Portland is a kid-friendly city with beautiful green parks, diverse attractions and fun activities, perfect for a weekend getaway filled with new adventures. Ride the Aerial Tram to get a unique view of the city from above, snack on fresh fruit at the farmers market, see rare animals at the zoo, and spend an afternoon at the world-renowned Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. On a sunny day, a picnic in Washington Park, followed by a mouthwatering dessert at a local café or bakery are some of the best things to do in Portland with kids.


We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo
© pngstudio/stock.adobe.com

Formerly known as the Washington Park Zoo, the Oregon Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals that reside in a variety of habitats across 64 acres of land. Founded in 1888, the zoo is one of Portland’s greatest attractions and has millions of visitors every year.

The zoo is renowned for its excellent species survival plans, which include successful breeding programs for the endangered Californian condor, Asian elephant, and African lion. Regional exhibits allow visitors to explore different parts of the world -such as the rainforests of Africa and Amazonia, the Great Northwest, and the plains of the Serengeti - and learn about the animals that reside in them.

The zoo hosts a variety of summer shows, presentations and educational workshops for both adults and children; winter sees the production of ZooLights, a fantastic holiday light show.

4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-226-1561


Fun day trip ideas: East Coast beaches, NC quick trip, Romantic weekend getaways

2. World Forestry Center

World Forestry Center
© Courtesy of www.travelportland com

Located in Portland’s Washington Park, the World Forestry Center is a 20,000-square-foot museum that focuses on the importance of trees and forests and on the vital role environmental sustainability plays in today’s society.

One of Portland’s icons since 1971, the outstanding Discovery Museum was built in a dramatic Cascadian architectural style and features a wealth of hands-on exhibits, interactive displays and educational presentations for all ages. Visitors can see the forest from a bird's-eye view and learn about various cultures and tribes who rely on the forest for their survival.

They can enjoy a “wet-free” raft ride through the woods, or “travel” to Brazil, China, South Africa or Russia to see how other regions manage their forestry systems and the challenges they face. Explore the importance of the Pacific Northwest’s forests and how these forests provide habitats, water and wood for the region.

4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-228-1367


Things to do near me today: Getaways from Seattle, NC day trips, FL, Getaways in California, Near Atlanta, AL

3.Portland Aerial Tram

Portland Aerial Tram
© Courtesy of jpldesigns - Fotolia.com

Adventurous travelers can see Portland from the air with an unforgettable aerial tram experience. The Portland Aerial Tram operates 500 feet above the city, allowing passengers to soak up magnificent views.

The tram departs from the South Waterfront and travels 3,300 feet up to Marquam Hill, where an upper deck with an outdoor patio boasts unrivaled views of downtown Portland. The summit of Marquam Hill is a protected natural area and features several walking trails, so visitors can enjoy a hike through the forest.

There’s also the Summit Espresso coffee shop, which serves light meals, snacks, and drinks to enjoy against the backdrop of some of the city’s most spectacular surroundings. The tram consists of two cabins, has a seating capacity of 79 people, and operates on a “load and go” system. Departures are every few minutes.

3303 S Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239, Phone: 503-494-8283



What are some popular things to do: CO, From San Diego, VA, OH, WI, MI, IL, IL Places, VA, San Diego, TX -- You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon" Back to Top

4.Oregon Maritime Museum

Oregon Maritime Museum
© yooranpark/stock.adobe.com


While visiting the historical city of Portland, be sure to come aboard the last operating steam tug in the United States. The sternwheeler, proudly named Portland, is one of the main attractions of the Oregon Maritime Museum and can be found docked along the Williamette River by Waterfront Park. Visitors can learn all about local rivers and maritime history as they tour the boat’s original pilot house and engine room. The museum also showcases other maritime artifacts and memorabilia along with informative displays. At the Children’s Corner, kids have opportunities for interactive learning as they operate nautical objects, blow a ship’s whistle, and more.

198 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, Oregon 97204, Phone: 503-224-7724


What are some fun must-see places: NC beaches, Ft Lauderdale, Day trips from NYC, From Chicago, PA, CT, CA, Hilton Head, Castles in Texas, GA beaches

5. OMSI

OMSI
© Courtesy of www.travelportland.com


The world-renowned Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of the top science centers in the United States. OMSI’s aim is to inspire curiosity and encourage experimentation and the exchange of ideas through engaging scientific learning experiences.

