It’s rainy season here in our favorite Puddle Town, but fear not—we’ve got more than 25 spots to have fun and stay dry
Rain goes with Portland the way peanut butter goes with jelly. From December through April, you can count on lots of wet weather (140 days, on average, to be exact). The simplest way to enjoy the rain with little ones is to put on boots and Muddy Buddies and head out for puddle-jumping through neighborhoods and forests. But if you’re looking for indoor fun, take your pick from our ultimate list of rainy-day activities below. Splash on, Portland!
1. Grab Coffee & Treats around Portland
We’re a caffeinated, food-obsessed city, with artisan coffee shops and bakeries on every corner. Kick things off with an early start at one of these kid-approved breakfast and coffee spots. You’ll want to fuel up for the full day ahead!
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Slappy Cakes: Start the day at a Portland standby where breakfast is the main attraction and the entertainment. Let your kids make the meal, with griddles set into the table and customizable pancake batters to pour, flip, and top just the way they like.
4246 SE Belmont St.
Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai
Tucked into a bustling section of shops on NE Fremont, this gem turns out perfectly crisp mini donuts in tantalizing, constantly-evolving flavors. Pick up a dozen and order a chai for yourself (in a variety of homemade blends), then choose a table near the window to watch the rain fall. There are high chairs for the littlest foodies and kids’ books near the counter to keep ‘em busy while you wait. Be prepared for a line on weekends!
4759 NE Fremont St.
Posie’s Bakery & Cafe: Looking for a mix of bagels, baked goods, and heartier fare? This homey coffee shop, bakery, and cafe has got the goods, plus a play area in back. If your kid’s been up since 5 a.m. and is ready for lunch by 9, not to worry: the kids’ menu offers grilled cheese, PB&J, and cinnamon toast, with a side of chips or cucumbers.
8208 N Denver Ave.
2. Get Cozy with Books & Bookstores in Portland
Reading is a classic rainy-day activity. Maybe that’s why the rainy City of Roses has one of the most well-used libraries in the country, and a plethora of excellent independent bookstores. Cuddle up with your kids with a pile of books and get lost in a completely different world, through the power of story.
Storytime at the Library: The Multnomah County Library is a national leader among libraries. Besides its large collection of circulating items, it’s well-known for storytimes, with daily offerings geared toward different age groups and in a range of languages. It’s free, fun, and a great way to make new friends– for kids and grown-ups alike. Afterward, stick around to load up your book bag with more books to take home.
Days, times, and age ranges vary by branch
Powell’s Books: Head downtown to the City of Books—a whole city block with room after room of both used and new volumes. You can snuggle up in the pink room downstairs, where children’s books are organized around a reading area with cozy rugs and low tables with small chairs. A cafe near the yellow room serves up hot drinks and treats. Or, visit one of the smaller (but still impressive) Powell’s branches to get your book fix.
Green Bean Books: This children’s bookstore offers weekly storytimes and musical events in multiple languages, in addition to a well-curated selection of kids’ books, all in a bright and cozy red house. Check out their bank of vintage vending machines and bring a stack of books to the green couch to read together.
1600 NE Alberta St.
Fort Vancouver Community Library: Our neighbors to the north have a great library, too! Hop on the freeway and spend an afternoon exploring the top floor of the Ft. Vancouver Community Library. It’s entirely dedicated to kiddos, with a hands-on learning area, dress-up bins, interactive literacy-focused tech stations, and daily storytimes. You could easily spend hours here. Pop down to the first floor to refuel at the coffee cart. And psst! Multnomah and Washington County residents can get a free Reciprocal Library card to check out materials from the FVRL system.
901 C St.
3. Explore Fun Animal Encounters around Portland
Rainy day blues got you down? Studies show that even 10 minutes of petting an animal can significantly improve mood and reduce stress. Head to one of these fun spots to get cozy with bunnies and kitties.
The Pixie Project: A no-kill animal rescue and adoption center, The Pixie Project fosters both dogs and cats for adoption. You must make an appointment to visit with the dogs and cats. Consider making a donation with your visit to support this non-profit’s good work.
510 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
4. Make & Create Art around Portland
Get creative at one of Portland’s many kid-centric art studios. Check our favorites below.
Vibe Studio: At their locations on both SE Division and in St John’s, Vibe Studio offers a wide range of drop-in creative arts classes for toddlers all the way through the teen years. Check their website for a full list of offerings. (Choosing preschool or youth classes will send you to an online schedule, then click the “drop-in” tab to sort by location.) Most drop-in classes for toddlers are on Friday and Saturday mornings, while older kids can select a class during after-school hours almost every day of the week.
Live Laugh Love Art: Guided art classes for makers of all ages, Live Laugh Love Art offers canvas painting, wood signs, pottery, or glass arts. Check out the family pass to make art time a regular thing for you and your kids.
9160 SW Hall Blvd.
5. Find Stop-Worthy Lunch & Snacks in Portland
Soro Soro Coffee & Dessert: Kitten cheesecakes, rainbow cakes, animal-themed latte art, and matcha tiramisu? Sign us up! This recently-opened Korean coffee shop serves up seriously cute desserts alongside Stumptown Coffee and Steven Smith Tea. Perfect for a quick sugar rush before you hit the indoor playground.
2250 E Burnside St.
Laughing Planet: Dinosaurs at every table, an extensive menu with kid favorites like quesadillas, smoothies, and the “trifecta” of three side dishes served in separate (not touching!) bowls, it’s no surprise that there are 10 Laughing Planet locations in the Portland area. Find one near you and stop in for quick, friendly service and happy kid bellies.
