Portland in September can be one of the hardest months to plan for. In the last five years, almost every September has been marked by wildfire season. 2020 being the worst so far, causing the most devastation throughout the state in recent history. And air quality so bad in the Portland area that we spent almost two weeks indoors.
Thankfully mid to late September is also the start of the rainy season. So while you can’t plan for wildfires, you can keep it in mind that your September in Oregon will need to be more flexible. In past years, that’s meant not planning ahead too far for forest or travel adventure, planning to visit the Oregon coast, and just having more last-minute fun closer to the Portland area. Usually there’s like one weekend near the beginning of September where a rainstorm and wind rolls in and it’s kind of a fakeout before the heat comes back for a few more weeks.
So as long as you’re not dealing with forest fire smoke, September is one of the most beautiful months of the year. We still have more daylight, the weather is warm, kids are heading back to school so things are starting to settle down as far as busy season and crowds, and camping temperatures are cooling off compared to the heat of August. So here’s more info about visiting Portland in September – weather, events and my favorite things to do in Portland during the last month of summer.
Portland September Events
- Watching the Swifts flying at Chapman Elementary Chimney – every September Vaux swifts migrate and stop at the Chapman Elementary chimney in NW Portland. You can gather and watch as the fly and swoop into the chimney at dusk.
- Portland Polish Festival – (canceled 2020)
- Feast Portland – (canceled 2020) – Mid September brings Portland’s food festival Feast PDX celebrating all things amazing food and drinks.
- Rose City Comic Con – mid-September (canceled 2020)
- TBA Festival (Time Based Art) – September 10-30 – Time Based Art Festival is one of those kind of random Portland art exhibits. 10 days of contemporary arts and performances
- Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patches on Sauvie Island – opens late September
Things to Do in Portland in September
Here’s my friendly reminder that September is technically still summer until the 3rd week. By Labor Day weekend, I’m usually in full-on “savor the last of summer” mode, trying to fit in all my last minute things to do before summer ends. Getting out on the water, kayaking/SUP, swimming in lakes near Mt Hood, floating the river, visiting the Oregon coast, doing the fruit loop through Hood River and Parkdale, and planning a final camping trip.
September is also the start of fresh hop season. And usually brings Feast the food festival to Portland!
Portland Weather in September
Note: If you want to know about the weather you can always visit a weather website. But one of the most frequent texts I get from friends about to visit Portland is about the weather. So that’s why I include this weather section. It’s how to interpret Portland weather forecasts by a local. :)
The weather in Portland [Oregon] in September is usually still nice and warm. While August can be too hot some years, September is usually more comfortable temperatures. But the air quality is the most unpredictable part of late August and early to mid September. Wildfires all along the west coast impact Portland’s air quality.
As for daylight hours, September still averages 12.5 hours of total daylight, starting the month with a 7:45pm sunset and ending the month with a 6:50pm sunset. Sunrise moves from 6:30am to 7am. This means you have a bit less daylight hours for outdoor adventures, but still enough to get some end of season exploring and camping in.
The average September temperatures are highs in the mid 70s and lows in the mid 50s. That’s not to say, it’s only in the mid-70s, that’s the historical average. We usually have at least a week of high 80s and low 90s scattered through the start of September. It’s also the first month of rain after a dry summer (which we need after wildfire season!). We only average 5 rainy days in September though, so the rains usually come in one stormy weekend early in the month and then the rest toward the end of September, for a total average rainfall of 1.7″.
Portland Historical Average September Weather by Day
Here are the High & Low Temperatures by average for September in Portland.
And with that, I wish you a happy September (or planning for September)!