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. Scroll to see the full list with photos or jump to the table of contents.


Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo

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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.

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

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World Forestry Center

World Forestry Center

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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.

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


Portland Aerial Tram

Portland Aerial Tram

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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.

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


Oregon Maritime Museum

Oregon Maritime Museum

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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.

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


OMSI

OMSI

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The world-renowned Oregon Museum of Science (OMSI) 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.

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


Pine State Biscuits

Pine State Biscuits

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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.

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


Floating World Comics

Floating World Comics

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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.

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


Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

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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.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 98 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, Oregon 97204


The Portland Farmers Market

The Portland Farmers Market

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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.

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


Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut

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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.

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


Washington Park

Washington Park

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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.

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


Grand Central Baking Company

Grand Central Baking Company

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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.

Grand Central Baking Company , 1154, 4440 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213, Phone: 503-808-9877


Virtuous Pie

Virtuous Pie

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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.

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


Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

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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. Map


Oaks Amusement Park

Oaks Amusement Park

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Oaks Amusement 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.

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


Forest Park

Forest Park

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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.

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

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The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch

The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch

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Explore Portland’s original corn maze at The Pumpkin Patch! With over 20 seasons under its belt, The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch 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.

The Maize at The Pumpkin Patch, 16511 NW Gillihan Road, Portland, Oregon 97231, Phone: 503-621-7110

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Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden

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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.

Lan Su Chinese Garden , 239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland, Oregon 97209, Phone: 503-228-8131


More Things to Do in Portland, Oregon with Kids

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.

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