There are few places in America for environmentally friendly and in with the times than grand old Portland, Oregon. Located in the rainy Pacific Northwest of the United States, the city is well-loved and revered for its welcoming of all walks of life, earning it the title of one of the happiest places to visit in the country.
Deeply innovative, and boasting such a rich history and arts culture that you may find yourself forgetting to surround yourself with the abundant wildlife the city offers, Portland should earn a place in the bucket lists of all who find themselves able to stop by.
While they may be loved for their breweries and accessibility to nightlife, the city is also a great stop for households with kids of all ages, especially with these family-friendly attractions:
Portland Japanese Garden
Who would have thought you could visit Portland and Japan with just a singular trip? The Portland Japanese Garden is meticulously maintained, and so incredibly detailed that people liken it to be one of the most authentic recreations of the traditional gardens grown all over Japan.
The city of Portland created the garden in 1963, calling it a symbol of peace and healing in the midst of World War II. Though named as a singular garden, there are five clear divisions of different styles of plants and architecture, making it a complex attraction to see.
There are waterfalls, stepping stones, and plants of all different types, making it one of the most zen, truly tranquil attractions you can find in the typically bustling city.
If there’s anything you can count on Portland, Oregon for, it’s calling to the importance of environmental preservation and the sanctity of our wildlife. Of course, there’s no better place in Portland to educate you and your children about all the incredible wonders of the world than the Oregon Zoo.
Coming in at 64 acres long, there are countless animals and exhibits for the whole household to explore- from creatures as big as the Rhinoceros to as small as the African bullfrog. There are a number of events you can attend, so we highly recommend taking a look at their website to see what’s happening while you’re in town!
On top of the animals, you and the tribe can also take a ride on the famous carousel and train located on the grounds, making for a memory that’s entirely photo-worthy.
Portland Art Museum
With its unique collection of art that seems individually curated to showcase Portland’s complexities and quirks, the Portland Art Museum is surely one of the most unique museums you and your family will visit during any of your vacations.
There are a consistently rotating number of exhibits in various styles and mediums, ranging from retrospective pieces by a single artist to pieces centralized around a single topic by various artists.
We highly suggest taking a look at the website to see what exhibits are currently being showcased, and which ones are upcoming. On top of the art you can see, there are also movie showings (including kid-catered flicks like Sing and Shrek. Watching a movie in the midst of a museum is definitely a unique way to spend your weekend!
Portland Saturday Market
What better way to spend your weekend than by supporting the local artists, chefs, and crafters of Portland? The Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts and crafts market in the country, and it runs every single Saturday from March to December. There are a seemingly endless amount of things to buy, taste, and purchase- from clothes to cooking ware!
Not only will you be able to stock up on a ton of unique pieces (so you don’t look too mainstream), but you’ll be supporting small businesses- which is a very philanthropic way to spend your vacation! With the number of vendors setting up shop every single weekend, the market is an ideal way to spend a couple of hours during your Saturday in Portland.
Portland Underground Tour
Do you and the kids have a bit of a spooky side? If you have the guts to handle a walk through a Portland Underground Tour, we definitely consider it to be one of the most historical, yet entertaining, attractions that Portland has to offer.
Portland has a bit of a dark past, and you’ll uncover all of those deeply hidden secrets and more with just one visit through the city’s Old Town and Chinatown locations.
A bulk of the tour is spent touring the streets, but come the latter half, everyone in the group is handed a personal flashlight, as you’ll be stepping into the subterranean area underneath the Merchant Hotel- the site of the infamous “Portland Shanghai Tunnels”. It is a PG tour, so we wouldn’t recommend it for kids under the age of 10!
Powell’s City of Books
What better way to commemorate your visit to Portland, Oregon than with a book from Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest new and used bookstore! That’s right, we said largest. It takes up an entire city block in size and is home to upwards of a million kinds of books for all ages and about all subjects.
There are always events happening at the store, including inspiring talks from Portland locals, to readings from independent authors. However, if you’re just looking for a quiet afternoon browsing the shelves, you can rest assured knowing that the store is big enough to find a secluded area to find your next read.
It is quite a tourist destination, though, so be prepared to pay for parking. There’s also public transportation to the store if you don’t want to bother dealing with your vehicle.
Oaks Amusement Park
Got some thrillseekers in the family? Though Portland is known for its crunchy granola nature, it’s also home to one of the craziest theme parks on the west coast! It’s called Oaks Amusement Park, and it has rides, picnic areas, games, and even mini-golf, making it one of the most fun-packed ways you can spend your weekend in the northwest.
We highly recommend taking a look at their website and planning out each of the attractions you want to see. You can buy bundles and packs if you’re wanting to try everything out, or ride bracelets if you think the family will be dedicating their time to the roller coasters all day.