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Portland Advice?

portland-oregon-cable-car

Are you taking any trips this summer? We’ve been brainstorming a good place for a family vacation and we’ve decided to take a weeklong trip to Portland! We’re so excited! I’ve always wanted to go, and it seems like such a rad city, with great food, bikes everywhere, beautiful nature, mountains in the distance, the most microbreweries in the world. (Budget Travel even wrote an article, “Can a Place Be Too Perfect?”)

As we put our August trip together, I would love to ask you: Do you have any tips for visiting Portland? Neighborhoods to rent a house in, places to eat and drink, activities to do? Thank you SO much for any advice! We cannot wait. (Keller Fountains look amazing.)

P.S. 10 trips for traveling with a baby, and how to entertain a toddler on a plane.

(Photo by Michael J. Spear)

  1. We lived in Portland for about a year and enjoyed the city very much. In the summer the farmers market by the South Park Blocks next to Portland State should be a blast in the weekend. The saturday market by the waterfront on the weekends is a great place to hangout as well.

    We traveled to Portland earlier this year and stayed in the 23rd St. neighborhood. There are plenty of trendy shops and restaurants there. One of our favorite joints is Little Big Burger. For dessert, we enjoyed Salt & Straw’s eccentric ice creams.

    The town is also full of breweries. We particularly like Bridgeport and Deschutes.

    We hope you enjoy the city!

  2. Ali says...

    Hi Joanna,

    Portlander with young ones here coming late with some suggestions (when you originally posted this it was ski season here in Oregon and we were otherwise occupied). Not sure how long you are staying, but here are some suggestions grouped by locale:

    CITY – DAY 1
    Rent bikes near the Ace Hotel. They have some with Burley child trailers.
    Jamison Square Park in the Pearl. Go only a week day.
    Grab lunch at Hot Lips Pizza or Laughing Planet in the nearby Eco Trust building.
    Stop in at Powell’s Books.
    Ruby Jewel ice cream is near Powell’s and just as good as Salt & Straw with no queue.
    While boys are in the children’s section at Powell’s with their dad, you dash out and head a few blocks west on Burnside to try on jeans at Imogene + Willie (the only store in the US outside of their Nashville HQ) and the Best. Jeans. Ever.

    DAY 2 – CITY
    Oregon Zoo – we are not big zoo people but the Oregon Zoo does a very good job of creating nice habitats for the animals. They have a super nice Pacific Northwest section with mountain goats, bald eagles and black bears.
    Take the open air mini train to the Washington Park rose garden and go to “Elephant Park” (I don’t know the official name but my girls always call it that and love taking the train there). The park is right in front of the train platform when you exit the train. The train sounds cheesy but the kids love it and it winds through a lovely (and cool, if it is hot out) forest. Depending on the summer temps, roses may still be in bloom. You can take the train round trip back to the zoo.
    No restaurants outside of standard zoo-visitor fare so pack a lunch.

    DAY 3 – THE GORGE & MOUNTAINS
    Rent a car and go to Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge for the day. Walcella Falls is an excellent hike with kids. I would skip Multnomah Falls unless you go super early.
    Go to Pfriem in HR for a wonderful meal.
    There is an awesome river-front playground right in front of Pfriem with a lovely beach for little ones.
    Double Mountain for beer and pizza in the HR downtown area.
    Mike’s Ice Cream also in downtown HR.
    Take Hwy 35 South to Mt Hood & Government Camp.
    Depending on when in August, stop by Mt Hood Organic Farm for pears just off of Hwy 35 on Smullin Road (if on the weekend, call ahead to make sure they don’t have a wedding going on in the afternoon). Amazing views of Mt Hood plus organic pears for a song.
    Visit the historic Timberline Lodge with close-up views of Mt Hood for dinner then head back to Portland via Hwy 26 while children sleep in the car.

    OTHER
    Ecola State Park on the coast. (We usually head to the mountains so I don’t have much in the way of beach resources).
    Sauvie’s Island for berry picking and beaches on the Columbia River.

    Have a lovely holiday!

