Portland summers, we love you so much. Finally a break from the rain, from the dreary gray skies, from the … but what is that super hot yellowish white thing blazing down at us from high above? Must. Get. To. Air Conditioner!

Here are ten sweet spots you can go to take a break from the heat, and still have fun.

  1. Be a Lego Maniac. Nothing says air conditioning like a mall, right? Head to the Lego Store at Washington Square Mall to get your Lego fix in for the day. Check their calendar for other events, like family game nights and mini-builds. Another great option is Bricks and Minifigs, where you can—I mean, your kids can—build whatever their hearts desire at the store’s Lego tables.
    The Lego Store: 9410 SW Washington Sq. Rd.
    Bricks and Minifigs: 3040 NE Sandy Blvd. (with other locations outside Portland)
  2. Let Someone Else Be Entertaining. Sip on a smoothie while letting someone else entertain your kids for you! Sound too good to be true? It’s not at Know Thy Food/Warehouse Café. Every weekday at 10:30, some of Portland’s favorite musicians (think Olive & Dingo among others) will sing songs, dance and just generally leave your kiddos happy.
    Know Thy Food: 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave.
  3. Live and Learn. Even if your kids aren’t the museum type, the lure of the well-cooled halls may make them reconsider. And once they’re in, they’ll be hooked! Try to time your visit with one of the museum’s family tours, held Sundays at 12:30 pm. Or if you have a very little one, check out baby hour on the first Thursday of every month.
    Portland Art Museum: 1219 SW Park Ave.
  4. Leave It to the Experts. Some days it’s just too hot to even consider turning on the oven. HUB is one of Portland parents’ favorite spots for kids for a reason. Well, lots of reasons. Great kids menu, play area, and beer! If you can, try to come during Tot Tuesdays — the second Tuesday of the month at the Powell location – when there is a storytime and crafts at 11 am. And check out more ideas for kid-friendly restaurants and kid-friendly breweries and pubs
    Hopworks Urban Brewery
    Powell Location: 2944 SE Powell Blvd.
    Vancouver Location: 17707 SE Mill Plain Blvd.
    N. Portland location: 3047 N. Williams Ave.
  5. Have a Bowl. Dust off those bowling shoes and get ready for some good old-fashioned fun. Head to any of the bowling alleys nearby, but if you sign up for the Kids Bowl Free program, your kids can get two free games every day this summer at Grand Central Bowl or KingPins.
    Grand Central Bowl: 808 SE Morrison St.
    KingPins: 3550 SE 92nd
  1. Wiggle It Out. For an indoor playground that’s lots of fun without being super overwhelming, try The Monkey King Playhouse. Your kids can play in the indoor structure, complete with slides, climbing ropes, and lots of cushy mats while you relax with free WiFi. Affordable food options (including ice cream!) are also available. Here are some other indoor playground options.
    The Monkey King Playhouse: 17112 SE Powell Blvd.
  2. Chill Poolside. Okay, so there’s not technically a/c here, but you can’t be hot when you’re in the pool! Portland Parks & Recreation’s outdoor pools are open for the summer. Come during one of the daily open swims, or plan your visit around one of their no-cost open swims (available Monday through Friday. Check out the schedule here. Another cool watery idea? Try out a splash pad.
    Portland Parks & Recreation
  3. Do the Robot. C’mon now, who doesn’t get excited by hot glue guns? Hot glue the day away while staying nice and cool at the Craft Factory. Choose from your favorite base—from a cut-out of the state of Oregon to a nifty little robot—and then decorate from their bins of recycled goods. Inside scoop: Hattie’s Sweet Shop is located just below the studio. Note the summer hours listed on their website. And check out other local art studios here.
    The Craft Factory7832 SW Capitol Hwy, Suite B. 
  1. Check It Out. I know our family isn’t alone in tapping our local library as our go-to “it’s too hot in our house” spot. Even when they don’t have special programming going on (like reptile guys, bug chicks, music and storytimes), they still have loads of fun books! A great space to relax and reconnect, without spending a dime.
    Multnomah County Library
  2. Get the Scoop. Is there a better way known to man to cool down than to enjoy a scoop of ice cream? No. The answer is no. And Portland has a vibrant ice cream scene. Try one of the regular winners of our readers’ poll for ice cream and/or sweets: Cloud City Ice Cream, Fifty Licks Ice Cream, Salt and Straw, Ruby Jewel, and Eb & Bean.

Did we miss your favorite way to cool down? Let us know on our Facebook page.


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