Portland is well known as an expensive city, and many find themselves missing out on unique local experiences in favor of carefully tending to their fragile college bank accounts. However, Portland is not without its advantages for students. While it can be initially discouraging to look at prices, it is worth remembering that a few seconds of research can expose student discounts camouflaged by misleading website home pages.
The Portland Japanese Garden, for example, only knocks a few dollars off its $21.95 adult admission ticket for students. However, upon further research, a year long student membership is only $50, is tax-deductible, includes access to member-only events such as art exhibitions and garden workshops and offers member discounts in addition to garden access before it opens to the public. Anyone looking to rope some friends into this bangin’ deal should keep in mind that up to four additional adults can be added to the purchase, for only $25 a piece, thus further reducing the overall cost.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden offers a generous $13 day admission for students or a $40 per year student membership that includes reciprocal benefits with the Portland Japanese Garden in November and additional complementary admission to a different regional institution every month. In the remaining months of 2023, members will be able to visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Clark County Historical Museum.
The Portland Art Museum, with its ever-changing exhibits, grants $25 per year memberships to students attending schools in Oregon. The only caveat is that the membership is best bought online rather than in person—the front desk employees are not always aware of this student deal.
The Oregon Symphony is also surprisingly affordable: Although it requires a bit of forethought and planning, those willing to show their student IDs can buy $10 tickets for eligible concerts beginning the Monday before each concert. Be sure to check the website for the details before showing up, but don’t shy away from a fancy night out for fear of a demoralizing credit card charge. On that note, if opera is more appealing than the symphony, the Portland Opera offers student tickets for the same price, which can be purchased over the phone.
For students who are keen on learning how to swing dance and don’t know what to do with their Tuesdays or Thursdays, they ought to check out a seven week class with a $40 student discount through the Portland Swing Project.
All Lewis & Clark students, regardless of whether or not they live off campus, have the option to purchase a 75% discounted Trimet monthly pass through the Parking and Transportation Portal. Exploring Portland and its surrounding area becomes much more affordable when you have a reliable public transportation system at your fingertips for only $25/month.
Although not specific to Portland, students who prefer Spotify over Apple Music should be made aware of the $5.99/month student premium account (including access to Hulu).
Students traveling between cities during breaks or long weekends can enjoy scenic Amtrak train rides at a 15% discount. Those who need to travel longer distances can look for flights through StudentUniverse, which offers domestic and international flights for discounted rates while simultaneously comparing prices between airlines. Just be sure to keep an eye out for additional baggage fees, convenience fees or other hidden money-swindling ploys that airlines so often employ.
This is a very brief beginning of a laundry list of student discounts that are easily overlooked. I implore you to venture beyond this island of a campus and enjoy the city you live in. It is not as inaccessible as it may appear. In the meantime, do not be afraid of public transit, remember that student memberships often save you much more money than discounted daypasses, consider supporting student-owned-businesses and schools offering discounted services (massages, haircuts, tattoos, etc.) and always ask about student discounts.