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Portland, Oregon is a neat and beautiful city that’s well worth the visit. For starters, there’s the staggering and impressive snow-covered Mount Hood, far off in the backdrop of the city.
The city itself is considered hipster, while being very eco-friendly, with plenty of fun, and entertaining things to see and do. If you have children and are thinking about visiting Portland, you’re in luck.
The city has so many things for kids to do, that are not only fun, but some of them are educational too. So much in fact, that you’ll wish you had more time to spend visiting. Here’s our list of top things to do with children the next time you visit Portland, Oregon.
Things to do in Portland with Kids
If you are looking to take kids to Portland, Oregon, or if you live there, we have a collection of great activities for you. We have broken them down into sections, but you can also see all of them on our map.
Indoor Activities in Portland
Portland, Oregon can have quite a few rainy days. If you are visiting Portland, and it is raining, you might be wondering if there are any fun things to do with kids in the city. Here are some of the best indoor activities in Portland to do with kids, either because it is raining, or just because.
Portland Children’s Museum
In historic Washington Park, the Portland Children’s Museum provides your children with a unique opportunity of hands-on and interactive play, while learning all at the same time.
With so many exhibits, it might be difficult to pull your children away from the kiddie maze, clay studio, Vroom Room, and especially the waterworks play area. It’s not only fun for children but captures the attention of parents as well.
If your children are restless from being cooped up on a rainy day, Playdate PDX is an indoor playground that can fix that. Your kids can experience climbing, crawling, dancing on their dancefloor, and sliding down from a 3-story indoor castle.
It’s geared for children up to age 12, along with toddler play area for smaller children. They even offer wine and beer for something to do for mom and dad.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
If you’re hoping to get your children interested in science, we know just the place. At the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, children have a blast while learning how things work, through experimenting and observing. My family has fully enjoyed the OMSI in Portland on multiple occassions.
They can become little chemists in a chemistry lab, dig for fossils, or experience what a real earthquake would feel like. There’s even a naval submarine on campus. For smaller children, they have a sandbox and water play area that’s a whole lot of fun.
Looking for entertainment for your children that introduces them to the theatre? The Oregon Children’s Theatre and NW Children’s Theatre have live performances regularly that your kids will love.
MT Scott Community Center and Indoor Pool
Needing a place for your kids to make a splash during the winter? The MT Scott Community Center and Indoor Pool are appropriate for smaller children while providing a pool, lazy river, 2 slides and a hot tub for mom and dad. They have a 6-lane pool and even an indoor skating rink. It’s also extremely affordable too!
World of Speed Motorsports Museum
Want a chance to get up close to Jeff Gordon’s and Dale Earnhart Jr’s NASCAR? At the World of Speed Motorsports Museum, your kids (and dad) will have a chance to see some extraordinary and rare muscle cars and race cars. Pretty much everything dedicated to speed can be found there, with neat exhibits and history.
Powell’s City of Books
Have you noticed that the city of Portland holds several records that it’s proud of? While your children will just think it’s another bookstore, Powell’s City of Books is actually the largest independent bookstore in the entire world! It takes up an entire city block in fact.
Make sure that you visit on a Saturday morning at around 11 a.m. They have a kid’s storytime that your younger ones will enjoy.
Outdoor Attractions in Portland
It isn’t always raining in Portland. If you would like to spend some time outdoors in Portland, Oregon, there are tons of great activities. It really was hard to choose which ones to include in this list but here are our picks.
How about heading to the zoo? Except for Christmas Day, the Oregon Zoo is open every day of the year, where you’ll find polar bears, rhinos, bald eagles and over 2,000 other fascinating species.
Bring your kids to see the world’s oldest orangutan, that just turned 60 years old. There are also exhibits and live demonstrations that will teach your children even more about these creatures.
Oaks Amusement Park
Needing some extreme pandemonium and chaotic madness to add some excitement to your trip? Oaks Park is a smaller amusement park that opened up back in 1905, making it one of the oldest theme parks in the country.
The general admission is free, other than July 4th and during Oktoberfest. The park has roller coasters and other thrill-seeking rides, along with burgers, curly fries and cotton candy.
Portland Japanese Garden
When you hear the words botanical garden and kids in the same sentence, you might think of your kids carelessly running around, while being extremely bored.
But at the Portland Japanese Garden, there’s so much beauty and things to see, even your children will be in awe of this garden.
You’ll find big waterfalls, impressive giant koi fish and of course, native Japanese flowers and plants. Don’t forget your camera at this stop!
Portland Aerial Tram
Kids enjoy doing daredevil things, especially something that might make mom squirm. The Portland Aerial Tram will take you up 500 feet to the summit of Marquam Hill, and provide excellent views of downtown Portland.
Each tram can hold up to 79 passengers, with departures every few minutes. You’ll find hiking trails and walkways, a natural preserve and even a coffee shop at the top.
