By Chloe Mulliner, on April 3, 2015

Celebrating summer in Portland

The summer solstice hasn’t always been a day for celebration in Oregon. In 1942, a Japanese submarine fired at Fort Stevens, off the Oregon coast, promoting fears of a West Coast invasion. Unsurprisingly, that year Oregonians were more concerned with national security than welcoming the longest day. 

Fast forward to this year’s summer solstice; the coasts are secured, and Oregonians are eager to let loose and celebrate. On June 21, locals and tourists in Portland will be leading the charge, as they cheers to the sunniest day of the year with beer tastings and music festivals. Ready to bring on summer the Pacific Northwest way? Break out the sunscreen and your favorite cutoffs for some solstice-inspired escapades: 

All weekend: Spending a whimsical weekend dancing barefoot to electronica in the Oregon forest simply screams summertime. Let your rustic side shine! Pack up your camping gear and head 100 miles east to the What The Festival at Wolf Run Ranch, Durfur. The music festival runs June 19-22. 

Alternatively, if a one-day celebration is more your style, check out these things to do in Portland on the 21st instead: 


Sunrise: There’s 15 hours and 41 minutes of daylight today, so rise with the sun at 5:22 a.m. to soak it all up. For some caffeinated incentive to crawl out of bed, perk up at bare-bones Courier Coffee Roasters, where the drink menu is written on the window and coffee is served in Mason jars.  

Morning: Hop on two wheels for the North Portland Sunday Parkways. This family event invites bicyclists to get out and cruise around the double loop course. The 9.5-mile path runs along the Willamette Bluff and the Peninsula Rose Gardens. The cycling spree runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   

Viewfinder Tip: The 3-day Brewfest allows minors in the garden on June 21 for Family Day with Kids Crafts.

Afternoon: If you’re down with celebrating outside of Portland, Brewfest is going on only 50 miles to the south. It’s a trek, but the 140 tasting options, live music, and food vendors will be worth every mile of the trip. At this year’s 11th annual Oregon Garden Brewfest, 70 breweries are tapping into the tipsy fun. Knock back some crisp ciders, meads, and hops from producers such as Natian Brewery, Crispin Cider, and Fremont Brewing. 

Evening: Sweet and ripe, fresh produce is one of the best things to come out of the summer months. Back in Portland, get your daily veggie servings at Ava Gene’s, a Roman restaurant that sources its meat and produce from Pacific Northwest farmers and ranchers. With picks like ricotta cavetelli with zucchini pesto and Amish butter corn polenta, need we say more? 

Sunset: It’s crazy to think the sun will still be going strong until 9:03 p.m. when it finally sets. For an epic view of it melting into the horizon, head to Council Crest Park. Considered the highest point in Portland, this park flaunts views of five mountains, including Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Adams.   

Whether you’re a tourist staying at one of the hotels in Portland or a native looking for some Sunday Funday action, the Portland events this weekend will have you saluting the summer sun.  

Here’s what you missed during the 2014 Portland summer solstice:

  • The sun rose over Council Crest Park at 5:22 a.m. and we ate breakfast at Irving St. Kitchen.
  • Cider Summit PDX poured samples of unfermented brew at the tasting event.
  • Portland Farmers Market took over Portland State University with local goods, crafts, and produce.
  • The 2014 Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance concluded the first day of summer. 

How would you spend the first day of summer in Portland?


Header Image Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/Stuart Seeger/Via/
Body Copy Image Attribution: By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons