Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Mar 31-Apr 2, 2023

Trillium Festival, Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
March 31, 2023
Don't let a little rain stop ya—the Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms are expected to hit peak bloom this weekend. (Janey Wong)
The only way you could be taken for a fool is if you don't weigh your options among all of the fun, budget-friendly happenings this weekend. This is no prank; all of the events below—from the Trillium Festival to Michelle Zauner and from the  Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms to the Dragon Boat Eye-Dotting Ceremony—are $15 or under.

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

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Feminist March 2023
Past Event List Returning from a pandemic-related hiatus, Hollywood Theatre's Feminist March program will once again offer up a full month of screenings celebrating women in film. Presented in partnership with Portland State University's Center for Women's Leadership, Synth Library Portland, and Quest Center, this year's lineup includes 12 films directed by women, including multiple flicks by Black, Indigenous, and queer directors. Tonight's screening of slasher movie musical Slumber Party Massacre II closes out the series.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10)


Bendigo Fletcher with Friko Past Event List
On their latest EP, Wingding, Kentucky-based quintet Bendigo Fletcher shapeshifts between folk, alt-rock, country, and soul with psychedelic riffs, shimmering harmonies, and witty lyrics like "How can I ever be onery doing your laundry?" They will take the stage after an opening set from Chicago-hailing alt-rock trio Friko.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)

Hungry Hungry Hip Hop 12 Year Anniversary: Doink!, Rush Hour Glass, and Something Something Brax
Past Event List Hungry Hungry Hip-Hop is a monthly showcase dedicated to spotlighting the many flavors and styles in Portland's hip-hop community, including live music, spoken word, and audio/visual art. This month, they'll celebrate their 12th anniversary with performances from jazz-infused hip-hip project Doink!, rap duo Rush Hour Glass (featuring local legends Old Grape God and Eric Fury), and art-rap artist Something Something Brax.
(Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge, Boise, $10)


SNAP! Y2K: '90s vs '00s Dance Party Past Event List
Remember when Y2K seemed like a scary way for the world to end? Return to those nostalgic times with the DJs Colin Jones and Introcut who will show you how to "party like it's 1999" with hip-hop, rock, pop, soul, and rave bops from the early '90s to the early '00s. If you’re in need of a dance break, head to the Nintendo gaming zone.
(Holocene, Buckman, $10)


Michelle Zauner
Past Event List Released in April 2021, Crying in H Mart tells the story of Zauner growing up in Eugene with a Korean immigrant mother whose love manifested in unyielding expectations, knife-like criticism, and the most delicious and attentively-prepared meals. In her mother’s final months with pancreatic cancer, Zauner once again used food to show love and process grief. After delaying promoting the book in-person due to the pandemic, the 33-year-old musician will begin her first book tour at the end of the month to promote the book’s paperback release. ROSE WONG
(Powell's City of Books, Pearl District, free)


Josh Kermiet: Tea Gardens Past Event List
Josh Kermiet, editor-in-chief of longstanding local arts rag Free Spirit News, moves off the newsprint page in Tea Gardens, but maintains his playful, lo-fi aesthetic. The solo exhibition consists entirely of graphic black-and-white acrylic compositions on paper, reflecting  on "improvisation, isolation, and the invisible tendrils that continue to hold us gently in relationship to each other." Drop by cozy Sunnyside restaurant Old Pal to scope out the show over oysters and Oaxacan negronis.
(Old Pal, Sunnyside, free; closing)



Smart Dumb Past Event List
We can think of few finer places to post up on April Fools' Day than a comedy performance, so head to this showcase of Portland's funniest up-and-comers, including Tory Ward, Meanroth Ny, Imani, Julia Corral, Jaren George, and others, for some holiday-appropriate tomfoolery.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $10)


Dragon Boat Eye-Dotting Ceremony Past Event List
Signifying the start of the 12-week Portland Rose Festival dragon boat race season, the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association (PKSCA) will present this eye-dotting ceremony led by a Buddhist master from Portland Miao Fa Temple. The ceremony blesses the boats and "awakens" the dragons with a formal dotting of each dragon's eyes, followed by a parade of the colorful Hong Kong-style dragon boats beginning at the King Tide Fish & Shell and ending at the Riverplace Marina docks.
(King Tide Fish & Shell, Waterfront, free)


Pigeon Milk Presents: Godzilla Past Event List
Touted as "Portland's only live film score band," psychedelic synth trio Pigeon Milk will perform their out-of-this-world musical interpretation of the 1954 classic film Godzilla while it plays behind them on a large projector.
(The 4th Wall PDX, Buckman, $5)


Free Coffee Cuppings! Past Event List
If you're looking to expand your java knowledge, look no further than this complimentary coffee cupping. Sip a few different brews, savor their tastes and aromas, and participate in a discussion.
(Nossa Familia Coffee, Pearl District, free)

