Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Fourth of July Weekend: July 4–7, 2024

Picnic in the Pearl, Portland Pickles Doubleheader, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
July 4, 2024
Urban Art Network has teamed up with Legendary Makers Market to present Picnic in the Pearl, a special all-day edition of First Thursday. (Urban Art Network)
Listen, America may not be worth celebrating right at the moment (is it ever?), but a day off from the capitalistic grind sure is. We've got an absolutely stacked weekend guide for ya, so at least your holiday won't be as bleak as our future. Read on for events from Picnic in the Pearl to the Waterfront Fireworks display and from Independence Day Extravaganza & Merica’ Night: Portland Pickles Doubleheader to Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies.

Holiday hours may vary—check venue websites directly for the most up-to-date information.

Jump to: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Multi-Day



First Thursday Picnic Party Past Event List
Bask on Hapa Barkada and Below by Botanist's all-ages patio while inhaling a finger-lickin'-good barbecue ribs plate that mashes up American comfort staples with Filipino flavors, complete with island barbecue ribs, bibingka cornbread, and mac and cheese lumpia. Plus, cool off with frosty treats from Fusion Shave Ice and enjoy a DJ lineup and cocktails from Below by Botanist. JB
(Below by Botanist, Pearl District)

Fourth of July Parade Past Event List
The cutest way to spend your Fourth of July might be this festive parade, which will congregate in front of Duniway School and encourages attendees to decorate their bikes for the holiday. (No bike? No worries—walkers are also invited.) The procession will head north on Reed College Place and loop around at Claybourne Street, ending up back at Duniway. Vintage cars, a live band, and free hot dogs from Otto's Sausage Kitchen seal the deal. LC
(Duniway School, Eastmoreland, free)

Frank Fest Past Event List
The Fourth doubles as Jerry Benedetto's daughter Frankie's first birthday, so he's throwing a party at his neighborhood corner bar Jerry's Tavern to celebrate. The festivities include $3 Red (Budweiser), White (Mich Ultra), and Blue (Bud Light) beers and $5 sliders, hot dogs, and veggie dogs. Red, white, and blue apparel is encouraged. JB
(Jerry's Tavern, Northwest Portland)

Waterfront Fireworks Past Event List
You're already familiar with the Waterfront Blues Festival—the beloved fest has brought folksy acts to Tom McCall Waterfront Park for almost 40 years. But if you're looking for a no-brainer Fourth of July activity, the festival also plays host to the city's largest fireworks show. Though the event is ticketed, you can enjoy views of the show, which lights up at 10 pm, from either side of the river. Further south, Oaks Park will showcase its own fireworks show at "dusk" (around 9:45 pm) as part of their all-day 4th of July Spectacular. LC
(Eastbank Esplanade & Tom McCall Waterfront Park, free)

Fourth of July Deck Party
Past Event List Want to take a getaway to the coast for the holiday? Pelican Brewing's Siletz Bay brewpub in Lincoln City will host a deck party with a prime view of the pyrotechnics. Lounge on the spacious patio, sip crisp beverages like Sunrise Surfer Blonde Ale and Sparkle Hops (a non-alcoholic sparkling hops water), and enjoy a menu of fish and chips, burgers, and Dungeness crab boils. JB
(Pelican Brewing, Lincoln City)


Picnic in the Pearl Past Event List
July's First Thursday celebration falls on the Fourth, so why not celebrate in the Pearl? Picnic in the Pearl makes it easy—the fam-friendly event will spread across seven blocks, where you'll find vendors sharing artsy wares and treats, plus live music, games, and (natch) a picnic area. My suggestion? Spread out a blanket and indulge in some subtle people-watching. LC
(NW 13th and NW Everett, Pearl District, free)


Good Luck Club: An Unapologetic Dance Party Past Event List
I think we can all agree that it's Chappell Roan's world and we're simply lucky to revel in it. Honor the American treasure and rapidly rising pop luminary this Fourth of July at this dance party named after her hit "Good Luck Babe." DJ Sappho will mix in other sapphic favorites from boygenius, Reneé Rapp, Phoebe Bridgers, MUNA, Madonna, Lorde, Kacey Musgraves, and more, while you dance the night away. AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $15)