  3. thank for share

  4. With 426 comments, I may have missed a prior recommendation for this – but please, please if when in Manzanita – drive 30 minutes North to Cannon Beach just for dinner at the Irish Table. Cozy, intimate, wonderfully satiating food (and yes – I do realize I’m recommending Irish fare when you feel like you should be eating Fish & Chips – ha!). Despite the lack of seafood, you won’t regret spending the time at this glowing special spot…

  5. Just visited with husband and baby girl earlier this year and was smitten. A few food-related items that we thoroughly enjoyed:

    Olympic Provisions. They are responsible for some seriously delicious and pretty widely distributed salumi that I’ve sampled here in the Bay Area over the past few years. Little did I know their restaurant (they have two locations but I believe we went to the one in the warehouse district) would be so on point. Unmissable for a meat and cheese board and some sparkling wine. We went with baby for a very early supper and it was perfectly easy.

    Apizza Scholls. A great pizza joint with beer and wine. This place seems to have a following so try to avoid the line.

    Cooper’s Hall. This is too cool! It’s a winery and taproom and kitchen in a former auto body shop. We had their rosé and some fried ramps with aioli – just happiness. Different than anything I’ve seen in terms of wine bars. Kids ok :)

    SIP Juice Cart on NE Division St. A necessary lift. Their truck is situated right next to the local fave Pine State Biscuits.

    And lastly, this is a weird one but I became addicted to Honey Mama’s Raw Chocolate while I was there. Sold at Whole Foods and Food Coop near NE Division, it is incredible stuff made locally and available at only a small handful of places. Cacao, coconut oil, honey, pink salt (and maybe one more ingredient). Try the one with rose petals omg. Kept in the refrigerated section because it is so coconut oily it wants to melt as soon as its at room temperature.

    Have a ball! XO

  6. jenna says...

    Highly recommend stopping in my sister’s new shop called Field Trip. You would love it. They have kids craft time on Tuesday mornings too! shop-fieldtrip.com

  7. Hi Joanna,

    I live in Portland read your blog daily. How exciting that you will be visiting Portland! Here are a list of my favorites places in the city:

    cocktails: Angel Face Bar and Expatriate
    beer: Breakside Brewing
    Gluten-free beer: Groundbreaker Gastropub
    italian food: Luce (my absolute FAVORITE restaurant)
    pizza: Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Dove Vivi
    Breakfast: Milk Glass Market and Sweedeedee
    Music Venues: Doug Fir, Mississippi Studios, Revolution Hall
    Fav outdoor music venue if there happens to be an awesome band playing: Edgefield
    Fun simple wine bar: Enso
    Outdoor fun: Mt Tabor
    Coffee: Coava (and a million other places. such good coffee in Portland)
    Wandering around and shopping: Mississippi and Alberta St are my favorites
    Quintessential Portland sunset picnic spot: Skidmore Bluffs
    Provisions for sunset spot: Pastaworks Market or Foster & Dobbs
    Healthy brunch, lunch or dinner: My place :) Harlow
    Fav citys on Northern Oregon Coast: Manzanita and Astoria

  8. Jane says...

    Hi Joanna,
    I’ve been meaning to write this for a while. Portland is a really great choice for a family vacation! You have plenty of great recommendations already so here are just a couple more:
    1. Take the streetcar to the tram (the boys will LOVE it!) but try to avoid the tram during “rush hours”- 7-10am, 3-6pm because it gets really crowded- think: sardines. Afterwards, there’s a splash pad in the park at the base of the tram that could be fun for the boys if you’re here on a hot day. They also have farmers markets in that park Thursdays through October and you could grab something to eat there.
    2. If you’re here in September, look into the Vaux’s swifts at Chapman Elementary. Hundreds of people gather with picnic dinners to watch this huge flock of swifts (on their migrating to Venezuela) circle and circle and circle and finally swoop into their roost for the night. It sounds weird but it’s really awesome to see. It happens every night in September.
    I’m originally a Michigander like you and the Pacific Northwest reminds me of Western and Northern Michigan in a lot of ways. I’m sure you’ll love it.

