Food & Drink
BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT
Winner: Laughing Planet Cafe
Come for the tabletop dinosaurs, stay for the fresh, tasty food with plenty of healthy choices for kids and grown-ups alike. We’re partial to the Highway to Kale salad; our kids flip for the bean and cheese burritos, with a side of fresh veggies and a smoothie.
Winner: Slappy Cakes
Sure, you could stay home and make pancakes. But it’s so much more fun to make them at Slappy Cakes, where the batter can be buttermilk or chocolate or peanut butter, and the toppings are basically endless.
BEST FOOD CART POD
Don’t feel like making lunch, or dinner? Solution Portland Mercado at midday, for the best Latin American-influenced street food around, and Cartlandia for dinner, for food from pretty much everywhere else around the globe.
Winner: Hotlips Pizza
In this pizza-crazy town, Hotlips stands out for all-around kid-friendliness, from the slices that take just seconds to warm up to the free peppermints available at the cash register and the classic arcade games in the seating area.
BEST WELCOMING COFFEE SHOP
Winner: Roseway Play Café
Recipe for a perfect coffee shop: Great coffee, healthy eats, and dedicated space for the kids to play, or hear some tunes. Check, check and check at our winner, Roseway Play Café.
BEST LOCAL ICE CREAM
Winner: Salt & Straw
The lines outside tell the story: Tourists may flock to Salt & Straw for their kooky flavors (fish sauce ice cream, anyone?), but in-the-know local kids line up for chocolate gooey brownie.
Winner: Pip’s Original Doughnuts
Portland does doughnuts like nobody’s business. And nobody does it better than Pip’s Original in Beaumont Village. Pro tip: They’ll give you a dozen free doughnuts on your b-day!
BEST CAKE, CUPCAKES, COOKIES
Winner: Saint Cupcake
Need cupcakes for your kiddo’s birthday party? To Saint Cupcake you go! These are the yummy, buttercreamy stuff of birthday party legend.
BEST INDOOR PLAY PLACE
Winner: G6 Airpark Portland
Now you see ‘em, now you don’t. Your kiddos fly high at G6’s massive indoor trampolining complex. Just a hour or two there will be enough to tire them out for the rest of the day, guaranteed.
Winner: Westmoreland Park
When the reimagined Westmoreland Park opened a few years back, it signaled the start of a new era in PDX-area playgrounds: the nature playspace. Look for that trend to continue in coming years. (But the original is still our readers’ favorite!)
BEST ART STUDIO
Winner: SCRAP PDX
Portland has always been on the leading edge of the green movement, so it makes sense that our top pick for little artists is SCRAP, where recycled bits and bobs are turned into fantastical pieces of art.
BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY SPOT
Winner: Oaks Amusement Park
Got a kid with a summer birthday? Oaks Parks has it covered, with rides galore. Winter baby? Try the roller rink. This is an all-year round destination, and a timeless Portland landmark.
BEST ALL-AGES VOLUNTEERING
Winner: Oregon Food Bank
Many hands make light work at the Oregon Food Bank. You and the kids might be sorting potatoes or apples, pasta or oatmeal, but you’ll always leave knowing that you’ve helped out other families all over our state.
The crowds flocking to this year’s blockbuster Art of the Brick exhibit only confirmed what our readers already knew dollar-for-dollar, if you can only buy one membership, it should be to OMSI.
Services & Shopping
BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP
At Beanstalk, owner Carmen Ripley Wilson handpicks a carefully curated selection of like-new items (at a fraction of the price), with a special emphasis on the especially modish and/or adorable. Summer vacay and back-to-school shopping, here you come.
BEST LOCAL NEW KIDS’ CLOTHING
Winner: Hanna Andersson
Here’s the thing about clothes from Hanna Andersson They last forever. Last year’s dress is this year’s tunic, and next year’s shirt. Our kids are still wearing their Hanna jammies from three years ago. Long may they reign.
BEST CONSIGNMENT EVENT
Winner: SuperKids Resale Consignment
Big consignment sales are not for the faint of heart, but SuperKids Resale makes it look easy, with a well-organized selection of clothes, shoes and all the baby gear you could ever need.
BEST TOY STORE
Winner: Thinker Toys
There’s a reason Thinker Toys has been a Multnomah Village mainstay for two decades and counting. This sprawling-yet-cozy store has something for everyone, from handmade stuffies for the littles to the coolest science kits for big kids.
BEST BOOK STORE
Winner: Powell’s Books
Ah, Powell’s. Let’s get lost together in the stacks, hide out in rare books, dream away the afternoon in the travel section, and meet up again in the kid’s area, shall we? Next up the expanded storefront on SE Hawthorne opens soon, with a much bigger children’s section.
BEST GROCERY STORE
Winner: New Seasons Markets
From a kid’s-eye-view, New Seasons has it all — car carts, plentiful samples, free fruit for kids and stickers at the cash register. Now if only they could invent a way to get the kids to stop sneaking Coco Puffs into the cart when you’re not looking.
BEST SUMMER CAMP
Winner: Trackers Earth
Does your kid want to learn how to shoot an arrow? Start a fire? Weave a basket? Paddle their own canoe? Catch a fish? Milk a goat? Forge their own trail? Do it all — and more! — at reader favorite Trackers Earth.
BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY BIKE STORE/REPAIR
Winner: Sellwood Cycle Repair
In Portland, plenty of kids learn to bike almost as soon as they can walk. Whether they are on a balance bike, a tricycle, training wheels or ready to pedal, Sellwood Cycles will set you up right.
BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP
Winner: Books with Pictures
Owned by local parents, Books With Pictures has a smart, well-edited selection of graphic novels targeted at both kids and adults, with comfy seating and plenty of room to browse, too.
BEST KIDS’ HAIR SALON
Winner: Kids Castle Cuts
In a snug storefront just off Woodstock Boulevard, this is the place for stylish kiddos to come to get shorn — while sitting in a pink Jeep or fight jet. And if there is a wait, there’s a full room of fun toys to keep them entertained.
BEST LOCAL FESTIVAL
Winner: Portland Rose Festival
Portland’s biggest party of the year stretches on for months, but really gets in gear around Memorial Day weekend and continues into June, with fun parades and carnival rides galore.
Arts & Entertainment
BEST KINDIE MUSICIANS/PERFORMERS
Winner: Olive & Dingo
Tall-bike riding clowns Olive & Dingo topline storytimes all over town, and they are rock-stars to the junior set, who clamor for balloon animals and boogie down to their spirited songs.
BEST PERFORMING ARTS COMPANY
BEST MOVIE THEATER
Here’s the very best part about the new mama matinees at the Kennedy School. Not only do you get to get out of your house, not only does it not matter if the baby cries, but you can cry too, and no one will bat an eye.
Health & Wellness
BEST KIDS SPORTS CLASS
For the price, you can’t beat local parks and recreation classes. They’re the perfect intro, especially, if you don’t know whether your 2-year-old’s passion is going to be, say, basketball or jiu-jitsu. Take a class and find out!
BEST SWIM INSTRUCTION
Winner: Local parks and recreation community centers, multiple locations
Yesterday’s Angelfish are tomorrow’s Park Sharks. Just don’t get stuck at the Sea Lion level — man, it takes a long time to master those dives!
BEST DANCE CLASS
Winner: BodyVox Dance
Sometimes a kid just has to boogie down. And where better to do that than at BodyVox, where they can also learn the fundamentals of choreography, and the math and science behind intricate dance sequences?
BEST KID ROCK-CLIMBING GYM
Winner: The Circuit Bouldering Gym
Kids of all ages, shapes and sizes love to scale the climbing walls here, which lead to a fun slide that zips them down to the bottom again. And … repeat!
BEST KID GYMNASTICS CLASS
Winner: The Children’s Gym
Tumblebugs and aspiring Olympians alike love The Children’s Gym for its flexible scheduling and challenging classes.
BEST MAMA/BABY FITNESS CLASS
Here’s why so many people love Fit4Moms — everyone else in there knows what it is like to try to lose the baby weight. Get moving, and bring the baby along, too — no one minds if you’re breastfeeding while doing your squats.
BEST KID-FRIENDLY YOGA
Winner: Imagination Yoga
Study after study has shown that yoga helps kids stay calm and make thoughtful choices. The folks at Imagination Yoga layer on fun movements and even offer classes aimed at kids with special needs.
BEST MAMA-FRIENDLY SPA
Winner: Zenana Spa and Wellness
A haven for mamas-to-be, new mamas, and been-there-done-that mamas alike, Zenana is the place to come for upscale massages, non-toxic nail care and blissful facials.
BEST DENTIST FOR KIDS
Going to the dentist doesn’t necessarily sound like a fun outing out, but our readers think the staff at World of Smiles make it bright and enjoyable for your kiddo — they’ll leave with (you guessed it) a smile on their faces.
BEST PEDIATRIC OFFICE
Winner: Metropolitan Pediatrics
One of the city’s biggest pediatric offices is also a top pick of our readers, known for their attention to detail, 24-hour advice nurse line and caring staff.
BEST KIDS’ OPTOMETRIST/OPHTHALMOLOGIST
Take it from our readers If the eye chart is defeating your kiddos, and their teachers say they’re having trouble focusing in school, go see the folks at OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute for a consult. They also have world-class ophthalmologists specializing in pediatric eye diseases.
BEST PLACE TO GIVE BIRTH
There are so many different ways and places to give birth in 2017, but readers gave the nod to Providence Health & Services Hospitals for an array of options for every family/lifestyle.
BEST WORKOUT WITH ONSITE CHILD CARE
Winner: 24 Hour Fitness
Because sometimes you just have to work up a sweat that doesn’t involve lugging around a kid on your back. Our readers recommend dropping ’em off at the well-liked child care program at 24 Fitness while you go get your sweat on.
Winner: Cannon Beach/Seaside/Manzanita
It’s only an hour and a half away, but the Oregon Coast feels like a different world. If you seek seashells and sea stars and sea stacks and seeing for miles up and down the coast, look no further than Cannon Beach, Seaside and Manzanita.
Top 5: Bend, Columbia River Gorge, Lincoln City/Newport, Mount Hood/Government Camp, Tillamook/Oceanside/Pacific City
BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESORT
Winner: Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa
Our readers advise escaping Portland’s endless grey skies to Kah-Nee-Ta, closest of Central Oregon’s family-friendly resorts, where you can bask in high-desert hot springs and sleep in luxury teepees in the crisp mountain air.
BEST LOCAL HIKE
Winner: Forest Park
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. Forest Park is Portland’s shared backyard, and the trails that wind their way above the city are a welcome respite from concrete for all ages.
- Featured School of the Week: A Renaissance School of Arts and Sciences - May 26, 2020
- 2020 Summer Camp Updates - May 24, 2020
- Readers Respond: New Routines - May 24, 2020