The Ultimate Portland Weekend with Kids


Explore the city and fill your long weekend with  under-the-radar gems and old favorites. Pick and choose what sounds best for your family — or try to knock out a whole weekend’s worth of fun!

Image courtesy City of Portland

SATURDAY: Exploring Bridge City

8 am: Since you’ll be exploring Portland through various modes of transit, you’ll need your energy! Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Daily Cafe at the Tram. Try a breakfast panini for yourself; the menu also offers plenty of kid-pleasing options like peanut butter toast or a bowl of granola. 3355 S Bond Ave.


9:30 am: Normally we’d say take the Portland Aerial Tram to ride up to Marquam Hill, but the tram is still only open for essential travel to OHSU — i.e. hospital workers and patients. (If it’s open to the general public when you visit, definitely hop on!) Instead, try romping at Elizabeth Caruthers Park. After either adventure, stop in at Blue Star Donuts, 668 S Gaines St.

11 am: Head to Golf on Tap for virtual golfing that lets you play the PGA National Championship Course without leaving Portland! There are more than 100 courses to choose from — or let the kids just smack around golf balls in the driving range simulator. 3739 S Bond St.

Noon: You can either jump on the Orange Line MAX train that goes across Tilikum Crossing or walk across The People’s Bridge. To take the MAX: Walk to the South Waterfront/S Moody MAX Station, board the Orange Line MAX going toward Milwaukie. Exit at the OMSI/SE Water station. (Kids 6 and under ride free on Trimet!)

12:30 pm: Head to Mount Hood Brewing Co. for tantalizing, wood-fired pizza. It’s Neopolitian-style — that means a slightly chewy crust with a little char. Pro tip: Ask to be seated in the green train car! 401 SE Caruthers St.

2 pm: Walk to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and choose your own adventure! 1945 SE Water Ave.


You can opt to explore the museum’s excellent exhibits including the one celebrating artist, architect and engineer — you know, Renaissance man — Leonardo da Vinci. Kids will dig the hands-on, OMSI-designed Inventor’s Workshop that focuses on exploring simple machines, drawing self-portraits and testing one of da Vinci’s experiments — the parachute. Pro tip: OMSI is usually closed on Mondays, but will be open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.

Another option: The Willamette Jet Boat 2-hour Willamette Falls tour starts running for the season on Saturday, May 28 at 2:45 pm. Pro tip: It leaves from the OMSI dock!

Also located at OMSI: Kerr Bikes rents surreys, kids’ bikes, tandem bicycles, adaptive bikes and more so you can cruise the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade in the pedaled vehicle of your choice. Bonus: Kerr Bikes helps support the Albertina Kerr Foundation, which provides programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and mental health challenges.

5 pm: Feast on Mediterranean delights at Shalom Y’all. These plates are made for sharing, so get the lemon zest fries, hummus and fried cauliflower, chicken kebab, and lots of extra pita and taste it all. 117 SE Taylor St. (Reservations encouraged.) — D.C.

SUNDAY: Hopping Along Hawthorne

9 am: Music puns and egg-sandos collide at Fried Egg I’m in Love. Grab a Yolko Ono or ’Rito Sauve for yourself. Let the kids design their own sandwiches with a Smells Like Protein Spirit. Be sure to get Hash Bites on the side! Pro tip: Skip the “Magic Egg Dust” if your kids aren’t into pepper. 3549 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

10:30 am: Venture to the outer eastside. The city is showing more love for outer southeast Portland with the new Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park. The playground is accessible for kids of all abilities and just plain cool. SE 167th and Market Street.

Noon: Opening at noon on Sundays, swing by the adorable Maggie Mae’s Kids Books in Gresham. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to catch one of the supremely fun events, like a meet and greet with a LEGO master builder! Or just browse the vast collection of wonderful books for kids — and games and puzzles. 43 NW 3rd St., Gresham.

1 pm: Gresham locals rave about the breakfast and lunch options at Sweet Betty’s. Try the stacked Club or Monte Cristo sandwiches. We also love that Sweet Betty’s helps build community by hosting pop-ups for new businesses and giving tons of shout outs to nearby women-owned businesses on their Facebook page! 543 NW 12th St., Gresham.

