Are you looking for the best things to do in Portland with toddlers? In this guide we give you our top tips for visiting Portland Oregon with toddlers from how stroller friendly Portland is to where to stay in Portland with toddlers and of course round up all the best toddler friendly attractions in Portland.
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Portland with a Toddler Tips
Where to stay in Portland with kids
One of the great things about visiting Portland with toddlers is there are a lot of family friendly hotels in the city.
If you want to be the centre of the action and stay in downtown Portland then the hotel Benson Portland is a great choice. This hotel is located close to the Pearl District in downtown Portland so is a great option for families who really want to be in the centre of things. The Hampton Inn Pearl District is also a great chain hotel with a central location.
Another great area to stay in Portland with toddlers is near the Alphabet District. This is a very walkable area even if you are traveling to Portland with a stroller and has lots of little boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.
Where to eat in Portland Oregon with toddler
Portland is a great foodie city and I know a lot of foodie parents worry that they will miss out on food spots when traveling with toddlers. However Portland is a great city to eat out in even with toddlers.
Some of the best places we ate at in Portland were Mother’s Bistro and Bar located in Downtown Portland. They served the most amazing egg-based breakfasts and if you are going at a weekend you may find there are queues but it is well worth the wait.
However no trip to Portland is complete without sampling some of the city’s most famous donuts. Perhaps the most famous donuts are Voodoo Doughnuts which are easily recognisable by their iconic pink boxes.
However there are other great donut shops to try in Portland including Blue Star Donuts. And if your toddler is anything like mine they will absolutely adore donuts!
But perhaps the biggest hit with toddlers is the Salt & Straw Ice Cream parlour which is a Portland institution. This ice cream parlour in the Alphabet District is a tiny little place with very few seats but makes the most amazing ice cream. It has a super extensive menu and for those toddlers who can’t choose you can get an amazing tasting tray of four ice creams.
If you have any hot tips on best places to eat in Portland with toddlers we would love you to tell us un the comments below.
Best Things to do in Portland with Toddlers
So now you know where to stay and where to eat with toddlers in Portland it is time to turn out attention to the best things to do in Portland with toddlers.
Portland is a relatively green city and has some absolutely amazing city parks.
Perhaps the most famous park in Portland is the large and beautiful Washington Park.
On top of being a great park, Washington Park is also home to some of the best Portland attractions. For instance the park is home to:
- the International Rose Test Garden,
- the Japanese Gardens
- the Hoyt Arboretums
- the Oregon Zoo and
- the Portland Children’s Museum.
Some of which deserve their own entry so keep reading for more information.
Note: While Washington Park is one of the largest and well known parks in the city there are plenty of other parks in Portland kids will enjoy including:
- Forest Park and
- Mount Tabor Park
Forest Park is located in the west of Portland, while Mount Tabor Park, a dormant volcanic vent, is located in Southeast Portland.
Oregon Zoo, located in Washington Park, is one of the best zoos we’ve ever visited in the world and definitely should be on your list of things to do in Portland with toddlers.
One of the beset exhibits at the zoo is the area dedicated to northwestern America. It is simply stunning and weaves its way through tall trees of the Washington Park now part of the zoo grounds.
In this exhibition you can see animals native to North America such as Black Bears and the bald Eagles.
There is also a little train that goes through the forest and beside the elephant enclosure which toddlers will absolutely adore.
There is also a carousel which toddlers will love riding.
Also right beside the zoo is the Portland Children’s Museum. Being right beside the zoo means you can combine a trip to both family-friendly attractions and as the parking for both is located outside there there’s no need to move your car.
While Portland is an amazing place to visit, it is always worth preparing yourself for having a rainy day in Portland. Therefore we recommend picking some indoor things to do in Portland for these days.
One of the best indoor things to do in Portland is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and this museum is completely toddler friendly.
The exhibits in this museum vary and the first area we visited was the exhibition halls where we saw a dire-wolf skeleton, which us Game of Thrones fans in the family enjoyed seeing.
There were also educational displays about food, fluorescent materials, recycling and even an area with live animals with scientists on hand to answer any questions.
However if you are visiting with toddlers then you will want to had straight to the Science Playground.
The Science Playground is a haven for toddlers with a huge sand pit, water table, reading areas, hands on physical activities area and a dedicated infant area which is great for those visiting Portland with babies.
The Museum also has a Planetarium in the museum where you can watch amazing astronomy shows.
And as an added bonus at the back of the museum is the USS Blueback. This is a submarine which is now an exhibit.
Fun fact, the USS Blueback, took part in the filming of The Hunt for Red October film and is really interesting even for toddlers.
After the Children’s Museum, perhaps the best indoor place for toddlers is Playdate PDX. This is a ginormous indoor soft play centre over 3 floors that toddlers will love, but parents may less so.
World Forestry Center
This center close to the Oregon Zoo is full of interactive exhibitions to teach toddlers and older children about the preservation of the natural world.
Multnomah falls with toddler
Multnomah Falls has to be top of anyone’s Portland Bucket List but can you do Multnomah Falls with a toddler.
There are many different hikes in this area but if oyu want to visit the Falls you can take the Multnomah Falls Footpath. This Path takes in the Benson Bridge and being only 0.2 miles it is very easy to do with toddlers.
If you are heading here with toddlers here however we recommend either taking a stroller, toddler reins or toddler backpack if you plan to do a longer hike.
As with any Falls there are lots of steep drops which can be dangerous for toddlers so it is important to keep your little one say while visiting here.
Top Tip: head here early to avoid parking problems.
This was one of the stops on our Portland to Yellowstone road trip. If you are doing this trip be sure to check out our Yellowstone with toddlers guide.
Powell’s City of Books
Portland is home to one of the best books stores I’ve ever visited, Powell’s City of Books.
Powell’s City of books is one of the best places to take toddlers in Portland as this huge book shop has the most amazing children’s book area with shelves upon shelves filled with every book imaginable.
There are areas and cushions for customer to sit and read books and I witnessed a mum sitting on cushions reading to her children for ages. No-one bats an eyelid if you pick a book off the shelf to read it to your children. I could have lost several hours in those shelves.
And if you are visiting at the weekend be sure to check out the Powell’s website for story time sessions.
Keller Fountain Park
My toddler loves city center water fountains to play in on a hot day. We found some when we visited Rapid City with our kids.
This is a great thing to do with toddlers in Portland for free on a hot day.
Oaks Amusement Park
Does your toddler love theme parks? Mine does and we always seek out a amusement park for toddlers when we travel and in Portland this comes in the form of Oaks Amusement Park.
The park has 5 rides for toddlers between the heights of 34 inches minimum to 46 inches maximum (there are more thrill rides for older children of course).
SO if you like theme parks with preschoolers this is the place you should head to in Portland.
FAQS About visiting Portland with toddlers, babies and kids of other ages
What about visiting Portland with a baby?
Visiting Portland with a baby is totally doable and many of the things that are great to od with a toddler in Portland are also great things to do when visiting with a baby. The children’s museum in particular was a highlight and you could easily head out to the falls with a stroller or carrier.
Thanks to Cath at Passports and Adventures for sharing her expertise with us.
Have you visited Portland with a toddler? Tell us what your toddlers favorite thing to do in the city is in the comment below.