Mark your calendar, pack your sunscreen, and load up your cooler (after a quick check to make sure it's allowed) for these outdoor concerts, festivals, and other events that make the most of Portland’s not-so-gray days—or grab a ticket for an indoor show and prepare to enjoy a little air-conditioning.
When these ’80s legends showed up on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on the last night of 2022, more than four decades after their first big hit (“Girls on Film”), we knew a tour must be in the works. And we were right.
Check the Pedalpalooza calendar for the constantly updated slate of themed rides all summer long, from bookstore crawls to Bowie-soundtracked pedals to buck-naked cycling—the Portland World Naked Bike Ride (Aug 12) is one of several undressed affairs. There are also rides celebrating Schitt’s Creek, Harry Potter, and John Waters, and a recurring Fancy Mondays outing that offers a reason to get dressed up. If you don’t see a ride that calls to you, organize one yourself. Check the fine print, as some rides are 21-plus or discourage e-bikes, and some might call for advance taco orders. (For even more bike energy, catch the city’s Sunday Parkways in Cully, June 25, and the Providence Bridge Pedal, Aug 13.)
Taking inspiration from E. M. Forster’s Howards End, playwright Matthew Lopez transports the 1910 British novel to contemporary New York City, after the height of the AIDS epidemic. The original London production won an Olivier in 2019 for Best New Play, with the Broadway version netting a Tony for the same the following year. (Triangle staged Part 1 in April.)
The NW Dance Project presents two world premieres set to the music of Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring from London-born resident choreographer Ihsan Rustem, and Petrushka from recently-named associate choreographer Joseph Hernandez. Hold onto your seats: the original 1913 debut of Rite of Spring provoked audience riots.
Stumptown Stages presents Terrance McNally and David Yazbek’s musical based on the 1997 movie about unemployed steelworkers looking to make some needed cash with a Chippendales-inspired dance troupe.
She's everyone's favorite Albanian American pop star, with a discography packed with crossover collaborations with everyone from Dolly Parton and Florida Georgia Line to Snoop Dogg and part of One Direction. Will any of them join her at the Crystal, or will she have to sing “Me, Myself & I” on her own?
The second book from this former Portland Mercury arts and culture writer, An Amerikan Family: The Shakurs and the Nation They Created (published May 23) has been called “a light helping us go forward” by poet Nikki Giovanni. The book presents the history of Black resistance through the revolutionary experiences of the Shakur family, including Black Liberation Army activist Assata, Black Panther member Afeni, and slain hip-hop artist Tupac, Afeni’s son.
Oregon Ballet Theatre presents world premieres from choreographers Rena Butler, Makino Hayashi, Samuel Hobbs, and Helen Simoneau, all based on the prompt “What have you heard about Portland, and how does it make you feel?”
A Sunday cultural street festival and three exhibitions inaugurate the newly expanded Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, whose galleries have been closed during construction to incorporate the adjacent Pearl District space that once housed the Charles Hartman Gallery. But a Dream includes 25 mixed-media works by Salvador Dalí; The Jews of Amsterdam, Rembrandt and Pender explores Rembrandt’s relationship with the city’s Jewish population and is accompanied by the late Henk Pender’s Amsterdam paintings; and Human Rights after the Holocaust looks at fights against racism and genocide in Portland and around the world.
This outdoor show by the Bellingham-founded, heavily Portland-connected act sold out quickly, so you better have a ticket in hand already if you want them to follow you into the dark.
Who will be on stage? You never know with this local, 30-years-and-counting music collective with ties to R.E.M. and the Decemberists, but it’s always a who’s-who.
The Oregon Zoo’s Friday-night music series is toned down from the big-headliner, national-act zoo concerts of yore. These days each concert is more of a pleasant night out than a major event. Still, we expect the elephants and everyone who claims a patch of the amphitheater lawn to be fully entertained by the likes of local twangsters Jackstraw (June 30), long-standing bhangra team DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid (July 14), soul legends Ural Thomas & the Pain (Aug 4), and Grateful Dead tribute act Garcia Birthday Band (Aug 11). We hear Chendra, one of the zoo’s resident elephants, is a major Deadhead.
Comedian, Canadian, and “proud vagina American” Bee, who held the longest-ever tenure as a Daily Show correspondent before landing her own critically acclaimed TBS show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, closes out her Your Favorite Woman tour with this Portland show.
