I go to a lot of events for my work here at PDX Parent, and Hopscotch Portland may be my favorite of all time. It somehow manages to be both family-friendly and also the perfect spot for date night. I secretly believe there’s magic involved.
Hopscotch is an immersive art experience in southeast Portland, a wonder-inducing walk through 25,000 square feet of light, sound, and art. It’s basically what I imagine would happen if the Portland Winter Light Festival, Top Chef, and the Portland Night Market had a beautiful baby together.
The artwork of a diverse group of local, national, and international artists is featured in 14 immersive installations, but this isn’t a typical museum or gallery experience. Kids and adults will be obsessed with Diodic Daydream by Matchless Builds, a glowing ball pit that manages to be both playful and oddly soothing. The other installation that is about to break the internet is Quantum Trampoline by Kuflex, a responsive light display that transforms based on the movements of guests bouncing along a trampoline.
There’s also an undercurrent of activism that makes Portland the perfect home for this new business. Gaze by The Human Rights Campaign and The Wiz will draw crowds year-round, but especially during Pride month. When we were there, people were dancing past illuminated words of encouragement, acceptance, and support, as joyful music surrounded them. And Rainbow Cave by Basia Goszczynska brings a breathtaking beauty to environmental activism.
The menu, developed by Top Chef contestant and beloved celebrity chef Sara Hauman, is full of all your favorite snacks — waffles, popcorn, ice cream, mac and cheese — but seriously elevated. My tween and I kept fighting for more bites of the spicy mango sorbet, and she plans to order the falafel waffle on her next trip so she can have it all to herself. But if your kids aren’t quite as adventurous as my almost-teen, no worries — you can order a plain mac and cheese, too.
But don’t stop with food! The cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks are out of this world, much like the entire experience. The flaming “chromesthesia” is so good, it’s worth saying chro-mes-the-sia, and if you order the “electric avenue,” a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Portland Winter Light Festival. My daughter loved her non-alcoholic “celestial unicorn,” complete with tongue numbing glitter on the side of the glass. You can bring your drink throughout the space, and my husband and I enjoyed sipping our cocktails while my daughter made one last stop at Quantum Trampoline before we left.
The experience is best for ages 4+, but all ages are welcome and it’s free for ages 3 and under. If you’re looking for a date night you can bring your baby to, this is it. This is also the rare family activity your teenager will actually want to join; my 13-year-old gamer was skeptical until I told him about the virtual reality exhibit, and then even he was sold. There’s something for absolutely everyone in your family. Even babies will love the lights!
Bring socks for the trampoline and ball pit, and a credit or debit card for food and drink (Hopscotch is cashless). Hopscotch is ADA accessible, and compact strollers are allowed. I would recommend wearing your baby or toddler instead of using the stroller, as you’ll likely have a better experience if you travel lightly.
The best news is that Hopscotch Portland is permanent, which means you can come back whenever you like. I bet it will be soon.
Timed-entry tickets are $24 for adults, $15 for kids, and free for ages 3 and under. I would pay twice that for this experience. Get them here.
Open to the public beginning June 9, 2023
1020 SE 10th Ave, Portland
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