Things to Do When Grandparents Visit

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The grandparents are on their way for the holidays! While having dear old mom and dad around to help with the kids will be fantastic, it’s important to get some quality family time in together as well. If you aren’t sure what to do with grandma and grandpa when they come to town, no worries! We’ve put together a list of our top picks for things to do! 

photo: Pittock Mansion via flickr

Visit the Pittock Mansion.
For great views and a little local education, make your way to the stunning Pittock Mansion. Built in 1912 by Portland pioneers Henry and Georgianna Pittock, this stunning building is located on 46 acres of land and sits approximately 1,000 feet above downtown. It offers visitors 16,000 square-feet to wander through and exceptional views of the city and Mt. Hood. For an extra special experience, reserve a behind-the-scenes tour and see areas of the mansion not typically open to the public like the basement passages, Henry Pittocks’s private den and the Otis elevator room.

If your grandparents are the outdoorsy type, couple a visit to the mansion with a hike at Forest Park. There are plenty of trail options perfect for family members both big and little.

Pittock Mansion
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily (Closed in Jan.)
Admission: $13 for adults, $11 for seniors 65 and older, $9 for children 6-18, children under 6 are free.
3229 NW Pittock Dr.

Spend a morning in the Pearl.
The Pearl district is one of Portland’s most popular and famous neighborhoods. With it’s wide array of cool shops, restaurants and kid-friendly places to play, it’s a perfect way to spend a morning or entire day with your grand parents. Powell’s City of Books, can be enjoyed by family members of all ages with the Rose Room (i.e. the children’s section) enticing the younger set and where grandparents can read to the kids at the tables before choosing their favorites to take home. If you need a bite to eat you can head to the cafe in the store for a quick cup of coffee but we there’s also Lovejoy Bakers on NW 10th or Hot Lips Pizza waiting to offer you a slice o pie.

If grandma wants to buy something special for the grand kids, take her to Posh Baby  or Finnegans Toys. Take a moment to stroll through Jamison Square or gab a cone at Cool Moon Ice Cream. Look over our guide to the hood before you go so you don’t miss any of the best spots.


photo:Tonka Crash via flickr

Wander through the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of Portland’s most prized areas with a number of stunningly landscaped gardens that are guaranteed to thrill both the young and old. Make your way through the Courtyard of Tranquility for some quiet time, head to the Terrace for a taste of what it would be like to live as a hermit in the mountains and don’t skip over the Fish Pavilion. You can even grab a spot of tea at the Teahouse inside the Tower of Cosmic Reflections where guests are served tea in the “classic style” with small dishes to enhance the flavor of the tea. There is metered parking surrounding the garden and the bus and light rail both have stops nearby.

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily (March-October)
Admission: $12:95 adults, $11:95 seniors, $9:95 for students 6-18 and college students with ID.
239 NW Everett St.

Check Out Sellwood.
Another great neighborhood to his is the historic Sellwood neighborhood. You can spend and afternoon watching birds and hiking at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, or catch a show at the Moreland Theater. This little single-screened movie house opened in 1926 sells super affordable tickets. You’ll also find Oaks Amusement park here where you can go on rides, hit the skate rink or try your hand at mini golf. In fact, you might want to block out two days for this amazing area. It is sure to provide a multitude of memories that will last a lifetime. Check out our guide to ensure you hit all of the best spots!

photo: Gregory A. via Yelp

Check Out the Local Fare
Portland has an array of amazing restaurants where kids are welcome and when your parents come to town, eating out is extra fun (and extra expensive). Don’t hold back on showing of the local dining options. There are plenty of restaurants where kids eat for next to nothing. Santa Fe Taqueria is perfect for families, the kids eat for free while the adults enjoy margaritas! If you love seafood, Corbett Fish House has fantastic dishes and on Mondays, kids get one item off the kids’ menu for free with the purchase of an adult meal. There are plenty of additional options to choose from here.

Play Arcade Games at Wunderland.
Arcades have been around a long time creating wonderful memories for children across the generations. For a dose of nostalgia for the young and old alike, take the whole family to Wunderland Arcade, where games are a nickel. This arcade is also home to a theater that plays family friendly movies at an affordable price if you’re looking to extend your afternoon of play.

Hours: Multiple locations. Visit the website for times
Admission: $3.25 for adults and $2.75 for kids (ages 5-12) and seniors
Locations in Portland, Milwaukie, Beaverton and Gresham

— Annette Benedetti

Featured image via pexels


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