100 Things to Do with Kids Before They Get Too Old

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Portland is one of Oregon’s most family-friendly cities. With outdoorsy, artsy, and science-y activities that run year-round, there are an endless number of experiences parents should have with their little ones before they get big. Break out your pen and get ready for the list, we have 100 thing you just have to do with your kiddos before they are all grown up listed below.

via Hornings Hideout


1. Get outside and play while staying in town at one of these destination playgrounds.

2. Take the kids for a romp on these cool waterfall trails.

3. Take the kids on a culinary adventure (and tempt their taste buds) at an under-the-radar food market on the city’s east side.

4. Get your road trip on without going far when you travel to one of these small Oregon towns filled with sandy beaches, historic parks, nature walks, and more, all within an easy two hours of Portland.

8. Grab your tackle boxes and rods and cast your line at a kid-friendly fishing hole.

6. Bring your camera and get ready to thrill your little flower fanatics at the International Rose Test Garden.

7. Go on a hot air balloon ride!

8. Put a Celtic skip in your step at an Irish restaurant that welcomes leprechauns of all ages.

9. Let the kids get down and dirty and totally creative in their very own crafty outdoor art space.

10. Wooden bridges, water play, climbing rocks, oh my. Make a date with nature-based play at Westmoreland Park.

11. Visit the floating Oregon Maritime Museum to learn about maritime history and see the inner-workings of a real boat.

12. Say hello to animals from around the world at the Oregon zoo.

13. Cheer on your little athlete at one of these local soccer camps or clubs.

14. Whether your child wants to perfect her backstroke or a tadpole ready to upgrade from the dog paddle, we’ve gathered up a list of Portland’s best swimming lessons.

15. to 16. Itching to get out of town? Whether you’re looking for a cozy beach lodgehigh desert scenery, or an historic maritime town, we’ve got you covered.

17. I-Spy… a Pileated woodpecker. Grab the kids (and binoculars) for some bird-watching fun at these local sanctuaries, nature parks, and wetlands.

18. Spend an afternoon sipping tea and exploring the wonders of the Japanese Gardens.

19. Climb our local volcano! Visit Mt. Tabor Park!

20. Create an Urban farm. Here's how to get started.

21. Instead of puttering around the house, round up the kids for a game of miniature golf at one of these friendly courses.

via Juan Salmana via Pexels


1. There's no better place to camp with kids than the Pacific Northwest. Check out some of our favorite sites for young campers, all located within an hour of Portland.

2. If your kiddo is new to pedaling around, check out these excellent beginner bike paths around town.

3. Take your camping experience to the next level with one of these nearby yurts or cabins.

4. Tour Portland’s amazing ice cream scene and stay cool at these local shops.

5. Put down the iPad and video game controllers. We’ve found four scenic places to fly a kite

6. Embark on a fun-filled, fruit-picking adventure for the whole family. Do your kiddos love berries? Visit a u-pick berry farm this summer.

7. Saddle up and take your horse-crazy kid for a horseback ride.

8. Sun’s out? Dive into one of these nearby natural swimming spots.

9. Finding a trail that both you and your youngster will enjoy can be challenging, but these gentle nature trails, perfect for the under-five crowd, will keep everyone entertained.

10. Did you know Portland is roughly 100 miles southeast of the world’s longest beach? On Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, you’ll also find the perfect combo of touristy taffy towns, spectacular nature walks, dramatic lighthouses, and historical museums.

11. Make an outing to the Portland Farmers Market an educational and entertaining experience for your culinary-curious child.

12. Forget rowing your boat gently down the stream, go kayaking with your kids! We've got everything you need to know to get started here.

13. Take in the beautify Pacific Northwest night sky when you stargaze at one of these incredible spots.

14. Looking for a fun new way to experience Oregon’s rivers and lakes? Take the kids SUPing (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) with our handy guide on how to get started, find rentals, book lessons, etc.

15. Sip the day away at one of these kid-friendly wineries near portland.

16. For old timey fun at America’s oldest amusement park (think roller skating, carousel rides, and carnival games) head to Oaks Amusement Park in the Sellwood neighborhood.

17. Explore Portland's urban forest when you hike forest park.

18. If you are looking for something exciting to do when temps soar. Here’s our list of water play options around the metro area, many of which will be opening in June.

19. and 20. Cool off at one of these smoothie and fro yo shops serving up tasty, seasonal flavors for every palate.

21. For the best birds-eye view in town, climb through the trees and whiz through the air at a family-friendly ziplining park.

22. Ditch the city and spend a day cruising these nearby fruit loops! It's some of the tastiest fun you'll ever have.

24. This scenic recreation area in the Willamette National Forest is home to 800-year-old trees, a c. 1930s mining camp, and a crystal-clear swimming hole.

via Pexels


1. When the weather starts to turn cold go pumpkin hunting at one of these great pumpkin patches.

2. Will your little one celebrate a birthday this summer or fall? Take the party outside at one of these  local venues.

3. Is apple and pear season here? Celebrate at one of these farms or orchards.

4. There's no need for pen and paper at these mind-bending corn-mazes.

5. Experience an explosion of colors at one of these incredible spots to view fall colors.

6. Propeller planes, jets, a giant wooden glider, and the original Spruce Goose – your airplane-crazy kid won’t be able to contain his excitement at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. (Psst! Did we mention the museum also boasts its own massive indoor waterpark?)

