Portland may see temps in the low- to mid-80s this weekend, but pandemic safety precautions are still very much a necessity, especially since the majority of Oregon residents over 16 won't be eligible for a vaccine until next week. That said, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the weather without risking your health. Read on for our suggestions, from the Saturday Market reopening to National Park Free Day, and from our favorite places to get boba (like Ding Tea and Tea Social) to the Road Rage Drive-In at Portland International Raceway. For even more options, read our guide to the best online events this week.
Book tickets to Oaks Park, which reopens to the public on Saturday at reduced capacity. As always, admission gets you access to rides (including the brand-new AtmosFEAR, a 360-degree experience where riders are set on a terrifying trip above the midway). Roller skating, miniature golf, and games are sold separately. Speaking of advance tickets, be sure to snag yours for next weekend's live comedy event at the amusement park, presented by The Mercury and featuring sets from the likes of Amanda Arnold, Becky Braunstein, and Shain Brenden. You might also check out this weekend's Mixtape Revival Series, a drive-in night of '80s and '90s throwbacks with local cover band Hair Jordans.
Return to the Saturday Market. After a long hiatus, the country's oldest open-air craft market will reopen for its 48th season starting this Saturday in its usual locale between Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Skidmore Fountain. Expect to see longtime favorites like Out of the Closet Tie Dye and Spoonman Creations, and grab a bite from Angie's Greek Gyros and Horn of Africa. Booths will be appropriately distanced, hand sanitizer will abound, and masks are of course required.
Take advantage of free admission to national parks, a National Park Week treat on Saturday only. Nearby sites include Crater Lake (which surrounds the gorgeous body of water formed by the now-collapsed volcano Mount Mazama), the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (a paleontologist's dream in the eastern part of the state), and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. As for your summer pre-planning needs, Oregon State Parks announced this week that they're reopening reservations for campsites and day-use areas like Cape Lookout and Silver Falls for large—and, we can only hope, fully vaxxed—groups.
Have a game day en plein air. This year has proven to the masses that analog games—even ones about plagues—are not just for rainy days. This weekend, mask up and find a spacious spot in the sun for a leveled-up round of friendly competition with your household or fellow twice-vaxxed pals. For the errand-free route, opt for word games that reward creative answers but don't require any doodads, such as One Word Stories, which is exactly what it sounds like: Each participant offers a single word inspired by their neighbor's word, and eventually you end up with a tale about, say, a caterpillar getting drunk at the mall. A cousin of this game, which requires a piece of paper and a pencil, is Exquisite Corpse, wherein each participant draws a section of a body (human or otherwise), yielding an anthropomorphic Frankenstein creation. Other ideas: Question Tennis, where you answer someone's question with a question to stay in the game; Would You Rather, which we don't need to explain; and Fuck, Mary, Kill, which can cause some serious crises of morality. If you have some time to pick up gear from local shops, go the classic yard-game route. We're talking bocce ball, a favorite among elegant Italian grandpas, Cornhole, Croquet, and Horseshoes (all of which are available for curbside pickup at Dick's Sporting Goods).
Other notable weekend events:
Leach Botanical Upper Garden Reopening
After undergoing some major renovations—including a new upper garden space with walking paths and architectural features like an aerial tree walk and a fireside terrace—this 16-acre Southeast garden is welcoming back visitors to their grounds on Friday (marked by a Forest Bathing session). Masks are required, and groups are limited to six people.
Leach Botanical Garden, Southeast (Friday-Sunday)
Take in the lovely scent of lavender-hued lilacs while they're in peak bloom. Heads up: the gift shop is closed.
Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, Woodland, WA (Saturday-Sunday)
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Gazing at forty acres of tulips lined up in orderly rows against the majestic backdrop of Mount Hood never gets old. In previous years at least, the traffic tends to be pretty bad on weekends, but it’s worth the wait if your eyes are starved for color.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn (Friday-Sunday)
FOOD & DRINK
Celebrate asparagus season. You know it's spring when those little green spears start poking up from the ground and popping up on menus. Take advantage of the short-lived asparagus season and inhale all the tender, snappy stalks you can before they're gone. Try charred asparagus with bonito brown butter, speck, mustard seed creme fraiche, a crispy five-minute egg, pickled onions, and trout roe from Normandie, fresh spring ravioli with green garlic, asparagus, and ricotta from Ripe Cooperative, and asparagus pupusas from Portland Pupusas.
