One of the least known cultural activities in Portland is the Noonday Concert Series, presented at 12:15 p.m. every Thursday at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church near Monument Square. The concerts are free and generally last about 45 minutes. They run from the beginning of October to the end of April. It's a great way to spend a lunch hour.
The Portland Concert Series is in its 15th year, and the weekly program can be anything from classic piano sonatas to modern jazz or Broadway pops. If you're expecting amateur performances, think again. The musicians are all seasoned professionals and the quality of their work truly first rate!
When I worked in Sacramento California, I use to attend a similar concert series held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, across the street from the California State Capitol Building. Although the Sacramento concerts took place in a less intimate venue, they did run year round and included free popcorn! The Sacramento concerts also offered dance and opera performances. In any case, give the Noonday Concerts a try. You'll be surprised to learn that some things in life are still free.