With five vast exhibit halls housing hundreds of interactive displays, exhibits, presentations and educational programs, this science center sees more than a million visitors a year. OMSI is home to the the USS Blueback, the last non-nuclear-powered submarine built by the U.S. Navy. The Blueback is open for public tours.

The museum also features the Kendall Planetarium, where visitors can get an up-close look at the universe around us. If you are wondering what to see in Portland with kids who love science, this is a great place to visit. Eight fantastic hands-on science labs offer an array of earth science, engineering and nutrition activities, such as “Forest Puzzles,” “Everybody Eats,” and “Engineer It!,” and visitors can take in science- and discovery-themed films at the beautiful Empirical Theater.

1945 SE Water Ave., Portland, Oregon 97214, Phone: 503-797-4000


Expert opinion: Where should I go this weekend for fun? FL, CA, Myrtle Beach, OR, New England weekend, Charlotte, Williamsburg, LA, PA -- You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon this Weekend" Back to Top

6. Pine State Biscuits

Pine State Biscuits
© Pine State Biscuits


Take the freshest local ingredients straight from the farm, add a dash of old-fashioned Southern goodness and a splash of Portland foodie sensibility, and you have the unrivaled Pine State Biscuits.

After Pine State Biscuits made its first appearance at the Portland Farmers Market in 2006, founders Walt, Kevin, and Brian went on to open a small shop on Belmont Avenue and haven’t looked back since. Featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week, the menu includes creamy buttermilk biscuits served with an array of delicious toppings, fried chicken, generous portions of bacon and eggs, sausage or mushroom gravy, and a variety of grits and preserves.

Pine State Biscuits can be found at the Portland Farmers Market as well as on NE Alberta and in Southeast.

2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, Oregon 97211, Phone: 503-477-6605


Top Rated: Last minute places for couples: Denver, Boca Raton, Louisville, CA, Virginia Beach, San Antonio, AZ

7.Floating World Comics

Floating World Comics
© Floating World Comics

Floating World Comics is a delightful bookstore in downtown Portland that specializes in comic books of all kinds. You will always find a crowd of readers, artists, book lovers, and geeks browsing through their packed shelves and tables heaving with comic books for the kids in all of us – old and new, self-published and classic, rare and those sold by pound. If you come on Wednesday, you can go through a fresh batch of all genre comics – superhero, crime, drama, horror, humor, romance, sci-fi, action, fantasy, and adventure. Explore the literary section with new authors or the all ages section with contemporary and classic children’s books and graphic novels. Browse through the selection of self-published, small press, underground, and international comics. You can even bring your own comic and try to sell it there. It might be the only comic book store in downtown Portland, but it is considered one of the best in the country, and for good reason.

1223 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232, Phone: 503-241-0227



Affordable things to see near me, must-visit beaches, cheap weekend getaways: Catskills, Pink Sand beaches, Best Places to Visit, Bar Harbor, Destin, Minneapolis, Jacksonville, Key West, Nashville, AZ, From LA

8.Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park
© Wasim/stock.adobe.com

Needing a greenway to preserve the riverbank, construction for the Riverfront Park started in 1974 and its completion in 1978. It instantly grew in favor amongst locals for its beautiful waterfront views, meaningful landmarks, and recreational facilities. One of the park’s popular features includes the Battleship Oregon Memorial, which commemorates the 1893 warship nicknamed “The Bulldog of the United States Army.” Also home to the park is the Founders Stone—a tribute to Portland’s founding fathers Williama Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy—as well as the 185-jet Salmon Street Springs and local police memorial. Active parkgoers will also enjoy several paved paths and biking trails that trace around the park.

98 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, Oregon 97204


Our experts' top picks for a long weekend getaway for couples: Berkeley, Tybee Island, Nantucket, NH resorts, MN resorts, Kona, Pasadena, ND, ME, From Boston, Salt Lake City

9.The Portland Farmers Market

The Portland Farmers Market
© Courtesy of desros - Fotolia.com

The Portland Farmers Market is an organization that runs seven different vibrant farmers markets and fresh produce markets in and around Portland. Established in 1992, the organization began with one small market in a parking lot in Albers Mill.

