What to Do in Oregon in March

Welcome spring with craft beer, cherry blossoms, bike riding, whale watching, and more.

By Sam Stites

Although technically it includes the start of spring, March can sometimes feel a bit more like a prolonged winter slump, especially here in rainy Portland. But, sometime in March, the cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park declare it springtime in Portland.

Rain or shine, Oregonians are welcoming spring with festivals, annual runs, and bike rides.  

Winter Pride Festival

March 2–5, Bend/Mount Bachelor, free–$250
Winter Pride Festival began with just 150 participants in 2018 and grew to include more than 1,200 people in 2022. The celebration of LGBTQ+ pride and inclusivity returns to Bend and Mount Bachelor with a weekend full of events such as a takeover of the Pacific Northwest's largest ski area, drag brunch, dance parties, and more. 

SheBrew PDX  

March 5, noon-7 p.m., The Redd on Salmon, $30–60 
SheBrew PDX beer festival focuses on professional women in the local craft beer and cider industry. Sunday’s festival, SheBrew’s eighth year running, will highlight the work of more than 40 female brewers from likes of Migration, Great Notion, and Ecliptic, and cider houses such as 2 Towns and Portland Cider Company. There is also a home brew competition featuring the work of nearly a dozen amateur breweries that participants can sample and vote on their favorite. The $30 general admission fee includes a commemorative tasting glass and 10 sample drink tickets for a 2-ounce pour, and your price of admission is donated in full to the Human Rights Campaign. If you’re the designated driver or on childcare duty for the day, the family-friendly festival will also have entertainment, games, and last, but certainly not least, tater tots.  

Oregon Chocolate Festival 

March 3–5, various times, Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, $20 per day, $30 for a two-day pass (some events require an additional cost)  
Friday marks the beginning of the 19th Oregon Chocolate Festival—think chocolate creations from all over the West Coast, plus no shortage of chocolate-themed events. There's chocolate spa treatments (chocolate-infused massage oil, anyone?) and cocktail demos, educational workshops (did you know cacao can be used as medicine?) to science experiments where kids can create their own hydrophobic hot chocolate. The festival also boasts live music, food trucks, photo booths, face painting, and a pop-up market selling local goods.  

Oregon Cancer Ski Out

9 a.m._4 p.m. March 12–13, Mt Hood Meadows, $20–75
The 35th annual Oregon Cancer Ski Out returns to Mt Hood Meadows for a competitive fundraiser benefiting organizations such as the Knight Cancer Institute, Camp Erin, Providence Hospice, Breast Friends, and Candlelighters for Children with Cancer. Teams of four compete for prizes in an alpine downhill race that rewards consistency and teamwork rather than individual speed. Participants will have two chances to run the course and record times. Prizes go to the top three teams. Celebrity and professional coaches are on hand throughout the race, coordinating teams and assisting with advice and instructions. 

Oregon Cheese Festival

Noon–5 p.m. March 11–12, Jackson County Expo Center, Central Point, $20–75
Take a weekend trip to Southern Oregon and celebrate cheese agriculture and everything that goes with it. More than 100 vendors from creameries and specialty food companies to breweries, wineries and cider houses will be on display.  

Shamrock Run Portland

March 12, various times, Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, $20–100 
Start stretching. Now in its 45th year, the annual Shamrock Run in Portland continues with distances from the one-mile Leprechaun run for kids to a half marathon. Races start and end at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Don’t forget about the post-run party, with a beer garden, a kids' zone and live music. (For participating runners, remember to pick up your packet and bib at the Race Expo, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., March 10-11, located in Hall D of the Oregon Convention Center.)  

Owl Fest 2023

11 a.m.–5 p.m. March 18, Tryon Creek State Park, Free
A full day of lectures, activities, and guided hikes featuring Oregon's owls and their habitats. Participate in arts and crafts, dissect an owl pellet, and meet Dmitri, a Eurasian Eagle Owl from the Cascade Raptor Center in Eugene. 

Worst Day of the Year Ride 

9 a.m.–4 p.m. March 19, Lucky Labrador Hawthorne, $50–110
Come rain, sleet, or snow—the Worst Day of the Year Ride always sallies forth (except for the year they cancelled due to ice, but we digress.) This year, Portland’s annual costumed ride is happening Sunday, March 19. Riders can register for several routes of varying distances. The price of admission gets you a hearty breakfast, a half-time party at Breakside Brewing, a costume contest, and more. Ride in your best costume, organized by category: weather-themed, elaborate, group costume, and punniest. Stay for an after-party lunch at Lucky Labrador.

Spring Whale Watching Week

10 a.m.–1 p.m. March 26–April 2, Oregon Coast, Free
Volunteers will be posted at more than a dozen state parks along the Oregon Coast during the last week of March (spring break for most Oregon schoolchildren) to help visitors spot gray whales migrating and answers their questions. 

Cherry Blossoms in Waterfront Park 

March–April, Free 
Though there’s no official event commemorating the arrival of the cherry blossom display at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, do take time this spring to amble through the aisle of pretty pink trees near the south waterfront. The spectacle happens a few weeks only once during the year (and peak bloom varies depending on the weather), and it’s not to be missed. Expect tons of foot traffic and lots of families and newlyweds posing for photos.