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!

Stub Stewart State Park

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!)

May 25-28
$8/person for ages 7 and up
Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Online: rosefestival.org

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!

Oregon Zoo
4001 Southwest Canyon Road
Portland, OR
Online: https://www.oregonzoo.org/events/memorial-day

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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.

Online: octc.org and artistsrep.org

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.

Online: vanportmosaic.org

10) Stay in and get crafty! Learn how to make a rainbow, round up those old crayons and make something new, or get your origami on with these clever tips.

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

OMSI
1945 SE Water Ave.
Portland, OR
Online: omsi.edu

 

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.

May 26-28
Oaks Amusement Park
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Portland, OR
Online: multcofair.org/

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
Beaverton, OR
Online: bgfoodcartel.com

Happy Valley Station
13551 SE 145th Ave
Happy Valley, OR
Online: happyvalleystation.com

Piknik Park in Sellwood
1122 SE Tacoma St, Portland, OR
Online: piknikparkpdx.com

 

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.
Portland, OR
Online: glowinggreens.com

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!

—Katrina Emery