Things to do in Portland With Kids

Elephant in the water at the Portland Oregon zoo
Elephant in the water at the Portland Oregon zoo | © Melissa Jensen / Alamy Stock Photo
Portland is renowned for its breweries, coffee shops and young vibe, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a top destination for a family vacation, too. From historic firehouses and pancake flipping to amusement parks and zoos, there’s something for everyone. Culture Trip’s local insiders have got the scoop.

Pip's Original Donuts and Chai

Cafe, Coffee

Guess what Pip sells? You got it, fresh, hot donuts and sensational, home-made chai straight from the pot. The gang here have been part of the community for years and they’re a big part of Portland bringing joy to little and big kids alike. The grown-ups can grab an espresso or matcha alongside a seasonal donut speciality – candied bacon and maple donut anyone? Kick back in the homely dining room while the kids browse the bookshelf crammed with children’s books. Recommended by local insider Madeline Churm

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Oregon Zoo


With sustainability and environmentalism at its heart, Oregon Zoo carries out critical work in conservation, education and animal welfare. Such a commitment to animal wellbeing makes it a fantastic place to visit to learn all about the animal kingdom. Small people will love it for its sprawling exhibits filled with animals and birds from across the world. Its amphitheater is home to summer concerts, too. Recommended by local insider Madeline Churm

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Historic Belmont Firehouse

Historical Landmark

Any youngster will be more than happy with a trip to this slice of firefighting history in Portland. Watch real firemen slide down the firehouse pole and see the fire trucks on display. The tour is geared up for young children, and if they’re happy then you will be, too. The surrounding neighborhood on SE Belmont Street is a fashionable, cool place with plenty to offer, so it is worth staying in the area to explore. Recommended by local insider Jordan Singh

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Oaks Bottom Amusement Park

Amusement Park

Less than five miles from Downtown, the waterfront Oaks Bottom Amusement Park is set on the attractive banks of the Willamette River. The park is packed with fun activities guaranteed to bring a dose of good old-fashioned fun to all. Ride the bumper cars, take a dip on the small rollercoaster, challenge your child to a round of minigolf and take a whizz around the roller rink. There’s an arcade filled with games to top off the day. The nearby wildlife refuge center is also worth a visit. Recommended by local insider Jordan Singh

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Slappy Cakes

Cafe, Coffee, $$$

Every table at Slappy Cakes comes with a personal griddle for each person, the result being the best home-made pancakes that you’ve ever tasted. Squeeze out the batter and get to work on your creation; once it’s sizzling, choose from jars of butter, jam, whipped cream, berries and chocolate for a wicked treat. There’s a full bar so this place isn’t just for kids, and if you don’t fancy cooking up your own, select your favorite from the full breakfast menu. Happy flipping! Recommended by local insider Jordan Singh

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These recommendations were updated on July 20, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.