Not Today: Anti-4th of July Party Past Event List
There are a plethora of reasons not to celebrate Independence Day this year—the dumpster fire political system, an aversion to American nationalism, panic-inducing explosions, etc. That's why the White Owl Social Club is throwing a party for people who want to go out on Thursday night but not be mistaken for a Republican (I'm kidding, of course…do what you want, it’s a free country, after all!) DJs Ballads, Chaach, Chixy Guap, Birthdaygurl, and Sappho will bump tunes loud enough to obscure the sound of fireworks as drag performers Kharisma, Angel Darko, Eris, and Ilani Estrella gag the crowd. AV
(White Owl Social Club, Buckman, $10-$18)


Independence Day Extravaganza & Merica’ Night: Portland Pickles Doubleheader Past Event List
Nothing quite says "America" like a summer league baseball game. Fittingly, the Portland Pickles are hosting a doubleheader on the Fourth, and with Dillon T. Pickle announcing his run for the presidency, I'm expecting it to be downright patriotic. The city’s fireworks ban puts the kibosh on the team’s chaotic plans to launch pyrotechnics from the field, but they assure that "the players will be hitting bombs," plus a Tom Petty Laser Show Experience will entertain fans after dark. SL
(Walker Stadium, Lents, $12-$16)



Kickstand Comedy In The Park Remind List
Kickstand Comedy's hugely popular Comedy in the Park series has returned, hitting Laurelhurst Park on most Fridays through September 6. Grab your pals with a sense of humor and drop your blankets early—the free stand-up show has been known to draw crowds of 4,000 or more. The plus side of the bonkers crowd is the unmatched dog-watching; I'm a fan of Laurelhurst duck-watching, too. This Friday, a lineup of much-loved funnybones will head to the stage after local laughers Rachelle Cochran and Julia Corral get the crowd going. LC
(Laurelhurst Park, Laurelhurst, free)

Leave Your Troubles at The Door Past Event List
This interactive comedy show wants to help you feel better about your daily struggles. Aww, thanks, comedy show! Audience members will be prompted to jot down their woes on slips of paper before the performance. Comedians (Kenny Tam, Megan Otto, Nathan Hart, Dan Weber, and Portland Mercury Genius of Comedy Neeraj Srinivasan this time around) will then draw them from a box, using the audience's unique problems to create an improvised set. Don't worry, they're not really laughing at your expense—it's more like a rare moment of catharsis, where you'll chuckle at the batshittery of your own life alongside a bunch of strangers. If that sounds like your bag, don't miss it. LC
(Funhouse Lounge, Hosford-Abernethy, $10-$15)



Twilight // Blockbuster Weekend! Past Event List
You better hold on tight, spider monkey! Ah, Twilight—the sparkly first entry in a saga that no one asked for. The vampire flick that started it all will screen in celebration of the Fourth of July, just in case you want to revisit the green glamour of Forks, Washington and the roles that likely left poor Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart mortified as they became big ol' movie stars. This celebration of the unfortunate blockbuster will include twinkly trivia and "fabulous prizes." LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)


Bob's Red Mill Fourth of July Celebration Past Event List
Bob's Red Mill, that stalwart champion of whole grain foods, has you covered for a fun and frugal post-Fourth of July celebration at their free family-friendly barbecue on Saturday. Enjoy $7 burgers, $1 shaved ice, and popcorn while grooving to live tunes from the top 40 cover band Hans & the Wanted, and look forward to wholesome games galore, including a watermelon eating contest. Portland Party Goats will be present with four adorable baby goats from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. While you're at it, stock up on all things Bob's at the Whole Grain Store, which is also home to a restaurant and bakery.
(Bob's Red Mill Whole Grains Store & Visitors Center, Milwaukie, free)


