Procure your favorite car snacks and head to Oaks Park for a weekend of drive-in screenings of Disney's Frozen. Closed captioning will be provided for sing-along purposes, so don't be shy about belting "Let It Go" at the top of your lungs. 
Oaks Park, Southeast (Feb 25-27)

2021 HUMP! Film Festival
Every year, The Mercury puts out the call to sex-havers everywhere to submit a homegrown amateur porn film depicting whatever they're into (barring poop, kids, and animals, of course). The result is an incredibly diverse representation of human sexuality in all its straight, gay, trans, queer, kinky, funny, pissy, painful, and pretty forms. Let's see what wild spins people put on their submissions that were created during the lockdown, shall we?
(Feb 5-March 6)

McMinnville Short Film Festival
Our nearby neighbors to the south will present winning films from the past decade of McMinnville Short Film Festivals, along with filmmaker Q&As. 
(Feb 18-28)

FOOD & DRINK

Dumpling Week
The Oregonian/Oregon Live's annual Dumpling Week celebrates comforting, pillowy pockets of goodness in all of their forms with specials from over 20 participating restaurants, from "Georgian nacho vareniki" at Kachka to Chengdu-style shrimp and pork "dragon dumplings" at Ping. Print off a passport from the website and set out to try them all.
Various locations (through Feb 7)

Girl Scout Cookie & Wine Pairing
If you've never unfurled on the couch after a long day with a box of Thin Mints and a big ol' glass of Cabernet, you're missing out, friend. Redeem yourself with Hip Chicks Do Wine's package of four Girl Scout cookies paired with four wines of their choosing, which you can pick up at the shop or have delivered to your door. 
Feb 20-March 5

Stout Month
As we head further into the season of dark and heavy brews, Fort George Brewery has you covered with a lineup of hearty food specials (like beer-braised beef with potatoes and mushroom gravy and bacon on a stick) to complement your stout of choice, which they also provide. 
Fort George Brewery, Astoria (through Feb 28)

Virtual OMSI After Dark: Winter Ale Fest
Add some science magic to your beer tasting adventures (and vice-versa) at this virtual night out at OMSI, where you'll get to witness experiments, chat with brewery experts, play trivia, and, most importantly, sip some sample-sized winter brews at home.
(Fri Feb 26) 

Volksfest: A Mt. Angel Celebration of German Sausage
If the bevy of holidays this month still leaves you craving something more to celebrate, head to Mt. Angel, a town with Bavarian roots, and turn your hurrahs to German sausage, beer, and sauerkraut at storefronts all around town in honor of Germany's Volksfest. 
Various locations, Mount Angel (Feb 12-14)

Winter Soup Festival To-Go
Warm up with steamy, restorative Latin American soups available for takeout or for covered outdoor dining from a variety of Portland Mercado businesses, including Xocotl, Tierra Del Sol, Fernando's Alegría, Barrio, Kaah Market, La Arepa, Que Bacano, and Alecocina.
Portland Mercado, Southeast (Feb 6-14)

Zwickelmania
Prime your liver for Zwickelmania, the annual event where more than 100 breweries open their doors online stores for your drinking pleasure, promising tons of beer releases. Think of it as a virtual open house.
(Feb 13-20)

READINGS & TALKS

Elizabeth Kolbert in Conversation With Bill McKibben
After winning a Pulitzer for The Sixth Extinction, an investigation into the unavoidable extinction event in Earth's future (humanity), Elizabeth Kolbert returns with Under a White Sky, which offers a slightly more optimistic take on the steps that need to be taken to save the planet (for now, at least). She'll join Powell's for a virtual reading and discussion.
(Tues Feb 9)

An Evening With Robert Michael Pyle and David Cross
Dr. Robert Michael Pyle, the beloved and prolific nature writer who wrote the book that inspired the film The Dark Divide, will join actor David Cross (who portrayed Pyle in the film) for a virtual talk hosted by Powell's. 
(Fri Feb 19)

Naomi Klein in Conversation With Miko Vergun & Isaac Vergun
Climate journalist Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything, On Fire) empowers young readers to fight for the planet in How to Change Everything, the topic of tonight's conversation with Miko Vergun and Isaac Vergun, two young federal plaintiffs in the Juliana v. U.S. case and the co-founders of Youth Acting for our Earth. 
(Thurs Feb 25)

