• Things To Do

Film Lover's Guide to Things to Do in Portland

Outdoor Entertainment for Film Lovers

Portland is known for its tasty restaurants, cozy coffeehouses, and funky culture, but did you know it’s also an Oscar-worthy destination for movie buffs? From vintage films to festival faves to the biggest blockbusters, the possibilities are endless. And thanks to the walkable locations of our Stay Alfred travel apartments in Portland, you’ll never be far from a cinema-centric activity. 

Sure, Stumptown has its share of beautiful, sunny days, but there are a few rainy days in the mix too. Searching for things to do in Portland when it’s raining? There’s nothing better than kicking back and watching a movie. Rain or shine, here are our recommendations for the best of Stumptown’s film scene. 

Stay steps from the Rose City’s vibrant film culture at our Portland vacation rentals. All you need is the popcorn!

Catch an indie flick at a film festival

For true movie buffs, a film festival is one of the best ways to watch as many movies as possible in a short period of time. Filmmakers from around the world flock to the annual Portland Film Festival, held every year in mid-October, to showcase movies in a variety of genres from dramas to comedies to documentaries. If you happen to visit during mid-October, you’re in luck, and you can buy tickets months ahead of time or at the box office when you arrive.

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If your trip to Portland is scheduled for any other time of year, you’re still in luck! The NW Film Center organizes a variety of unique film festivals, often with specific themes. Highlights include the annual Jewish Film Festival, happening for its 27th year in 2019, and Japanese Currents, which features anime, comedy, and documentary screenings that are relevant to today’s culture in Japan. For a comprehensive experience of global cinema, the International Film Festival is sure to delight. Check the NW Film Center’s calendar for the most accurate schedules.

See a movie under the stars

Heading to Portland during the summer? You’ll undoubtedly have a jam-packed agenda with fun outdoor activities like visiting the International Rose Test Garden, hanging out in Washington Park, or making a trek out to one of the gorgeous hiking trails nearby. But one lesser-known summer activity is the NW Film Center’s Top Down Rooftop Cinema -- usually scheduled for the end of July and an absolute must for the avid moviegoer.

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This annual film series is exactly as the name implies: a movie shown on a rooftop. But what makes it extra special is the fascinating films chosen and the refreshing Pacific Northwest breeze. It’s always a popular event, so we recommend purchasing your tickets online ahead of time. Then, throw on your sweatpants, bring a blanket, and make your way to the PS2 parking garage at Portland State University. It’s easily accessible via public transit, and it’s just a 13-minute walk from Stay Alfred at Park Avenue West. Food and drink is available for purchase on-site. Yay outdoor movies!

Go for dinner and a movie - at the same time

Ah, the age-old question: To go out for dinner or to watch a movie? Analysis paralysis, begone! At Portland’s Living Room Theaters, you don’t have to make any decisions (except what to wear, but we can’t help you with that one). Watch an indie flick or a box office hit while dining on delicious food -- what could be better?

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Located a 5-minute walk from Stay Alfred at Park Avenue West and a 15-minute walk from Stay Alfred on Overton Street, it’s the perfect option for a night out. Showtimes begin in the morning, but after 7:00pm, only the 21+ crowd will be admitted. Buy tickets at the box office or purchase online to skip the queue. Feeling the weekend vibes on a Monday or Tuesday night? Watch for special weekday discounts.

Take a trip back in time at a vintage theater

Time machines aren’t a thing yet, but watching a vintage film at Cinema 21 might make you forget that you’re in the 21st century. Over the past 90 years, this theater has undoubtedly seen a lot -- including the transition from film reels to digital systems. In fact, there was no WiFi for the majority of this cinema’s years!

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Today, they do have a website, and you can even buy tickets online, but the artsy atmosphere and landmark status have remained consistent for decades. Cinema 21 is located a 15-minute walk from Stay Alfred on Overton Street.

Experience the box office hits on the big screen

There’s always something intriguing about a sophisticated foreign flick or an edgy independent film, but sometimes you just want to watch the latest blockbuster. Whether it’s a gripping thriller or a sappy romcom, you’ll find all the hits at Regal Cinemas Fox Tower 10 and Regal Cinemas Pioneer Place 6, both within 5 minutes on foot from Stay Alfred at Park Avenue West.

Ready to make movie-worthy memories of your own in Portland? Choose a Stay Alfred travel apartment in the heart of the action.