It has since grown into a group of seven markets, featuring over 200 vendors selling a variety of farm-fresh products and handcrafts. Innovation meets industry in all seven of the markets, which are located all over the city: Portland State University, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Shemanski Park, and in the Buckman, Northwest, Kenton, and King neighborhoods.

The flagship market is at Portland State University. The campus is an attractive setting for the market, which buzzes with over 140 stalls and vendors selling fresh produce, homemade and hot foods. Market-goers can also enjoy chef demonstrations, kids’ cooking classes, market music and a selection of food presentations and tastings.

240 N Broadway Suite 129, Portland, Oregon 97227, Phone: 503-241-0032


Insider travel recommendations, In-depth reviews of our favorite places: NC, NM, ME, VegasFrom LA, WY, Hot Springs, Midwest , Things to Do in Reno, Ohio castles,, KY, South Padre Island, Dream vacation spots -- "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon for Locals & Tourists - Restaurants, Hotels" Back to Top

10.Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut
© Courtesy of Melpomene - Fotolia.com

Voodoo Doughnut is all about the super-sweet, sugar-coated treats the shop is named for. Founded by Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson and Tres Shannon, who wanted to bring something different to Portland, Voodoo Doughnut has five stores around the city and serves a selection of delicious doughnuts with various toppings.

These toppings include berries, buttermilk, banana cream, sprinkles, chocolate and sugar. Voodoo also serves apple fritters and the famous Voodoo Doughnut Doll. Voodoo Doughnut caters for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.

22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204, Phone: 503-241-4704


What to do near my location, inexpensive getaways: Florida Keys, IN, Healdsburg CA, Madison, Best beaches in USA Water parks in Texas, New Braunfels, Long Island, NY, NC, OK, OR, Day Trips in Southern California, Cocoa Beach, CA, Harpers Ferry, Durham

11.Washington Park

Washington Park
© Courtesy of pngstudio - Fotolia.com

One of the oldest and most enjoyed parks in Portland, Washington Park is visited every year by thousands of people who come for its beautiful green landscapes and gardens, myriad attractions and activities, and 15 miles of winding trails on which to walk, jog, run or bike.

The park features a variety of attractions and fun things to do for the whole family, from outdoor adventures to cultural explorations. Visit the Oregon Zoo, which is home to nearly 2,000 animals living in five major ecosystems, or spend a few hours learning about the arts and sciences with the kids at the Children’s Museum.

Hike one of the many forest trails that crisscross the park, or enjoy an outdoor summer at the Washington Park Amphitheater or the Oregon Zoo. Stroll through the Portland Japanese Garden or the Hoyt Arboretum and soak up the wonderful peace and tranquility that surrounds you.

4033 SW Canyon Rd., Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-319-0999


Cool places to go near me, luxury spas, golf: MA, FL, Caribbean, All-inclusive Jamaica, AR, CO, ME, KS, CT, Missouri caves, Gadsden, Pismo Beach, Blue Ridge, Best caves in Missouri, Beaches Near Atlanta, NJ, FL caves

12.Grand Central Baking Company

Grand Central Baking Company
© Grand Central Baking Company

Grand Central Baking Company is an acclaimed American bakery chain offering locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, including a beautiful location in Portland's Beaumont Village neighborhood. The chain was founded in 1972 within the Grand Central Building in Seattle, opened by Gwyneth Bassetti and rebranded to its current name in 1989. Today, its rustic artisan loaves have been recognized by international publications like Travel and Leisure, Saveur, and The Seattle Times, regularly named as one of America's greatest bakeries. Classic and seasonal sandwiches are served up throughout the week, crafted with the bakery's signature slow-fermented, hearth-baked breads. Sandwich options range from traditional favorites like tuna melts and vegetarian grinders to decadent specialties like the Green Goat, crafted with local chevre, roasted beets, and hazelnut-parsley pesto.