Get some boba (before the shortage strikes). We don't want to alarm you, but a boba shortage could be headed our way due to shipping delays. Seize the opportunity to slurp chewy tapioca pearls from a giant straw while you still can and hit up any of Portland's many excellent bubble tea shops this weekend. Some of our favorites include MILK+T, Tea Bar, Ding Tea, Tea Social, and T4 Tea. The bar Buddy's Lounge is even offering boozy boba drinks right now. Whichever option you choose, be sure to blast Chris Fleming's "Boba Manifesto" on the trip there to get into the right headspace.
Check out some new takeout and to-go cocktails. This week in her column Takeout Club, Suzette Smith explores the hidden text-to-order Japanese grocery Fulamingo. Meanwhile, Janey Wong checks out the "Michelin Star dive bar" Bit House Collective for her column Cocktail To-Go Club.
Prep for Pizza Week. Let the bells ring and the confetti fall: We're teaming up with our pizza-loving pals at the Portland Mercury and the SPLIFF Film Festival to bring you Pizza Week! While the pandemic may have canceled last year’s edition, local pizza restaurants have made great strides in pizza takeout technology, which now makes getting delicious slices safer for everyone—both makers and tasters! From April 19-25, all you pizza lovers will have the chance to get special slices from some of Portland's finest purveyors of pizza pies... for a mere two dollars each! That's right: Each slice is just TWO MEASLY DOLLARS or, at participating venues, a WHOLE PIE for $16. (You heard correctly: This year certain Pizza Week participants may be offering $16 whole pies along with slices, or just whole pies alone. Be sure to check our Pizza Week locations below to see who is offering what!) Read the full lineup here and make note of your most coveted slices.
Other notable weekend events:
Sip a trio of three wines and three fruity sangrias at the urban winery Hip Chicks Who Do Wine. Additional Spanish-inspired small plates are also available for purchase if you're feeling peckish.
Hip Chicks Do Wine, Southeast (Saturday)
ARTS & FILM
Celebrate National Poetry Month. April lost its title as the cruelest month when the Academy of American Poets got together in 1996 to dedicate it to the wordsmiths among us. Local small press Tin House is home to some of our favorite poetry collections, including Morgan Parker's Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night, Tommy Pico's Feed, Junk, and Nature Poem, and Hanif Abdurraqib's A Fortune For Your Disaster, all of which you can purchase directly from them. They also have a podcast, Between the Covers (get it?), hosted by David Naimon and featuring in-depth conversations with poets like Ross Gay and Natalie Diaz. For your rare books collection, browse the poetry selections at Passages Bookshop for gems by Judith Roitman, Franco Beltrametti, and others. Or, check out what's available at Powell's or Broadway Books.
Other notable weekend events:
Gordon Barnes: Late Bloomer
Gordon Barnes showcases his large body of print works at the inaugural exhibition for this new pop-up exhibition space.
The Loft at Neu Haus Press, Southeast (Friday-Sunday; closing Sunday)
Two vacationers take their steamy summer romance to the next level by moving in together. Needless to say, they learn a lot of things about each other that test the efficacy of that decision, including an unmentioned kid.
Living Room Theaters, Southwest (Friday-Sunday)
Road Rage Drive-In at Portland International Raceway
Upper-body dance moves only! This electronic music mini-fest will bring local and visiting electronic acts of the hardcore variety (like LA's Megalodon and Hi I'm Ghost) to you from the safety of your car.
Portland International Raceway, North Portland (Friday)
Yuyang Zhang: umm no
Portland-based artist Yuyang Zhang shows digital collages (combining original photographs, Western pop culture imagery, and Chinese Communist Party propaganda) and paintings composed of emojis, all created during quarantine.
Fuller Rosen Gallery, Northwest (Friday-Sunday; opening Friday)
OTHER PICKS & HAPPENINGS
Observe National Laundry Day. The act of transferring your clothes from the washer to the dryer might not be at the top of your list of things to do for fun, but for the sake of being festive, elevate this weekend chore by visiting Portland's coolest laundromat (ahem, laundry lounge), Spin (which now has a second location in Northeast)! Unlike your standard rig, this "eco-focused laundry experience" sells its own environmentally friendly soaps, bleaches, and stain removers by the load, plus wool dryer balls and other accessories. Best of all, their lounge area provides locally produced drinks and snacks to enjoy while you wait, along with free wi-fi and retro arcade games provided by Ground Kontrol. Once your loads are done, continue this productive party of one at home by folding your laundry to comforting movies that don't require close attention, like the Ali Wong/Randall Park Netflix comedy Always Be My Maybe or the Netflix original sitcom Kim's Convenience.
Other notable weekend events:
Powell's Used Book Drive
Drop off your used bookaroos at the Powell's warehouse.
Powell's Industrial Warehouse, Northwest (Friday-Sunday)