Catch a live show
Free - $$
Portland is home to the arts, and it seems like every dive bar and cocktail lounge has a live show a few nights out of the week, often for super cheap or free. Spots like The Firkin Tavern, Laurelthirst, Tonic Lounge, and Alberta Street Pub are the more intimate spots. Then there are the medium-sized venues like The Doug Fir, Mississippi Studios, The Aladdin, and Hawthorne Theatre, all the way up to the larger spaces like Revolution Hall, The Schnitz, and Crystal Ballroom. If you put in even a little effort, you can catch a free show every night of the week.
Portland is famous for its food cart scene, with pods abounding throughout town. Here, many restaurant success stories begin with a humble food truck. One of the best is the Portland Mercado, a colorful collection of Mexican, Central American, and South American food trucks, as well as a Latin American market, bar, and butcher. It’s more than just a place to grab some amazing arepas or a burrito; it’s also a nonprofit Latino community development cooperation and an integral part of the Latinx community in Portland.
Pearl & Old Town/Chinatown
Portland’s First Thursday lands, unsurprisingly, on the first Thursday of each month. Art galleries in the Pearl and Old Town/Chinatown open their doors for free viewings, plus usually some complimentary beer and wine. The Pearl galleries offer some stunning art, to be sure, but it’s the Old Town locations that offer the most fun, cutting-edge works, and party-like atmosphere.