Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free For All Returns for 2024!

News Article
Parks Local Option Levy brings the city a full slate of free movies, concerts (including pop icon Sheila E.), Free Lunch + Play, the third annual East Portland Summer Arts Festival, and more!

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is bringing back an amazing series of Summer Free For All events for 2024. The wildly popular annual program, made possible by the 2020 voter-approved Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), will begin with Free Lunch + Play on Monday, June 24 at 20 parks citywide - including eight in East Portland. 

Filling the summertime meal gap with Free Lunch + Play

More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year. Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break when most schools are not in session. PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play meals are accompanied by play activities including sports, games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities provided by trained staff, PP&R’s arts centers and community program partners. 

Free Lunch + Play is delivered in partnership with four local public school districts including Portland, Centennial, David Douglas, and Parkrose at about two dozen parks across the city (Monday through Friday) and five Mobile Lunch + Play sites in East Portland (days vary; see the online schedule for details). This institution (Portland Parks & Recreation) is an equal opportunity provider.

Mobile Lunch + Play

Portland Parks & Recreation brings the Free Lunch + Play experience to children at four apartment complexes and one park for kids to enjoy meals, arts, crafts, games, and sports.

Summer Free For All HAS it all

This year’s program features more than 50 events for people of all ages, including multicultural festivals, free outdoor movies, concerts, and more fun across the city. 

For schedules and information, visit the Summer Free For All webpage. Schedules are currently available in English and Spanish, and will soon be posted in Russian, Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese, and many other languages.

Fun at a All Free Lunch + Play event, part of Portland Parks & Recreation's Summer Free For All
Fun at a All Free Lunch + Play event, part of Portland Parks & Recreation's Summer Free For All.

“Summer Free For All is one of Portland’s signature annual event series,” says Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan. “This year’s lineup is full of fun, diverse entertainment for Portlanders of all ages.”

The Summer Free For All programs could not be held without the Parks Levy, a critical community investment. As promised to Portland voters, the Parks Levy is delivering for the city, providing recreational programs including family-friendly movies and concerts, fitness and art classes, teen- and senior-focused programs, life-saving swim lessons, and more. The Parks Levy also allows PP&R to remove financial barriers, and Summer Free For All’s free programming eliminates cost as a barrier to participation. Thank you, Portland, for your support of the Parks Levy!

“Summer Free For All is one of the best ways to get introduced to all that Portland Parks & Recreation has to offer,” says Parks Director Adena Long. “And when school is out, Portland Parks & Recreation helps fill the summer meal gap with Free Lunch + Play offerings in parks, and even at apartment complexes. It’s going to be another lively season full of memorable events. I hope people take part in them, and even better, come work with us this summer!”

Summer Free For All Kickoff Event

Play for days at Free Lunch + Play, where kids come to share a meal together and have fun in the sun!

Portland Parks & Recreation welcomes everyone to join the Summer Free For All Free Lunch + Play kickoff celebration on Thursday, June 27 at McCoy Park from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Lunch will be served from 12-1:30pm. Get summer started with free meals and a live performance featuring Ballet Papalotl performing authentic Mexican culture and folkloric dance, Arts in the Park, and the Rose City Rollers. It’s free and fun for all!

It’s back! East Portland Summer Arts Festival: July 6-7 at Ventura Park

This year’s festival headliners are Grammy-nominated soul and R&B artist Allen Stone and Grammy-winning percussionist and pop icon Sheila E.

The event will run from 6-8:30 pm each day. 

Attractions include multicultural music and dance performances, free drop-in music activities, arts and craft activities, and more. Portland Parks & Recreation's Community Music Center and Multnomah Arts Center staff will be on hand to join in the fun as well.

Washington Park Summer Festival: August 10-11 at the Rose Garden Amphitheater

Events begin at 6 pm each day.

A weekend of live outdoor performances by Dance Church and Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater with live music by Darrell Grant and his ensemble on Saturday, August 10. Sunday, August 11 will feature Ballet Papalotl and Edna Vazquez with Mariachi Portland.

The giant screen is silhouetted against Portland's summer sunset as a movie in a PP&R park gets underway on a clear, warm, gorgeous evening in 2023.
The giant screen is silhouetted against Portland's summer sunset as a movie in a PP&R park gets underway on a clear, warm, gorgeous evening in 2023.

Highlights of movies, concerts, and cultural events

  • Movie highlights include a screening of Barbie and some classic films like Independence Day, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Little Mermaid, and much more. 
  • A few concert highlights include BridgeCity Soul, Melao de Cuba Salsa Orchestra, Opera in the Park Portland, and King Louie and Andy Stokes. 
  • New and special event highlights include the inaugural Samoan Festival, Television in the Park, and Hip-Hop in the Park.

Summer Free For All events at Gateway Discovery Park

Building community through culture and play at PP&R’s Gateway Discovery Park! Free summer fun includes daily drop-in activities for youth ages 18 and under from 10 am-4 pm Monday through Friday with free lunch offered 11-11:45 

am. Performances for youth and families will be held on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, June 26 through August 21. This series features local artists including Aaron Nigel Smith, DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid, Olive and Dingo, and more! 

Special summer cultural events in the park include People of the Drum, featuring live music and drumming workshops by Mexica Tiahui, Alex Addy Drummers, Oregon Korean Performing Arts, and Portland Taiko on Saturday, July 20 from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. The 2024 Tonga Day Festival will be held on August 17 from 12-5 pm celebrating Tongan heritage through cultural performances, live music, community, and food.

Free Open Play Swim sessions at PP&R pools, part of Summer Free For All

Portland Parks & Recreation’s popular outdoor pools will be open from June 20 through August 23. Creston Pool and Peninsula Pool will remain open through September 6 with a modified schedule. Each outdoor pool listed below will host a weekly free swim session in addition to regularly scheduled swim lessons, open play swims, and water fitness offerings:

  • Creston Pool – Free swim on Mondays 6:30 pm-8 pm
  • Grant Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 1 pm-3 pm
  • Montavilla Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 6:30 pm-8 pm
  • Peninsula Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 1 pm-3:45 pm
  • Pier Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
  • Sellwood Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 6:30 pm-8 pm

Fitness in the Park

Fitness in the Park offerings are all FREE beginning this summer! Free fitness classes begin June 24 and run through August 30 at seven Portland parks and one Portland Parks Golf course. Portland Parks & Recreation’s Fitness in the Park program helps Portlanders stay active and achieve their fitness goals while connecting to people and nature in parks. Look for the schedule online starting on the week of June 3rd.