Two Sisters Play Cafe: This Milwaukie bakery and cafe serves up healthy fare (including gluten-free and vegan options) alongside a play room with a play structure, toys, games, and puzzles. Choose from paninis, sandwiches, salads, and a simple kids’ menu, then let the kids loose.
11923 SE McLoughlin Blvd.
6. All the Places to Run, Jump, and Climb Indoors in Portland
For especially wet days, Portland’s got you covered with a host of indoor parks. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of affordable indoor playspaces in every neighborhood. Here are some of our stand-out favorites.
The Nest: Drop in for open play or take a class at this multi-purpose indoor playground and cafe. A large play structure, soft play area, and a rock-climbing wall are all available during open play hours, recommended for kids 12 and under. Try out yoga or an art class and get free admission to open play. Bring socks to play in, and enjoy treats from the cafe (outside food and drink not allowed.)
6517 NE Sandy Blvd.
The Wiggle Room: Tucked into a corner of the Hollywood neighborhood, and within walking distance of the library and Laughing Planet, the Wiggle Room is a thoughtfully-designed playspace for kids from 0-7. Everyone can find their groove, with a larger structure for big kids, a padded play area for kids under 2, and a coffee bar for grown-ups. Natural light and a low-key color scheme keep things simple for people with sensory sensitivities.
1925 NE 42nd Ave., Suite C
Hammer + Jack’s: We love this toy shop and play space in the rapidly-changing Foster-Powell neighborhood. Stop by to check out the toys, then drop-in for open play. Spend $10 for free play time, or get a punch card and become a regular. Check the website for open play hours and special events like kindie musicians, art classes, and storytimes.
6416 SE Foster Rd.
Playdate PDX: This is the ultimate indoor playground, with a three-level playstructure for kids up to age 12, a selection of beverages for grown-ups, and a separate play area for toddlers. Make sure you have socks for playing inside the playstructure! Work up an appetite? Hit the cafe for lunch and snack items.
1434 NW 17th Ave.
7. The Best Museums for Kids
On days when the weather promises to pour nonstop, a visit to the museum is the perfect way to stay active, happy, and dry. Portland’s got ten museums within city limits! Here are our top three for families.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI): At this waterfront museum, hands-on science displays, motion simulators, and a planetarium supply a whole day’s worth of exploration. You can even tour a submarine! For kids 6 and under, check out the Science Playland. Plan your visit on the first Sunday of the month to get in for just $2.
1945 SE Water Ave.
Portland Art Museum: If you think an art museum is too refined for little kids, think again! With family tours and Baby Mornings, the Portland Art Museum welcomes and encourages even the littlest citizens to become patrons of the arts. Bags and large backpacks must be checked upon entry, so pare down to the essentials. Strollers are allowed, but littler ones might do better in a carrier.
1219 Southwest Park Ave.
8. Where to Swim, Splash, and Skate Indoors in Portland
For especially energetic kids, there’s nothing like a pool or skating session, and a rainy day is the perfect excuse to head indoors for some active fun. Portland’s got several indoor pools and skating rinks to choose from.
Oaks Bottom Roller Rink: In addition to afternoon and evening open skate sessions, Oaks Park has a preschool skate on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 10-11:30 a.m. just for kids 6 and younger. The session includes skates, cookies and milk, a group lesson and games. Adults are free with one child admission, and shoes and strollers are welcome on the rink. There’s also a Saturday morning Kids Skate for ages 10 and under that includes skates, fun games and a visit with Chipper. (
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Lloyd Center Ice Rink: Take to the ice at the Lloyd Center Ice Rink, open daily in the mall. Rent skates and join public open skates during the day, or enjoy live DJ music during Rock n’ Skates on Friday and Saturday evenings.
953 Lloyd Center
McMenamin’s Kennedy School Soaking Pool: This ceramic, heated outdoor soaking pool is filled with chlorinated saltwater, in a private outdoor courtyard surrounded by gardens, on the spectacular Kennedy School grounds. Yes, we said outdoor, but hear us out: on a day when light rain or showers are predicted, it can feel pleasant and cozy to be outdoors in a warm pool. After soaking, grab a bite at the restaurant or catch a flick in the theater in this elementary-school-turned-hotel. Supervised minors welcome; bring your own towel! Note that during the rainy season, the pool is closed every 1st and 3rd Tuesday for cleaning.
5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.
Portland Parks & Recreation Indoor Pools: You know what they say when kids get cranky: put them in water! Portland’s public indoor pools are open year-round for open swim, family swim, and preschool swim. Check the website for the closest pool to your neighborhood. Swim times vary by location.
9. Where to Dine Out in Portland When It Rains
After a long rainy day full of adventure, let someone else do the cooking while you unwind with the family. Here are our top picks for easy, delicious meals in a family-friendly setting.
McMenamin’s Kennedy School: Wander the halls of this former elementary school, now turned into a playland—McMenamin’s style—with a hotel, bars, movie theater, soaking pool (see above!), and restaurant. Your little ones can choose from a range of kid-approved favorites like pizza, tater-tots, and french fries, while the grown-ups enjoy a well-deserved pint.
5736 NE 33rd Ave.
Mississippi Pizza Pub: With fantastic pizza and a family-friendly atmosphere, this neighborhood fave could have had us at “Hello.” But add in performances from favorite local kids’ bands on Friday nights? Next-level. Let your kids get out any last wiggles with a dance party while you kick back.
3552 N. Mississippi Ave.
Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB): There’s a reason why this brew-pub is packed around 5 pm: it has several fully stocked play areas where kids can entertain themselves with toys while you enjoy your brew. Kids can chow down on mac n’ cheese or a Little Brewer’s Burger, and grown-ups can take their pick from a range of burgers, salads, pizza, and more. (Psst: There’s even organic baby food available for $2 a jar.)