Weekend Guide

The Best In-Person Things to Do in Portland This Weekend: The Rose Festival, the Multnomah County Fair, and More

May 28-31, 2021 Edition
May 28, 2021
A modified version of the Portland Rose Festival kicks off this weekend with a Porch Parade and Treasure Hunt. (Portland Rose Festival via Facebook)

Big summer energy is heading our way as Memorial Day traditions like the Multnomah County Fair and the Portland Rose Festival make their CDC-approved returns. Read on for those and other picks for the three-day weekend, from a birthday party for Pix-O-Matic to drive-thrus to check out en route to your day-trip destination (like Sugarpine Drive-In), and from the Portland Flea market to a live concert with Jacob Miller at the Lot at Zidell Yards. Plus, check out our guides to the best things to do online this week and juicy Memorial Day events in Oregon wine country.


Jump to: Day Trips | Food & Drink | Festivals | Art & Performance | Other Picks & Happenings


DAY TRIPS

Hike the newly reopened trails at Cape Lookout. Situated along the north Oregon coast headland, Cape Lookout State Park's eight miles of old-growth trails are ideal for breaking in your hiking boots and honing your eye for beachcombing (and whale-watching, if you're lucky). The Oregon Parks Department reopened the park's Cape Trail and South Trail on Monday after an eight-month hiatus, so fill up the ol' Nalgene and head for Highway 101. While you're in Tillamook, make a day of it by stopping by the Cape Meares Lighthouse just south of Tillamook Bay (about a half-hour drive from Cape Lookout) before heading east to the Tillamook Creamery in hot pursuit of ice cream and a to-go grilled cheese with tomato soup. 

Hit up some drive-thrus. There’s no time like a long weekend to head out for an impromptu road trip. Don't forget the best part of every vehicular jaunt: stopping for snacks. We suggest Top Burger Drive-In, Eastwind, Skyline, Mike's Drive-In, Big Burger Drive-In, Dea's In & Out, and Dandy's Drive-In. Also, check out the dreamy destination Sugarpine Drive-In, which recently added Da Pine Grinds, a pop-up food truck serving Hawaiian fare.

Go the extra mile for Memorial Day. There's something to be said for spending a long weekend doing as little as possible, but if you want to take advantage of the extra 24 hours of leisure time afforded by Memorial Day (Mon May 31), there's still time to plan. We've cherry-picked a few noteworthy events in Portland (like Rose Festival Porch Parade), plus out-of-town fun to seek out in Astoria (sea lions and beer!) and Hood River (art tours and hikes!). 

FOOD & DRINK

Grab last-minute food for Memorial Day. Did the three-day weekend sneak up on you before you had the chance to secure some type of festive meal? We’ve got you covered. Check out Olympia Provisions' sausage grill kit, which comes complete with Martin's Potato Rolls (a soft, squishy favorite that's hard to find on the West Coast), bratwurst, frankfurters, kielbasa, a jar of Wilder's Original Mustard, and a jar of pickled sauerkraut. Or swing by Sisters Gourmet Deli's East Coast-themed "Tails & Claws" collaboration pop-up with Bento Bros on Sunday, featuring a menu of lobster rolls, lobster grilled cheese sandwiches, lobster platters, beer-battered fish sandwiches, lobster mac and cheese, popcorn shrimp, and popcorn lobster.

Celebrate Mint Julep Day. This Sunday is Mint Julep Day, a prime time for leisurely sipping the refreshing bourbon-based beverage on your porch (or a patio) and watching the world go by. We suggest tracking down a version at Screen DoorInterurbanOld GoldSouthland Whiskey Kitchen, or Clyde's Prime Rib Restaurant and Bar.

Visit AAPI-owned restaurants. There are just a few days left in Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Finish the month strong by paying a visit to some AAPI-owned restaurants and businesses around town. Some of our favorites include Mirisata, Hanoi Kitchen, Top Burmese, Shanghai Restaurant, and Yoko's Japanese Restaurant. For more ideas, check out our directory of AAPI-owned restaurants and our list of ways to support AAPI-owned communities and businesses in Portland.