1154, 4440 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213, Phone: 503-808-9877


Free things to do, beaches near me: Anaheim, Things to Do in Vermont, Hawaii resorts, OH, Northern CA beaches, Holland, MI, Galveston, Ellensburg WA, Encinitas, LA, ME, MD, MI, Canada, ID, DE, MD Islands, FL

13.Virtuous Pie

Virtuous Pie
© Virtuous Pie

What can be better a lunch combo than pizza and ice cream? How about vegan and non-dairy pizza and ice cream? Virtuous Pie is a lovely, spacious, bright place on Portland’s trendy Division Street that sells interesting plant-based pizzas and ice cream that has no cream in it but still tastes great. They are doing a great job of convincing their non-vegan customers that plant-based is not only good for you and supports a healthy planet but can be delicious as well. Virtuous Pie is a fun place to hang out, with giant green monsteras, long communal tables, and a long café counter made from reclaimed ancient Douglas fir. The thin-crust, piping hot pizza crust comes topped with such interesting ingredients as truffle almond ricotta, sauce arrabbiata, or cashew mozzarella. Most ingredients are made fresh, in-house. Their meatballs are made from soyrizo, gluten-free flour, red wine, and nutritional yeast.

1126 SE Division St #200, Portland, OR 97202, USA, Phone: 503-334-2073


Top sights: Train Rides USA, Caribbean family vacation, Family vacations, Train rides for kids, Family Weekend getaways, Family friendly hotels

14.Cartlandia

Cartlandia
© Cartlandia

Cartlandia is a bike-centric food cart court in Portland, located near the junction of SE 82nd Street and the Springwater Corridor Bike Trail. More than 30 delicious food carts serve up international delicacies seven days a week, with individual carts offering individual schedules throughout the day. Carts range from El Salvadorean pupuseria La Miguelena and Hidalgo-style Mexican joint Mis Abuelos, which serves up unique dishes such as corn-masa tlacoyos, to Laotian-Thai fusion cart Kesone Asian Fusion and Middle Eastern-style cart Al Mustafah. Airstream coffee shops are also featured, including Bee's Cakes and Coffee, which serves up espresso-based beverages and a variety of baked goods. Cartlandia diners can also enjoy full bar service at the Blue Room Bar, which offers indoor restrooms and 12 taps of local craft beers.

8145 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266, Phone: 310-704-9796


Free points of interest close to me: Oklahoma City, Alabama caves

15.Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
© Courtesy of sara_winter - Fotolia.com


The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a breathtakingly beautiful site that offers year-round recreation and outdoor activities. The spectacular geological wonder of the Columbia River Gorge lies at the heart of this area and is bisected by the mighty Columbia River, the second largest river in North America, and dotted with beautiful waterfalls and natural pools.

This magnificent area offers an array of outdoor activities, including hiking and mountain biking on the many trails around the area, camping, bird watching, and stunning photography opportunities. The Colombia River is perfect for whitewater rafting, windsurfing, kayaking, and kiteboarding, while clear winter days provide ideal opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

There are also plenty of fun things to see and do indoors, from world-class museums and wine tasting to excellent shopping and dining experiences.


Near me on a budget: Best indoor water parks, Family resorts in Florida, Lake Tahoe -- You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon" Back to Top or Amazing things to do around me

16.Oaks Amusement Park

Oaks Amusement Park
© Courtesy bravissimos - Fotolia.com


Oaks Park offers over 20 rides, including toddler-friendly options, as well as America's largest roller skating rink.

Kids can brave the three-track Big Pink Slide, ride the historic Carousel which dates back to 1911, go on a classic bumper car ride, ride the Ferris Wheel, drive Go Carts, brave a 360-degree loop roller coaster, enjoy the view from a hot air balloon that spins, or go on an easy, scenic train ride through the park.

Play a round of mini golf, test your skills in the roller rink, and have a picnic with a view of the water.

7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, Oregon 97202, Phone: 503-233-5777


Places to visit near me: Things to Do in Coeur d'Alene, Bremerton, Brooksville, Castle Rock, Things to Do in Jacksonville

17.Forest Park

Forest Park
© Courtesy of Tomasz Zajda - Fotolia.com


Portland’s 5,000-acre Forest Park is the largest urban forest in the United States and a favorite place for Portlanders to escape the city and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities. Protected by the Forest Park Conservancy, the park stretches along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains with magnificent views of the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

Forest Park boasts more than 80 miles of soft, easy walking and hiking trails, forest roads and fire lanes. Forest Park is open every day and offers a variety of trails ideal for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. While fishing and hunting are prohibited, there are wonderful opportunities for bird and wildlife watching. Forest Park also hosts organized runs, hikes, and other outdoor events throughout the year.

