Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Dec 9-11, 2022

Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, Wild Arts Festival, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
December 9, 2022
The 31st Annual Tuba Christmas Concert will boast tons of tubas. (Pioneer Courthouse Square)
This busy December weekend is full of cheap and cheerful events from The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition to the 31st Annual Tuba Christmas Concert and from the Wild Arts Festival to ScanFair. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

Venues may have health guidelines in place—we advise directly checking the specific protocols for an event before heading out.

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PDX Pop Now! Presents: Letras, Sic Bloom, Joe Von Appen, and Spieee ⁠(Sean Pierce) Add to a List
Volunteer-run music organization PDX Pop Now! presents this free, all-ages show featuring performances from Portland-based multimedia artists including Letras, Sic Bloom, Joe Von Appen, and Spieee ⁠(AKA Sean Pierce).
(Zero Wave, North Portland, free)

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Add to a List
Whether you're an expert caroler or a timid bystander, this annual caroling competition will fill a ten-block radius with holiday ditties and Christmas cheer. Enter the competition (it's free!) for your chance to participate in a “carol-off” hosted by KGW’s Drew Carney and win up to $1,000. Just think of all the candy canes you could buy with that kind of dough!
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown, free)


OJA | Portland Market Add to a List
Founded by genre-bending musical duo MadgesdiqCEG, this pop-up market and gathering space aims to represent the depth of Portland's diverse communities through art, culture, food, and music. Get some of your holiday shopping out of the way while enjoying local tunes, tasty grub, and non-alcoholic winter elixirs.
(OJA | Portland Market, Pearl District, free)



The Workout: Developing Solo Work From PDX Fave Comedians and Clowns Add to a List
Catch a whiff of some oven-fresh comedy at this pay-what-you-can showcase, where comics and clowns will share their never-before-seen tomfoolery. The lineup includes Anne Zander, a “completely ridiculous” (Broadway World) clown and solo character performer, as well as Kara Moore, Kristen Schier, local improv master Bui, and Phil Schallberger, who was once described by the Mercury as “one of Portland's most adventurous comedy minds.”
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, Pay-what-you-can)


Black Christmas Add to a List
Black Christmas is an underrated holiday gem, and surprisingly freaky–just wait until you find out what's hidden in the attic. Decked out in twinkle lights, the '74 flick follows a group of sorority sisters who receive strange phone calls over winter break. (You guessed it, a serial killer is on the loose.) 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


31st Annual Tuba Christmas Concert Add to a List
Portland's living room will be filled with the big brass sounds of 200 tubas as they play Christmas tunes in unison during this free, annual holiday tradition.
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown, free)

A Benefit for The Indigenous Women Rising's Abortion Fund with The Fauxs, Love in Hell, and Masque Add to a List
Local glam-rock quartet The Fauxs take inspiration from yé-yé pop and classic punk for their infectious garage sound. They will be joined by hardcore outfit Love in Hell and like-minded newcomers Masque for a benefit show supporting the Indigenous Women Rising Abortion Fund.
(The Midnight PDX + The Sïx, Sunnyside, $10)


Tropitaal Desi-Latino Soundclash: DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid with El Cucuy Add to a List
Tropitaal blends Latin American tropical sounds with rhythms from India to create a unique sound that perfectly soundtracks this recurring dance party. This time around, resident DJs Anjali and The Incredible Kid will be joined by local selector El Cucuy for a set of underground club, moombahton, reggaeton, and dancehall bangers.
(Goodfoot, Kerns, $12)


The Makers Fair Holiday Market Add to a List
Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co. and ASSEMBLAGE (formerly Makers Union PDX) are teaming up for three shopping events that will showcase 10 different local artisans over three Saturdays leading up to Christmas. After crossing names off your shopping list, reward yourself with the brewery's pub fare and craft beer.
(Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co., Northwest Portland, free)

Portland Indie Book Fair Add to a List
Perfect for the discerning readers on your holiday shopping list, this independent book fair supports resourceful small presses like Microcosm Publishing, Octopus Books, and Fonograf Editions—you'll find everything from DIY bike zines to poetry chapbooks at the free event.
(Honey Latte Cafe, Buckman, free)

ScanFair Add to a List
Winter is prime hygge season—at this market, you’ll be able browse through vendors for Scandinavian baubles that will help achieve maximum holiday coziness at home. While you’re there, indulge in Nordic treats like Swedish cardamom buns and Norwegian rommegrøt, watch a meatball eating contest, meet Joulupukki (the Finnish Santa Claus), and more.
(Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District, $12-$30)


Holiday Card Making Meet-Up Add to a List
Part of the Kerns Holiday Market and Art Walk Add to a List , this chill, donation-based get-together at trendy print house Outlet PDX invites folks to make cards with "an abundance of art supplies, craft materials, and collage scraps," or try out their nifty button-making machines. 
(Outlet PDX, Kerns, By donation)