ANDAZ 22nd Anniversary Celebration with DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid Past Event List
DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid will celebrate the 22nd anniversary of their ANDAZ party, one of the longest-running bhangra, Bollywood, and desi bass dance parties in the world (and one of the best opportunities to shake your booty in Portland). AV
(Goodfoot, Kerns, $12)

FLAME: Vintage Vinyl Dance Party Past Event List
Real fireworks are frightening, but musical fireworks are pet-approved (don't worry, I checked with my cat). This weekend, the dance floor will metaphorically catch fire at this Fourth of July party helmed by mid-century soul specialist DJ Action Slacks. Twist and shout to a variety of genres from pioneering voices—such as Dance Hall of Flame inductees LaVern Baker, the Champs, Shirley Ellis, Bobby Freeman, Thelma Houston, and Ray Barretto—along with other dynamite grooves from the '50s-'70s. Don't arrive underdressed—colorful summer attire is highly encouraged! Plus, party guests will receive trading cards for each of the aforementioned Dance Hall of Flame artists (while supplies last, of course—these are collectible!!) AV
(The World Famous Kenton Club, Kenton, Sliding scale beginning at $10)



Writing Night at IPRC Remind List
The Independent Publishing Resource Center is the best writing, printmaking, and publishing resource that you might not know about, and they're worthy of your support. (How do I know? My boyfriend went to one workshop and came home a bookbinding fiend. They know their stuff.) From humble beginnings on the second floor of the now-shuttered Reading Frenzy bookshop, IPRC has expanded with certificate programs, workshops, and residencies. This chill drop-in writing event is a free way to familiarize yourself with the organization; Writing Night offers prompts, light facilitation, and opportunities to share your work. LC
(IPRC, Buckman, free)



A Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid-Literary Exhibition Remind List
Expanding upon the print hybrid-literary anthology A Mouth Holds Many Things created by Portland-based literary-social art project De-Canon, this group exhibition centers "visual-textual" works by women and nonbinary BIPOC writers. A Mouth Holds Many Things includes pieces by Samiya Bashir, Carolina Ebeid, Vi Khi Nao, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Paisley Rekdal, Sasha Stiles, Anna Martine Whitehead, and many others. Head to Stelo to fill your artistic cup: You'll spy interesting hybrid visions in video poems, textile books, and poetry/painting collaborations. LC
(Stelo, Pearl District, free, Thursday–Sunday)


MaXXXine Past Event List
Indie horror ace Ti West (The Sacrament, The House of the Devil) returned in 2022 with a Southern-fried A24 slasher. Following a gang of youth cruising through rural Texas in the '70s, X drew clear inspiration from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but still managed to craft a pretty fresh story centered around a psychopathic elderly villain. West made the best of it, quickly releasing the follow-up backstory Pearl, and MaXXXine will conclude the freaky trilogy. Who's the common denominator? Mia Goth, our 21st-century version of Shelley Duvall. She'll reprise her role as Maxine, a porn starlet hellbent on real fame in a serial killer-ridden Los Angeles. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12, Thursday–Sunday)


Doe Donuts Fourth of July Specials
List Strawberry shortcake is the unofficial hero of the Fourth of July, and the acclaimed vegan doughnut shop is giving it its moment in the spotlight with two specials: a soft serve sundae (vanilla soft serve, vanilla bean pound cake, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream) and a strawberries and cream doughnut.
(Doe Donuts, Hollywood District, Thursday–Sunday)

Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies 2024 Remind List
Get ready for the coolest, most delicious event of the summer! The Merc and Jim Beam present Summer of Slushies, which brings boozy, frozen, custom-made treats to the frugal and thirsty denizens of Portland at just $8 a pop, all July long.
(Various locations, $8, Thursday–Sunday)