210 NW 17th Ave. Suite 201, Portland, Oregon 97209, Phone: 503-223-5449


Where to go near me: Things to Do in Plano, July, Things to Do in Del Mar, Art Museums, Southwest family vacation ideas, Newberg, Sherwood

18.The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch

The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch
© Red Rock Photography/stock.adobe.com


Explore Portland’s original corn maze at The Pumpkin Patch! With over 20 seasons under its belt, The Maize opens each year with a new design ready to challenge and excite visitors. Find your way through turns, alleys, and dead ends as you try to reach the other side. There are over 8 acres of farming fun to be had at The Pumpkin Patch. Aside from the corn maze, families are sure to enjoy pumpkin picking, hayrides, a giant hay pyramid, as well as markets and gift shops. Children will especially love stopping by the Big Red Animal Barn where they can meet several furry and feathery friends.

16511 NW Gillihan Road, Portland, Oregon 97231, Phone: 503-621-7110


Romantic weekend getaways near me: Orange County Beaches, Fairbanks, Aberdeen, Providence, Lake George, Leesburg, Niagara Falls, Ann Arbor, Sausalito, Morrison, Athens GA

19.Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden
© Aleksey/stock.adobe.com


Visitors may be surprised to find such an authentic oriental experience in the middle of Portland. Opened in 2000, Lan Su Chinese Garden was created as a tranquil oasis to engage and educate visitors about Chinese culture. It was a collaborative effort between Portland and Suzhou city, resulting in one of the most stunningly authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. The garden is home to hundreds of native Chinese plants including rare shrubs, and perennials, and over 50 specimen trees. A traditional teahouse can also be found within the grounds offering fine seasonal teas and snacks to be enjoyed with the view.

239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland, Oregon 97209, Phone: 503-228-8131


Quick Weekend Trips: Best winter vacations for families, Labor Day -- You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon" Back to Top


20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon



More About Portland

One of the most well-known cities in the Pacific Northwest, Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon and the 26th most populous city in the United States. It’s well-known as a major transport and commercial hub for the area and is regarded as one of the most progressive and friendly cities to live and visit in America. Portland is a huge city, covering an area of approximately 145 square miles in total and housing an estimated 650,000 people. Over 2.5 million people live in the surrounding Portland metropolitan area.

Situated at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland is located in the Willamette Valley and has a rich history. It was named after Portland, Maine, which was named after a small isle called Portland in Great Britain. The city was founded in 1845 and incorporated in 1851. It began as a small settlement but grew with incredible speed due to its key location on the Oregon Trail. Portland was, and still is, regarded as a prime transportation center for the United States and has always been one of the most active port cities in North America.

In the past, crime was rife in Portland and the city was seen as quite a dangerous place, but its reputation has greatly softened over the years. In the modern era, Portland is actually seen as one of the most welcoming and socially progressive major cities of the United States, making huge efforts to protect the environment while also providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere for residents and visitors of all backgrounds. The city is also a key tourist destination for the Pacific Northwest region.

Elevation of Portland

When looking at the geographical data and statistics of any town or city, elevation is a key term that can be very important. Elevation tells us how high an area is in relation to sea level. Most major cities around the United States are situated at quite low elevations below 500 feet (152 m) due to their coastal locations and Portland is a prime example. The elevation of Portland is just 50 feet (15 m) above sea level. Other major port cities around the United States, like New York City, have similarly low elevations.

When compared to the rest of its home state, Portland’s elevation is very low. Statistically speaking, Oregon is the ninth highest state in all of America, with a mean elevation of 3,300 feet (1,010 m) above sea level. Terrain varies greatly around Oregon, with some mountainous regions and some areas that are a lot flatter and lower in elevation. Even in Portland, this variation can be seen; the city’s highest point is situated at 9936 NW Wind Ridge Drive, which has an elevation of 1,188 feet (362 m), while Portland’s lowest point is part of the Columbia River that has an elevation of just 0.6 feet (0.19 m).