  9. Brookie says...

    Fifth generation homesick Portlander and frequent visitor – do go for a float at the Kennedy School pool on a weekday morning. Skip the regular haunts on the coast and go to Astoria, and skip Multnomah Falls (but do drive the Crown Point Loop in spring) in favor of a trip to the Maryhill Museum. Walk and bike and take transit. Go to Gloria’s Secret in Beaverton after picking berries on Sauvies Island and sunning at the nude beach. I find Salt & Straw, Escape From New York, and Papa Hadyn to be terrible in every way, sorry everybody – but then again I love nearly every hole in the wall burrito joint and banh mi drive-in on 82nd. Washington Park hiking and walks in the west hills are breathtaking year-round, I completely agree.

  10. Tracy Reeve says...

    oops posted mid-comment by mistake — here’s the rest of the resto recommendation — a family friendly restaurant we love, great delicious food, reasonable prices, mostly local or even grown on owner’s farm is Seasons & Regions on SW Vermont, great kids menu.

  11. Tracy Reeve says...

    Native Portlander here. My recommendations:

    1. Coast — Manzanita! Perfect small Oregon coast town, off highway 101, great vibe, great 7 mile soft sand beach, fun for families, under two hours from Portland, less touristy and crowded than Cannon Beach.

    2. Second all who recommend the Columbia Rive Gorge. SO gorgeous (pun noted), easy day trip, many great short and long hikes and waterfalls, Hood River for lunch.

    3. Parks, parks & more parks — a loop hike on Wildwood trail/Leif Erickson in Forest Park (access at top of NW Thurman and combine with a few hours on NW 21st and NW 23rd, fun restaurants, good shops and I vote “yes” on Salt & Straw ice cream). Also love little Big Burger on NW 23rd (and elsewhere). Visit Japanese Garden in Washington Park and while you’re there check out Rose Garden (SO many roses and great views of downtown) and Elephant Playground for your littles. My favorite downtown park is the European style paved Director’s Park with a great kid friendly fountain. Laurelhurst Park on the East side is lovely. If you like gardens the Chinese Classical Garden in Old Town is a must. Of course you have to check out the Pearl, and with kids Jamison Square and/or Tanner Street Springs. Another fabulous ice cream shop (downtown and Mississippi) is Ruby Jewel (have an ice cream sandwich with homemade cookies!). Food carts are fantastic, giant selection of them downtown and elsewhere in town. Hawthorne area has a great vibe, as does SE Division/Clinton Street neighborhoods. Ladd’s Addition is fun to stroll through to see the darling houses and unique, non-linear layout. In SW, Multnomah Village, Hillsdale and Gabriel Park are all worth exploring — a family friendly resta

  12. We are headed to Portland in August too! We plan to spend some time on the coast, and some time downtown.

  13. Mina says...

    Awesome choice! I grew up in the Portland area and I highly recommend renting a car and heading out to the coast (Pacific City, Cannon Beach and the Tillamook area are my faves) or the Columbia River Gorge (Multnomah Falls, Vista House and Hood River are so lovely). Both are breathtaking and so worth the drive. I personally love the Hawthorne area and it is full of cute little boutiques and vintage stores. I also love McMennamins and think you’d enjoy walking around the Kennedy School or Edgefield (although they are very boozy establishments!). Saturday Market is always fun and lasts all weekend. It’s like a big flea/farmer/handmade market and right on the water! I think that Voodoo and Salt and Straw are over hyped myself and not worth the lines. I would recommend Papa Haydn’s for sweet treats!

  14. I live in NE Portland and could not agree more with Jane!! What she said! So excited to see your visit unfold. Our city is amazing…worlds largest nakee bike ride going on now!

  15. I live in Oregon and highly recommend going to Salt and Straw in Portland and visiting Multnomah Falls!

  16. Jane says...

    As a native Portlander, I have to disagree with a lot of the recommendations here. Don’t go to any food establishment where you have to wait in line (Salt and Straw, Pok Pok, Voodoo Donuts, Pine State) they are poorly disguised tourist traps. Get an AirBNB in a neighborhood on the East side of the river (N Mississippi, Hawthorne, Division, Ladd’s Addition, Alberta) and then just explore the local spots. Go to the charming restaurants you’ve never heard of and can walk to. Drink the local beer, rent bikes, see the waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge (there are so many besides Multnomah Falls!), and if you’re visiting at the end of the month, attend Last Thursday on Alberta Street. If you go to the coast go to Oswald West State Park or Ecola State Park with a picnic, DEFINITELY skip the Tillamook Cheese Factory. All of this with a grain of salt: as with visiting any new city, the important thing is to just explore to get the most genuine experience, don’t feel like you need to fill an itinerary with specific “sites.”

