Portland has been on my list for some time now and I was anxious to see what all the hype was about. We were super lucky to enjoy three days of sunny weather which made it easy to see the city. Since we had London with us, we tried to find as many kid-friendly activities to do sprinkled in between our adult sightseeing. Here's what I would definitely recommend seeing if you have kids:
1. Portland Children's Museum – Totally worth the $9 per person admission fee. This place has a ton to explore, including a kid-sized grocery store where kids can load up their cart to the brim and practice their cashier skills. There is also a pretend cafe attached where adults can "order" at the counter and the kids can get busy making pretend pizza and snacks to serve. Some other highlights were a huge digging pit, a construction zone, a treehouse, and a waterworks room. London's favorite thing in the museum, however, was the pet hospital. She got quite busy tending to the stuffed animals, giving them their shots and putting them back in their kennels. Didn't find enough to do at the museum? Check out the zoo - it's right across the parking lot.
2. Mt. Tabor Park – Located on top of a volcano, this gorgeous spot is like Portland's Central Park. You'll enjoy unbeatable views of Mt. Hood and downtown Portland while the kiddos get their wiggles out on the playground. An easy hike to the top, with lots of trees to hide behind and sticks to play with, made this a painless family outing. Parking is free and the bathrooms are close to the playground.
3. Bunk Sandwiches – Somewhat cramped, but the food doesn't take long and you'll be grateful to find grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu. For the more adventurous, I'd recommend the butternut squash with gruyere or the melted tuna. Delicious!
4. Cargo – This Pearl District store is hard to miss with the hundreds of Chinese lanterns hanging outside and the kids will be glad you found it. With tons of knick-knack type things to oogle over and fun global home goods, Cargo is a one-of-a-kind shopping adventure.
5. Saint Cupcake – If you need some adult shopping time in the Pearl District, you may be able to talk the kids into it if you promise them these cupcakes afterward. With regular and mini size, these amazing little sweets are just the right size to allow lots of taste testing and are perfect for small hands. Our favorite: the coconut!
6. Powell's City of Books – Having recently moved from NYC, I've been lamenting the fact that I no longer have easy access to Strand Bookstore. So I was thrilled to find a west coast equivalent at Powell's, with a similar feel and low prices on just about every used book you could ask for. They have a great kid section, so make sure to plan for story time.
7. Dusty Tiger Antiques & Toys – If you're willing to venture outside of Portland, take a short drive down to Milwaukie where antique shops abound. Dusty Tiger has a large selection of vintage toys (all behind plexiglass so you don't have to worry about your kids touching everything). Afterwards, head right across the street to the Collector's Mall where you'll find an ice cream parlor. Order old-fashioned milkshakes or malts at the counter and pretend it's 1950.