"Portland has no shortage of parks, and it’s always a treat to visit your neighborhood green space."
In many ways, Portland is famous for the distractions it offers for those over the age of 21. Such “adulting” diversions as fantastic restaurants, pub crawls and rocking evenings in one of the legendary local music venues are so popular, they become part of many a bucket list for travelers. But if you came here with your kids in tow, we have good news for you. Stump City has plenty of incredible things for the tots to take part in that you can fit into your busy schedule of having “grown-up” fun while you’re here. In fact, some of these activities can be joined by parents and their offspring alike!
There are plenty of options to explore when it comes to keeping the young ones entertained. Oregon’s natural beauty is always on hand. The outdoor opportunities are plentiful and can be just as reinvigorating to the soul whether you’re five or eighty-five. Adventurous clans will be very happy to see what awaits rain or shine. But if the kids would rather be indoors, there’s plenty to see under dry roofs as well. This includes amusements, tasty victuals and even shopping that will see the little ones’ eyes light up. Don’t worry, adults — you won’t be bored in any of these places. Here’s a child’s-eye view of Portland’s offerings.
All Things Under the Sky
Even in the middle of a metropolis like Portland, it’s hard to escape the natural beauty that dominates this part of the American Northwest. Mountains loom around the city limits. Waterways of all manner encircle the area. Trees loom large at the edge of town. But maybe the most “natural” place to start would be Washington Park. Within its confines are one of the most amazing playgrounds in the world. But this is also the home of the Oregon Zoo, a sure pleaser for the whole family. There’s a forestry center here, too, which can educate kids of all ages about what lies in the local wilds. The Japanese Garden and Hoyt Arboretum are also fun jaunts to take the whole gang on.
If you’re willing to drive a little under an hour, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area can level up your outdoor adventure. Here, you can see amazing waterfalls, get into some serious hiking and get in some intense Instagram shots. The more adventurous can even go kayaking or overnight camping. Rather stick closer to town? Try out the Portland Saturday Market. This weekend outdoor market is loaded with fun stuff to buy that the kids will love while everybody still gets some fresh air. There are even live music events and puppet shows if you show up on the right days!
As we all know, Portland can get a little rainy at times. Fortunately, there is no end of things for kids to do that are completely indoors. Perhaps the most attractive of these for parents are all the great museums the city has to offer. Whether their preferences happen to be science-based or lean more into the arts, there are exhibits to delight the little tykes from one institution to the other. There’s even one such destination dedicated entirely to children themselves. Education and wonder can intersect to provide a fun and enriching afternoon for all.
But lest we forget that kids are people too, consider all the shopping that kids could enjoy while in the Rose City. First of all, this is a town that simply loves its books. Bookstores are a draw for children who love to browse the latest tales for youngsters and the tomes that contain delightful illustrations within. Speaking of which, there are also incredible comic bookstores in Portland. Home to one of the biggest publishers in America, comics culture is serious here, and you will find not only great reading for the kids to pick up but also plenty of events planned as well.
And, of course — everybody likes to eat! While youngsters may not get as excited about Portland’s world-famous foodie scene, there are some places they absolutely will never forget. Think about specialty pancake houses making their treats on a table in front of you. Rainbow flavors abound in the many ice creameries in town. Specialty donut houses transform the commonplace confections into sublime experiences. There are even places where you can ride your bike to rows of food trucks serving up burgers, tacos and more. Your kids will have delicious memories to savor for a lifetime!