  17. Julianne Willis says...

    I’m in Portland now and have been using all these comments to figure out where to go and the absolute best is Por Que No. They’re the best tacos I’ve ever had and I never would have known without these comments! I had the chorizo, al pastor, and the pescado and all of them were amazing. Enjoy, it’s a great city!!

  18. Nicole Preston says...

    Kenny and Zukes is a great Jewish Deli right near Powell’s that is very family friendly. Cacao is also near and has artisan chocolates and decadent drinking chocolate (think of the film Chocolate). You are going to have a great time.

    I encourage you to check out this blog for other low-key spots around Portland to enjoy.
    http://www.posiegetscozy.com/

  19. Katie says...

    My husband is from Portland, so we go there all the time. If you do go out to the coast, I’d recommend Newport. It’s fun and there is a great aquarium that my two nieces (ages 6 and 3) love. It’s also not too far from Tillamook, which has an awesome cheese factory.

    23rd has lots of fun stores and Salt and Straw. Poppa Hydn is across the street and has great desserts. Also the 3 Monkeys is nearby and has amazing vintage jewelry. My favorite restaurants are Veritable Quandry, Apizza Scholls, Beast, and Olympic Provisions. Pok Pok is good, but there is always a line and a location in Brooklyn. The food trucks are great too. It’s also fun to walk around the waterfront.

    Dundee is great for wine tasting and there are tons of amazing breweries. I like Deschutes. I also highly recommend the Kennedy School McMenamins- it’s like a giant bar in an old school. You can watch a movie and get food and drinks. I think they show kid friendly movies during the summer.

    Also the Japanese Gardens and Chinese Gardens are fabulous. My father-in-law volunteers at both. So I have been a few times. They are even amazing in the dead of winter. Have a great trip!

    • If you go to Newport I highly recommend the Chowder Bowl (don’t go to Mo’s it’s a tourist trap with awful food).

  20. Where do I even begin!? My husband is from a small town outside of Portland so we go a couple of times a year. Below are my top picks:

    1. Seafood and a day in Astoria (a pretty quaint seaside town)

    2. Brunch at Mother’s Bistro
    http://www.mothersbistro.com/

    3. Lunch at Pok Pok
    http://www.pokpokpdx.com/

    4. If you get a date night in just the two of you, Departure on top of the Nines Hotel is so fun! Perfect for summer nights.
    http://www.thenines.com/portland-departure-restaurant

    5. Visit some wineries in the Willamette Valley
    http://www.trisaetum.com/ (my absolute favorite!)

    6. Hood River is a beautiful town that’s famous for its abundance of local fresh fruit
    http://hoodriverfruitloop.com/

    7. Our favorite Craft Brewery: Cascade: http://www.cascadebrewing.com/
    – Apex is a great bar that serves LOTS of local brews: http://www.apexbar.com/

    8. My favorite Mexican restaurant:
    http://www.porquenotacos.com/

    A week is plenty of time to explore the city so I’d recommend renting a car and visiting some surrounding towns. Have fun and welcome to the left coast! xo

    • Mina says...

      Love these tips. I think Departure is great for date night too! Plus you can have drinks at Urban Farmer afterward which is so cute.

  21. Jenni Tronier says...

    The Chinese and Japanese gardens are always fun. My daughter loves Jameson Square Park in the Pearl District, the fountain is a hot spot in the summer months. Also, if you are renting a car, a day trip (or overnight stay) in Cannon Beach is a must and only 1.5 hours away from Portland. The Oregon coast is usually 15-25* cooler than Portland and Cannon Beach is home to Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park and a wonderful small town, northwest beachy vibe. Great toy stores, shopping, galleries, food and even a quaint Community Theatre.

  22. Anna says...

    I will feel bad if I don’t mention this — go to Salt & Straw in the off-hours when there is barely a line. I don’t think it is so great to stand in super hot weather waiting around the block for ice cream. When there is a long line, I literally always just come back later.

