Ten Places to Beat the Heat with Kids in Portland

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. Another great option is Bricks and Minifigs, where you can—we 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. Enjoy Screen Time, but Social. Feeling nostalgic for Saturday morning cartoons? Head to The 4th Wall on weekend mornings for unlimited cereal, coffee for the grown-ups, and kid-friendly shows. Check out their calendar for fun themed nights, too, like Harry Potter Trivia or Family Game Night. They have a full menu, including movie night standbys like pizza and popcorn, plus free Wi-Fi if you need to get some work done.
    The 4th Wall: 1445 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR
  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, reasons: Great kids menu, play area, and beer! And check out more ideas for kid-friendly restaurants
    Hopworks Urban Brewery
    Powell Location: 2944 SE Powell Blvd. (kids play area here!)
    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 bowl free at participating alleys!
    Portland Area Bowling Alleys
  6. 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 Wi-Fi. Affordable food options (including ice cream!) are also available. Another great option on the west side is the beautiful and charming LEKA Playland. Keep up with their event calendar, as they are often hosting fun events like concerts or character meet-n-greets. Here are some other indoor playground options.
    The Monkey King Playhouse: 17112 SE Powell Blvd.
    LEKA Playland: 7405 SW Tech Center Dr., Tigard, OR
  7. 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 outdoor idea? Try out a splash pad or a park with shade.
    Portland Parks & Recreation
  8. 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 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. Or get a milkshake with your art experience at Creative Culture. Check out other local art studios here.
    The Craft Factory4555 N Williams Ave
    Creative Culture: 1448 NE 28th Ave
  9. Check It Out. We know our families aren’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
  10. 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. Here are six of our favorites. Or head to the new Cedar Hills Salt-n-Straw, which is conveniently adjacent to an interactive fountain.

Want more ideas for family fun? Check out one of our popular roundups.

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