Portland Cider House Birthday Party Past Event List
April is a double-whammy of a celebration for Portland Cider Month: it marks not only a decade since the business was founded, but also the eighth birthday of its Hawthorne Boulevard location. In a nod to the original pricing when they first opened, they'll serve $4 pints of their Kinda Dry and Original Gold flagship brews all weekend. They'll also unveil a special 10th anniversary cider, which pays tribute to the Rose City with rosé barrel-aging and rose hips.
(Portland Cider House, Richmond)

Spring for Zenger Past Event List
Now that spring has officially sprung, kick off the growing season at this community plant and seed swap event. Gardening pros will offer helpful advice, and plant starts, seeds, and other freebies will be available. Explore the working urban farm, grab lunch prepared by the farm's chefs, and sip on an aromatic herbal blend from the tea bar. BIPOC community members are invited to visit earlier in the day (starting at 11 am) in order to ensure they receive first access to giveaways and resources.
(Zenger Farm, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Sliding Scale)


Joe Pug: In-Store Performance & Signing Past Event List
If you’re fond of fellas like Jason Isbell and Josh Ritter, you're probably familiar with the work of folk singer-songwriter Joe Pug. He will stop by Music Millennium for a free performance and signing in support of his latest release, Nation of Heat Revisited, which is a re-work of his acoustic debut album with artists like Brandon Flowers (the Killers), Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), and many others.
(Music Millennium, Kerns, free)

2023 Wacken Metal Battle: Pacific Northwest Final Past Event List
Bands across the country have laid waste to the stage for the chance to represent their country in the Wacken Metal Battle, which claims the title of "world’s largest outdoor metal festival." In this final PNW round, five contenders—Villains in Vain, Vanishment, Paradigm Shift, Set in Stone, and Fauvism—will battle it out to determine who will compete in San Diego at the national final battle.
(Dante's, Old Town-Chinatown, $12-$15)


Dance Craze: Zodiac Dance Party Past Event List
Beloved all-vinyl DJ Action Slacks will welcome Aries season with a vintage mix of multi-genre tunes from the golden age of astrology (the late '60s-'70s). DJ Hell Books (of XRAY.FM) will join with a blend of soul, pop, rock, and other grooves to make you dance. Don't forget to come dressed as your zodiac sign, this is a costume party!
(The World Famous Kenton Club, Kenton, $10-20 pay-what-you-can)

Quiero Cumbia: Gio Chamba, Gata Galactica, Papi Fimbres, and Sonido Dead Study
Past Event List Quiero Cumbia returns with a night of psychedelic Latin American grooves and electro-Cumbia beats brought to you by Texas-based DJ Gio Chamba. Don't miss support from like-minded selectors Gata Galactica, Papi Fimbres, and Sonido Dead Steady.
(Holocene, Buckman, $15)

SHUTUP&DANCE Past Event List
Dance straight into the dark side with local DJ Gregarious, who will be spinning the best goth, electronic, new wave, and punk tunes of the '80s, '90s, and '00s.
(Coffin Club, Buckman, $10)


Trillium Festival 2023
Past Event List A certain three-petaled, three-sepaled beauty marks the beginning of spring at Tryon Creek State Natural Area, and if you haven't spotted her before, it's sure to be a "who is she" moment. At the 43rd annual Trillium Festival, visitors will discover the native perennial's bright white blooms dotting the trails like little jewels. The festival also offers family-friendly educational stations, a plant sale with Bosky Dell Natives, and Poppy & Finch Mobile Studio, which will create a "living centerpiece" with your new Bosky Dell plant baby while you take a short hike.
(Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Southwest Portland, free)



World's Hottest Goss: A Comedy Show Remind List
Fans of local comedy and movie theater lobbies will be delighted by Portland's newest recurring laugh fest, which features a rotating fleet of the city's "mediumest comedians" with gags and wisecracks that'll help you beat the Sunday night blues.
(Studio One Theaters, Richmond)


Cruel Diagonals, Crystal Quartez, and {arsonist} Past Event List
Oakland experimental musician Megan Mitchell (aka Cruel Diagonals) brings her cinematic and exploratory sounds, which Pitchfork called "ambient music that's both expressive and empathetic," to the Holocene stage for an intimate performance featuring support from like-minded locals Crystal Quartez and {arsonist}.
(Holocene, Buckman, $12)



Waterfront Park Cherry Blossoms Past Event List
At the north end of Waterfront Park, 100 cherry blossom trees pop pink blooms each spring at the Japanese American Historical Plaza. Tourists and locals alike stroll the tree-lined stretch to partake in stunning photo-ops, bask in the delicate falling petals, and reflect on the history of Japanese Portlanders.
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown, free, Friday-Sunday)


The 57th Annual Portland Swap Meet Past Event List
Scope out collector and vintage cars, old and new car parts, memorabilia, and more at this swap meet for motorheads, where attendees can hobnob with auto enthusiasts or take selfies with unique antique hoopties showcased by six local car clubs.
(Portland Expo Center, North Portland, $10, Friday-Sunday)

