The lighter side of real estate

30 Best Things to Do In Portland With A Family

Kid-friendly brewpubs and happy hours are just further proof when it comes to offering things to do in Portland for the whole family, you'll never run out of options.

Kris Norton

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1. Make Room For Some Ionic Bonding Time

Kids do a science experiment

Source: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) Facebook

Kids and adults can foster their love of learning at OMSI where the hands-on and fun don’t stop. You can ride in a motion simulator, do your own experiments, catch an IMAX movie, play in the science playground, or even board the USS Blueback. Keep your eyes peeled for special Sundays when admission is only $2.

2. Get In Touch With Nature

A boy interacts with a display in a science museum

Source: World Forestry Center Facebook

…Well, kind of. The Oregon Zoo is a great day trip for families but not just because of the animals. The adjacent World Forestry Center makes for 64 acres of land that takes you through environments like African savannahs to tropical rainforests.

3. Give The Kids A Love For Art

Two women look at a piece of art

Source: Portland Art Museum Facebook

Visit the Portland Art Museum every Sunday for family-focused tours when kids under 17 get in for free and cater to the budding artist inside all of us.

4. Go Where It’s Easy Like Saturday Morning

An elephant ear pastry

Source: Portland Saturday Market Facebook

Teens and tweens can spend the day with their parents at the Portland Saturday Market. Browse the rows of handmade jewelry, art, and artisanal goods while tearing apart an elephant ear and dancing to the live music.

5. The Portland Children’s Museum Lets Kids Be Kids Safely

Kids play at an indoor playground

Source: Portland Children’s Museum Facebook

With an illuminated Twilight Trail, a toddler sandbox area, a make-your-own-fort area, an art zone and place to play veterinarian, the Zaney Maze to run through, and the Zoom Tree to climb, there’s something for the younger kids and the bigger kids to do at the Portland Children’s Museum.

6. Share Some Ice Cream From The Moon

A family shares a sundae

Source: Cool Moon Ice Cream Co. Facebook

Cool Moon, that is. Come with the whole family and order a Real McCall for ten scoops of ice cream topped off with a mound of whipped cream.

7. Get A Hole In One In The Dark

A black-light indoor miniature golf course

Source: Glowing Greens Facebook

Everyone loves a round of mini golf. And the indoor, blacklight, glow-in-the-dark, 3D course at Glowing Greens is always a crowd pleaser that you can enjoy year-round.

8. Sometimes You Want To Go Where Everybody Knows Your Kid’s Name

The Laurelwood Tavern

Source: Laurelwood Public House & Brewery Facebook

You don’t normally see families hanging out in breweries. But Laurelwood Brewery’s philosophy is to keep both of their locations (Northeast Sandy Boulevard and the Sellwood brewpub) as “the place where friends and family meet.”

Bring the kids for a family-friendly happy hour and there’s even a play area designed for toddlers.

9. Celebrate Independent Bookstores And A Love Of Reading In The Best Book Store Ever

Two girls read books at Powell's

Source: Powell’s Books, Inc. Facebook

Spanning an entire city block and filled with more than 1.5 million books in 3,500 sections, Powell’s is easily an afternoon-long event.

Grab a cup of coffee for yourself and a hot chocolate for the kids in the café and explore the magical world of books, new and used, along with some offbeat novelties and souvenirs. And bring the little ones to enjoy storytime.

10. Cool Down In Jamison Square’s Disappearing Pool

Families play at Jamison Square

Source: Oregon Live

When the heat hits Portland, a great way to spend the afternoon is in Jamison Square. One of the coolest public fountains around, kids and adults both love splashing around with the people of Portland.

11. Find Out Who Can Flip The Best Pancakes

People eat at Slappy Cakes

Source: Slappy Cakes Facebook

In true Portland form, Slappy Cakes is a one-of-a-kind restaurant where griddles are built into the tables and you’re encouraged to make your own pancakes.

You select your batter and a crazy assortment of toppings like marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate chips and then see who can come up with the best pancake concoction.

12. Spend The Day Scavenging For Brains Together

A woman and child dressed as Zombies

Source: Portland Zombie Walk Facebook

A zombie walk might be a little bit unconventional for a family outing, but that’s exactly why you live in Portland, right? Besides, if it makes the older kids think you’re still cool enough to be seen in public with, it’s worth a little makeup and torn flannel.

13. Search For Ramona Quimby

A statues of Ramona Quimby

Source: Wikipedia

Beverly Cleary has made a lot of childhoods a better place with her books. Her neighborhood in Portland honors her with a sculpture garden in Grant Park. Pack a picnic, let the kids play at the playground, and read a little Ramona together.