McMenamins is drawing some serious music royalty to its Troutdale complex, with none more regal than this Motown legend and queen of the Supremes.
She can prove she is the queen of pop, any time, any place. But thankfully for Portland, Ms. Jackson’s second-to-last stop of her 2023 Together Again tour will bless Moda Center with nonstop hits, from modern club bangers like “BURNITUP!” to classic ’80s jams like “Funny How Time Flies.” Jackson doesn’t miss, and, with Ludacris supporting, this show is certain to have you shaking your moneymaker.
OPS Fest is bringing the Bard to a park near you, for free (donations welcome), kicking off at Mt Tabor Park with the fancily spelled A Midsommer Nights Dreame on June 22. Enjoy murder (from Macbeth in Luuwit View Park, June 23, to Hamlet at the Washington Park Amphitheater, Aug 5), and bands of brothers (Henry V at Irving Park, July 23). Those with shorter attention spans can try abridged versions (including Romeo and Juliet Abridged at Pio Pio Park in Beaverton, July 20), or catch gentlethem’s, gentlewomen’s, and gentlemen’s shows (The Tempest, Antonie and Cleopatra, and Macbeth, respectively, at Mt Tabor Amphitheater, Aug 25–27). Check the website for the full schedule.
This Lake O event celebrates its 60th anniversary this year with a celebration of two exhibits at the Lakewood Center drawing from the pop art movement from the 1950s and ’60s that pulls imagery from popular culture and mass media to satirize social norms. Plus, more than 120 of the best artists and crafters will have their wares on sale in George Rogers Park. The music lineup features some local legends such as Ural Thomas and Mel Brown, plus the likes of Brad Elvis and Mike Skill of '80s band the Romantics.
In this collaboration with the Oregon Symphony, the 120-plus voices of the PGMC Pride present favorites from Disney films including The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Coco, Zootopia, and Wreck-It Ralph, as well as musical works associated with the Disney empire's theme parks.
This Northeast edition of the city hall–sponsored, family-friendly bike event makes a blocky figure eight from Fernhill Park to the Roseway Parkway, with roads closed to cars, and activities and vendors set up in local parks.
Grab a ticket and park your low-profile camp chair (or skip that, since you’re going to spend all your time dancing, anyway) in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park to catch the likes of Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, the Mavericks, JJ Grey & Mofro, Celisse, Nik West, and Los Lonely Boys over the holiday weekend. Plenty of local talent packs the lineup, too, including Curtis Salgado, the Norman Sylvester Review, LaRhonda & the Steele Family Band, Soul Vaccination, and Ural Thomas. You can also paddle or putter your way to a floating vantage point on the Willamette River, but it might be hard to see, let alone dance, from the water.
Every Thursday evening in July and August, Topaz Farm on Sauvie Island transforms from U-pick mecca into concert venue for Americana Harvest Nights, kicking off with Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters, July 6. Horse Feathers (Aug 10) already sold out, but tickets are still available for other lineups, including Tylor & the Train Robbers with folk duo Taco Tapes (July 27) and the fittingly named (given the U-pick proximity) Hooks & the Huckleberries (Aug 31). Want to go car-free? These shows start at 6 and end by 8:30 p.m., so there’s still some sunlight for the mile-and-a-half bike ride or speed-walk to catch TriMet’s last 16 bus back to town.
After OG riot grrrls Bikini Kill finally checked off a reunion tour in 2022, after multiple pandemic postponements, Kathleen Hanna is on the road again this summer with her post-BK project Le Tigre, blasting out favorites like “Deceptacon,” “Hot Topic,” and “TKO” along with bandmates Joanna Fateman and JD Samson.
On the heels of an appearance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, this Schnitz show and two dates in Washington state are part of her 2023 world tour, and the closest this multiplatinum-selling crooner and pianist (who—tell the kids!—once provided the voice of Pete the Cat’s mom in an animated special, while husband Elvis Costello voiced Pete’s dad) will get to her Vancouver Island hometown of Nanaimo.
The bustling street fair along historic N Mississippi Avenue features three stages of live music, hundreds of vendors, and so much food. Ditch the car and go by foot or bike.
