Travel with Children
Portland is fantastic for families. Kids will enjoy the city's countless parks and outdoor spaces and noshing on food-cart treats. A zoo and an amusement park add to the thrills, while museums offer exhibitions and hands-on activities that educate and entertain curious minds of all ages.
- Portland Children's Museum
Hands-on learning and exploration are encouraged at this museum with a clay studio, pet hospital, maze and more.
- Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
Kids will love spending a day at this science center, which has a planetarium, big-screen theater, 'discovery lab' and playground.
- World Forestry Center
Kids can learn about the earth's forests and environmental sustainability at this center with two floors of interactive exhibits.
- Oregon Historical Society
The hands-on, interactive exhibits at this museum include a canoe-building exercise and historical role-playing games.
- Portland Art Museum
Take advantage of free admission and family tour days, including one for caregivers with babies, at this wonderful art museum.
- Stark's Vacuum Museum
This quirky collection of 300 antique vacuum machines may help kids take an interest in chores.
Parks & Attractions
- Washington Park
This sprawling public park with massive trees, picnic tables and a playground is also home to top attractions, including the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children's Museum.
- Oregon Zoo
This zoo has more than 2500 animals, a fun train that does a one-mile loop around the grounds, and regular kid-friendly events and summer concerts.
- Oaks Amusement Park
Opened in 1905, this small amusement park has several kiddie rides with height requirements from 34in tall, plus a skating rink, mini golf and arcade games.
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
Fortune-telling, koi ponds, a plant scavenger hunt and a story-time program are fun for kids at this peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
- Japanese Garden
Tranquil garden with tea ceremonies, koto harp performances and bonsai tree demonstrations helps kids learn about Japanese culture while practicing their indoor voices.
- Portland Aerial Tram
Kids will love seeing Portland from up high on the aerial tram, which ascends 500ft from the South Waterfront to Marquam Hill.
On a hot day, little ones will rejoice as they zip through the jets of fountains and splash pads, found in many Portland parks.
Portland showers are typically gentle and short lived, but if your plans get rain-checked, give these indoor activities a try.
- Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
This arcade bar with two floors of classic video games and pinball machines is open to all ages from noon to 5pm daily.
- PlayDate PDX
Castle-themed indoor playground with bounce houses, slides, ball cannons, climbing walls, dance floors and obstacle courses. Admission is free after 5pm on Monday.
- Powell's City of Books
With more than a million books across 3500 sections, this massive independent bookstore – which covers an entire city block – is a great place to while away the day, rain or shine. There's a kids' story time every Saturday at 11am.
- Pittock Mansion
Kids can explore 22 rooms filled with 1900s period furniture at this stately mansion in Portland's West Hills.
- Movie Theaters
Portland has loads of independent theaters, including Kennedy School Theater in an old school building, which has 'crybaby matinees' – infants are welcomed during the first matinee of the day from Tuesday to Thursday each week.
Scattered throughout the city and often clustered together in pods, Portland's famous stationary food carts are a great way to sample and share lots of different dishes, or cater to various palates and levels of pickiness. There's a cart for just about every cuisine, delicacy or dietary restriction imaginable.
A great place for food carts is the Portland Saturday Market in Old Town. Open Saturday and Sunday from March to December, it's the largest continually running, open-air craft market in the US. There are plenty of local vendors selling unique kids' clothing and toys, plus a 'Kids Korner' with special entertainment and educational events.
If they can tolerate standing in the notoriously long line, kids will be rewarded at Voodoo Doughnut, Portland's hallowed home of deep-fried, doughy goodness. Doughnuts are adorned with sparkle dust, candies, sugary cereal, cookie crumbles and more. The Voodoo Doll doughnut, complete with a pretzel stake to the heart, is an especially fun selection.
With the exception of upscale, prix-fixe menu establishments, restaurants in Portland are very kid-friendly.
Need to Know
- Transport Kids under six ride public transport for free when traveling with an adult; see www.trimet.org.
- Resources Check out PDX Parent (www.pdxparent.com) magazine, both online and in print.
- Emergencies Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center is conveniently located to downtown.
- Changing facilities Restrooms in larger stores and venues typically have changing tables.