Our Favorite Air-Conditioned Activities in Portland

Movie Theaters, Museums, and More Places to Cool Off
June 28, 2021
Take refuge from the heat in the cool galleries of the Portland Art Museum. (Daderot / Wiki Commons)

We're into day three of Portland’s historic heatwave. If you’re looking for ways to escape your A/C-less house until it cools down a bit to slightly less hot (a step down from flamin’ hot) temperatures, we’ve rounded up some places and activities to beat the heat. It’s also too hot to do any kind of cooking, so be sure to check out our list of places to find chilled noodle specials, and don’t forget to hydrate!


Three Portland-area cooling centers are in operation 24 hours a day until Wednesday June 30th at 9 am. Head to the Oregon Convention Center, the Sunrise Center, or a county-owned shelter at 1952 N Lombard. Pets are welcome at all locations. 
Various locations

See also: Multnomah County's complete list of cooling centers.


Laurelhurst Theater
Catch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights or see what happens next to the Abbott family in A Quiet Place II in the comfort of A/C while enjoying pizza, cold beer, and other concessions. 

Living Room Theaters
The downtown theater that provides the comfort of a living room, but with air conditioning, is blessedly cooler than your own. Freak yourself out with the documentary All Light, Everywhere, an exploration of surveillance technologies and their relationship to justice, while you sip house-made ginger ale.

The science and industry museum is playing host to the exhibit Dinosaurs Revealed, in which kids and adults alike can get a face-to-face immersive experience with life-size model dinosaurs. 

Powell’s City of Books
Get lost in the towering stacks at the flagship location of Portland’s favorite independent bookseller. The bookstore is currently running its 2021 Summer Reading Challenge; avid readers can take part and be entered to win Powell’s gift cards. 

Multnomah County Library
Take advantage of the library’s A/C while making a dent in your summer reading list. Capitol Hill, Gregory Heights, Gresham, Holgate, Hollywood, Kenton, Midland, Rockwood, and Woodstock libraries will be open as cooling spaces through Tuesday, June 29, from 12-8 pm. Additionally, free water will be available at all library locations throughout the county.
Various locations

Portland Art Museum
The exhibition Ansel Adams in Our Time is making its only west coast stop at PAM, so be sure to catch the famed photographer’s stunning black-and-white works of American landscapes (locales which were all probably cooler than Portland currently is). 
Open Wednesday-Sunday

Oregon Contemporary
The gallery formerly known as Disjecta has A/C on offer plus the current exhibition Time Being, a group show with work by Bean Gilsdorf, Lisa Jarrett, Jaleesa Johnston, Elizabeth Malaska, Maya Vivas, and Samantha Wall.
Open Friday-Sunday 

Oregon Historical Society
The Beaver State’s documentarians have several exhibitions running to cater to a variety of interests, from a history of soccer in Portland (RCTID!) to Nevertheless, They Persisted: Women’s Voting Rights and the 19th Amendment.
Open Wednesday-Sunday