  23. Anna says...

    My second addition after perusing some of the comments — double **YES** to Powell’s Books, Salt and Straw Ice Cream (strawberry balsamic all the way… well, & pear blue cheese and their S. American chocolate), Ruby Jewel Ice Cream, Pine State Biscuits, Little Big Burger the Czech-made Street Car, and the (pictured) Swiss-made aerial tram. These are little pleasures that will give you a glimpse into the sweet life of every day quality choices in Portland. Yes, it is a small town but with the trees, creative food (including top notch food carts), a value of good, sustainable design throughout, and quality of life which is at a somewhat slower pace than big cities, as well as natural surroundings in every direction — mountains, beach, gorge, desert — you can see that there is a worthwhile experience to be had in a visit to Portland.

  24. Anna says...

    If you are in Portland August 16, the India Festival in Pioneer Square goes from 11am to 10pm (or something like that). Good food, music, dance performances including groups of dressed up children, and it’s free!

    Also, check out Jamison Square (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?&propertyid=1140&action=viewpark) in the Pearl District and Director Park (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/443671) near Pioneer Square. And yes, food, coffee, desserts are a bountiful and delicious, and often in rather cozy and cool spaces. Ristretto Roasters is a favorite of mine. I like the N. Williams location but haven’t tried the Couch one yet. http://ristrettoroasters.com/locations/

    I’ve been in Israel for 2.5 years with month long visits home to Portland each late fall/winter, and I’m so homesick. Hoping to move back soon. Was happy for you that your family will be visiting Portland! Have fun! And stay cool… naturally August is the hottest month in Portland but with low, low humidity so nothing like the dripping hot of NYC in August.

  25. Jessica says...

    Hey Joanna. Jessica, Local Portlander here. You posted about my grandparents a long time ago (http://cupofjo.com/2009/08/jessicas-grandparents-our-secret-to-a-happy-marriage/). So glad this is archived still!

    My honey and I own Nuvrei, a patisserie in The Pearl. I would love to host you and your family for some treats. We are close to the Jamison Square Fountains. Fresh Rose Croissants, Iced Lattes for you and your husband (Berry Brioche, Passion Fruit Lemonades for the boys) & the fountains are just what a vacation orders.

    NW 23rd, SE Division & Mississippi St. all have a ton of neighborhood options to explore. Salt & Straw, Blue Star Donuts are both fun for kids & adults. Heart Coffee is amazing. If you and your husband can sneak away for drinks, Pepe Le Moko underneath the Ace Hotel in Downtown Portland is really cozy.

    Outside of that, don’t miss the Hoyt Arboretum (Redwood Deck, swoon) for a nice family walk , Navarre on NE 28th for brunch (amazing food, no brunch wait), Sauvie Island Berry Picking and beach picnic time, Haystack Rock/Tidepools at Canon Beach (3rd largest monolith in the world), Mt Hood & anything in the Gorge. I just recommend getting outside. The best things Portland has to offer are the surrounding outdoors.

    Have an amazing time. Email if you would like to swing by Nuvrei!

  26. west Portland is nice to stay in for ease of transportation. Sell wood is also super nice for family, but would require a rental car to get about.

    Three cheers for Salt and Straw! The locals all know that you should just skip the line, grab your pints in the fridge (salted caramel is heavenly) and go straight to the cash register. No one will blink an eye! And you can grab some spoons and enjoy your treats just the same at the park.

    Cannon beach is so much fun, and the little town around it is just adorable. It’s where part of The Goonies was shot, so it’s pretty cute to show the movie to kiddos (it is, after all, a quintessential boy movie) and then take them to the beach and point out Haystack Rock.

    The food at Pok Pok is amazing and very worth a special trip to SE Division. If you get a chance to go shopping check out Canoe downtown. Also, Voodoo donut has a lot of hype but I really enjoy Blue Star.

    Have so much fun! It’s a great place to visit!

  27. Olivia says...

    Oh my word. Haha, my husband and I are planning a week trip to Portland in August as well…these comments alone would keep us busy for weeks. So perfect! We may mooch off of these ideas as well, Jo. Happy Vacationing……ahhhh, coffee and ice cream and hiking and open markets and bike rides and burgers and food trucks and…

  28. If you have time, stay the night at cannon beach (about a hour away from portland). The beach is kid friendly, lots of underwater creatures to learn about and the surrounding area is just gorgeous. While you’re there, check out Ecola State Park, the drive into this park is out of this world.