National Geographic Live—Scientific Exposure
Molecular biologist-turned-photographer Prasenjeet Yadav highlights natural history and science stories in Asia, while Anand Varma has developed techniques to create captivating images of creatures whose details are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Join them for a night of stories and conversation on the intersection of science and photography at this National Geographic event. 
(Wed Feb 10)

Roxane Gay, Larissa Pham & Kim Fu in Conversation With Lidia Yuknavitch
Edited by R. O. Kwon (The Incendiaries) and Garth Greenwell (Cleanness), Kink features short fiction that explores love, desire, and sexuality by all-star contributors like Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, and Carmen Maria Machado. Gay, Larissa Pham, and Kim Fu will be joined in conversation by another incredible author, Lidia Yuknavitch, for this virtual Powell's reading. 
(Tues Feb 23)

We Didn't Arrive Here Alone
A group of US-based undocumented writers and poets—Yosimar Reyes, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo—will discuss the topic of mental health in this virtual PICA event.
(Sat Feb 13)

MUSIC & PERFORMANCE

2021 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival
With an opening concert from the Pink Martini Cabaret with China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale, the 18th annual PDX Jazz Festival will prevail online with a week of shows highlighting Rose City artists and ensembles. 
(Feb 18-27)

2021 Gala: Celebrating the Spirit of Mardi Gras
Portland Columbia Symphony will celebrate Mardi Gras with an auction and livestreamed concert. Opt for their Party Package for a delivered meal complete with fine wine and festive décor.
(Sat Feb 20)

Fertile Ground Festival
"Fertile Ground is delightfully uncurated, which means it can be insane. More importantly, it’s one of Portland’s most accessible and affordable arts festivals," wrote Megan Burbank last year. This year's online program promises 11 days of world premieres from dozens of Portland artists streaming on Facebook and YouTube. 
(Through Feb 7)

Fleur Barron & Julius Drake: Winter Journey (Winterreise)
Mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, praised by the New York Times as a "collaborator gifted with sensitive phrasing and insight," will share the virtual stage with renowned pianist Julius Drake for a performance of Schubert’s enchanting Winterreise.
(Sat Feb 27) 

Over the Rainbow
Join Oregon Repertory Singers for an online concert in honor of Ethan Sperry's 10th year as the director of choral activities at Portland State University. For the full experience, preorder a three-course meal from caterers Vibrant Table to enjoy during the event. 
(Wed Feb 24)

 

VISUAL ART

Alyson Provax: Old Long Since
Using a letterpress, Alyson Provax imbues various papers with poetic words and phrases surrounded by embossed marks and ink splatters. Check out her work in 15-minute time slots with gloved hands.
agenda pdx, Southeast (through Feb 21)

Portland Winter Light (non)Festival
Instead of a single space, this year's Portland Winter Light Festival will cheer your icy spirits with installations throughout the city (including Sea Creatures in the Portland Art Museum courtyard), to accommodate socially distant viewing.
Various locations (Feb 5-13)

Timelines for the Future: Christine Howard Sandoval
The first exhibition under resident curator Lucy Cotter's Turnstones program, which "[brings] together artists who refuse the available vocabulary and prefer to seek new frameworks," features photographs and drawings by Christine Howard Sandoval, whose practice revolves around the act of walking on sites of precarious and contested land.
Disjecta, North Portland (through Feb 21)

We Got Each Other's Back
Together with artists Heldáy de la Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez, interdisciplinary artist Carlos Motta's three-part video installation features portraits of openly undocumented queer artists and activities in the US whose work condemns this country's history of unjust immigration laws.
PICA, Northeast (through Feb 14)

SPORTS & RECREATION

February Blazers Games
Cheer on Rip City via NBC Sports Northwest as the Blazers continue their regular 2021 season at home and abroad.
(Through Feb 26)

Portland Polar Plunge
The charity tradition that is literally way too cool asks you once again to help raise funds for Special Olympics Oregon by pledging to run straight into the Columbia River. This year offers a mix of socially distant IRL and virtual events, including an online dance party (Feb 4), scavenger hunts (Feb 7-13), and trivia nights (Feb 9 & 23).
Wherever you are (Feb 4-27)

Super Bowl
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will duke it out on the field at the 55th Super Bowl, which will see a halftime performance by the Weeknd. Read our guide to Super Bowl food & drink takeout specials here.
(Sun Feb 7)