15 Best Things to Do in Portland, Oregon with Kids
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. Photo: Josemaria Toscano - Fotolia.co
» Oregon Zoo
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.
Address: 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-226-1561
Next read: Portland to Eugene and Best Time to Visit Portland, Oregon & Other Travel Tips Photo: Oregon Zoo / Photo by Michael Durham
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» World Forestry Center
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.
Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-228-1367
Photo: www.travelportland com
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»Portland Aerial Tram
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.
Address: 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd., Portland, Oregon 97239, Phone: 503-494-8283 Photo: jpldesigns/Fotolia
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» Portland Children's Museum
The Portland Children’s Museum aims to transform children’s learning experiences through discovery and exploration of the arts and sciences. Featuring a variety of interactive, hands-on and tactile displays, exhibits and presentations, the museum encourages children to think, imagine, create, design, and invent as methods of learning.
Permanent exhibits at the museum include Building Bridgetown, Pet Hospital, Outdoor Adventure, and Water Works. Both adults and children can expect hours of fun-filled learning adventures. The museum offers special birthday packages, catering for special events, field trips, group excursions, educational programs and summer camps.
The Portland Children’s Museum also provides a variety of workshops for teachers and adults. The museum is one of the top Portland, Oregon attractions for families.
Address: 4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-223-6500
Best parks in Portland: Washington Park, Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Photo: Portland Children's Museum
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» Things to Do in Portland, Oregon: OMSI
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.
Address: 1945 SE Water Ave., Portland, Oregon 97214, Phone: 503-797-4000 Photo: www.travelportland.com
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» 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.
Address: 2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, Oregon 97211, Phone: 503-477-6605
Photo: Pine State Biscuits
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»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.
Address: 400 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209, Phone: 503-241-0227
Photo: Floating World Comics
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»The Portland Farmers Market
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.
Address: 240 N Broadway Suite 129, Portland, Oregon 97227, Phone: 503-241-0032
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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.
Address: 22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204, Phone: 503-241-4704
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»Things to Do in Portland, Oregon: Washington Park
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.
Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd., Portland, Oregon 97221, Phone: 503-319-0999 Photo: pngstudio/Fotolia
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» Bing Mi!
Bing Mi! is a unique Portland food cart that serves Jian Bing, a traditional Chinese crêpe, for breakfast and lunch. Jian Bing, which originated on the streets of Northern China, is a Chinese breakfast wrap: a savory crêpe stuffed with scrambled eggs, black bean paste, crunchy wonton-style crackers, cilantro, chives, and pickled veggies.
Owned by Tim Harris and Alisa and Neal Grandy, Bing Mi! has only one item on the menu: the unique Jian Bing. The savory wrap is served from a food cart located at the SW 9th and Alder pod. Make sure to get there early and be prepared for a line if you want to try this sought-after Chinese treat.
Address: SW 9th & Alder, ?Portland, Oregon 97204, Phone: 503-282-2800 Photo: Bing Mi!
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»Oaks Amusement Park
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. Read more
Address: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, Oregon 97202, Phone: 503-233-5777
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»Portland, Oregon points of interest: Forest Park
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.
Address: 210 NW 17th Ave. Suite 201, Portland, Oregon 97209, Phone: 503-223-5449
Photo: Tomasz Zajda/Fotolia
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»Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
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.
Next read: Best Romantic Things to See & Do in Portland. Photo: sara_winter/Fotolia
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15 Best Things to Do in Portland, Oregon with Kids
- Oregon Zoo, Photo: Oregon Zoo / Photo by Michael Durham
- World Forestry Center, Photo: Courtesy of www.travelportland com
- Portland Aerial Tram, Photo: Courtesy of jpldesigns - Fotolia.com
- Portland Children's Museum, Photo: Portland Children's Museum
- Things to Do in Portland, Oregon: OMSI, Photo: Courtesy of www.travelportland.com
- Pine State Biscuits, Photo: Pine State Biscuits
- Floating World Comics, Photo: Floating World Comics
- The Portland Farmers Market, Photo: Courtesy of desros - Fotolia.com
- Voodoo Doughnut, Photo: Courtesy of Melpomene - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Portland, Oregon: Washington Park, Photo: Courtesy of pngstudio - Fotolia.com
- Bing Mi!, Photo: Bing Mi!
- Oaks Amusement Park, Photo: Oaks Amusement Park
- Portland, Oregon points of interest: Forest Park , Photo: Courtesy of Tomasz Zajda - Fotolia.com
- Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Photo: Courtesy of sara_winter - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Josemaria Toscano - Fotolia.co
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