Welcome to Portland, Oregon

Music & Arts

Seattle's Nada Personal, a Soda Stereo tribute band

Music

Another huge mark in the PLUS column, Portland boasts a phenomenal music scene, along with plenty of arts, theater, and public performances. The opportunities to see original live music are many.

“[The Portland] metro area’s population may rank only 25th in the U.S., but it claims at least 1,100 music businesses, around 2,000 performing acts, nearly 300 live venues and 200-plus promoted concerts a week — putting it near the top of any of these categories on a per-capita basis.”
— Oregon Business Magazine

Every night of the week there is music, everything from experimental noise to bluegrass, string quartet to hip hop.

There are numerous open mics, and a monthly event dedicated to showcasing new singer-songwriters, the Songwriter Soirée.

The brilliant NearHear website provides a dead simple means of previewing artists' music and finding local shows.

Music makers

If you make music in an capacity, your first stop should be Music Portland, an advocacy group for musicians and the ecosystem (venues, instrument vendors, etc.) that supports them.


Artichoke Community Music, a nonprofit venue in Southeast Portland, offers live shows, open mics, classes, and instrument sales. Genre focus is folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and less loud styles.

While cities like Austin, Texas have good music scenes of their own. But there's a key difference here: on a beautiful summer evening, you and your friends can safely ride your bikes a few miles to a venue, catch a show, and ride home again, singing the chorus out loud. No highways, no traffic jams.

Portland Winter Lights Fest by Brett Nemecek

Arts & Events

Check them out:

  • Portland Winter Lights Festival - downtown Portland fills with every color of light in an array of art installations.
  • Tomorrow Movie Theater - promotes the idea of “cinema unbound” through a mix of artist-driven signature screenings, events, happenings, performances, and discussions changing for whom, by whom, and how cinematic stories are told now — and tomorrow.
  • Movie Madness - honest to goodness video rental store, with free movie screenings on Sundays.
  • Portland Art Museum. Free on the first Thursday of each month.
  • Hopscotch - an interactive art exhibit, i.e., psychedelic trampolines.
  • Portland Rose Festival. Parades, tours of visiting ships, carnival rides, and more.
  • New Year in the Park. Southeast Asian cultural festival.
  • Honk!PDX. Interactive celebrations offering pick-up bands throughout the festival open for anyone who would like to pick up an instrument and play.

More stuff to do