7. Explore textile arts like finger knitting, crocheting or knitting with needles. If your kids are ready, get started here.

8. Hip hop, tap, hula, ballet, and more – these Portland studios will keep little dancers on their toes. Many are offering a combination of virtual and limited capacity in person classes now. 

9. School young gamers in Pac Man, Super Mario Brothers, pinball, and more at this new retro-cool arcade in Hawthorne.

10. Dine al fresco with the wee ones at a family-friendly restaurant, rain or shine.

11. Take the kids to one of these super-friendly waterfront restaurants in town for a fun, affordable meal with river views.

12. Satisfy your sweet tooth when you visit one of these beloved candy stores.

13. Traveling via the Portland International Airport (PDX) this season? Scope out our guide to PDX’s top amenities for tiny travelers.

14. Explore one of our favorite inclusive parks for all ages and abilities.

15. Head to Council Crest Park and watch the swifts take flight! Your little bird lovers with be in awe!

16. You haven't experience Portland if you haven't made it to OMSI. It's a trip guaranteed to please the science lovers in your family.

17. Go on a locomotive adventure with one of these area train rides.

18.Visit a great local bookstore for some thrilling journeys to fantasy land.

19. Grab a brew where you can bring the kids too at one of Portland’s kid-friendly breweries.

20. Embrace flexibility and enroll your little yogis in a fun yoga class.

21. to 22.  Don't miss out on experiencing Portland's sweet spots with cookies, and donuts, – Portland is delicious.

Kelly via flickr


1. Enjoy a little retail therapy at these indy toy stores.

2. Fuel up at one of Portland's best BBQ Restaurants.

3. Find out what makes thing work with one of these behind the scenes tours.

4. Downtown Portland isn't just fun for the adults, explore all of its kid-friendly delights as well.

5. Don't miss the fun the trendy Pearl District has to offer you and your littles. You can spend all day playing in this lovely neighborhood.

6. Love our fresh, local veggies? Check out these meat-free restaurants dishing out vegetarian and vegan treats for all ages.

7. Gather up your little connoisseurs and sample some of our city’s best food carts for kids.

8. Fine dining and kids. Not two words you’d think go together. Luckily, this sophisticated new farm-to-table restaurant in downtown welcomes families of all ages.

9. Grab a slice of pie at one of Portland's best pizza shops.

10. Have little foodie on your hands? These local restaurants serve up adventurous kids menus.

11. There’s much more to Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood than meets the eye so we’ve rounded up our favorite things to see, do, and taste while you visit.

12. Planning a parent/baby date at one of these fun spots.

via Victoria Borodinovia Pexels


1. Winter won't slow the fun down with these great sledding spots!

2. Burn off energy on a less-than-stellar day at one of these indoor playspaces. (Most of these are currently closed. Please check the websites for updated information.)

3. Fight the rainy day chills at a soaking pool or hot spring.

4. Let your kids climb the walls with a trip to one of these super cool indoor rock climbing gyms. (Most of these spots are currently closed. Please check the websites for updated information.)

5. Curl up with one of these book from this awesome Portland-based publisher.

6. Strike kid-friendly bowling off your to-do list at one (or more) of our fave Portland bowling alleys. (Most of these spots are currently closed. Please check the websites for updated information.)

7. Go on one of these incredible winter hikes.

8. Your little gymnasts can bounce, flip, jump, and tumble the day away at this trampoline park in Vancouver.

9. Go on one of these COVID-Friendly wintery adventures.

10. Take your budding art lovers to the Portland Art Museum for a guided Family Tour or Baby Morning. (Portland Art Museum is currently closed)

11. Hit the slopes at these nearby spots during Portland's winter months.

12. There are plenty of local family-friendly movie theaters where you and the little ones are welcome to kick back and take in a flick when it gets cold. (Most of these spots are currently closed. Please check the websites for updated information.)

13. Go snowshoeing at one of these cool locations.

14. Get a little weird at one of these free off-the-beaten-path activities in Portland.

15. Introduce your kids to the pros of a little pampering with a kid-friendly nail salon experience. Think of it as non-toxic mani-pedis and bonding time all rolled into one.

16. For a sweet afternoon, grab a tasty treat at one of Portland’s gluten-free bakeries.

17. Slurping your noodles is permitted (and even encouraged) at these Japanese-style ramen hotspots. Some may be closed for dine-in, but many are open for pickup!

18. You and the kids can get your feline fix in a comfy setting at Portland’s first cat café and lounge. (Most of these spots are currently closed. Please check the websites for updated information.)

19. Grab a bite at one of these restaurants with heated patios.

20. Neaten up those hairdos with a painless haircut at one of these kid-friendly salons.

21. Skip the dusty exhibits at these hands-on historical sites and museums around town. From making your own candles to building a fort with life-sized Lincoln logs, you and the kids will have a blast learning about the past.

22. Go on one of these winter road trips!

—Annette Benedetti

feature photo: Karen DeSanno via flicker


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