The highest point in all of Oregon is Mount Hood, which is found in the Cascade Volcanic range in and has an elevation of 11,249 feet (3429 m), while the lowest point of Oregon is the Pacific Ocean, which is at sea level. Other major cities in Oregon include the state capital of Salem, which has a relatively low elevation of 154 feet (47 m) and Bend, which has an elevation of 3,623 feet (1,104.3 m).

You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon " Back to Top

Climate and Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

The city of Portland, Oregon has a temperate climate with average temperatures that are relatively warm, especially when compared to other locations around the Pacific Northwest. Portland residents enjoy quite warm and dry summers with average highs of 81°F (27°C) through the hottest months of July and August, with cool and rainy winters in which the temperatures can drop as low 35°F (2°C) in December and January. The city sees a reasonable amount of rain and can witness some light snowfall during the coldest months.

As it’s such a major city, Portland offers a lot of different activities and attractions for residents and visitors of all kinds. Whether you’re looking to catch a live show, visit a museum, participate in a sporting activity, or something else altogether, you’ll find a lot of options in Portland. The town is home to various live entertainment and sporting venues, along with many unique attractions like a zoo and planetarium. A lot of green spaces and cycling trails can also be found all around Portland, allowing residents and tourists to move around without the need for cars or public transportation.

More Ideas: Portland Japanese Garden

Sapporo, Japan became the sister city of Portland, Oregon in 1958 which spurred an interest in Japanese culture throughout the city. Business leaders in the community and the Mayor of Portland came together to create a traditional Japanese garden to honor their relationship with their Japanese Sister City.

The garden was plotted for the grounds of the old Washington Park Zoo in 1962 and in 1963, the design of the garden was conceived by Takuma Tono, a professor from the Agricultural University of Tokyo. He was the most internationally acclaimed expert on the traditional style of Japanese gardening and spent four years landscaping and cultivating the garden.

Finally, in the summer of 1867, Portland Japanese Garden was open to the public for the first time. There were five separate gardens over 5.5 acres of land for visitors to stroll through or meditate for a while at. The following year the tea house was brought to the garden. This tea house was built in Japan, disassembled and shipped to Portland. Traditional Japanese teas were once frequently had in the tea house.

Ten years later the Portland Japanese Garden added a pavilion in order to host an array of rotating art exhibits. All of the exhibits related to Japanese lifestyle and culture. In 1994 the service center was added on to house the nationally acclaimed garden gift shop. Japanese Ambassadors have visited the garden and remarked at how beautiful and exact the garden was to those that could be found in Japan.

Portland Japanese Gardens is run entirely by volunteers and is a non-profit organization. Over 300,000 visitors explore the gardens every year and in Washington Park.

Portland Japanese Gardens is made up of a series of five distinct styles of Japanese Gardens. Each garden is designed deliberately and in reflection of several traditional Japanese spiritual philosophies such as Buddhism, Shinto, and Taoism. The gardens are also alike in that they incorporate all three elements of a traditional Japanese Garden—stone, water, and plants. Stone is a prominent feature and the most important in the composite of a Japanese Garden. Many of the plots at the Portland gardens feature stone bridges, pathways, benches, basins, and other designs.

The Flat Garden strives to find harmony between the ground and elements of stone and low clipped plants. This design creates a sense of depth with the garden being built around two specific viewing points, the pavilion and the veranda. Sliding Shoji doors frame the garden making the gardens resemble a vivid painting if viewed from the inside.

This garden is particularly unique because of the incorporation of elements represents all four seasons. A Japanese Lace-leaf maple tree that is over a century old represents fall, a cherry tree is spring, and black pines are there for winter. The raked sand gardens resemble waves in the water to represent summer time. The Flat Garden also has many elements of harmony and enlightenment through the use of circle and gourde islands.

You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon " Back to Top

The Strolling Pond Garden is meant to be a display of grandeur, representing the wealthy and elite homes that this garden is styled after in Japan. Divided into two parts, the upper and lower ponds are connected by a stream. The upper pond features a large stone bridge while the lower level pond has a bridge that zig zags through beds of Irises. There is also a beautiful waterfall in the lower level.