Visit one of the best bars in America (according to Esquire). After a year of drinking at home, we’re more excited than ever to return to dimly lit bars filled with the sounds of music, conversation, and rattling cocktail shakers. And Portland is lucky enough to lay claim to one of the best places to drink in America for 2021, according to Esquire: the distinguished whiskey den Scotch Lodge. Culture and lifestyle director Kevin Sintumuang writes, “It’s simple: If you’re looking to have your mind expanded through whiskey, come here. You’ll find everything from rare Macallans to obscure, soul-heating bourbons. Single-ounce pours mean you can really take a round-the-world journey. While whiskey bars with deep lists are nothing new, Scotch Lodge has a decidedly sophisticated yet unpretentious energy, impressive bites, and a cocktail list that is a master class in pushing what Scotch can do. Try the Islay daiquiri.”

Other notable weekend events:

Oregon Wine Month
Oregon Wine Month offers a full slate of safe and socially distanced programming celebrating Oregon-grown vino, including self-guided tours, educational seminars, talks, tastings, and more.
Various locations (Friday-Monday)

Pix-O-Matic One Year Birthday
Pix Pâtisserie's magical 24-hour "Pix-O-Matic" vending machine will dispense free birthday cake all weekend to ring in its first trip around the sun. While you're there, submit your favorite memory of Pix Pâtisserie in a "memory box."
Pix Pâtisserie, North Portland (Friday-Sunday)

Portland Cà Phê Pop-Up with Hey Chaudy and Heyday
The Vietnamese coffee roaster Portland Cà Phê will join forces with the pop-ups Hey Chaudy and Heyday for a trifecta of deliciousness: a pandan coconut cheese foam cold brew from Portland Cà Phê, two coconut baked rice flour doughnuts with a mango glaze and coconut shavings from Heyday, and banh mi bแป xiêm (a spicy marinated beef skewer sandwich) from Hey Chaudy, all for $20. As part of the pop-up, the Diaspora Coffee team will take over the Portland Cà Phê space and serve drinks—all proceeds from the day will be donated to their upcoming non-profit neighborhood cafe Jubilee Hall PDX.
Portland Cà Phê, Southeast (Monday)

 

FESTIVALS

Take part in a modified Rose Festival. Firework displays and the traditional grand parade are on hold until 2022, but far be it from the City of Roses to put off their landmark festival altogether. A slew of CDC-approved events are kicking off this weekend, including the Porch Parade (May 31-June 13), which invites Portlanders to decorate their front porches, street-facing windows, yards, and/or walkways with decorations that fit one of four themes: Grand Floral Parade ("All things grand and floral"), Starlight Parade ("A sparkly, illuminated display for a nighttime celebration with lights"), Junior Parade ("Creative concepts and decoration for our kids, done by kids"), or Rose Garden ("Showcase your beautiful flowers for all to see"). Use the site's map to go on a self-guided tour of all the participating locations. Also on deck is the annual Rose Festival Treasure Hunt (May 30-June 12), whose treasured object in question is a small block of Lucite with a special Rose Festival medallion embedded inside, which participates can hunt for using clues posted daily on the festival's website. 

Other notable weekend events:

Multnomah County Fair
This annual family-friendly festival returns for the 115th year with a virtual talent show boasting up to $1200 in cash prizes, as well as an in-person showcase of photographic, sewing, and garden exhibitions at Oaks Park, tickets for which are limited.
Oaks Park, Southeast (Saturday-Sunday)

ARTS & PERFORMANCE

23window
This local party band will head up Edgefield's Little Red Shed with their interpretations of classic blues and rock standards. 
McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale (Friday)

Castletown Celtic Duo
Saddle up for the "AmeriCeltic" folk stylings of genre-bending Irish group Castletown, featuring a healthy dose of fiddle.
McMenamins Kennedy School, Northeast (Friday)