  29. Sarah says...

    Skip it and come to Bend :)

  30. esther c says...

    Hi Joanna! I live in Portland and work as a barista at Good Coffee, which is a newer shop that carries some of the city’s top roasters including Heart, Coava, and Roseline. Thrillist wrote up something on us if you’re interested in some reading! http://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/best-new-coffee-shops-new-american-coffee-shops It would be such a delight to serve you!

    I also think you and your family would enjoy the Portland State University Saturday Farmer’s Market if you’re in town on a Saturday… such a fun atmosphere even if you’re not shopping for produce. Peninsula Park Rose Garden… there’s a cat cafe I’ve never been to since I’m quite allergic, but it sounds like it would be awfully memorable…it is called Purrington’s. There’s the Oregon zoo, which is right next to the Children’s museum, Powell’s Books of course, Sauvie’s Island has some berry picking and beachy spots, but slightly outside the city. Schoolhouse Electric Building to browse interiors and drink coffee in one beautifully repurposed space… Mount Tabor, Rocky Butte, or Council Crest for scenic sunsets & picnic spots… for food… Sweedeedee for breakfast/brunch, Nong’s Khao Man Gai (which has a brick and mortar on SE Ankeny St. now, which is far more manageable with kids) Maurice for fancy lunch, Dove Vivi for cornmeal crusted made to order pizzas, Bollywood Theater for indian food with plenty of outdoor seating, Farina Bakery for Macaroons, Palace Cakes for a slice or two of cake, All the things at Tidbit Food Farm (carts with gluten free vegan treats, wood fired pizzas, beer, waffles, ramen, hotdogs…) I think I could go on, but this is getting pretty lengthy! Please direct message me on instagram if you have more specific questions that I can try to answer! @estheychang

    Oh yes, and if you can rent a house in Ladd’s Addition, which is called “inner southeast” I think that’s the perfect neighborhood to be based at. Excited for you to experience Portland’s dreamy summer days!!

  31. Maya says...

    Portland is so much fun, I visited once and loved it! Salt and Straw is the best ice cream I’ve ever had and has multiple locations throughout Portland and Blue Star Doughnuts is great too!

  32. Julia says...

    I second (or third or fourth) Salt and Straw.

  33. Jenn S says...

    if you are bringing your kiddos, do NOT miss PLayDate PDX – it’s AMAZING. http://www.playdatepdx.com/
    and yes, you can totally get there via public transportation, though it involves a little bit of walking.

    also, Salt & Straw for ice cream is TO DIE FOR, not to be missed!!!

  34. Lyn says...

    You should check out Portland Flea, which is on most Sunday’s. It’s kid friendly and full of lots of treasures.

  35. Looks so fun and gorgeous. Would love to visit. Enjoy!

  36. Katie says...

    We did this trip with our 7 year old son this spring. So. Much.Fun. I would save time for open ended street car traveling – so different from NYC subways and buses. Skip Voodoo Donuts – our boy was first to say overrated and too much hype (though you could peek through window as donut on ceiling is most eccentric feature!). Am sad to have missed Salt & Straw, but if you need more ice cream, or can’t face line, Ruby Jewell is right near Powells and very very delicious. Children’s Museum is stellar – a wonderful outside area too. The Chinese Gardens tend to get less ink than Japanese, and are less spectacular, but absolutely lovely and intimate and manageable – our boy could wander ‘alone’, but still within our sight, and he loved that. For food – Apizza Scholl’s , across the bridge to the SE, is a Bourdain anointed gem to which we were randomly referred – such a winner, and a fun experience – you line up, they only serve till the dough runs out, etc so a great choice for early diners…and a part of Portland you might otherwise not see. Enjoy!

  37. JJ Walker says...

    As a portlander I would say – Forest park! It’s in NW Portland and has the BEST trails to walk on for all levels of activity and is only a little ways up the hill from 23rd street where you can eat/drink afterwards and/or before. Enjoy! It’s hard to go wrong in Portland.

  38. Lisa says...

    Can’t help but add my two cents!

