Downtown Portland is always moving and grooving with excitement. So make it your first destination ‘hood this weekend with our ultimate guide filled with things to do, eat and see. Exploring the urban jungle has never been more fun.
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Max, Trimet and Streetcars of Desire
First decide how to get you and the mini citygoers there. Portland’s transportation options, Max, TriMet, Streetcar are easy-peasy ways to get downtown. Or hail a cab and really impress your littles with smooth one-shot ride there. Thankfully, with Smart Parks garages all over, parking is also affordable. Remember to keep your ticket for the stamp – many business validate.
Once You’ve Arrived
Fill their heads with some art-spiration at the Portland Art Museum on the South Park Blocks. Check their calendar to catch Free First Fridays or see when they stay open late for our little night owls.
Then head across the street to the delightful Oregon History Museum, where there’s currently a history of hockey exhibit for the teeny sports fanatics. As you crisscross your way over, don’t forget to take a selfie with statue Teddy Roosevelt and his bronze horse.
Pst – coming in on a Saturday? Join the fray at the PSU Saturday Market and fill your day with food, music, and shopping galore at the vendors from 8:30 – 2:00 pm.
Live Music and Theater, Dahling
The Oregon Children’s Theater performs in the heart downtown in one of three locales on SW Broadway. Check their schedule for some fab shows and matinees for a few hours of entertaining dramatics. They are very clear about age-appropriate content and pricing on their web site.
Once a month on Tuesdays, the Historic Old Church is home to the Little Ears concert series. Your 2-5 year olds can enjoy a Tuesday afternoon of stories, music and love. Listen to a librarian read beloved stories while they’re accompanied by a cellist from the Oregon Symphony. Our pal Red Yarn is going to be there on May 6th and lots of other amazing local talents give their time. Bravo!
Pioneer Courthouse Square is an outdoor concert amphitheater that’s popular for the tree lighting event each November and the summer Flicks on the Bricks, but there’s also much more for your kiddo all year round. On April 6th, the Pioneer Courthouse Square will celebrate its 30th birthday and Pink Martini is hosting a 2nd annual sing-along with scrumptious cupcakes.
Great Eats All Around Downtown
When the tummies are rumbling, stroll over to Kenny and Zuke’s, which has an amazing menu for palates of all ages. Their kiddo fare can please even the wee-est. Blueplate rocks some incredible tomato soup and grilled cheese and people rave about their milkshakes. For a true Portland experience, there are food carts abound (Greek, Mexican, vegetarian and vegan, pizza, juices and smoothies and anything else in between), and a brunch friendly Urban Farmer inside The Nines Hotel.
Your options don’t run out here. Elephant’s Deli is right on Director Park, and most of downtown is chock full of tea-mendous spots for raising a pinky during an afternoon tea party. The Tea Room at The Heathman Hotel is one of Portland’s finest.
Kids Just Wanna Bowl: Things to Know Before You Go
Combine food and fun for the raddest lunch adventure ever by splitting some bowling lanes or hitting up a game of skeeball. Punch Bowl Social inhabits the entire floor below the movie theater in Pioneer Place Mall and has a full menu and bar to keep you and the kids satisfied.
Punch Bowl Social is a fab destination for pre- or post- movie family time. We love how helpful the staff are with the little bowlers. While the lightest bowling balls is a hefty seven pounds, the Punch Bowl Social has bumpers and even a ramp for littlest strikers to roll with it. Don’t forget to bring cash here for the change machines — you’re gonna need it!
Everything’s Waiting for You: More Tips and Tricks
Before you head out, we highly recommend clicking over to the Downtown Portland web site. There’s a bounty of info on all the family friendly happenings. Itineraries are broken down by kid-friendly jaunts such as Future Fashionista and Hipster-in-Training. And if you’re ever lost or looking for something to do, stop by the Travel Oregon Visitor Info Center in Pioneer Square. They’ll set ya straight.
Got any tips on navigating downtown Portland with the little ones? Let us know in the comments below!