2 pm: Toddlers may need a nap break. But if you’ve got bigger kids, head back to Hawthorne Boulevard and experience some of the best people watching in Portland. Duck in and out of the shops stretching between SE Cesar Chavez and SE 30th Avenue Check out Presents of Mind or Tender Loving Empire for the perfect Portland kids’ tees. Kids at Heart toy shop is a dream for stuffy aficionados. From pastries to ice cream, you’ll come across plenty of places to stop for a snack break.

4 pm: Ready for some arcade goodness? QuarterWorld opens at 4 pm. You’ll find old- and new-school video games, pinball and even skeeball! Pro tip: The four-player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game provides a chance for parents to get in on the action with kids! And if you need a snack, order from the in-house cafe. 4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

6 pm: Head back down Hawthorne to see what’s playing at the McMenamins Bagdad Theater. This beer-and-pizza moviehouse shows new movies in a refurbished theater. Eat at the pub before the show or have food delivered to your seats in the balcony. 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.— D.C.

MONDAY: Peruse the Pearl

8 am: Reboot your morning caffeine routine at Broobee Cafe. This cute shop in the Pearl serves fresh coffee and teas prepared by … a robot! That’s right, all drinks are made by Billie, the animatronic barista. Place your place order — with a human — and then watch the multi-tasking robot take it from there. Kids (and grown-ups, let’s be honest) will delight in Billie grinding coffee beans, steaming milk and grabbing a paper cup before deftly setting it down. This robo barista also dances. Broobee has an assortment of fresh baked goods, including kid-approved doughnuts, plus, bagels, scones and more. 433 NW 10th Ave.

9 am: Once the sugar high for the kids kicks in (and you’re fully caffeinated) walk five minutes south on NW 10th to Powell’s City of Books. This giant and beloved bookstore is a Portland institution and full of undiscovered gems, whether it’s your first or fiftieth visit. The kids’ books section is stellar with everything from classic board books to the latest YA novels. 1005 W Burnside St.

10:30 am: Who wants more sugar?! (Like you even need to ask.) Wailua Shave Ice is the perfect, post-Powell’s treat, and it’s conveniently located across Burnside. This authentic, from-Hawaii outpost features syrups made with fruit juice and purees, like pineapple, guava and mango. We love the Guava Flow, made with guava juice, guava-strawberry puree, haupia foam and topped with toasted coconut. 1022 W Burnside St. Unit O.

11 am: Take to NW 10th Avenue once again for a half-mile, 10-minute walk to Jamison Square or take the A Loop line on the Portland Streetcar, which arrives every nine minutes. This is a perfect place to get the wiggles out, especially with the warmer weather late spring brings. The highlight of this downtown park is the tide pool-like fountain — which turned back on last month — edged by stone steps. Pro tip: Pack a towel and a change of clothes for the kids ahead of time! 810 NW 11th Ave. 

12:30 pm: Reminiscent of In-and-Out, or Shake Shack for those hailing from the East Coast, SuperDeluxe slings the burgers, fries and shakes fast-food dreams are made of. The local burger chain is known for its diner burgers made with locally sourced beef. They also have chicken sandwiches and nuggets, a veggie patty sandwich, and a kids’ menu with a little cheeseburger or grilled cheese. Kids will also love the Real Fruit Fizzy Water and the SuperTasty shakes. 870 NW 13th Ave.

2 pm: If you have littles in tow, nap time it is (and a great excuse to crack open that new tome from Powell’s)! But if your children are raring to go, then visit Play Date PDX, only 10 minutes Northeast from SuperDeluxe. This Medieval-themed indoor playground has three stories, two interactive dance floors, and even a cannon-ball area! While the kiddos play, sip on a coffee, local beer on tap or a glass of wine, while hopefully still getting in a page or two of that new book. $11.50 per child per hour; 1434 NW 17th Ave.

5:30 pm: End the day with some classic comfort food at Mother’s Bistro. This Portland mainstay is known for its brunches, but dinner here is equally satisfying. There’s Mom’s Meatloaf and Gravy, the five-hour braised pot roast, chicken and dumplings and more. Kids will chow down on the mac ‘n’ cheese, available in half-sizes, plus, there’s a mac ’n’ cheese of the day! And everything here is homemade, including the salad dressings. Just like mom used to make. 121 SW 3rd Ave. — T.H.

More weekends to fill? Take a look at last year’s ultimate weekend.

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