We’re spoiled in Portland by having plenty of “kindie” artists: that’s indie kid musicians, of course. Nearly any day of the week, you and your kids can head out to a coffee shop, pizza joint, or concert venue and hear some sweet tunes written and performed with little ones in mind. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy local musicians doing what they do best.
Mississippi Pizza regularly holds music nights: Ukulele with Mr. Ben, Tallulah’s Daddy and his cajon, Micah and Me, Mo Phillips, The Alphabeticians…. the monthly schedule is a veritable who’s-who of local kids’ music. Shows are early in the evening, so you can grab some pizza to go along with your tunes.
Grab a vegan-friendly, gluten-free, or other snack (and a coffee for you) from the counter, then settle yourself in the back room for music. It does get a little crowded for popular acts or when school’s out, so head there early for a seat. Right now Tallulah’s Daddy, Pointed Man Band, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy are all regular attendees.
There’s a little bit of everything for younger kids at Upper Westside Play Gym: open gym play hours, ukulele lessons, sign language classes, and, of course, music. And in a padded area so they can really bounce around — genius! Check ahead for ticketed events (Red Yarn is getting close to sold out for September), or drop by for Mr. Hoo or Micah and Me. The Pointed Man Band also plays on Sundays, so families who work Monday through Friday can enjoy the music together.
On Wednesday mornings during the school year, the most hoppin’ preschool party in town is Red Yarn at the Village Ballroom. He’ll sing folk songs and originals, bring out the critters (puppets) to say hello, and generally bring the good times to the big crowds. Woodlawn Swap N Play, just downstairs, also co-hosts a Family Concert Series at the Village Ballroom.
For Sellwood residents with young kids, the Pied Piper Play Cafe is worth a stop any day of the week for a snack and a little bit of playtime in the indoor play area, complete with train table, climbing structure, and slide. Mondays bring Olive and Dingo, and the promise of balloon animals at the end of the show. Micah and Me also make frequent visits.
The Old Church in downtown Portland works with Young Audiences, Classics 4 Kids, and the Oregon Symphony to create kid-friendly programming monthly in September through December for no charge. Check out of of Portland’s favorites (Red Yarn, Pointed Man Band, Penny’s Puppets), and a special piano performance of music from The Nutcracker to accompany a reading of The Nutcracker and the King of Mice in December.
We love the Portland Children’s Museum any day of the week for creative play, but if you plan your trip right, you can also see some of Portland’s favorite kids’ music while you’re there. Check out the calendar: The next few months bring Penny’s Puppets (rest assured most of the puppets sing) and Red Yarn to the museum.
Inspired to make music at home? Kids at Heart has a music section for kids of all ages. Check out the Quercetti Super Saxoflute for building wacky instruments, the Schylling ukulele for starting your first band, plus lots of xylophones, shakers, drums, whistles, and kazoos! There's even instruments for the bath!
Do you have a favorite local kids’ musician or group?