Helvetia Lavender Festival Past Event List
Does gathering fragrant lavender in a pastoral idyll sound pretty incredible right about now? We thought so. Snuggled in the Willamette Valley hills, Helvetia Lavender Farm offers up 60 varieties of the friendly purple blooms for its annual festival. Visitors are invited to wander the fields, build bouquets, or just take a chill pill on the scenic pavilion. The farm also distills its own aromatic lavender oil, so don't miss their handmade products in the gift shop. It's all for a good cause, too—festival ticket proceeds will be donated to Samaritan Ministries in Ukraine. LC
(Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm, Hillsboro, $10, Friday–Sunday)

Lavender U-Pick at Wayward Winds Remind List
It's lavender season! Live out your lavender haze fantasy at one of the largest u-pick fields in the state. You can frolic among the fragrant plants, pick some flowers to take home, and shop for kitchen products, essential oils, and tasty refreshments at their vintage-core farm store. They've even created a lavender-a-maze, which is probably the nicest being lost has ever smelled. SL
(Wayward Winds Lavender Farm, free, Thursday–Sunday)


Original Practice Shakespeare Festival Remind List
The Original Practice Shakespeare Festival brings its productions outdoors each summer, interpreting the Bard's ​work in the classic First Folio style (that means limited rehearsal, an onstage prompter, and a fast-paced, improvisational feel). "Shakespeare should feel a little dangerous," the fest's promotional materials explain, and nothing sounds more dangerous to me than hopping on stage in front of a crowd to perform a barely rehearsed Elizabethan play. Check out the calendar for dates and locations of plays performed in parks across the city, including Succession-esque tragedy King Lear and forbidden love folktale Cymbeline this month. LC
(Various locations, free, Friday–Saturday)


Pedalpalooza 2024 Remind List
This summer-long festival of bikey fun is an annual highlight for pedal-powered Portlanders. From June through August, riders of all ages are invited to join hundreds of events independently organized by community members like you. Although the famous World Naked Bike Ride is on hiatus this year, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with like-minded bikers at events like a climate adaptation ride, an e-bike pride ride, and a Lord of the Rings ride. JW
(Various locations, free, Thursday–Sunday)


Ancestors: a Group Exhibition Curated by Kanani Miyamoto and Steph Littlebird Remind List
Beat the heat at the Multnomah Arts Center gallery this weekend, where local artists Anthony Hudson, amoqiix-araceli, Molly Alloy, marvin parra orozco, Steph Littlebird, Kanani Miyamoto, and many others will showcase their explorations into ancestry and collective existence. Littlebird and Miyamoto, who are also the show's curators, explain that "for many, being in relationship with one’s ancestors is an act of survivance and through sharing our stories we can start to imagine a collective existence.” After the show, you can explore quaint Multnomah Village. LC
(Multnomah Arts Center, Multnomah Village, free, Thursday–Sunday)

Bean Gilsdorf: Textile Collages Past Event List
Multimedia artist Bean Gilsdorf has often drawn from imagery of sociopolitical figureheads to inspire her work—the fourth-generation seamstress has created slumping soft sculpture forms of American exceptionalist idols, women convicted of violent crimes, and more in previous exhibitions. If you haven't seen her work yet, what better time than election season? Ahead of her experimental lecture-performance at PICA on June 15, Gilsdorf will drape Elizabeth Leach Gallery's project wall with hand-dyed cotton collages featuring some polarizing faces you might recognize. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday–Saturday; closing)

Charlie Salas-Humara: Somewhere Off 290 Remind List
When I last wrote about Charlie Salas-Humara, the Portland-based self-taught painter and musician was channeling liminal spaces in Carts Behind the Jewel Osco, a solo exhibition of thickly impastoed works reflecting on washed-out, forgotten, and ignored spaces. Salas-Humara will return to Nationale with Somewhere Off 290, another collection of poetic abstractions. This time, the artist broadens his palette and renders figures that retain his emphasis on the liminal, but feel more overtly personal. Once again, Salas-Humara's layered paintings prompt an interesting question: What's happening under the surface? LC
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Saturday–Sunday; opening)

