The poor student’s guide to summer activities

Summer vacation is usually a long-awaited retreat for college students, but once the break arrives, boredom can soon follow. Elaborate vacations and road trips may sound like a good idea, but after extensive planning and budgeting, it may simply stay an idea.

How can many college students afford plane tickets and resort packages? For those of you with lots of time but limited cash, here are some fun, fail-proof summer activities that won’t break the bank.

Berry picking

With the warmth of summer upon us, berry season is in full swing! Living in the Pacific Northwest means easy access to a variety of delicious berries and fruits, and berry picking is a great morning or early afternoon activity.

Local U-Pick farms such as Bella Organic and Kruger Farms, both located on Sauvie Island, offer affordable rates for fresh blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches and other tasty summer delicacies. Once fresh berries have been obtained, the next best step is berry baking!

Summer concerts and movies

Every summer, Portland Parks & Recreation offers free concerts featuring local musicians in neighborhood parks. Concerts are held every night of the week in a different Portland park, ranging in musical style.

Pack a picnic dinner, bring blankets or low-seat camping chairs and be entertained by local Portland talent! Enjoying live music with a basket full of goodies is a perfect way to spend a summer evening.

Portland Parks also offers free movie nights in the parks, with free popcorn! Classic films such as Grease, The Goonies and The NeverEnding Story will be shown at different local parks, as well as more recent films like Frozen, Despicable Me 2 and Maleficent. Most showings offer subtitles in Spanish and various other languages based on location.

Free days at museums

Many museums in Portland not only offer free admission during certain hours but are also air-conditioned—a cheap way to stay cool on hot days with exposure to arts and culture!

The Portland Art Museum offers free admission every fourth Friday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m. The Oregon Historical Society offers free admission to residents of Multnomah County.

The Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert

Every summer, the Oregon Symphony steps outside the theater and into Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a full evening of music, dance and culture. The evening opens with members of the Portland Youth Philharmonic showcasing young talent, before highlighting the Oregon Symphony.

The orchestra plays sneak peeks of their upcoming season and closes the evening’s performance with Tchaikovsky’s beloved “1812 Overture,” accompanied by military cannons and a dazzling fireworks display over the Willamette River.

Oregon Ballet Theatre joins the orchestra and performs an excerpt from their upcoming season. This is another perfect picnic opportunity and grand finale to a fun-filled summer.