One of our favorite local things to do as a family is venture down to Portland Saturday Market. My husband and I have been taking our kids there since they were babies. In the past, there has been live music regularly, the splash pad at Tom McCall Park, and an array of yummy treats for us to enjoy when we go there. Today, Sunday, August 1st, we raced downtown to get there by 10:00 a.m. We were taken aback and heartbroken to see it wasn’t open! Shame on us, we didn’t look it up first, and it turns out that currently, they are only open on Saturdays from 10-5. We haven’t been there in over a year, so I started researching the market when I got back home. They have a huge selection of vendors that offer a variety of goods. There seems to be something for everyone. Here are some vendors that may be appealing to families with kiddos.
- Toys 4 U- Wooden toys.
- Yastrid’s Puppets- Stuffed animal puppets.
- The Game of Real Life- A parody of the game, “Life”.
- Glitter Ruby’s Henna and Face paint- Henna/Face paint.
- Portraits by May Lee- Caricatures.
- What If Creations- Hybrid animal artwork. This might not be appealing to every kiddo, but I know my kids have been floored by some of these pieces.
- Rustek Collective- Handmade wood inlay skateboards, very beautiful!
- Tone and Timber- Handcrafted musical instruments.
- Caricatures by Preston- Portland’s longest running caricature artist (32 years) and was hired to draw caricatures of the Trail Blazers and Winterhawks!
- Kyle’s Gallery- Star Wars parody prints. I checked some of these out online, oh my gosh, so funny and clever! Might be fun for kiddos who are fans of Star Wars to look at.
- PDX Original Elephant Ears- One of our favorites! The best elephant ears (they are also vegan), and other goodies like lemonade, tea, and funnel cakes.
- Great NW Ice Cream- Handmade ice cream, along with chocolate-covered bananas, waffles, and cheesecake.
- Coolcity Popcorn & The Pretzel Bakery- Handmade pretzels, popcorn, kettle corn, and caramel corn.
- One Fork Farm Caramels- Artisan caramels.
- Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory- Artisan chocolates.
- LOL Play- Kids clothing
- Gypsy Camp Creations- Little girls’ clothing
- Rozin City Apparel- Beautiful pictures of Portland taken by a photographer and then graphically designed onto clothes to represent the city.
- Marie Williams, The Fleecelady- Fleece clothes for babies, children, and adults. A huge variety of offerings: jackets, vests, sweatpants, baby buntings, handwarmers, wrist warmers, scarves, and so on.
- Out of the Closet Artwear- Tie die clothing for kiddos from newborn to size 10.
This list only contains the vendors I think may appeal to younger kiddos. Teenagers are a whole different story. There are many more vendors that aren’t listed that teens would probably love. There are many jewelry, soap, clothing, art, and entertainment vendors that would likely catch their attention down at the market. There are also many great food vendors that I didn’t list on the younger kids’ recommendations.
If you cannot attend the Portland Saturday Market for whatever reason, there is also an option to shop online. Here is a link to their online store: https://shop.portlandsaturdaymarket.com/. There is an option to sort by category and factor in how much you would like to spend.
The website also provides information on how to become a vendor at the Portland Saturday Market. Here is the link: https://www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com/vendors/become-a-vendor/.
The pandemic has struck Portland Saturday Market. Because it is an area where many people gather (250 or more vendors and huge amounts of customers), they had to close down for a large part of the pandemic. Someone has put together a “GoFundMe” to raise $100,000 for the market. It looks like donations are currently at a little over $38,000. If you are interested in donating, here is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/back-the-saturday-market?qid=fdf6f3e31646c96ac97a2f923cc2b517&fbclid=IwAR0YTSSpvyvn3RdLl1h6Hc68XF5bK1pcT3J4ffDpKDKcoVzYfLyDtXD1j7g.
Portland Saturday Market has been operating since 1975. It is a win/win for both customers and vendors. The vendors can share and profit off their crafts, and the customers can support local vendors in a beautiful open-air market. The only problem our family has at Saturday Market is not being able to buy every single thing that we like there, ha-ha. As I said earlier, a big part of our experience is letting the kiddos go nuts in the splash pad as soon as we finish shopping and perusing. We do things in the same order every time: walk and shop, head toward the food villa for a snack and some live music, shop some more, and then end at the splash pad so that the kids can cool down after a hot day in the sun. We are so excited to go next Saturday and see how things have changed or stayed the same. For general information about the PSM, such as their hours/address, here is the link: https://www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com/home/. Best of luck to you all in exploring the Portland Saturday Market, whether in-person or online.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.