Portland, Oregon – the first things that usually come to people’s mind are hipsters, coffee, craft beer, and that notorious rainy weather. But, Portland is so much more than that. It’s a colourful, vibrant city bursting with family fun adventures and these 10 interesting things to do in Portland with kids are a great starting point!
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Although it is true that it rains an average of 155 days per year in Portland, the summers are warm and dry. But, no matter what the weather, there’s always something to explore and plenty of things to do in Portland with kids.
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Fun Things to Do In Portland
#1. Enjoy Portland’s Parks! Parks! Parks!
Visit Ramona and Henry from the classic Beverly Cleary books in Grant Park, take in the incredible city views from Council Crest, or frolic in the fountain at Salmon Street Springs or Jamison Square to cool down in the summer.
The list goes on and on, for a complete listing of Portland’s parks check out the Parks and Rec parkfinder.
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#2. Go Book-Mad In Powell’s Books
Powell’s Books on W Burnside is a Portland institution! You will definitely get lost in over 68,000 sq ft of books covering a full city block. In fact, Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore in the world!
The bookstore hosts events, readings, and book launches and there’s a lovely café where you can enjoy a snack while browsing through your literary finds.
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#3. Explore Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
You can easily spend an entire day at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry aka OMSI. There are hours of hand-on exhibits in the five different exhibition halls where kids (and adults!) can test, play and learn!
Explore a real submarine, learn how holograms are created, experience an earthquake, visit the planetarium. And there’s even a Science Playground for children under 6 to explore and experiment.
#4. Spark Curiosity At Portland Children’s Museum
Take the MAX to the Washington Park Station, the deepest transit station in the US, and head up for a day at the Portland Children’s Museum and Oregon Zoo (see #5 below).
The Children’s Museum is a fully interactive museum to spark wonder and creativity in children of all ages. Create works of art, become a builder or a veterinarian, visit the market, star in your own show, or have outdoor adventures!
#5. Enjoy Exotic Animals At Oregon Zoo
…and, if that’s not enough for one day, visit Oregon Zoo just across from the Children’s Museum. The Oregon Zoo is home to over 1,800 animals. including Inji, aged 60, thought to be the oldest orangutan in the world.
Major exhibits include The Great Northwest, Africa Savanna, Africa Rainforest, and Elephant Lands. During the summer, the zoo hosts a concert series on the lawn near Elephant Lands.
#6. Meet Fairytales at The Enchanted Forest
About an hour south of Portland is the Enchanted Forest, a family run fairytale theme park that has been delighting Oregonians since 1971.
Kids can make their way through the dark rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland, say hello to Humpty Dumpty, slide down There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe, visit Western Town, or take a turn on one of the amusements.
#7. Go Roller Skating at Oaks Amusement Park
If you happen to get caught in some of Portland’s legendary rainy weather, head to the roller rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland’s historic Sellwood neighbourhood.
The roller rink at Oaks Park has been open since 1905 and is the last roller rink to still have music played over an organ. So strap on your skates and go for a spin around this historic roller rink!
On a sunnier day, The Park also offers family rides, kiddie rides, mini golf, go karts and more.
#8. Say Hello to Herman the Sturgeon at Bonneville Dam & Fish Hatchery
Engineering fans will enjoy a tour of Bonneville Dam, on the Columbia River, with its 20 turbines that supply 500,000 homes with power.
But, the real star family fun day out is a trip to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Visit and feed salmon in the fish farm, walk the trails, have a picnic, and be sure to visit the 80 year old Oregon icon, Herman the Sturgeon.
#9. Sample VooDoo Doughnuts
Feeling peckish? You can’t go to Portland without take a trip to the original VooDoo Doughnut in Portland’s Old Town.
From bacon maple bars, to doughnuts topped with Oreos, cereal, bubble gum and everything in between, there’s a reason they’ve been featured on countless US and international media outlets – the magic is in the hole!
#10. Learn About Trees at World Forestry Center
Located in Washington Park is the World Forestry Center, a non-profit created to educate visitors about the world’s forests, trees, and sustainability.
Full of interactive exhibits (including a wet-free raft ride!), kids and adults will leave with a new knowledge, appreciation and passion for the world’s forests. Be sure to say hello to Peggy The Train and the Petrified Stump during your visit.
On the second Saturday of each month, they have their TREEmendous Second Saturday events with special hands-on learning opportunities about trees and forests.
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What else would you recommend for family-friendly things to do in Portland? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!