City Vacation: 10 Things to Do with Kids In Portland, Oregon

Lots of outdoor activities, a great food scene, and fabulous public transportation made this town one of Parents’ best city vacation picks.

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1 Visit the Animals

Spend a morning at the Oregon Zoo, the new home for a flock of pink flamingos, a baby Asian elephant, and a newborn river otter. The 64-acre zoo also offers a lorikeet exhibit. ($11.50 for 12 and up, $8.50 for kids ages 3 to 11, free for younger kids)

Oregon Museum of Science & Industry

Courtesy of Oregon Museum of Science & Industry

2 Tour a Submarine

The five massive halls of the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry entice the under-8 crowd with submarine tours, a planetarium and light show, a new mummy exhibit, and live lab demos ($13 for 14 and up, $9.50 for ages 3 to 13, free for younger kids).

Scavenger Hunt in Portland Japanese Garden

Courtesy of Minda Seibert

3 Go on a Scavenger Hunt

The 5 1/2-acre Portland Japanese Garden is also surprisingly kid-friendly ($9.50 for adults, $6.75 for kids 6 to 17, free for kids 5 and under). “My 4-year-old is engrossed with the treasure hunt — we scour every inch of the garden looking for hidden statues,” says resident Minda Seibert.

Portland Farmers' Market

Courtesy of

4 Visit the Farmers’ Markets

In six sites around the city, these markets are a great place to pick up a picnic lunch or snacks for your hotel room. During the summer, the location at Portland State University offers kids’ cooking classes every Saturday for children ages 7 to 11. ($5 per class)

city food truck

Courtesy of

5 Grab Lunch from A Food Truck

The city boasts more than 500 trucks. Family favorites include Grilled Cheese Grill, Flavour Spot, and PBJs Grilled.

bike riding in Portland

Rob Finch/

6 Bike Around Town

If you want to look like a local in Portland, you have to go bike-riding with the kids. The city is one of the most bike-friendly in the country. Don’t worry about bringing your own wheels. There are plenty of rental shops in town, like the non-profit North Portland Bike Works.

Children's Museum

Courtesy of Torsten Kjellstrand/

7 Explore the Children’s Museum

A clay studio, pet hospital, and water-play area are among the fun activities at Portland Children’s Museum. If your kids love dinosaurs, visit before the Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit ends on September 22, 2013.

Portland woodland forest

Courtesy of

8 Swing By Forest Park

It’s the largest urban forested park in the nation. Explore part of the 30-mile Wildwood Trail and see how many different kinds of birds you can find. The park is home to more than 100 species.

Hilton Portland & Executive Tower

Courtesy Hilton Portland & Executive Tower

9 Swim on Rainy Days

The two indoor heated pools at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower make it a top downtown pick for families. (Rooms with two double beds start at $189 per night).

Inn at Northrup Station

Courtesy of Inn at Northrup Station

10 Spend the Night

Stay at the colorful all-suite Inn at Northrup Station, which has a free breakfast, wine tasting on Wednesdays, and locally made taffy in the lobby. The hotel provides free tickets to the Portland Streetcar, which offers transportation to downtown. (Suites start at $179 per night)

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and availabilities are subject to change. Please contact each hotel and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before taking your trip.

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