There are lots of things to do in Portland, Oregon with young kids. Including inside and outside activities. Here are a few of our favorite things to do when visiting Portland. If you have a place you like to go with younger kids in Portland be sure and tell us in the comment section!
33 Activities for preschoolers in Portland
Downtown Portland Activities
Playdate PDX is an indoor playground. While your kids play you can surf the internet for free and enjoy a beer. It’s like a McDonald’s playground on steroids.
Known by the acronym OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a favorite family day trip for locals and tourists alike. Kids will find a wide range of interactive exhibits that both educate and fascinate. Younger children have an entire exhibit hall geared towards hand-on exploration called The Science Playground, built for kids 6 and under. Science labs throughout the museum encourage experimentation that deepens visitors’ understanding of life, the world, and the universe.
Aspiring astronomers will love the Kendall Planetarium, the largest and the most advanced planetarium in the Northwest. The Omnimax theater has a five-story high domed-shaped screen, creating an incredibly impressive Imax movie experience. Visitors also have the rare opportunity to tour a vintage Navy submarine, moored in the Willamette River directly behind the museum.
Jamison Square in the Pearl District
Kids love playing in the fountain here and it isn’t deep. It is zero entry so kids can walk into it at their own comfort level. They clean the water too, as they recycle it.
Directors Park, pictured in the first image in this post. Director Park is a public piazza right in the heart of downtown Portland with is another fun splash area. This park sits on top of an underground parking garage. Here they have a large fountain feature that doubles as a splash pad for kids on hot days. Director Park offers free activities for all ages year-round like concerts, art events, trivia nights, chess, plays, cooking, and more. They have a super-sized chess game kids love to play. The parks and rec have an office here that has board games you can check out. It’s a great place to spend your lunch break. They have plenty of sitting with chairs and tables sprinkled throughout the piazza. There is also concrete benches to sit on. Elephants Café has a location here that serves lunch and dinner. They also sell drinks and ice cream.
The Oregon Zoo is phenomenal. It’s got to be one of the best zoos in the United States. You name it, they seem to have it. Plus, during the holidays they have a special event at night, Zoo Lights. Spanning 64 acres in Washington Park, the massive Oregon Zoo offers children the chance to see their favorite animals up close and is one of the largest attractions in Oregon. Here, more than 1,000 animals reside in natural, expertly designed habitats like Cascade Canyon Trail, home to black bears, bobcats, bald eagles, and river otters. Other exciting exhibits include the Pacific Shores, which features sea otters, polar bears, and sea lions. Also, on most days they have a live bird show on the main lawn. Kids especially love the Zoo Railway, a winding one-mile ride around the grounds’ perimeter. Kids will love seeing the elephants and lions.
Washing Park is home to the International Test Rose Garden and the Japanese Gardens, but more importantly, for the kid’s there’s a massive playground.
Oaks is a little amusement park and there is a dedicated section with more low-key rides for smaller kids. They also have a skating rink.
Fields Park has a fun playground for kids and a sandy area where kids can dig and build. During the summer months, there are movies and concerts here.
Forest Park is the largest urban forest in the country located within a city. Forest Park encompasses more than 5000 acres full of dense trees, rivers, waterfalls, and bridges with 40 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Most trails are wide and well taken care of, making them good for runners and bicyclists. The park can be found on the eastern portion of the Northwest Hills and is only 10 minutes from downtown.
JJ Jump is a bounce house place. They have a room for toddlers, one for kids, and one for older kids. Cost is $8 a kid.
Near Mall 205, this community center has an indoor park and a fantastic indoor swimming pool. This is just one of these types of facilities that are part of the Portland Parks and Rec system. Because it is a community center it is super cheap. Once a week they have an open time where you can bring your little one to play.
Mt Scott Community Center and Pool
A community center near 70th on the east side of Portland. Mt. Scott Community Center & Pool is home to another one of Portland’s remarkable indoor pool facilities and it also has an indoor roller skating rink. Their pool offers an open swim time every day in addition to lessons. The pool has a lazy river, two slides, a hot tub, a zero-entry pool, and a 6 lane lap pool. Mt. Scott also has a nice size playground outside and a traversing bouldering wall inside. The community center also offers various classes for all ages, including young children. The best part of play here is that everything they offer is extremely affordable.
Llyod Center Ice Skating Rink
Take a spin around the ice rink at Llyod Center. They have little bars to help kids learn to skate. Here’s 50% off.
Another fun indoor play park with slides and more. $8 weekdays and $10 on the weekends
Kids Club in Hazel Dell has the largest indoor play space in the area if you don’t mind driving to Vancouver.
