Memorial Day Weekend is here, promising the official start of the summer season, an extra long weekend for family fun, and lots of options to get outside. If you’re stuck deciding what to do this year, never fear: we’ve rounded up 20 ideas of family fun ranging from festival and fireworks, new shows, things to keep kids busy, and of course, ways to honor our veterans. Read on for more!
photo: via Ten Thousand Hour Mama
1) Go camping: things might get booked up fast for the weekend, but there are plenty of no reservation spots to snag. Check them out here, and pack up the tent:
Oregon State Parks No Reserve Campgrounds
Tillamook State Forest No Reserve Campgrounds
2) Celebrate a veteran at one of the various programs around town. The Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a reading of names, Washington County Memorial Day ceremony honors all veterans and Fort Vancouver celebrates with a bandstand.
3) Check out the Rose Festival and the City Fair, Portland’s biggest fair around! Concerts, food, parades, fireworks, and more, all weekend long. (and for a few weekends after, too!)
$8/person for ages 7 and up
Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park
photo: matthewzumwalt via flickr
4) Go flower hunting for the best spring blooms around! Tulips, rhododendrons, daffodils, and more!
5) The Oregon Zoo offers free admission to military personnel and their families on Memorial Day! Head out to see Juno the otter, Lily the Elephant, or Alice the Ocelot!
4001 Southwest Canyon Road
6) Head to wine country for the best vintages around. Because relaxing on a sunny patio while your kids frolic in a meadow sounds like a pretty good way to spend a day.
Click here for some of the best kid friendly wineries nearby.
7) See a show! Young kids will love the Frog and Toad show from the Oregon Children’s Theater, and teens will enjoy I and You, an emotional saga from Artists Repertory Theater.
photo: Donna S via flickr
8) Get new bikes for the kids, and try out some great rides around town, like the Springwater Trail, or Champoeg State Park trails.
9) Learn about the former town of Vanport, then the second largest city in Oregon. This year is the 70th anniversary of the flood that destroyed it– celebrate it’s legacy at the Vanport Mosaic Festival at various venues around town.
photo: Multnomah County Library via flicker
11) Hiking! Get out there and enjoy nature at some of the best spots around town for the kids, like Powell Butte or Tryon Creek.
12) Get sciencey with a visit to OMSI, then bring the fun home with some classic science experiments.
1945 SE Water Ave.
photo: jason via flickr
13) Get out of town for a road trip! Use the long weekend to see some awesome nearby destinations, like Astoria, Mt. Rainier, Eugene, and Seaside, all under 2 hours away.
14) Check out Multnomah County Fair, free fun for everyone with a 4-H competition, singing, animals (camel ride, anyone?), and Oaks Park rides. This year the park will unveil a brand new ride during the fair: Adrenaline Peak! Ride if you dare.
Oaks Amusement Park
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
15) Go swimming! Even if the coast is still a bit chilly, head indoors to a community pool. You’ll find lazy rivers, awesome slides, deep pools, and splash pads.
16) Food cart tour: find your favorite tasty treat, then swap and share with the whole family to try more. You don’t have to be downtown to find them– food carts are expanding all over, like the new world foods pod that opened this year in Beaverton!
BG’s Food Cartel
4250 SW Rose Biggi Ave
Happy Valley Station
13551 SE 145th Ave
Happy Valley, OR
Piknik Park in Sellwood
1122 SE Tacoma St, Portland, OR
photo: born1945 via flickr
17) Find a new hobby! Learn about something new like mushrooms, rock hunting, or bird watching. Then head outside and see what you can find!
18) Glow in the dark mini golf. Enough said.
509 SW Taylor St.
19) See how many places you can hit on the Coast Chowder Trail.
20) Talk to your kids about the full meaning of Memorial Day, and visit a local cemetery to put flags out.
What’s your favorite Memorial Day activity? Tell us in the comments below!