PDX Parent Picks 2017

Food & Drink

BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

Winner: Laughing Planet Cafe

Come for the tabletop dinosaurs, stay for the fresh, tasty food with plenty of healthy choices for kids and grown-ups alike. We’re partial to the Highway to Kale salad; our kids flip for the bean and cheese burritos, with a side of fresh veggies and a smoothie.

Top 5: Cultured CavemanHopworks Urban BreweryLaurelwood BrewpubThe Oregon Public HouseZoiglhaus Brewing Company

BEST BRUNCH

Winner: Slappy Cakes

Sure, you could stay home and make pancakes. But it’s so much more fun to make them at Slappy Cakes, where the batter can be buttermilk or chocolate or peanut butter, and the toppings are basically endless.

Top 5: Batter Griddle & DrinkeryJam on HawthorneOff the WaffleThe Original Pancake HouseTin Shed Garden Café

BEST FOOD CART POD

Winner: TIE: Portland Mercado and Cartlandia

Don’t feel like making lunch, or dinner? Solution Portland Mercado at midday, for the best Latin American-influenced street food around, and Cartlandia for dinner, for food from pretty much everywhere else around the globe.

Top 5: CartopiaHillsdale Food Cart ParkMississippi MarketplaceRose City Food ParkTidbit Food Farm and Garden

BEST PIZZA

Winner: Hotlips Pizza

In this pizza-crazy town, Hotlips stands out for all-around kid-friendliness, from the slices that take just seconds to warm up to the free peppermints available at the cash register and the classic arcade games in the seating area.

Top 5: Pietro’s PizzaPizzicato PizzaPizza JerkScottie’s Pizza ParlorSizzle Pie

BEST WELCOMING COFFEE SHOP

Winner: Roseway Play Café

Recipe for a perfect coffee shop: Great coffee, healthy eats, and dedicated space for the kids to play, or hear some tunes. Check, check and check at our winner, Roseway Play Café.

Top 5: Bipartisan CaféJim and Patty’s Coffee PeopleKnow Thy Food CooperativeMaplewood Coffee & TeaPapaccino’s Coffee House & Cereal Bar

BEST LOCAL ICE CREAM

Winner: Salt & Straw

The lines outside tell the story: Tourists may flock to Salt & Straw for their kooky flavors (fish sauce ice cream, anyone?), but in-the-know local kids line up for chocolate gooey brownie.

Top 5: Cloud City Ice CreamEb & BeanFifty Licks Ice CreamNectar Frozen Yogurt LoungeRuby Jewel

BEST DOUGHNUTS

Winner: Pip’s Original Doughnuts

Portland does doughnuts like nobody’s business. And nobody does it better than Pip’s Original in Beaumont Village. Pro tip: They’ll give you a dozen free doughnuts on your b-day!

Top 5: Annie’s DonutsBlue Star DonutsCoco DonutsSesame DonutsVooDoo Doughnut

BEST CAKE, CUPCAKES, COOKIES

Winner: Saint Cupcake
Need cupcakes for your kiddo’s birthday party? To Saint Cupcake you go! These are the yummy, buttercreamy stuff of birthday party legend.

Top 5: Baker & SpiceFAT Cupcake, JaCiva’s BakeryPiece of Cake Catering and DessertsToadstool Cupcakes

Family Fun

BEST INDOOR PLAY PLACE

Winner: G6 Airpark Portland

Now you see ‘em, now you don’t. Your kiddos fly high at G6’s massive indoor trampolining complex. Just a hour or two there will be enough to tire them out for the rest of the day, guaranteed.

Top 5: Local community centers, Lumberyard Indoor Bike ParkPlay BoutiquePlayDate PDXPortland Children’s Museum

BEST PLAYGROUND

Winner: Westmoreland Park

When the reimagined Westmoreland Park opened a few years back, it signaled the start of a new era in PDX-area playgrounds: the nature playspace. Look for that trend to continue in coming years. (But the original is still our readers’ favorite!)

Top 5: Harper’s PlaygroundKʰunamokwst ParkMarshall ParkPeninsula ParkWashington Park

BEST ART STUDIO

Winner: SCRAP PDX

Portland has always been on the leading edge of the green movement, so it makes sense that our top pick for little artists is SCRAP, where recycled bits and bobs are turned into fantastical pieces of art.

