Travel Portland Like a Local, With Kids in Tow

Portland has more than a few classic standbys for out-of-town visitors with kids: Powell’s, Voodoo Donuts, OMSI and The Children’s Museum top the list (you can find all our ideas here). These are all great options, but sometimes you want to live a little less like a tourist and soak up Portland like a true local.

Here are some ideas for exploring Portland like a local, kids in tow.

Try Out a New Museum. Portland has wonderful museums. OMSI, our science museum, is top-notch, with an array of traveling exhibits. The Children’s Museum is a standard for local parents and visitors alike. But, Portland being Portland, there are so many quirky, fun and just a little weird museums out there, too. You can check out everything from hats to vacuums, puppets to police, at these museums.

Visit a Playground. Here’s the thing about Portlanders. We have learned to—if not love—than live with the rain. That’s why even if it’s raining, you are likely to find at least a handful of kids at any given playground. Visit the playground nearest you (you can find it through Portland Parks & Recreation’s website), or visit one of Portland’s absolute best playgrounds. Here are ten of our favorites.

Shop Local. While farmers market season is in full swing in the summer months, many of Portland’s farmers markets go on year long. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll find food carts, fresh-cut flowers, music, people watching and plenty more to spend a lovely morning or afternoon. Here’s a list of local farmers markets.

See a Show at the Library. Portland is divided into many distinct neighborhoods, which makes for some fun neighborhood exploration. It also makes for a lot of local libraries, which boast an array of performances, arts & crafts opportunities, storytelling and more. Check out their schedules online and have some (free!) fun.  

Visit a Coffee Shop (Bonus Points for Kindie Music). Psst. Portland has coffee. Amazing coffee. Stumptown, Blue Kangaroo, Nossa Familia, Coava…. The list goes on. Even if not roasted on site, many local coffee shops carry the good stuff, along with pastries and other deliciousness. Depending on where you go, you may even be able to find some kid-friendly music to rock out to (try Warehouse Café in SE Portland!) or check out some of your other best bets here.  

Go for a Nature Walk. Learn more about the beautiful Pacific Northwest from an expert. There are nature walks nearly every day of the week at locations around Portland tailored to children and their parents. Many are free. Find out more here.

Take a Spin through the Calendar. We have the most robust collection of kid-friendly events around town compiled into one handy space. Whether you’re looking for music, movies, art, nature walks, or you just don’t know what you feel like, take a look here and see what strikes your fancy.

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at
Ali Wilkinson
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