These types of gardens are specifically meant for strolling through and feature stone paths lined with many different plants, flowers, fountains and other art to see. The Strolling Pond Garden is great for taking a relaxing walk in the shade and feels more like a nature sanctuary than a structured and meticulous garden landscape.

The Tea Garden is more rustic and in set throughout a wooded area. Meticulously placed stepping stones lined with lanterns, wind through the woods to the tea house. This area is meant for quiet contemplation and reflection. The tea house is meant to be a place of tranquility and visitors are encouraged to separate themselves from anything that causes anxiety or stress before entering.

The Tea Garden is divided into an outer and inner garden. Separated using a simple bamboo fence with the tea hour in the center of the inner garden, the garden is two distinct settings. Upon entering the inner garden, visitors are asked to rinse off their hands to symbolically rid themselves of the world outside the garden.

The Tea House is located in the center of the inner plot of The Tea Garden. Built in Japan by master craftsmen, the entire house is made of wood. Not even a nail was used in the construction of this house. Wooden pegs hold the entire thing together such as in traditional Japanese tea houses. Some rooms of the tea house require that guests crawl through a tiny door to enter where they will sit of mats on the floor for their tea ceremony.

The Natural Garden is the most contemporary of all the Japanese garden designs and also the newest addition to Portland Japanese Gardens. This garden is the only one that allows native species of plants, not traditionally found in Japanese Gardens to coexist. The Vine Maple is a particular indigenous plant to Oregon that is used quite frequently in this space.

This garden was originally named the hillside garden because it has a rougher and steeper terrain that may pose slight walking difficulty for some visitors. The garden is specifically designed to have a restorative energy flow through the use of the water ways and the trees that lean into it to direct the energy.

Sand and Stone Garden is exactly what the name suggests, a raked sand garden and large stones. This style of garden has also been called a Zen garden and relies on the beauty of a blank space to foster tranquility and creativity. The purpose of this garden is to allow visitors to contemplate rather than relax, fill their minds rather than release it.

There are several different events throughout the year that Portland Japanese Gardens presents as well as many educational activities for adults and students alike.

Art in the Garden is a program that welcomes artists to display their Japanese inspired or related art. Currently, the themes of Art in the Garden is Bending Nature. This program introduces several artists who use bamboo in different ways in their art works. There have also been demonstrations on splitting bamboo as part of this series and hands on activities for visitors to learn how to work with the plant themselves. Past events have included the themes of Bonsai, Architecture, ceramic, lacquer and many other traditional Japanese art forms.

Garden Workshops and Seminars are offered throughout the year that aim to teach visitors the basics of Japanese and western gardening styles. The workshops are part lecture, part hands on and participants go home with printed materials for reference. There is a lunch break half way through each workshop.

Lectures are typically held in the gardens and cover a variety of topics from art such as calligraphy and ceramics, to Japanese spirituality, architecture and ancient practices.

Haiku Alive! is a program for students who are part of classrooms that appreciate what harmony between self and nature can have on learning experiences. Students are immersed in the art and beauty of the gardens and learn to translate that experience to paper in the form of Haiku, Japanese poetry. Students will engage in three different lesson plans while at the gardens and also receive a guided tour of the property.

Public guided tours are included in admission to the Portland Japanese Gardens. Throughout the warmer months, these tours are offered all day starting at noon. In winter months one tour per day is offered at noon. Tour typically last an hour but visitors should plan on at least two hours of total visiting time in the gardens for parking, visiting the gift shop, and taking a leisurely stroll through favorite spots.

Private tours are offered for groups of ten or more but must be planned at least three weeks in advance to ensure a dedicated volunteer guide for the group. There are discounts offered for groups that pay in advance with a single payment. Private tours are also offered for school field trips.

The Gift Shop is not only for picking up mementos related to your garden experience, but is a great place for shopping Japanese art, calligraphy, jewelry, sake and tea sets, houseware, chopsticks and many other Japanese inspired gifts and accessories.

Donations are always appreciated, but visitors can also take part in a tiered program of membership which give them exclusive access, guest passes, photography passes, free admission for a year, and many other benefits like discounts at other local attractions. The higher the tier, the better the benefits. There are also several members only events that are planned throughout the year.

Back to: Best Romantic Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

611 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205, Phone: 503-223-1321

You are reading "20 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Portland, Oregon " Back to Top