Tattoo: Identity Through Ink
Remind List Exploring how individual and group identities are forged through tattooing, Nordic Northwest's latest exhibition, Tattoo: Identity Through Ink will, of course, feature a Scandinavian element. Head to Nordia House to scope out tattoo designs by Norwegian artist Johan Frederik Knudsen and Norwegian American artist Amund Dietzel, plus information on Viking tattoos (badass), Neo-Nordic tattooing technique, and more.
(Nordic Northwest, Metzger, free, Saturday-Sunday; opening)


A Clockwork Orange in 35mm
Past Event List A band of ultraviolent "droogs" cause utter chaos until their leader, the beguiling psycho Alex, is imprisoned and subjected to increasingly cruel aversion therapy. The controversial '71 classic, which led Pauline Kael to deem Kubrick a "bad pornographer," will be screened in 35mm.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Saturday-Sunday)

Enys Men
Past Event List Fans of freaky folk horror shouldn't miss Mark Jenkins' Cornish psych-out Enys Men, which follows a wildlife volunteer's descent into madness on an uninhabited island off the British coastline. Filmed in misty 16mm, the flick was described as a "patient, enigmatic reality bender" by Bloody Disgusting.  
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Return to Seoul Past Event List
You may think that you’ve experienced a story like the one being told in Return to Seoul based on a description of its plot, but that is only the beginning of the journey it has in store. It is a film that immerses you in the life of the charismatic yet chaotic 25-year-old Frédérique "Freddie" Benoît who has returned to South Korea. She is there supposedly by chance but decides to seek out her birth parents who she has never met. With a mesmerizing debut performance by Park Ji-Min, it is a work that sees her character radically change over the years as she searches for some sort of tranquility. No matter how many immense leaps through time the film takes, it paints an intimate portrait that ensures even the quietest moments are bursting with emotion. PORTLAND MERCURY WRITER CHASE HUTCHINSON
(Cinema 21, Northwest Portland, $9-$11, Friday-Sunday)

Studio Ghibli Film Festival Past Event List
Over the last 30 years, Studio Ghibli has become legendary for its lush visuals, emotional and affecting storytelling, and poetic, intelligent approach to nature and the more-than-human world. OMSI's Studio Ghibli Film Festival will return for its eighth (almost) annual presentation of audience faves like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, as well as underrated classics like Pom Poko and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $6.50-$7.50, Friday-Sunday)

Valley Girl
Past Event List Edgy Hollywood punk Nicolas Cage plays edgy Hollywood punk Randy in this hot-pink carnival of '80s-era superficiality and consumerism in the San Fernando Valley. Martha Coolidge's '83 cult classic Valley Girl follows a teen queen bee who falls for the aforementioned edgelord and risks a fallout with her superficial friends.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Friday-Sunday)


Grand Opening Indigenous Marketplace
Past Event List Portland Indigenous Marketplace will celebrate the opening of its new Buckman office space (housed within the Center for Native Arts and Cultures, formerly Yale Union) with another edition of its recurring market, which features handcrafted goodies by Indigenous and Black vendors.
(Portland Indigenous Marketplace , Buckman, free, Saturday-Sunday)


Between Spaces Past Event List
Running concurrently on opposite ends of the country, Between Spaces aims to forge bonds across cultural and sociopolitical landscape divides. Raquel Mullins, founder of the Chattanooga-based Wavelength Space, will present a series of works by Southern and Southeastern artists at Carnation Contemporary, while Carnation's member artists will exhibit works at Wavelength curated by PNW creative Rachael Zur. Surprising thematic ties may emerge as artists Ayo Janeen Jackson, Claire Downes Whitehurst, Eleanor Anderson, Carlie Trosclair, and others explore Southern storytelling, stereotypes, identities, and more.
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

Frank Frances: Remember the South
Past Event List Artist Frank Frances's Remember the South reimagines colonialism through a contemporary eye, creating a fictitious environment within which racism, blackface, Confederate symbols, and crops from the American South are referenced in "meticulous" collages and unsettling, yet visually stunning photographs. 
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Sam Geballe: Self-untitled
Past Event List Bay Area-based trans genderqueer artist Sam Geballe explains that they created the photographs in Self-Untitled to "help alleviate shame I had for my body, build connection, and humanize myself to others." The exhibition's black-and-white self-portraits grapple with the aftermath of Geballe's gastric bypass surgery, in which they lost a "drastic" amount of weight and felt a defensive sense of depersonalization as a result.
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday-Saturday; closing)

Still Life: Sung Eun Park
Past Event List Sung Eun Park's narrative-driven installations in Still Life feel like surreal theater sets, drawing from Japanese creator Akira Kurosawa's magical realist series of short films, Dreams, to explore the complex notion of a “good death.”
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; opening)

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