Top 5: The Craft FactoryPortland Child Art StudioSmartypants PDXSpark Arts CenterVIBE of Portland 

BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY SPOT

Winner: Oaks Amusement Park

Got a kid with a summer birthday? Oaks Parks has it covered, with rides galore. Winter baby? Try the roller rink. This is an all-year round destination, and a timeless Portland landmark.

Top 5: Local community centers, Mad Science Portland and VancouverOregon Museum of Science and IndustryPietro’s PizzaPortland Children’s Museum

BEST ALL-AGES VOLUNTEERING

Winner: Oregon Food Bank

Many hands make light work at the Oregon Food Bank. You and the kids might be sorting potatoes or apples, pasta or oatmeal, but you’ll always leave knowing that you’ve helped out other families all over our state.

Top 5: Butterfly Boxes PDXThe Children’s Book BankChildren’s Healing Arts ProjectFriends of TreesSOLVE Oregon

BEST MEMBERSHIP

Winner: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The crowds flocking to this year’s blockbuster Art of the Brick exhibit only confirmed what our readers already knew dollar-for-dollar, if you can only buy one membership, it should be to OMSI.

Top 5: Oregon ZooPortland Art MuseumPortland Children’s MuseumPortland Japanese GardenLocal swap ’n plays

Services & Shopping

BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP

Winner: Beanstalk Children’s Resale Clothing

At Beanstalk, owner Carmen Ripley Wilson handpicks a carefully curated selection of like-new items (at a fraction of the price), with a special emphasis on the especially modish and/or adorable. Summer vacay and back-to-school shopping, here you come.

Top 5: Bella Stella ResaleHazel & PearHoot-N-Annie Children’s New and Resale BoutiqueJust 4 KidsSmallfry

BEST LOCAL NEW KIDS’ CLOTHING

Winner: Hanna Andersson

Here’s the thing about clothes from Hanna Andersson They last forever. Last year’s dress is this year’s tunic, and next year’s shirt. Our kids are still wearing their Hanna jammies from three years ago. Long may they reign.

Top 5: Black WagonThe Bull and the BeeEcoBaby GearPosh BabyTreeHouse Children’s Boutique

BEST CONSIGNMENT EVENT

Winner: SuperKids Resale Consignment

Big consignment sales are not for the faint of heart, but SuperKids Resale makes it look easy, with a well-organized selection of clothes, shoes and all the baby gear you could ever need.

Top 5: Baby’s Bottom Dollar SaleJust Between FriendsPass It OnThriftmouse Pre-Loved ConsignmentsTwice Around the Block

BEST TOY STORE

Winner: Thinker Toys

There’s a reason Thinker Toys has been a Multnomah Village mainstay for two decades and counting. This sprawling-yet-cozy store has something for everyone, from handmade stuffies for the littles to the coolest science kits for big kids.

Top 5: Finnegan’s Toys & GiftsGrasshopper StoreHammer + JacksKids at Heart ToysSeahorses PDX

BEST BOOK STORE

Winner: Powell’s Books

Ah, Powell’s. Let’s get lost together in the stacks, hide out in rare books, dream away the afternoon in the travel section, and meet up again in the kid’s area, shall we? Next up the expanded storefront on SE Hawthorne opens soon, with a much bigger children’s section.

Top 4: A Children’s Place BookstoreAnnie Bloom’s BooksGreen Bean BooksMudPuddles Toys & Books

BEST GROCERY STORE

Winner: New Seasons Markets

From a kid’s-eye-view, New Seasons has it all — car carts, plentiful samples, free fruit for kids and stickers at the cash register. Now if only they could invent a way to get the kids to stop sneaking Coco Puffs into the cart when you’re not looking.

Top 5: Costco WholesaleFred MeyerMarket of ChoiceTrader Joe’sWinCo Foods

BEST SUMMER CAMP

Winner: Trackers Earth

Does your kid want to learn how to shoot an arrow? Start a fire? Weave a basket? Paddle their own canoe? Catch a fish? Milk a goat? Forge their own trail? Do it all — and more! — at reader favorite Trackers Earth.

Top 5: BaxterSportsCamp NamanuLocal parks and recreation programs, Portland Children’s MuseumOregon Zoo

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY BIKE STORE/REPAIR

Winner: Sellwood Cycle Repair

In Portland, plenty of kids learn to bike almost as soon as they can walk. Whether they are on a balance bike, a tricycle, training wheels or ready to pedal, Sellwood Cycles will set you up right.

