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With the world starting to return to a new normal, Stephen and I took the kids to Portland, Oregon for a wedding over Labour Day Weekend.
The wedding was actually in Hillsboro (about 15 minutes outside of Portland) so that’s were we spent the majority of our time. But we did get the kids to Portland proper and had lots of fun.
I actually grew up not too far from Portland in Seattle and remember making tons of trips down that way with my friends. It’s always been an exciting and artsy city so it was great showing my family around and discovering many new things as well.
So for today’s blog, I figured I would share our top things to do and see with a young family while visiting Portland, Oregon.
Book Your Hotel & Save!
If you’re needing to book a hotel for your Portland adventures, I’m going to suggest first stopping by Rakuten, and seeing if any of the booking sites are offering cash back. We ended up getting 4% cash back on our hotel stay with Rakuten which we used to pay for a family lunch. Especially on trips, I love to save wherever I can, and cash back through Rakuten makes it easy! Plus, new members singing up with Rakuten can earn an extra $30 cash back with their first qualifying purchasing by clicking here.
Take advantage of the PNW Wonderland
If this is your first time in Portland or the Pacific Northwest in general, do be sure to take advantage of all the natural beauty or region has to offer.
While not directly in Portland, Multnomah Falls is just outside the city and worth the trip to see. While we didn’t make it with the kiddos this trip, we will defiantly be taking them there in the near future.
Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural recreation spot in the PNW; and from the breathe taking waterfall itself to the surrounding views, its easy to see why 2 million people visit on a yearly bases.
That said, Multnomah Falls can get very crowed, So I suggest you plan to go early.
A permit is required for parking in the I-84 parking lot through Labour Day and that can be purchased through rec.gov.
Besides Multnoamh Falls, there are several other waterfalls, as well as trails to explore (eBikes available for rent), plus a really cool gift shop and restaurant that I remember not being half bad.
So again, if you have the time, I would HIGHLY recommend go!
Once you’re in Portland proper, be sure to pop over to Mississippi Ave.
Mississippi Ave has art everywhere you look and its fun to take a stroll down the street with the kids and get inspired with them.
Apart from the art, there’s many restaurants (such as Lovely’s Fifty Fifty Pizza and Bords) and shops worth visiting in this area as well.
We stopped by a zero waste shop that had tons of cool, stainable and reusable products, including these adorable unpaper towels from Marley’s Monsters .
We also stop by Pistils Nursery by chance–a dangerous spot for any plant lover. I was seriously considering what I could leave behind in order to take a new plant baby home.
Whatever you decide. to get u to on Mississippi Ave, its a great spot to explore and have fun with the family.
The Original Old Spegeitti Factory
The Old Spegeitti Factory was founded in Portland Oregon and was hands down our kids favorite spot.
The food is…decent, but this place is really more about the ambiance for the kids so its worth the spot.
I recommend going at night when the place is lit up in lights as its really cool to see.
My oldest discarded the inside as ‘Grandma’s living room”–which isn’t entirely accurate but it paints a picture of the gottiness you should expect to see inside if you’ve never been to one of their locations.
Amongst some of our kids favorites — The strawberry lemonade (which they call “Wally Juice”), The spegittie and meatballs, the severing of bread that comes with and of course, the tiramisu.
Also, don’t forget to order a Italian soda. They’re really good plus you get to keep the glass.
Junk Food Runs
I swear I gained 5 lbs in 2 days with all the pizza and doughnuts and fries I consumed! But Portland is defiantly a foodie town so Stephen and I took advantage of that.
First up, let’s talk about doughnuts. Everyone loves talking about Voodoo Doughnuts, and they’re defiantly not bad. But Portland has so many better options for you to choose from too.
My personal favorite has got to be Blue Star. My friend introduced me to them in 2014 and I’ve just been going back ever since. The Blueberry Bourbon Basil and the Chocolate Almond Ganache are my top recommendations.
Portland is also a great town for pizza. They seriously have so many options for pizza that you really can’t go wrong wherever you pick. Though, if you’re limited on time, I would suggest Sizzle’s Pie as they ave several locations you can pick from and a top notch menu.
I quickly wanted to mention Little Big Burger here too. We weren’t really looking for burgers, but stumbled across them and saw that they had vegetarian burger options. The whole family was very impressed with the taste and I can honestly say, their truffle oil fries are some of the best I’ve ever had.
Oregon Zoo/ Washington Park
We could not leave Portland without spending some time at the Oregon Zoo.
This was actually my first time at this zoo and it was such a wonderful experience for us. I think the thing that I apperiate most about this zoo is how well laid out and organized it was. The trail that leads you through the zoo really helps you to maximize your visit and see everything in a practical way.
They also had lots of exhibits that the kiddos loved. Unfortunately because of avian flu, most of the birds were kept away (but better safe than sorry for sure!) Even still, the kids were so excited to see the plenty of other exhibits they had a lean all about the different animals and plant life they had at the zoo.
While the Oregon Zoo allows you to bring in your own snacks and non alcoholic drinks (and I encourage you to do so), about half way through the trail, they have a pavilion with different eatery options as well as a small park and ampatheater where you can sit and enjoy a rest.
We brought all the snacks with us, but still stopped by the ‘Pizza & Beer’ booth because we saw that they offered Elephant ears.
They weren’t the greatest Elephant ears I’ve ever tasted, but for the $6 we paid, 1 was large enough of our family of 5 so it was worth it.
If you are going to head out to the Oregon Zoo, be sure to purchase your tickets online, as you cannot purchase them in person. When purchasing, they’ll have you reserve a time to show up so try to arrive a few minutes early if you can.
The Oregon Zoo is located in Washington Park that has many other actrctions located on it, such as the Children’s museum, Hoyt Arboretum. International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden just to name a few. You can seriously spend all day exploring the different places in this park, plus they offer a free shuttle. It’s truly a park for the whole family to explore and highly encourage anyone to visit.
Portland, Oregon is an amazing city! With so much to do and see, it can feel overwhelming to figure out where to go and what to do, especially on short trips.
I hope this family friendly guide inspired you can gave you some ideas on where you nd your family would like to visit.
Let us know down below what spot on this list you want to visit!