It’s the last hurrah before the end of summer, and you’ve even got an extra day. Celebrate it fully with a range of fun activities, whether your family likes to head outside or beat the heat indoors. We’ve rounded up some of the best ideas to celebrate the long weekend.

photo: yewchan via flickr

Dahlia Festival

The Annual Dahlia Festival is a rainbow of color and blooms for every flower lover. Indoor pavilions showcase hundreds of floral arrangements, while the fields outside burst with botanical fireworks. Learn how to grow your own, or bring some cut flowers home with you from this free event.

995 NW 22nd Ave. Canby
Online: dahlias.com

Ready Set GOrge!

Get out and play in Portland’s backyard, the Columbia River Gorge! It’s bound to be a popular weekend, so plan ahead and travel smart with Ready, Set, GOrge! The new travel planning site has maps, trailhead information, shuttle options, and more to make it a fabulous trip. Tip: head north or further east to beat the crowds and find spectacular scenery.

Online: gorgefriends.org

Art in the Pearl

This free three-day festival has been named one of the best art fairs in the country! It combines over 100 artists showcasing their work alongside original songs, great food, and hands-on activities for kids.

The Northwest Park block of Portland between W Davis and NW Flanders at NW 8th Ave. 

Online: artinthepearl.com

Find Ice Cream

Because a sweet treat is always a good idea, here are five spots to find the best ice cream around town. Try them all and vote for a favorite?

Find more!

photo: by Mitchell Friedman via flickr

Vaux Swifts

Every year in late summer these birds pass by on their migration pattern, and they’ve chosen an unassuming elementary school in Northwest Portland to spend the night each year since the 1980s. Catch their roosting pattern from the lawn an hour before sunset every evening. Tip: bring chairs or a blanket, and be prepared for a busy event.

Chapman Elementary School
1445 NW 26th Ave. Portland

Miniature Golf

Take a swing at a miniature golf course! Get ready to yell “fore!” while you explore some of the best courses, like a Hawaiian course, a homemade course, a mini-professional one, and even a glow-in-dark option!

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Sauvie Island

Sometimes all you need is a dunk in the river. Or some late season berries to snack on. Or some farm animals. Or fishing. Or a lighthouse! Find all these and more at Portland’s favorite isle, the easy-to-reach yet feels-so-far-away Sauvie Island.

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Head to the Playground

Make it a memorable weekend with a new-to-them playground, and maybe a new-to-you neighborhood! You’ll find climbing ropes, pirates, oversize xylophones, and more! Bring a picnic (or grab a local goodie) and spend the day exploring.

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Go to Oaks Park

Labor Day and amusement parks just make sense, so take your brood out to the historic Oaks Park for some fun! Rides for all ages, a carnival, and a train make for every day awesomeness. Cotton candy not required, but encouraged.

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photo: Ano Lobb via flickr

Find a Swimming Hole

Cool off with a dunk in the water at one of these natural spots around town.

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Go Fishing

Cast your lines into some of the best family friendly fishing holes around. Maybe you’ll catch something for the grill!

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Get Hiking

Being outdoors has proven benefits for kids and adults. Even if your little ones have just started toddling, there are fun trails they’ll love to explore. And if they’re older, these options have plenty of wildlife to spot and twisty trails to guide you down.

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Discover the Oregon State Fair

The eleven days of the Oregon State Fair finish off with a bang over Labor Day Weekend. Chock full of livestock competitions, cook-offs, six stages of live music, dog shows, and plenty of baby animals, this is the place to be for any future farmer, carnival-lover, foot-tapper, or animal-friend.

Online: oregonstatefair.org

 

photo: via pixabay

Go on a Bike Ride

The holiday weekend makes a great time to perfect the family bike ride! Pump up your tires and get cycling with these easy beginner trails. Bring a picnic and plenty of water!

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Throw a Movie Marathon

Too hot to go out? Stay in and make it a movie marathon weekend. Make it a themed marathon, like this 90s inspired round-up.

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Science Experiments

Is your child a budding scientist? Of course so! Encourage the exploration with some classic science experiments like making rock candy, a vinegar-powered boat, and of course: plenty of slime.

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BBQ and Backyard Games

Fire up the grill and get ready for a weekend full of fun with these backyard game ideas.

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—Katrina Emery

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