Designing Women Past Event List
Curator-photographer Melanie Flood and artist Matt Morris come together in Designing Women to address (and critique) a polarizing question: What is a woman? When Flood’s photography is paired with Morris's paintings, textiles, and perfumery, a multimedia experience floods the senses and conjures yet another question: Who is the designer of women? "Though the assertion that women can be designed establishes an aesthetic project and a subject position, it is unknown what actors are at play," the artists explain. I'm intrigued by Flood's beach ball breast and Morris's digital prints on ruched satin. LC
(ILY2, Pearl District, free, Friday–Saturday)

Emily Wise: Hair of The Banshee Past Event List
When I last saw Emily Wise's work in her 2023 Chefas Projects solo exhibition Hands that Hold the Melting Rope, the artist's surreal, neon-hued acrylic compositions were populated with dream-world cool girls, flowing flora, and mystical patterns. The motto of Wise's work seems to be "the longer you look, the more you find," like a lucid dream in painting form. This time around, she depicts the Irish banshees of her grandmother's fairy tales, and wonders whether the matriarch was "merely the keeper of these Irish legends, or indeed the very banshee she spoke of." LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday–Saturday)

finger tight: Haley Lauw Remind List
New Well Well Projects member Haley Lauw's first solo exhibition in the Pacific Northwest explores all the sexy stuff, like restraint, hands, adverbs, and hardware, for starters. Lauw's "love letter to Tractor Supply and Ace Hardware" is also an investigation of "suggestion and approximations," so don't expect to leave with any concrete answers. I'm intrigued by Lauw's use of material, especially in Horn if You’re Honky, which weaves ratchet straps with rubber strapping. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday–Sunday; opening)

Jessie Weitzel Le Grand: Two Suns Over the Neon Reef Past Event List
In Jessie Weitzel Le Grand's last solo exhibition at Chefas Projects, the sculptor's quirky creations imagined an alternate dimension or afterlife called Ny By. Le Grand is nothing if not imaginative, and Two Suns Over the Neon Reef proves it: Another selection of "peculiar creations by the citizens of Ny By" conjures artifacts from the strange realm where geodes, blossoms, and sandwiches reign supreme. No language, no laws, and no existential crises emerge in Ny By. (BRB, applying for citizenship now.) LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday–Saturday)

Math Bass: Full Body Parentheses Past Event List
Math Bass's latest is a mid-career survey of the Los Angeles-based abstract artist's sculptural pieces, site-specific murals, and paintings. Bass began their practice in the performance art realm, but expanded their visual lexicon to include many mediums—and the graphic, symbolic style for which they're best known—over time. In Full Body Parentheses, Bass’s sculptures "animate and complicate those more familiar, flattened forms, creating a resonant, playful world of iconic objects." LC
(lumber room, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday)

Atlanta-based illustrator FRKO's Portland debut will include a fresh selection of works "tailored to our city," including "the quirks, clichés, and stereotypes that [Portland] has both embraced and unabashedly tried to reject." Don't show up to this show if you have thin skin, I guess! Seen through the artist's cheeky, sarcastic style, PORTLANTA's imagery includes everything from flaming cop cars and anthropomorphized pot leaves to that chair from the Alabama riverboat brawl. (Not sure what the chair has to do with Portland, but I'm into it anyway.) LC
(One Grand Gallery, Buckman, free, Thursday–Sunday)

Rob Lyon: Also Votives Past Event List
British painter Rob Lyon's second exhibition with Adams and Ollman explores landscape through a spiritual lens. Also Votives is also the first display of the artist's drawings, and an accompanying zine makes the show an unusual treat for fans of his deceptively simple charcoal and oil compositions. Drawing inspiration from the chalk hills of England's coastal South Downs, Lyon "conjures its unique spirits, which he then uses as a gateway to transcend the logic and limitations of the physical world in pursuit of spiritual or metaphysical connection." The results are bold and portal-like, full of sharp angles and genuine curiosities referencing everything from Neolithic burial mounds to celestial forms. LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday–Saturday)

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