Mentioned only briefly early, Washington Park is home to gardens and museums, and over 15 miles of trails that are perfect for biking, jogging or hiking.
There are several activities and beautiful places to visit. If you’re visiting at the right time, the park holds live concerts and festivals that bring in the crowds.
Portland Saturday Market
With over 300 local artisans that design and make all kinds of crafts and home-made goods, the Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts and crafts market in the country. How could you possibly skip that? There’s plenty of food vendors, so be sure to come hungry for some delicious eats.
If you love being outdoors and enjoy seeing natural beauty, we’ve picked out just the place. Portland’s Forest Park has over 5,000 acres, making it the largest urban forest in the entire United States.
Outdoor activities include hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park has over 80 miles of hiking trails waiting to be explored.
Playgrounds in Portland, Oregon
One thing I like to do when I visit a city is find a park for my children to play at. Not only is it a good way for kids to burn off energy, but it helps me mingle with locals and enjoy the city in a more natural way. These parks have fun things for kids to do, so they are worth a visit during your time in Portland.
At Lents Park, there are several activities, including a rock-climbing wall, playground area and a lot of open space to run around in. There’s also a basketball court, baseball diamond, tennis courts, and a soccer field. It’s also a nice park to go on a walk or have a picnic.
Luuwit View Park
Luuwit View Park has a lot of character, including interesting architecture and a great view of the area. The park has a skateboard park, walking trails, sports fields, and a neat playground.
Westmoreland Park Playground
The Westmoreland Park Playground is unlike any other playground area you’ve ever experienced, as it stays true to nature. In other words, it’s a park where your kids will get down and dirty.
On the playground itself, you won’t find any metal or plastic, only stones, logs, sticks, and sand. There’s also an off-trail nature play area for older kids and a sand or water experience for smaller children.
Places to Satisfy Their Sweet Tooth
It wouldn’t be right not to know a little about the great places to eat with kids in Portland before you visited. There happen to be several places you can enjoy breakfast, like the Pine State Biscuits, which is a great choice, along with Slappy Cakes, where you can griddle up your own pancakes with 6 different types of batter. Don’t forget to add the chocolate chips, whipping cream, and lavish it with hot maple syrup.
What about trying a voodoo doll donut, a cream cheese cannoli or a Bacon Maple bar at VooDoo Doughnuts? Or maybe you’re looking for a cool treat? At the Salt and Straw Ice Cream shop, you’ll discover some amazing flavors to scoop on a sugarcone.
Day Trips From Portland, Oregon
If you live in Portland, or will be staying for a week or more, you may want to take a day trip to explore the other area attractions.
Hiking/Skiing Mount Hood
How about doing some day hiking around an active volcano? We’re not suggesting you take your children to the summit of Mount Hood, that might come across as a little crazy, but there are easier hiking trails in the area that offer fantastic views as well.
Let’s not forget about it being a great skiing destination and a place that has other recreational activities to do also. Adventure Park at Skibowl has over 20 attractions including a zipline, half-mile alpine slides and a ginormous kid’s play area. After visiting the Timberline Lodge (National Historic Landmark), climb aboard the Magic Mile Sky Ride.
Day Trips to the Coast
One of the great things about Portland, Oregon is the proximity to the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Coast is an amazing place to visit, with activities including camping, hiking, sight seeing, and beyond. If you will be in Portland for a several days, why not take a day trip to the Oregon Coast. Seaside is a favorite of many due to it’s proximity. Tillamook not only has the coast, but you can visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
A little further south, Newport, Oregon has lighthouses, aquariums and more to spend a full day exploring the coast. Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site is a great area to not only see a beautiful lighthouse, but you can also whale watch, see tide pools, and more.
Florence, Oregon is home to activities for kids such as sandboarding, the Hobbit Trail, the Sea Lion Caves, and more. This was one of my families favorite towns because it had a lot of activities there, but was also close enough enjoy Newport as well. This area makes a great weekend getaway from Portland.
Multnomah Falls near Portland
Just to the east of Portland, is Multnomah Falls. I would guess you have seen pictures of Multnomah Falls, but there is a lot more than just this one waterfall (which is breath taking by the way) and a gift shop. The entire byway to visit Multnomah Falls has multiple hikes and waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge.
Much of the area was damaged by fires in 2017, and while the majority of the area is starting to experience regrowth and such, some of the trails are still “at your own risk.” Be sure to have appropriate clothing and hiking gear for kids and adults when going on some of the trails in the area.
You see, there’s so many things to do in Portland with kids, that it’s impossible to do it all. Even if you lived there, you wouldn’t have enough time. Hopefully, from this list, you’ve gathered some great ideas of things to do in Portland, Oregon. Whether visiting for a day or two, or maybe a week such as for a West Coast Spring Break destination, you will find that Portland is a great destination for families.
If you live there or have visited in the past, what are some other neat things to do with kids?