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.

Museums

  • 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 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.

  • Fountains

On a hot day, little ones will rejoice as they zip through the jets of fountains and splash pads, found in many Portland parks.

Rainy-Day Diversions

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.

Kid-Friendly Eats

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.