In a city with a big heart for art, it is no wonder that Portland is home to the nation's largest continually operated outdoor market. An array of painters, welders, chefs, jewelry makers, musicians—any artisan one could imagine—set up shop in the Old Town/Chinatown area. It is only fitting then that two artists, Sheri Teasdale and Andrea Scharf, created the Portland Saturday Market.
Founded in 1974, the two women modeled their new venture after the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon. The idea was that the craftspeople would collectively share the costs of running the market and then keep individual profits. Originally located in a parking lot known as the "Butterfly Lot," in 1976 the market moved to its current site under the west end of the Burnside Bridge, on SW Naito Boulevard in Ankeny Park.
Rain or shine, the market is open for business every Saturday (10-5) and Sunday (11-4:30) from February 28 to December 24. Admission is free, and with an estimated 750,000 visitors a year, there truly is something everyone can appreciate. The countless rows of artisan booths are filled with crafts ranging from candles, pottery, and clothing to wood art, toys, and pet products—and the majority of the products are handcrafted! Kids can enjoy the tickles of face painting or cartoon caricatures, while parents relax with a drink in the beer garden. And yes, pets are welcome. Just be sure to bring a baggie to clean up after them.
Street performers and musicians ornament the perimeter of the market, and there is also a stage dedicated to live music. A plethora of cuisines is available to lunch on while enjoying the entertainment and crafts. Food favorites include Greek, Asian, Nepalese, Polish, Guatemalan, East African, and of course American dishes like burgers, Philly cheese steaks, and corn dogs. Lighter fare includes delicious homemade snacks such as kettle corn, roasted nuts, ice cream, cupcakes, and candy. There is limited seating, but patrons enjoy their food even if standing at high tables or seated on the steps near the waterfront.
The Portland Saturday Market is located off the I-5 at the City Center exit. While parking can be a challenge, there are garages—with free parking if you spend $25 or more at the market—and paid street parking nearby. The market is also accessible via walking, biking, or the MAX, Portland's metro system that has a stop right in the center of it all.
While the Portland Saturday Market is a definite tourist attraction, with all it has to offer, it continues to attract locals as well. Portland's artistic pulse is constantly beating, and nowhere is it more evident than on weekends under the west end of the Burnside Bridge.
- February 28 to December 24: Saturdays: 10am to 5pm and Sundays: 11am to 4:30pm
- Max Stop:
- Max Yellow Line to the Skidmore Fountain Station
- Location: Junction of SW Ankeny and SW Naito Blvd, Portland, OR
- Phone: 503-222-6072
- Website: www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com