Love and free things to do in Portland is what February is all about
We’ve almost made it through the rainy months, parents. If your kids are like ours, we know they’ve spent plenty of time at indoor playgrounds trying to kick cabin fever and along the trails on a scenic winter hike with the fam. Maybe you’ve even made a day trip to find sun in the mountains and some amazing ski runs too. As we wait for the sun and the bulbs to start up in March, we’ve got tons of ways you and the kids can make it through until they do. From making Valentine’s Day crafts to experiencing winter lights Portland-style, there’s no shortage of fun and free (or very, very cheap) things to do in Portland this February.
The Best Free Things to Do in February for Families
8th Annual Winter Light Festival
See the city in a whole new light during the 8th Annual Winter Light Festival. This year’s event will feature dynamic anchor art sites in the City Center and pop-up art installations throughout Portland. So bundle up, grab the hot cocoa, and see Portland shine during this must-see event. Feb. 3-11. Event details.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year
There’s still time to visit Lan Su Chinese Garden to catch the tail end of its 16-day Lunar New Year celebration. The festival features cultural performances, festival decorations, craft activities, audio tours, Year of the Rabbit scavenger hunts, and more daily. Be sure to also check out the Lunar New Year lanterns during your visit. Through Feb. 5. Event details.
Valentine’s Day Activities
Make a child’s Valentine’s Day by joining the Ronald McDonald House Charities Send Love challenge. Help them reach their goal of sending 10,000 homemade Valentine’s to sick kids by decorating cards together as a family. Mail your cards by Feb. 10 so families can enjoy them for the holiday.
Need some inspiration for your Valentine’s Day cards? Head to Scrap Creative Reuse for all your heart day craft needs.
Don’t miss the Valentine’s Day Market at Helvetia Farms in Hillsboro on Feb. 11. Browse local vendors, snuggle up around the bonfire, and make free Valentine’s Day mailboxes at their craft table. The fun begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m.
So Many Free Kids Concerts
Ready to rock out? Head down to Hammer + Jacks REC Room to watch a rotating marquee of some of Portland’s most popular kid entertainers every Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. Explore music with Zazzy Zoe every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Concerts are on sliding donation scale ($5-$15).
Mr. Ben, Mr. Hoo, and Red Yarn also play various shows around town throughout the week, at family-friendly spots like community centers and pizza joints. If your kiddo loves to dance it out, be sure to follow these tiny tyke superstars on socials to see where they’ll pop up next.
Stop by the Craft Factory every Saturday morning for Open Studio time. Watch your little one’s imagination run wild as they browse barrels and bins of fun crafting materials. An added bonus? There’s also story time with the Literacy Lady. Be sure to check out other fun (and affordable) weekly events here.
What better way to start your day than with coffee and crafts? Head over to Awake Coffee & Art on S.E. Milwaukie for drop-in art and a cup of Joe. They also hold weekly story and art sessions for little ones on Monday and Wednesday mornings (limited spots, $8), after school classes, and more.
Free Indoor Playspaces
Your little one will burn some energy, make new friends, and (most importantly) stay warm at Sellwood Community House’s Indoor Play Park. Come up to the gym every Wednesday from 10:15 a.m. to noon and play with balls, make forts, and ride around on scooters, wagons, and other fun toys for free.
Storytime is back and more popular than ever at your neighborhood library. Space is limited at most locations and attendees are admitted on a first-come basis. Times vary depending on location so make sure to plan ahead.
The Literacy Lady loves spreading her love of books all around town. You’ll find her at Playforest in Sellwood every Monday at 10:45 a.m., Fridays at 10:30 a.m. at Hammer + Jacks (suggested donation $5), and every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Craft Factory.
Green Bean Books on Alberta Street hosts weekly story times on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. on their outdoor covered deck. This independent bookstore also hosts a variety of monthly events for free so be sure to check in to see what’s coming up.
Get ready to go on a wild ride with Portland’s favorite literary clowns, Olive and Dingo. Expect sing-alongs, stories, and balloon art at their donation-based story time on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Sunrise Books on N.E. Fremont hosts free baby storytimes every Tuesday at 10 a.m. and toddler storytimes on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Slots fill up fast so be sure to sign up early.
Free Nature & Science Programs for Kids
Did you know the Washington Park free shuttle is now operating daily? The shuttle gets you within walking distance of all major attractions in the park including the Oregon Zoo.
Head over to Hoyt Arboretum on Mondays at 10 a.m. year round for a story and guided walk on the nearby trails. Tree Time! Preschool Walk is a safe and fun way to get outside with your little one and learn about the plants, trees, insects, mushrooms, and more found at Hoyt Arboretum. These walks are geared toward kids ages 2 to 6 years old and pre-registration is required.
Learn all about Oregon’s diverse animal population, climb aboard a Timberjack Harvester, and get a deeper understanding of why it’s important to protect our forests at the World Forestry Museum. Admission is only $5 per person and kids 2 and under are free.
As part of their commitment to uplift and support the community, Airway Science for Kids is proud to offer free after school programming for kids ages 11-14. The Aerospace Training Center (ATC) offers drop-in after school programs for students Monday through Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the school year. Flight simulators, Kerbal Space Program, STEAM activities, and homework help are available.
These Events Are Free Today in Portland
Free Museums & Free (or Discounted) Museum Days
From the tiniest tots to grandparents, and every age in-between, there’s something fascinating for everyone at the hands-on, interactive exhibits at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Explore the Physics Lab and the Science Playground, or hop aboard the USS Blueback Submarine. On the first Sunday of every month, admission at OMSI is just $2, and Submarine tours, Planetarium shows and the theater are also discounted.
Kids 17 and younger are always free at the Portland Art Museum, where families can get inspired in the enormous galleries full of art. Let kids take the lead by chatting about the colors and shapes they see, or which pieces they particularly like. The museum also participates in the Blue Star Museums Program, which offers free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families.
If you’ve got little train lovers, be sure to make a stop at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Railroad enthusiasts can check out historic trains and browse the latest exhibit. Admission is always free, although donations are accepted and appreciated. The center is open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
At the Historic Belmont Firehouse, families can explore hands-on exhibits, stories and history while learning fire and safety education. Kids will love checking out the fire pole and the emergency response simulator, as well as all of the firefighting tools and equipment. Every Wednesday is Open House, and families are welcome to come and visit free from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The firehouse also offers Safety Saturdays on the second Saturday of each month.
For history buffs, the Oregon Historical Society awaits you. Located downtown, and always free for Multnomah County residents (with proof of residency), the museum houses a variety of exhibits designed to bring Oregon’s history to life. The permanent History Hub exhibit delves into the topic of diversity, with hands-on activities and displays.
Discounted & Free Movies
Ready to unwind with popcorn and a movie? At Kennedy School, families can enjoy second-run movies while relaxing on comfy couches and snacking on pizza, burgers and salads from the menu, along with wine, beer and ciders for those over 21. Movie tickets are $5 for adults, and just $3 for kids age 11 and younger.