Beer, dice and pizza at Guardian Games
345 SE Taylor St., 238-4000, ggportland.com.
The concept of #value is a mantra of sorts for local Magic: The Gathering players, but the appreciation of a good deal on games and pizza goes well beyond the klatch of dice-chuckers and mana-tappers that pack the tables of Guardian Games on a nightly basis. Nerd culture has never had as many safe spaces as it does now, and thanks to this massive inner Southeast gaming institution it's easier than ever for n00bs and nobles alike to put down a few cold ones while giving a trial run to any of Guardian's 500-plus games available to demo for free. The real deal is "Beer, Pizza and Games" night, which goes down the third Thursday of every month. In addition to free play, $10 gets you four tokens that can be traded for slices of Hot Lips pizza beers from a variety of rotating local taps as well as dive bar staples like Mickey's and High Life—both of which are a steal at $2 bottle any day of the week. PETE COTTELL.
Dollar bowling at Interstate Lanes
6049 N Interstate Ave., 285-9881, interstatelanespdx.com.
With the demise of Hollywood Bowl last year, Portland's bowling landscape is now desolate enough that you'd think the remaining musty old dives could start gouging the purists who'd rather join a footbag league than step inside one of those glorified nightclubs that pass for alleys these days. But if your idea of Sunday brunch is downing a pitcher of Coors Light and greasy slices from a faux-Sbarro pizza window while rolling a few frames in a building seemingly untouched since the Atari era, Interstate Lanes offers $1 games weekly, from 10 am until 1 pm—perfect for a young kids' birthday party, if you don't mind the company of, y'know, the kind of people who go bowling first thing in the morning. MATTHEW SINGER.
Unlimited play at Ground Kontrol
511 NW Couch St., 796-9364, groundkontrol.com.
Portland's iconic retro arcade is stocked with cabinets from the golden age of arcades. But after you've plugged $5 worth of quarters into NBA Jam to settle a bet about Shaq's ability to defend Karl Malone and then spent another $5 just trying to get Sub-Zero to do one damned ice blast on Mortal Kombat, you realize that you are spending your beer budget on games. And thus the beauty of Free Play Nights. On the second Thursday and last Wednesday of every month, you pay a $5 cover and get access to all the adult arcade's 100-plus games. The doors open at 5 pm and it's 21-and-up. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Night skate at Lloyd Center Ice Rink
Lloyd Center Mall, 2201 Lloyd Center, 288-6073, lloydcenterice.com.
At a time when shifting economic and cultural realities are bringing levels of civic pride to all-time lows, Portland's undying fondness for its one and only ice rink just gets more charming. Prices don't fluctuate much throughout the week, but the sweet spot is Friday and Saturday nights after 7:30 pm, when $10 will pay for admission and your skate rental. That'll only save you about $2, but put that toward an Orange Julius and get the full experience of a fun night in the suburbs while never leaving the city. MATTHEW SINGER.
First Sunday at OMSI
1945 SE Water Ave., 797-4000, omsi.edu.
Everyone knows the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is best experienced with a good buzz and without a bunch of screaming kids running headlong into your shins, which is why OMSI After Dark is often so crowded it's not worth the $13 admission. If you're actually looking to tour the Earthquake House and that creepy hall of fetuses rather than treat the place like the city's nerdiest meat market, the better bang for your buck is the first Sunday of each month, when general admission is only $2. You'll have to put up with all the brats, but without the alcohol, maybe you'll finally solve one of those damned brain puzzles. MATTHEW SINGER.
Fourth Friday at PAM
1219 SW Park Ave., 226-2811, portlandartmuseum.org.
Unless you're on a K-12 field trip, it'll cost $15 to tour the Portland Art Museum. Or make it your Friday happy hour. On the last Friday of every month, you can avoid the school tours and admire the Crumpcracker Family Library and extensive Native art collection. There's nothing more rewarding than getting priceless for free, from 5 to 8 pm on the last Friday of every month. ENID SPITZ.
World Forestry Center
A fixture of Washington Park since 1971, the World Forestry Center's Discovery Museum (4033 SW Canyon Road, 228-1367, worldforestry.org) boasts that "it will change the way you look at trees," which seems mighty presumptuous. Through its virtual tours of various forest types, the museum insists it will convince skeptics that these arboreal nuisances exist for reasons other than just keeping leaf removal companies in business. Admission is typically $9 for adults, but gets lowered to $3 on the first Thursday of the month, which is a hell of a deal to gaze upon the center's collection of petrified wood. MATTHEW SINGER.