14. Discover Why Peanut Butter And Jelly Isn’t Just For Kids Anymore

A family at the grilled PB&J food truck

Source: Tanya Hooper Facebook

Everyone will be excited for lunch when they find out it’s time to visit PBJ’s Grilled food cart. And no, these aren’t the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches your grandmom used to make you.

You’ll find amazing sandwiches grilled to perfection and stuffed with some of the craziest combos imaginable.

15. Dust The Bikes Off And Go For A Ride

People ride bikes through a wooded park

Source: Red Tricycle

One of the best things about living in Portland is getting to be a part of all that gorgeous Pacific Northwest scenery and there is no better way to enjoy it than by going for a ride along many of the kid-friendly bike paths in and outside of the city.

16. Learn About The Art Of Zen Together

A girl sits beside a Japanese doll display

Source: The Portland Japanese Garden Facebook

The Portland Japanese Garden is an incredibly calming and serene adventure where the whole family can enjoy some different scenery in the immaculately landscaped gardens and elevated boardwalk.

The annual doll festival showcases original Hina Ningyo dolls and visitors can try on traditional cotton yukata and have their photos taken.

17. Come Out For Kiddie Happy Hour

A child sits at a bar

Source: YakuzaPDX Facebook

If you’re dying to get out for Happy Hour but you have the kids, Yakuza has you covered. They don’t just supply the adults with some deliciously handcrafted drinks and food, they even have their own kid-friendly happy hour menu.

From 5-6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, shrimp or pork katsus are just $3, add a side of rice or noodles for $2 and some edamame for $1 and everyone is happy.

18. May The Fifth Be With You

Traditional dancers at a Cinco de Mayo festival

Source: Cinco de Mayo Portland Facebook

Cinco De Mayo in Portland is a great experience and it’s super kid-friendly. The fiesta includes a massive Dia de los Muertos exhibit, endless live music, performances by the Mexican ballet, lucha libre wrestlers, an interactive butterfly exhibit, and a carnival.

Kids can get their faces painted, make crafts, and ride the ferris wheel while learning about Mexican culture.

19. Fall In Love With Voodoo

VooDoo Donuts

Source: Voodoo Donut Facebook

Kids go crazy for a stop at this famous donut shop where they can get a donut the size of their head or a regular sized donut topped with everything their dentists will hate.

20. Bowl The Rainy Day Away

A teen at a bowling alley

Source: Big Al’s @Progress Ride Townsquare Faebook

You probably won’t wait for the rainy days to visit Big Al’s, though, because they’ve packed so much family-fun into one place.

Get a Family FUN Pack for the best deal of $12.50 per person (minimum 4 people) and you get 8 games of bowling, 4 shoe rentals, and $20 worth of FUN cards to spend away in the arcade.

21. Keep Portland Weird With The McMenamins UFO Festival

Girls dressed as aliens

Source: The McManamins UFO Festival Facebook

Scared of aliens? Please. The kids in Portland have seen way stranger. Although you’ll find plenty of tinfoil hat-wearing alien enthusiasts, it’s really just a fun outdoor festival where you’ll get to dress up in crazy costumes – dress the dog up, too, and get him entered in the pet costume contest.

22. Follow The Pied Piper

Kids play at The Pied Piper Cafe

Source: The Pied Piper Play Café Facebook

When the kids are climbing the walls and you’d like nothing more than to grab a cup of coffee with a friend, The Pied Piper Play Café is where you need to be.

A coffee shop overlooks the play space where kids are free to play with the toys and other kids, giving you a little breathing room and java jolt while they have fun.

23. Catch A Movie At School… Kind Of

The Kennedy School movie theater

Source: McMenamins Kennedy School Facebook

Check out any one of their many events like live music and Irish dancers in the gym and maypole dancers on the front lawn at McMenamins Kennedy School. But the theater is a great time, too. Grab a craft beer from their pub and sit down in one of the recliners and watch a flick with the family for super night.

24. Mimosas Even The Kids Can Enjoy

Girls hold ceramic figurines

Source: Mimosa Studios Facebook

For nearly 15 years now, Mimosa Studios has been making Portland a more colorful place by allowing painters of all ages and skill levels to paint pottery in an open but cozy environment. You can also throw birthday parties here, too.

25. Make It A Roller Kind Of Day

People roller skate

Source: The Oaks Amusement Park Facebook

Carnival rides, a rollercoaster, a roller skating rink, and miniature golf – what’s not to love? The Oaks Amusement park brings wholesome fun for Portlanders to enjoy in their own city.

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posted on: May 28, 2015
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