    As a Portland native and mother of two (3.5 year old & 9 month old), I would HIGHLY suggest a day trip to the Columbia Gorge. If you leave Portland around 9 AM you can drive out there, do a hike, have lunch, explore Hood River, visit a winery, and then drive back and the littles will probably fall asleep on the way home (and you might too, I always do!). You can plan your perfect hike at http://trails.gorgefriends.org/plan-your-own-hike/. My favorite with kids is Wahclella Falls. You’ll want to have Anton in a backpack/carrier for most of it but Toby can handle the walking. Pfriem Family Brewing or Double Mountain in Hood River are great for lunch and very kid-friendly. Then explore Hood River and don’t miss Mike’s Ice Cream (bring cash). After lunch head to the Washington side of the gorge and visit Syncline Winery. Lots of grass for the boys to run around on and hammocks for you and Alex to lounge in.

    I agree with almost all of the other comments people have made. Yes to Bluestar, no to VooDoo. Yes to Jamison Square, no to Keller Fountains (Jamison is MUCH better for kids and has a more relaxed vibe, Keller is kind of icky). Obviously yes to Powell’s. Have a date night and go to Ava Gene’s, Toro Bravo, Clyde Common, or Pok Pok. Hopworks is perfect for kids but crazy on weekends. Por Que No is great too (my kids love the guac). Cannon Beach is also a must.

    A great early evening would be to walk around NW23rd, have Escape from New York Pizza or Little Big Burger for dinner, then Salt & Straw for dessert. Child’s Play is a wonderful toy store across the street from Salt & Straw. You could even make a longer afternoon of it (depending on naps) and start at the Washington Park Rose Garden or Japanese Garden (huge koi fish), then hit up the huge play structure, then work you way down to 23rd (this is all walkable). Or, for the truly brave, you could start the morning at the Children’s Museum or Zoo, then Washington Park, then 23rd.

    Pro tip: If you buy a pint from Salt & Straw you can skip the line! Just walk right in, head to the back freezer and grab a pint (or three), then go right to the register to check out and grab a couple of spoons. People will give you the evil eye for doing this and think that you are cutting but it is totally legal.

    Enjoy Portland!

  39. Meghan says...

    The Portland Japanese Garden is one of the finest you’ll ever see, promise!

  40. http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2015/03/places-to-visit-outside-city-of-porland.html

    http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2015/03/where-to-eat-in-portland.html

    21st street is a great street to stroll down. Lots of fun shops and restaurants as well as the Sellwood area. Portland really is a fantastic city. You can’t go wrong! If you have a chance go out to Multnomah Falls or take a drive out to Cannon Beach they are my favorites. Enjoy!

  41. Michelle says...

    Salt and straw ice cream is not to be missed! Lines sometimes go around the block, but it is entirely worth it. Best ice cream ever. And for the best mexican food ever, check out por que no. Both places are super kid friendly. So excited to hear about your trip in my hood :)

  42. Day trip to the Oregon coast. You’re 1.5 hours away from one of the most majestic stretches of the coast in the world, why not make a day of it? Pack up early in the morning and head west on Hwy 26 to the north coast. You’ll pass through wonderful scenic areas (and might even catch glimpses of elk and deer). When you get to Hwy 101, head south. First stop Cannon Beach. Very fun and lots to do, including tide pooling at Ecola State Park. Head 9 miles further south to Oswald West State Park. Take a short hike through old growth forests to a fun beach with surfers galore. 4 miles past that is the charming and quirky town of Manzanita. You’ll get a feel for the original beach towns. Check my Facebook page Manzanita Beach Life for further activities, or my website http://www.VacationRentalsManzanita.com for more about the area.

    Another good day trip with kids – up to Mt. Hood. They’ll love the alpine slide at Government Camp, and you will all love Timberline Lodge. You might even want to stay the night – it’s very kid friendly and fun.

    Have lots of fun in Portland, and be sure to food cart away!

  43. Me and my husband got married in Portland and tend to head there for a weekend away about every 6-8 weeks (we live in Vancouver BC). Generally when I visit Portland I return 5x happier and 5lbs heavier. So while I don’t have a lot of recommendations for site seeing, my food list is forever long (consider yourself warned). Also this is by no means an exhaustive list. Portland has so many amazing things to offer. These are just a few of my favourites. Have an amazing time. Cheers!