Play Boutique Lake Oswego has an indoor playground as well as art stations and kid classes. They even have a parent’s night out.
Play Place at Jenni and Tommy’s offers an indoor play place with a variety of hands-on learning and gross motor opportunities that encourage self-initiated play and exploration. This is geared toward children between the ages of 1 and 6 years old. Open Monday – Friday 9am – 11:30 am and Monday – Wednesday 2pm – 5pm. $6 per kid.
Blue Lake Park
Blue Lake Park in Fairview, Oregon has a lot of offerings, including a sandy beach for kids to dig and play in, a spray park for kids to run and play in the water, a playground, and trails. Kids have to be at least five years old to swim.
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Overlooking the Tualatin River Valley, Cooper Mountain Nature Park is on the edge of Beaverton. The 230-acre park offers visitors 3.5 miles of trails that traverse the park and pass through each of its distinct habitats, from conifer forest to prairie to oak woodlands. This is a great place to go for a walk. For kids, there is a little play structure near the parking lot. There are also restrooms there.
North Clackamas Aquatic Center
North Clackamas Aquatic Center is an indoor swimming pool with slides, a lap pool, and more. They have a kiddie pool just for young kids.
Chuck E. Cheese
I hear that the nicest Chuckee Cheese around is the one in Vancouver.
Wunderland Cinema & Nickel Games
All Wunderland locations include a nickel arcade. Some locations include a movie theater and laser tag. Most games are a nickel and laser tag is $4. Sign up for their email list to have them email you the deals.
Bike the Springwater Corridor
This is a trail running from SE Ivan St. in Portland all the way out to Boring, OR. The trail is currently 14.2 miles one way and connects many parks including Tideman Johnson Nature Park, Beggars-tick Wildlife Refuge, the I-205 Bike Path, Leach Botanical Garden, Powell Butte Nature Park, and Gresham’s Main City Park. The parks are the easiest places to access the trail, especially if you need to park your car. The entire trail is at least 10 feet wide and paved, making it ideal for walkers, bicycles, and strollers.
King Pins has over 65 video VR and prize games gathered at this 5,000-square-foot arcade. They also have a 3,800 square foot Laser Tag Arena and bowling.
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
The 110,000 square foot Aviation Museum building is home to the famous Spruce Goose and houses more than 200 historic aircraft. The museum has an entire section for kids and surprisingly, it’s great for all ages of kids. The museum has guided tours available throughout the day for no extra charge.
Wings and Waves Water Park
Wings and Waves is a small indoor water park with body slides, tube slides, a wave pool, kids area, hot tub, and regular pool. You have to take your own towels because they do not provide any! Wings and Waves Water Park Coupon.
Tubing at Ski Bowl During the Winter
The lower area offers at least 6 tube lanes and the upper has at least two lanes. The lower lanes have a conveyor belt that will take you and your tube to the top of the hill. However, those that want to head up even higher will have to walk up but know that it is worth the walk. They are open during the day and have cosmic tubing at night.
Out in Scenic Columbia Gorge Area
Both Bridal Veil Falls and Latourell Falls are easy enough for small kids. Just walk down to Latourell Falls, do not do, the more extensive hike here. Across the road from Latourell Falls are where there are picnic tables are located. The waterfall turns into a gentle stream and your kids can play in it. Just make sure they have water shoes.
Multnomah Falls and Horsetail Falls are so close to the parking lots you can just park and walk up to them. If you want a more challenging hike for your family, try Punch Bowl Falls and Wahclella Falls.
If you decide to go further you can hit Hood River. There is a beach area there where kids can swim and play on a fairly new playground. Hood River has a handful of kid-friendly wineries.
Places to Eat in Portland with Young Kids
Not only does Laurelwood Brewery have great beer and a happy hour but it’s also extremely kid-friendly. There are several play areas for kids.
There are dedicated play areas for kids at Hopworks and the food and drinks are great.
Jam on Hawthorne
They’ve got a fantastic little area for kids to play. Plus, the food is good.
Kids make a huge mess making their own pancakes, but they do have a lot of fun. Attempt to guide them because many things do not make a good combination. My child made disgusting pancakes that we couldn’t eat. The wait times here are brutal, almost always one-hour minimum.
A wildly popular breakfast restaurant in Portland with a kid’s play area.
Santa Fe Taqueria
Wednesday night is super family-friendly when a local favorite kids’ music performer Mr. Ben performs and kids eat free. (One free kid’s meal free with a purchase of one adult meal.)
What is your favorite thing to do with toddlers in Portland? If you’ve found something to do in Portland with younger kids please tell us about it in the comments below so others will have more things to do.