Top 5: Bike GalleryBikes for Humanity PDXCommunity Cycling CenterIslabikesRiver City Bicycles

BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP

Winner: Books with Pictures

Owned by local parents, Books With Pictures has a smart, well-edited selection of graphic novels targeted at both kids and adults, with comfy seating and plenty of room to browse, too.

Top 5: Bridge City ComicsCosmic Monkey ComicsExcalibur Books and ComicsOther World Games & ComicsThings From Another World

BEST KIDS’ HAIR SALON

Winner: Kids Castle Cuts

In a snug storefront just off Woodstock Boulevard, this is the place for stylish kiddos to come to get shorn — while sitting in a pink Jeep or fight jet. And if there is a wait, there’s a full room of fun toys to keep them entertained.

Top 5: Brick and MortarKuts 4 Kids and AdultsLil SnippersPigtails and CrewcutsSit Still Salon

BEST LOCAL FESTIVAL

Winner: Portland Rose Festival

Portland’s biggest party of the year stretches on for months, but really gets in gear around Memorial Day weekend and continues into June, with fun parades and carnival rides galore.

Top 4: Pickathon Music FestPortland Winter Light FestivalSunday Parkways PortlandWaterfront Blues Festival

Arts & Entertainment

BEST KINDIE MUSICIANS/PERFORMERS

Winner: Olive & Dingo

Tall-bike riding clowns Olive & Dingo topline storytimes all over town, and they are rock-stars to the junior set, who clamor for balloon animals and boogie down to their spirited songs.

Top 5: The AlphabeticiansMicah and MeMo PhillipsPenny’s PuppetsRed Yarn

BEST PERFORMING ARTS COMPANY

Winner: Northwest Children’s Theater and School

Top 5: Echo Theater CompanyOregon Ballet TheatreOregon Children’s TheatreOregon SymphonyTears of Joy Theatre

BEST MOVIE THEATER

Winner:  McMenamins Kennedy School Theater

Here’s the very best part about the new mama matinees at the Kennedy School. Not only do you get to get out of your house, not only does it not matter if the baby cries, but you can cry too, and no one will bat an eye.

Top 5: Academy TheaterHollywood TheatreLaurelhurst TheaterMcMenamin’s Bagdad Theatre & PubRegal Bridgeport Village Stadium & IMAX

Health & Wellness

BEST KIDS SPORTS CLASS

Winner: Portland parks and recreation, multiple locations

For the price, you can’t beat local parks and recreation classes. They’re the perfect intro, especially, if you don’t know whether your 2-year-old’s passion is going to be, say, basketball or jiu-jitsu. Take a class and find out!

Top 5: Glendoveer Golf & TennisPortland Lil’ KickersRose City FutsalSoccer ShotsTualatin Hills parks and recreation district

BEST SWIM INSTRUCTION

Winner: Local parks and recreation community centers, multiple locations

Yesterday’s Angelfish are tomorrow’s Park Sharks. Just don’t get stuck at the Sea Lion level — man, it takes a long time to master those dives!

Top 5: Cascade Athletic ClubsChildren of the SeaDolFun Swim AcademyFarber Swim SchoolSwimBabes

BEST DANCE CLASS

Winner: BodyVox Dance

Sometimes a kid just has to boogie down. And where better to do that than at BodyVox, where they can also learn the fundamentals of choreography, and the math and science behind intricate dance sequences?

Top 5: Classical Ballet AcademyDance with Joy StudiosNorthwest Dance ProjectOregon Ballet TheatreThe Portland Ballet

BEST KID ROCK-CLIMBING GYM

Winner: The Circuit Bouldering Gym

Kids of all ages, shapes and sizes love to scale the climbing walls here, which lead to a fun slide that zips them down to the bottom again. And … repeat!

Top 4: Ascent Climbing Center at ClubSport OregonPlanet Granite PortlandPortland Rock GymSource Climbing Center

BEST KID GYMNASTICS CLASS

Winner: The Children’s Gym

Tumblebugs and aspiring Olympians alike love The Children’s Gym for its flexible scheduling and challenging classes.

Top 5: The Circus ProjectOMEGA GymnasticsThe Playground GymUpper Westside Play GymVillaSport Athletic Club and Spa

BEST MAMA/BABY FITNESS CLASS

Winner: Fit4Mom

Here’s why so many people love Fit4Moms — everyone else in there knows what it is like to try to lose the baby weight. Get moving, and bring the baby along, too — no one minds if you’re breastfeeding while doing your squats.

Top 5: Pre/Postnatal yoga at Alma MidwiferyBaby Boot CampHealthy Muhm Bootie CampHike It BabyYoga Union Community Wellness Center

BEST KID-FRIENDLY YOGA

Winner: Imagination Yoga

Study after study has shown that yoga helps kids stay calm and make thoughtful choices. The folks at Imagination Yoga layer on fun movements and even offer classes aimed at kids with special needs.

Top 5: Roseway Yoga & MovementWoodstock Wellness CenterYoga PlaygroundsTIE: Yoga Shala and Root Whole BodyYoga Union Community Wellness Center

BEST MAMA-FRIENDLY SPA

Winner: Zenana Spa and Wellness

A haven for mamas-to-be, new mamas, and been-there-done-that mamas alike, Zenana is the place to come for upscale massages, non-toxic nail care and blissful facials.

Top 5: Blooming Moon Wellness SpaCommon Ground Wellness CenterLöyly SaunaLuna WellnessVillaSport Athletic Club and Spa

BEST DENTIST FOR KIDS

Winner: World of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

Going to the dentist doesn’t necessarily sound like a fun outing out, but our readers think the staff at World of Smiles make it bright and enjoyable for your kiddo — they’ll leave with (you guessed it) a smile on their faces.

Top 5: Dentistry for KidsGreenburg Pediatric DentistryHollywood Children’s DentistryLittle Smiles Pediatric DentistrySprout Pediatric Dentistry

BEST PEDIATRIC OFFICE

Winner: Metropolitan Pediatrics

One of the city’s biggest pediatric offices is also a top pick of our readers, known for their attention to detail, 24-hour advice nurse line and caring staff.

Top 5: Broadway Medical ClinicHillsboro Pediatric ClinicOregon Health & Sciences UniversityPediatric Associates of the NorthwestSellwood Medical Clinic

BEST KIDS’ OPTOMETRIST/OPHTHALMOLOGIST 

Winner: Oregon Health and Sciences University’s Casey Eye Institute

Take it from our readers If the eye chart is defeating your kiddos, and their teachers say they’re having trouble focusing in school, go see the folks at OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute for a consult. They also have world-class ophthalmologists specializing in pediatric eye diseases.

Top 4: Alberta Eye CareChild Eye Care Associates – TigardEye Health NorthwestHawthorne Vision Center

BEST PLACE TO GIVE BIRTH

Winner: Providence Health & Services hospitals

There are so many different ways and places to give birth in 2017, but readers gave the nod to Providence Health & Services Hospitals for an array of options for every family/lifestyle.

Top 5: Alma Midwifery ServicesKaiser Sunnyside Medical CenterLegacy Health HospitalsOregon Health & Sciences UniversityWomen’s Healthcare Associates Midwifery Birth Center

BEST WORKOUT WITH ONSITE CHILD CARE

Winner: 24 Hour Fitness

Because sometimes you just have to work up a sweat that doesn’t involve lugging around a kid on your back. Our readers recommend dropping ’em off at the well-liked child care program at 24 Fitness while you go get your sweat on.

Top 5: Cascade Athletic ClubClubSport OregonMittleman Jewish Community CenterSouthwest Community CenterVillaSport Athletic Club and Spa

Family Travel

BEST DESTINATION

Winner: Cannon Beach/Seaside/Manzanita

It’s only an hour and a half away, but the Oregon Coast feels like a different world. If you seek seashells and sea stars and sea stacks and seeing for miles up and down the coast, look no further than Cannon Beach, Seaside and Manzanita.

Top 5: Bend, Columbia River Gorge, Lincoln City/Newport, Mount Hood/Government Camp, Tillamook/Oceanside/Pacific City

BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESORT

Winner: Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa

Our readers advise escaping Portland’s endless grey skies to Kah-Nee-Ta, closest of Central Oregon’s family-friendly resorts, where you can bask in high-desert hot springs and sleep in luxury teepees in the crisp mountain air.

Top 5: Black Butte RanchSkamania LodgeSurfsand ResortSunriver ResortTimberline Lodge

BEST LOCAL HIKE

Winner: Forest Park

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. Forest Park is Portland’s shared backyard, and the trails that wind their way above the city are a welcome respite from concrete for all ages.

Top 5: Eagle Creek TrailFalls Creek FallsPowell ButteTimothy LakeWahclella Falls