Cumulative Shadow
Jovencio de la Paz merges digital technology with the physical, using textiles hand-woven on a computerized Thread Controller loom to reference "imaging conundrums in which layered computer-generated shadows are unable to darken within digital environments."
HOLDING Contemporary, Northwest (Friday-Saturday; closing)

The Gates of Hope: Connecting Cultures
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the East Japan earthquake and tsunami and the devastating nuclear disaster that followed, this retrospective highlights two lost kasagi, beams of a sacred Shinto gate that traveled across the Pacific Ocean for two years before washing up on the Oregon Coast.
Portland Japanese Garden, Southwest (Friday-Monday)

JT Wise
Get ready for a Grateful Dead cover or two as roots-rock jammers JT Wise take the stage for an afternoon set.
McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale (Saturday) 

Live at The Lot: Federale
If you're into Spaghetti Westerns and Giallo horror movies, you'll dig the stylings of Portland's seven-piece ensemble Federale, who draws inspiration from European soundtracks from the 1960s and '70s.
The Lot at Zidell Yards, Southwest (Sunday)

Live at The Lot: Rosé and Roses with Jacob Miller
Guests can enjoy cans of Union Wine Co. rosé while singer-songwriter Jacob Miller (a former contestant on The Voice) plays his "minimalist pop." 
The Lot at Zidell Yards, Southwest (Mon May 31)

MUSIC + MOVIES at The Lot at Zidell Yards
Hollywood Theatre has partnered with the Lot at Zidell Yards for a summer filled with socially distanced outdoor live music and film pairings. This weekend brings E.T.: Extra-Terrestrial and the Portland Cello Project (Friday, sold out) and Love and Basketball and Karma Rivera (Monday).
The Lot at Zidell Yards, Southwest (Friday & Monday)

Rich Layton
Touting themselves as "keepers of the flame for American roots music," this Portland group conjures visions of East Texas roadhouses and marshy swamps. 
McMenamins Kennedy School, Northeast (Saturday)

Sonny Hess
Local blues legend Sonny Hess will treat Troutdale to a night of soulful vocals and "sensual" guitar.
McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale (Saturday) 

2021 University of Oregon MFA Thesis Exhibition
University of Oregon MFA artists Sajad Amini, Claire Tierney Anderson, Devon DeVaughn, Eden V. Evans, Ian Sherlock Molloy, Tannon Reckling, Caroline Turner, and Nathan Alexander Ward show a wide range of work.
Disjecta, North Portland (Friday-Sunday; closing)

We Gathered
Patterns "repeat, stack, diffuse, iterate, mirror, and mimic" in this solo show from Portland artist Jeremy Le Grand.
Carnation Contemporary, North Portland (Saturday; closing)

OTHER PICKS & HAPPENINGS

All Power to The People: Black Panther Party Legacy Tour of Albina
As part of the Vanport Mosaic Festival (don't miss Friday's virtual concert), this walking tour of the historic Albina district places an emphasis on the legacy of Portland's Black Panther Party.
Matt Dishman Community Center & Pool, Northeast (Saturday)

Crystal Ballroom Tour
Follow along as a guide takes you on a 45-minute tour through the historic Crystal Ballroom and Lola's Room.
Crystal Ballroom, Southwest (Saturday-Monday)

Open Mic Vigils for Victims of COVID-19
Community members are invited to honor the lives of the 2,500-plus people who have died of COVID-19 in Oregon at these open mic-style vigils throughout the month.
Various locations (Friday-Sunday)

Portland Flea
This open-air market plays host to purveyors of clothing, vintage wares, home goods, and more on the last Sunday of each month.
Nova, Southeast (Sunday)

Skatemobile at the Waterfront!
The Rose City Rollers are bringing their skating pop-up to the waterfront, a decidedly more scenic location than Lloyd Center. Reserve a spot online (tickets are limited to 75 spots per session) and don't sweat the small stuff; RCR's skatemobile will be onsite if you forget your gear. 
Hampton Opera Center, Southeast (Saturday-Sunday)