Popular Fall Events to Experience in Portland, Oregon

August 8, 2016

Fall is an ideal time of year to experience the unique charms of the Pacific Northwest. This is particularly true in Portland, the cultural and artistic heart of the region. The moderate climate makes outdoor activity pleasant throughout the fall months, while the lively culture ensures that there is never an empty day on the autumnal calendar.

Working at Northwest Permanente allows internal medicine, family medicine and other specialty physicians to explore the outdoors and surrounding activities, thanks to their excellent benefits. Since there are so many choices, from dining to art festivals and sporting events, this list includes just a few of Northwest Permanente’s favorite fall events for September, October and November to try in Portland.




Portland Film Festival

August 29th through September 5th

The Portland Film Festival is an annual, eight-day event for filmmakers and film lovers to get together to celebrate the people, ideas and artistry involved in creating films. The festival takes place at various locations around the city and includes stations for:

  • Workshops
  • Guest Speakers
  • Financing Talks
  • Film Premieres
  • Director Q&As
  • Parties, and much more

This Festival is full of opportunities to learn about filmmaking, meet people with similar interests and be a part of what MovieMaker Magazine calls “one of the coolest film festivals in the world.”


Art in The Pearl

September 3rd through 5th

The annual Art in the Pearl Festival takes place in the Pearl District’s North Park blocks and has been a Portland institution for 20 years. The festival is free to enter and offers:

  • Artist Booths
  • Live Demonstrations by local artists and artisans
  • Performance Art on the entertainment stage
  • Hands-on Activities for family members of all ages


Feast Portland

September 15th through 18th

Feast Portland is a three-day food and drink festival that attracts over 13,000 culinary and drink enthusiasts to the city. It features hundreds of offerings from artisans, breweries, cider houses, chefs, distilleries and wineries in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to celebrating local culinary culture, the mission of the festival is to help end childhood hunger. Over the past four years, it has raised more than $230,000 toward the cause. In collaboration with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, Feast Portland is also aiding efforts to expand school breakfast participation in Oregon schools.




Portland Marathon

October 9th

An annual tradition for 45 years, the Portland Marathon is one of the top 10 road race events in the nation. The marathon is very walker-friendly, and thanks to almost 5,000 volunteers, the 26-mile course stays open for a full 8 hours. At 53 locations along the course, participants are treated to:

  • Live entertainment by rock, jazz, and brass bands
  • Street performers
  • Orchestras
  • Aerobic dancers
  • and high school cheerleading squads


West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

October 15th

Oregon’s award-winning West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta takes place annually at the Tualatin Lake of the Common, a short drive from downtown Portland. For twelve years, spectators from all over the United States and Canada have come to bask in the excitement as regatta racers navigate hollowed-out giant pumpkins across the lake. The regatta is certainly one of the region’s most unique events and has been covered by many national media outlets.


The Corn “Maize” at The Pumpkin Patch

October 1st through 31st

The celebrated Pumpkin Patch at Sauvie Island is home to Portland’s very first corn maze. Each year, the massive five-acre corn labyrinth is cut into a new pattern and more than 30,000 visitors come to navigate its twists and turns. The maze also features two 16-foot observation bridges, which offer excellent views of the maze and the surrounding island. The Pumpkin Patch offers a multitude of additional family-friendly activities, such as pumpkin picking, petting barn, hay rides, cow train rides and a farmers’ market.





November 5th

Wordstock is Portland’s premiere literary festival and is the largest celebration of literature in the Pacific Northwest. The festival offers an abundance of activities for readers of all ages, including:

  • Author Events
  • Panels
  • Workshops
  • Onstage Conversations and Readings
  • Pop-up Readings and concerts
  • Book Fair
  • Beverage Garden
  • Local Food Carts, and much more.

The event is held at the Portland Art Museum and surrounding venues in the South Park Blocks.


Northwest Food & Wine Festival

November 12th

The Northwest Food & Wine Festival offers visitors the opportunity to sample more than 600 wines paired with gourmet food from 50 local restaurants. Visitors receive a wine glass for tasting as they explore the various industry booths, converse with local restaurant owners and enjoy the decadent offerings of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to excellent wines and food, the festival also features select spirits and beers and offers various demonstrations covering subjects like wine tasting and pairing.


Holiday Lights

Nov. 27th through January 1st

November in Portland comes with numerous opportunities to enjoy holiday lights all over the city. The lighting events kick off the day after Thanksgiving with the annual holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Pioneer Square, and continue through the end of the year. Popular light-viewing spots include:

  • The Oregon Zoo – which features more than 1.6 million bulbs at its Zoo Lights events
  • The Christmas Ship Parade – which features decorated boats all along the Willamette and Columbia rivers
  • Winter Wonderland – a drive-through lights show at the Portland International Raceway featuring 250 displays and fully animated scenes;
  • Peacock Lane – a street in the Southeast Portland neighborhood whose residents have made their beautiful holiday displays a Portland tradition for decades

Interested in moving to the Portland metro area? Please visit the Northwest Permanente job board for current family medicine, internal medicine or specialty physician job openings in the Portland locations.

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