Kerns Neighborhood Holiday Market & Art Walk Add to a List
Head to Sandy Blvd for this holiday celebration, which will feature plenty of shopping and seasonal fare from the neighborhood's trendiest vendors. Church Bar, Paydirt, Duality Brewing, and Astral Food Truck will sling drinks and bites while you shop; don't miss the artisan market at Sincere Studio and the card-making shindig Add to a List at Outlet PDX. Snag a punch card and make a purchase at four or more businesses to earn freebies from wellness shop Make & Mary or queer-owned art studio Daffodill Studios.
(Various locations, Kerns, free)

My Punk Rock Life: The Photography of Marla Watson Add to a List
Photographer Marla Watson's candid shots of the early '80s hardcore punk scene, which she first started snapping as a teen in Los Angeles, reveal a little-told story of the era's legendary underground bands. Watson, who's been a Portland resident for over 30 years, will also offer copies of her punk photography book for sale at the show.
(Wyrd War, Hollywood District, free)



Flower Play: A Community Healing Event for our Queer and Trans Community Members and Their Loved Ones Add to a List
Facilitated by Kale Hale of Solstice Flower Works, this restorative, family-friendly event invites queer and trans community members to create dried flower bouquets and participate in a collaborative zine on “healing, processing grief, and celebrating queer joy.” Attendees can contribute to a community altar, snuggle up with queer-written books in IPRC’s reading nook, and snack on tasty offerings from Chinese dumpling experts XLB.
(IPRC, Buckman, free)

Pet Photos with Santa Paws Add to a List
Gussy up your furry friends and head to this paw-liday event for craft making, hot cocoa, mulled wine, and special photos with Santa Paws. The bark-worthy event is for a good cause—it'll help raise funds to support PAW (Portland Animal Welfare) Team, a grassroots organization providing free veterinary services and pet supplies to families experiencing houselessness or financial hardship.
(Portland Animal Welfare Team, Madison South, $10 suggested donation)


Church of Film: Santa Claus Add to a List
Post up at the Red Fox (perhaps with one of these bad boys) for this screening of Mexican creep-out Santa Claus, a "ghastly fever dream" programmed by Church of Film for all you Grinches out there. The film puts a disturbing twist on jolly ol' Saint Nick—with a little help from Merlin(?!), he dukes it out with the devil to save children's souls.
(The Red Fox, Humboldt, free)

Fungi Film Fest Add to a List
Perfect for the mycologically inclined, the world's only mushroom-centered film festival will head to Portland with 16 fungusy flicks from 10 countries, including experimental cinema, documentaries, and fantasy narratives. (Opinel not included.) (Cinema 21, Northwest Portland, $13)


Holiday Vegan Night Market Portland 2022 Add to a List
Bop around to tunes by DJ Fabulous Ross Vegas in your most festive Christmas sweater and check out booths from over 65 local vegan restaurants, pop-ups, small businesses, nonprofits, and grassroots organizations. Plus, participate in a raffle for the Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team, snap some photo booth pics, and partake in boozy and zero-proof beverages at the "Drink Up Grinches Bar," curated by Sarah Motter of Epif.
(The Redd on Salmon, Buckman, $5 suggested donation)

How Have You Bean? Add to a List
Celebrate all things beans at this event hosted in collaboration with Wellspent Market, Slow Food PDX, and La Merenda Farm. The market will honor the humble legume with heirloom beans for sale, bean zines, bean dishes, appearances from bean growers, a warm pot of beans prepared by bean expert Jim Dixon, and other festivities. You'll also get a chance to learn about agriculture and how to grow your own beans.
(Wellspent Market, Kerns, free)

Old Pal Artisan Market Add to a List
Browse handmade wares, including ceramics, linens, leather goods, perfumes, pantry goods, and more, from 10 local vendors. You'll also get a chance to say goodbye to the boutique pastry studio Sweetheart St. Johns, which will host its last-ever pop-up. Plus, the event will offer beer, wine, nonalcoholic beverages, and an oyster bar.
(Old Pal, Sunnyside, free)


Crystal Quartez, Antemano, Gemini Moon, and Asa Nakagawa Add to a List
Expand your mind with an evening of restorative soundscapes, experimental compositions, and electronic works from Portland-based musician and creative coder Crystal Quartez alongside industrial-pop artist Antemano, experimental sound artist Asa Nakagawa, and kindred spirit Gemini Moon.
(Holocene, Buckman, $10-$15)

Mbrascatu with Sama Dams Add to a List
Portland-based indie rock band Mbrascatu gets their unique sound by swirling together a variety of regional inspirations, danceable rhythms, and emotive lyrics in Italian. Former Stranger writer Santi Elijah Holley even described them once as "the sound of old Italy, of cobblestone streets and hand-drawn gelato carts" (sounds nice, doesn't it?) They will be joined by avant-rock trioSama Dams.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


Let's Be Friends: A BIPOC Maker + Artist Market Add to a List
This friendly market will feature dozens of BIPOC makers and artists, with bops by Kiki Bop, DJ Passports, and Mercedes to entertain you while you shop. Plus, you might even leave with a flash tattoo from Scapegoat.
(Jupiter NEXT, Buckman, free)


Miller Family Free Day Add to a List
This edition of Portland Art Museum's monthly Miller Family Free Day is also a celebration of the beloved art institution's 130th birthday! Stop by to catch up on their current Native-centered exhibitions, including Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe Add to a List and Jeffrey Gibson’s They Come From Fire Add to a List , and check out the Fantastical Fogtown Faire, which will include a screening of puppet mystery series Fogtown, a virtual production demo, and more.
(Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks, free)



Wild Arts Festival Add to a List
Returning for its 42nd annual fundraiser this year, the Wild Arts Festival supports the education and conservation work of the Portland Audubon Society with a nature-themed art sale, book signings (drop by on Sunday to meet New York Times bestselling duo Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis!), and a silent auction.
(Portland State University, South Park Blocks, Saturday-Sunday)


All the Beauty and The Bloodshed Add to a List
The complicated, inspiring life of acclaimed photographer and activist Nan Goldin sees new light in this documentary directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed compiles rarely seen footage and interviews to illuminate Goldin's fight against big-pharma villains the Sackler family. 
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Friday-Sunday)

White Noise Add to a List
Noah Baumbach's new flick throws a wrench in the comfy suburbia of a college professor's life. When a chemical leak causes an "Airborne Toxic Event," Jack Gladney (played by Adam Driver) is forced to evacuate. White Noise is based on Don DeLillo’s National Book Award-winning postmodern novel of the same name.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $7-$10, Friday-Sunday)


North Portland Winter Beer Festival Add to a List
The Tiny Bubble Room will offer a wide range of wintry brews, including "big beers, vintage beers, holiday beers, and holiday flavors." The lineup will feature uniquely festive beers such as Threshold Holiday Bubble Cranberry Tart, Fremont Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb, and Reuben’s Apple Pie Reuben Claus.
(Tiny Bubble Room, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Nutcracker Cracked Family Puppet Show Add to a List
Set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the Portland Puppet Museum will present its idiosyncratic rendition of the magical Christmas tale again this year using over 84 "transforming rod puppets." The 38-minute show is short enough to keep even the wiggliest kid enchanted.
(Portland Puppet Museum, Sellwood-Moreland, $15, Saturday-Sunday)


Chinese Art Studio Holiday Market Add to a List
The Portland Chinatown Museum’s first-ever holiday market, held in their side gallery during standard open hours, will include everything from books and tees to curated vintage and collectibles. While you're there, don't miss current exhibition Illuminating Time Add to a List
(Portland Chinatown Museum, Old Town-Chinatown, Saturday-Sunday)

Mike Bennett's Snow Day Add to a List
Starting on Black Friday, professional joy bringer Mike Bennett will set up shop at The Cleaners with a snowy wonderland of seasonal goodies—think wrapping paper and tree ornaments, plus lawn decorations, greeting cards, and other brand-new holiday merch. (Does this dude ever sleep?)
(The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, West End, free, Friday-Sunday)

Portland Bazaar Add to a List
Now in its 12th year, this highly curated holiday market (by the same producers as the Portland Flea) features the cream of the crop of Portland’s maker scene. This year, expect over 160 vendors, custom gift wrapping from March Goods, and refreshments from Dear Sandy and Radiant Coffee x Oatly.
(Premier Gear & Machine Works Building, Slabtown, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Jordanna Kalman: Jordanna and the Masters of Photography Add to a List
Photographer Jordanna Kalman's investigative practice aims to unravel the impacts of social media, the intricacies of femininity, and the challenges of creating as a woman in a male-dominated artistic medium. Placing her own photographs within cut-out windows inside the works of male master photographers, Kalman questions the gender hierarchy of art stardom in the historical photography canon.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Lee Materazzi: pushed in Add to a List
San Francisco-based artist Lee Materazzi uses her own body as a temporal "medium" and a "site for untamed reclamation," investigating autonomy, gesture, and the limits of the human form through a messy, splashy process of paint and clay play that is then documented via medium format photography.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)


Christmas Ships Parade Add to a List
Setting sail for its 68th year, the delightfully gaudy Christmas Ship fleet will once again truck up and down the Willamette for a nightly parade throughout December (weather permitting). Grab a thermos of hot cocoa and head to the riverfront, where crowds will gather to scope out the ships in all their sparkly glory. 
(Various locations, free, Friday-Sunday)

2022 Gingerbread Masterpiece Add to a List
The Benson Hotel invites you to gawk at an elaborate gingerbread facsimile of Multnomah Falls, which was created by gingerbread architect and pastry chef David Diffendorfer using over 150 pounds of homemade gingerbread, 50 pounds of marzipan, 20 pounds of chocolate, 10 pounds of Rice Krispies Treats, and buckets upon buckets of royal icing. While you're there, learn more about the hotel's founder and namesake Simon Benson with a "mini-museum" featuring over 160 photos and stories of Portland and its historic landmark buildings.
(The Benson Hotel, Downtown, free, Friday-Sunday)

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