June is still National Pride Month, but Portland’s Pride Parade is taking a hop, skip, and jump into July this year instead of its usual hectic Father’s Day timing (brunchers, rejoice!), which was also right on the heels of the Rose Festival and Juneteenth observances. The Waterfront Park takeover is the weekend of July 15 & 16, with the main parade happening on Sunday and the Dyke March planned for the night before. The fresh scheduling really means that we get two months’ worth of Pride fests, so Portlanders might even have time to hit events in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Salem, Astoria, and Seaside in June.
The stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer, serious eyewear fashion icon, and Netflix regular (including the recent hit show Beef and comedy specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife) was kind enough to schedule two Portland shows, doubling your chance of landing a ticket.
The Grammy-winning Alaska-by-way-of-Portland rock band known for "Feel It Still" and "What, Me Worry?" plays a show close to home.
The cast for the Werq the World tour includes Asia O’Hara, Bosco, Deja Sky, Lady Camden, Vanessa Vanjie, Laganja Estranja, and some finalists from the just-wrapped 15th season of the hit reality-TV show.
It's a history lesson disguised as a pop concert/stage show. From Jane Seymour’s power ballad to Anna of Cleaves’s Euro house beats, the divorced-beheaded-died-divorced-beheaded-survived wives of Henry VIII croon their often all too short autobiographies.
Mavis Staples and Robert Randolph and the Family Band are also on the bill for this powerhouse night, with New Orleans legends and some Jamaican music royalty.
OrpheusPDX, a new company founded by Portland Opera’s former general director Christopher Mattaliano, kicks off its second season with this Mozart piece with libretto by Pietro Metastasio.
Naturescaped stages, family campouts, shuttle service, organized bike-there rides and gear hauls, food vendors for every ethos, and, oh yeah, a bunch of bands all add up to what organizers call “an immersive wonderland” and “a fully functioning fantasy island” at Pendarvis Farm on the outskirts of Southeast Portland in Happy Valley. The fest’s continuation was in doubt after an accident killed two workers in 2019 and the pandemic nixed the event the next two years, but the 2022 fest marked a successful, if a bit bumpy, return. The 2023 lineup is “our best ever,” Pickathon’s founder declared, with Madison Cunningham, the Shivas, Thee Sinseers, W.I.T.C.H., MonoNeon, Joe Rainey, They Hate Change, Butcher Brown, Watchhouse, Lee Fields, Vieux Farka Touré, Dehd, and plenty more.
This summer Portland’s living room hosts PDX Live, an indie rock series with decades-spanning acts, including the Mountain Goats and locals Blitzen Trapper (Aug 9), Explosions in the Sky (Aug 11), Descendents (Aug 12), Alex G and Black Belt Eagle Scout (Aug 13), Patti Smith (Aug 15), Tegan and Sara (Aug 16), Japanese Breakfast and Built to Spill (Aug 19), Flaming Lips (Aug 22, long since sold out), and Fleet Foxes (Aug 24). Also don't miss: live music at Tuesday Noon Tunes, and Opera a la Cart on alternating Thursdays.
In this fundraiser for Providence behavioral health programs, cars are sent on a detour while the city's bridges, including the top tiers of Marquam and Fremont Bridges, are reserved for cyclists for a few hours. (Fremont is also part of a walking option.) Registration prices vary, but there's a free Kids Pedal along the Eastbank Esplanade.
The Portland-born RuPaul’s Drag Race winner and subject of the documentary Drag Becomes Him brings the Everything at Stake tour for a hometown visit.
The Irish and Czech singer-songwriters—who won an Oscar for “Falling Slowly” from the 2007 film Once, in which they also starred—reunite here as the Swell Season.
Opera goes modern. Catch OrpheusPDX stages composer Nico Muhly and librettist Stephen Karam’s opera about a woman who starts questioning the tenets of the polygamist cult in which she’s been long immersed.
It hasn’t yet been a decade since In the Lonely Hour (home to “Stay with Me” and “I Know I’m Not the Only One”) launched this English singer to superstardom, but it seems like they’ve been around forever. Smith brings an expansive vocal range and a stack of new hits from 2023’s Gloria to town.
This Portland collective stops in Forest Grove during a week of Pacific Northwest shows to close out the North American leg of their summer tour, before heading back to Europe for the fall—no surprise that their albums can feel like heavily stamped passports.