30+ Ideas for Kid-Friendly Fall Fun

Every year we round up the very best in Portland-area fall fun. We’ve collected some of the quintessential Portland fall fun activities, plus some new ones to try. Happy fall, y’all!

Credit: Meg Asby

Visit a pumpkin patch. No family’s fall is complete without a visit to a pumpkin patch. Not only can you pick out the perfect carving pumpkin, but you can also visit with animals, ride on a hay wagon, take part in fall-themed activities and even bite into a delicious caramel apple. Here’s our list of the area’s pumpkin patches.


Take a hike. Check out our recommendations for hikes where you can see great fall colors or just enjoy a crisp autumn stroll. If it’s too early or too late to catch the trees in action, try one of these other fun family-friendly hikes

Pick some apples. There’s not much more satisfying than that delicious crunch of a freshly-picked apple. There are lots of great apple picking spots around town. Here are a few of our favorites. And once you’ve picked …

Make applesauce. Peel and quarter as many apples as you can stand, throw them in a pot with a splash of water to prevent sticking, boil over medium-high heat until soft, puree and voila — fresh apple sauce! Try adding cinnamon or strawberries to the sauce for a twist on the classic.

See the Swifts. Every night in September, one hour before sunset, thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather overhead as they prepare to roost for the night.

Make a fall craft. The rumors are true: It rains in Portland. While most drizzly days are great for outdoor adventures, there are those times where you just want to stay in and stay dry.


Prefer to avoid messy art at home? Check out our list of arts and crafts studios in PDX for places to make a mess without stress.

Get the wiggles out. Speaking of indoor play, check out our list of play spaces. There are enough to keep you busy all fall and winter, too.

Head to Hood River. Whether it’s to take in the beautiful scenery, to sip some apple cider or to explore the area, Hood River is a great fall destination. Don’t forget to tour the Fruit Loop!

Celebrate Oktoberfest. Many of Portland-area Oktoberfests are kid-friendly, from Oktoberfest at Oaks Park to Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Check our Kids Calendar for the next celebration.

Explore the Oregon Zoo. The Oregon Zoo is an absolute delight in the crisp fall air. Don’t miss their annual Howloween event!

Gather leaves. Put on those rain boots and take a stroll around the block trying to find the most beautiful leaves you can. Put them in a mason jar like a bouquet, make them into a craft, or — if you’re feeling really ambitious — rake them into a pile and jump into them. (Hint: taking a slo-mo video of your kids executing the jump will lead to a full afternoon of active fun!)

Plant fall veggies. Spinach and arugula can withstand cooler temps and grow quickly. 

Plant bulbs. Visit your favorite garden supply store for spring bloomers such as daffodils, tulips or hyacinth. Your kids will love the reward of seeing these flowers in the spring.

Puddle stomp. Yes, your child will get wet and dirty. But isn’t that what childhood is all about? This can also lead to our next idea…

Take a bubble bath. Cool, drizzly days call for warm, bubbly baths. Throw in a few caps of bubbles along with measuring cups and other kitchen utensils to change up the regular bath routine. Your kids will love our bath bomb recipe; just sub in pumpkin spice extract for the essential oil!

Get lost in a corn maze. Take your pumpkin patch experience to the next level by venturing into a corn maze. Bring your boots, and be prepared for an hour or more of meandering. And be sure to reward yourself with your favorite fall treat afterwards!

Get a hole in one. While there are still some warm and dry days, try one of these mini golf courses

Make a fall treat. It’s pumpkin-spiced everything season, plus check out our list of easy, healthy Halloween treats.

Take a bike ride. Riding your bike through a big puddle might not be the cleanest activity—but it’s one of the most satisfying. Take advantage of the bike paths in the off-season to really set out and explore. Here are some suggestions for bike routes that are great for kids.

Search for rainbows. You know the type of weather — those rainy days with the sun shining through the raindrops — basically October through February. Where there’s that kind of rain, there’s rainbows. Go find one. And if you find that pot of gold, share it around!

Recapture your zen. No matter the season, the Portland Japanese Garden is lovely. Fall can be an especially wonderful time to visit, as the colors become more vibrant and the summer crowds thin. Pick up the scavenger hunt sheet while you’re there, or just enjoy the garden on its own.

Downward dog. Try Cosmic Kids Yoga for a break during the day. 

Create a bookshop bucket list. Powell’s is a stunner, but there are lots of other independent bookshops worth a visit. Try Green Bean Books, Annie Bloom’s, and Books With Pictures — or create a list of your own! It’s also a great time to visit your local library.

Read a book. Once you have those new books in hand, grab a blanket and some hot chocolate for a cozy, snuggly family reading session.

Enjoy a cup of joe sans whining. Visit one of our favorite kid-friendly coffee spots on a chilly morning. Readers love Awake Coffee & Art.

See a Blazers game. Fall marks the start of the basketball season. Even if you’re not the biggest sports fan, seeing a professional game can still be really exciting!

Take in a show. We are lucky to have great kids theatre here in Portland. Take the family to see music, a play or musical with Oregon Children’s Theatre, Northwest Children’s Theater or Oregon Symphony’s Kids Series. For a full list of venues, see our Performing Arts Guide.

Learn something new. While we’re all familiar with OMSI, there are many museums around that can get your kids (and you) engaged. Scour some fun and enriching kid-friendly museums here.

Get into the Spirit of Halloween(town). Weekends throughout October you’ll find lots of spooky and not-so-spooky family-friendly fun at St Helens’ Spirit of Halloweentown.

Tour a graveyard. Davis Graveyard is back for more Halloween thrills! Starting October 1, the spooky effects will be running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

Tour the hood. Walk around the neighborhood at night and find the house with the spookiest, most over-the-top Halloween decorations. Maybe it’s even your house?

Trick or Treat! The ultimate free October event. Get those bags or buckets and get some candy!

For Halloween ideas, check out our list of ways to celebrate Halloween like a Portlander.

PDX Parent Staff
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