Photo by Tim Gunther

One thing's certain: If you're in college, you're probably broke. Luckily, there are enough free and cheap activities in Portland that even Scrooge McDuck could have a great time! Wait. There are two things for certain. The second is that Scrooge McDuck is kind of a racist caricature. Sorry, Scottish people! As an apology, please accept this guide to free and cheap activities. Something tells me you'll love it!

MUSIC: Every week, Al's Den (303 SW 12th, hosts a different band that performs a free show every night! Music Millennium (3158 E Burnside, has free in-store performances, Mississippi Studios (3939 N Mississippi, has occasional free shows, and, in the summer, the Doug Fir (830 E Burnside, has free patio shows.

MOVIES: Bars like the Tanker (4825 SE Hawthorne, and the Blind Onion Pizza Pub (3345 NE Broadway, have weekly free movie nights, while theaters like the Laurelhurst (2735 E Burnside, and the Academy (7818 SE Stark, only charge $4. The first Friday of every month, the Bagdad (3702 SE Hawthorne, hosts the $3 cortandfatboy Midnight Movie, and free screenings sometimes pop up at the Northwest Film Center (1219 SW Park, PSU's Fifth Ave Cinema (510 SW Hall, is free if you're a PSU student, only $3 for everyone else, and there's FREE POPCORN FOR ALL. In the summer, Portland Parks & Rec ( shows free movies outdoors, as does Pioneer Courthouse Square (

BOOKS: Powell's locations ( host free readings, and Sundays at Backspace (115 NW 5th) there's the $5 Portland Poetry Slam ( Quarterly comics showcase Comics Underground (—which, in a tiny conflict of interest, is put on by two Mercury editors—is $3 at the Jack London Bar (529 SW 4th, And don't forget the library (! Read their books! Use their computers to look at porn!

POLITICS: Every Wednesday at 9:30 am at Portland City Hall (1221 SW 4th), Portland City Council practices their passive-aggressive sniping skills! Free! Cheer on your favorite! It's like The Hunger Games!

CULTURE: The Portland Art Museum ( has free admission the last Friday of every month from 5-8 pm. Prefer art made out of real live people? Get discounted rush tickets from Portland Center Stage (, Artists Repertory Theatre (, and Portland Opera ( For cheap (and good) plays, check out Theatre Vertigo ( and Action/Adventure Theater (

TV: Some theaters host free screenings of shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad (look in the Mercury's Movie Times). And every Saturday, the partially-Doctor Who-themed Fish & Chip Shop (1218 N Killingsworth, shows... something. I can't remember what it's called. Inspector Spacetime, maybe?

BIKES: Surprising no one, Portland is full of free things to do on a bike: Pedalpalooza, the World Naked Bike Ride, Sunday Parkways, ad infinitum. Keep an eye on

TRIVIA: There's Geek Trivia every other Tuesday at the Kennedy School (5736 NE 33rd,, Shanrock's Triviology at a slew of bars every Monday-Thursday (, and, every Sunday at the Fixin' To in St. Johns (8218 N Lombard,, trivia with witty and seductive former Mercury Editor Katie Shimer.

MONDAY FUNDAY: During otherwise delightful summer evenings, Portland's most obnoxious people converge at Colonel Summers Park (SE 17th and Taylor) to hang out, play games, and be obnoxious.

VIDEOGAMES: You suck at Ms. Pac-Man, so Ground Kontrol (511 NW Couch, routinely takes your precious laundry quarters. But on the last Wednesday of every month, $5 gets you in and the games are all free.

SWIMMIN': The mighty Willamette: free! Sure, you might find a body in it, and yes, nutria use it as an orgy pit. But if you can't handle seeing a fully erect nutria gnaw its way out of a bloated human corpse, maybe it's time you grow up, you whiny little baby.