    Coffee:
    People will provide a lot of recommendations in this category. They’re all good. Portland is in no shortage of excellent coffee shops. My personal favourite is Courier. They serve amazing coffee. The staff is lovely. And the muffins and chocolate chip cookies (which are sprinkled with sea salt) are a must.

    Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch:
    Tasty and Alder (the steak sandwich is to do for)
    Interurban
    Broder
    Nong’s Hkao Man Gai
    Pine State Biscuits
    Maurice (located right next door to Courier and down the street from Powell’s)
    Olympic Provisions

    Dinner:
    Clyde Common
    Kachka (must go here)
    Ava Gene’s
    Renata
    Fenrir
    Luk Lak
    Little Bird (get the burger)
    Gruner
    Expatriate

    Drinks:
    Clyde Common
    Pepe Le Moko
    Rum Club
    Teardrop
    Multnomah Whiskey Library
    Kask
    Interurban
    Prost

  44. MC says...

    Food: Saburos for the cheapest and biggest and best sushi, Salt & Straw for ice cream, Blue Star Donuts, Deschutes Brewery- get the chicken and waffles!

  45. amy kj lincoln says...

    Japanese Garden,Powells,Cannon Beach, Timbers Game, Waterfall Hike in Gorge, Lost Lake, Domaine Drouhin

    Food: pok pok, andina,tasty and alder for brunch, Ava Genes,Salt & Straw ice cream

  46. Patricia says...

    Oh! My husband and I were married there! We Are also planning to move there this fall. Such a wonderful town to spend a summer week in. When we were married we wanted to stay someplace fun and unique that our family would always remember. We wound up staying at the Caravan Tiny House Motel in the Alberta Arts District. Our nieces and their parents got to stay in a tiny house built to look like a caboose! There are bottomless s’mores that you can enjoy around a campfire (a must in the lovely evenings of Portland’s summer). There is a Salt & Straw just down the street as well as a number of yummy restaurants and fun shops. Heck, the Grilled Cheese Grill is parked (it’s in an old school bus) right next to the many tiny houses.
    Have so much fun!

  47. Monica says...

    Hit up Hair of the Dog brewery (pickle plate is not to be missed) as well as Lucky Lab. Skip Bridgeport – the beer is great but you can get it anywhere, and the food is kind of terrible. Make sure to save time for Powell’s Books, too! It’s heaven.

  48. I live in Portland and Just wanted to inform you that the Keller Fountain is under going maintenance until mid-July, so it won’t be operating till then (didn’t want you to get your hopes up in case you are visiting sooner than mid-July and wanted to see the fountain in action).

    And while I’m at it, I thought I would share my thoughts on food places to visit (there are so many, but these stood out in my mind):

    – Pips Original Doughnuts. If you try any doughnut in Portland, make sure it’s these guys. They are kind, classy, and make them fresh to order. Let the owners know you are coming too. I’m sure the husband and wife duo would love to meet you and the family. (Psst. They are on Instagram @pipsoriginaldoughnuts.)
    – Sweedeedee. The best honey pie you’ve ever had. And their breakfast is astoundingly fresh and homemade (they make their own bread in house). If I owned a restaurant, it would be just like Sweedeedee.
    – Bollywood theater. Their pork vindaloo dish is ridiculous. I didn’t know pork could melt in your mouth as it does here.
    – Any third wave coffee shop where they know how to make a decent cappuccino : Public Domain, Case study coffee, Spella, Barista.
    – Food cart Pods: the one on SE division is Huge and has so much variety. But I’m sure you will find a pod near where you stay. They are everywhere these days.

    There is so much more I could list. Have fun with all these choices! Portland is a food and fun paradise.

  49. Denise says...

    Ava Gene’s. Ava Gene’s Ava Gene’s!!!
    Pok Pok (Wings)
    Sweedeedee for breakfast/lunch
    Airbnb in NE/Alberta Arts.
    Rent bikes, you can get everywhere in this town on bike
    Powell’s books
    “60 hikes within 60 miles”
    Farmer’s Market

  50. Lovejoy says...

    Three words:
    POWELL’S BOOK STORE. I’ll say it one more time. POWELL’s BOOK STORE.
    http://www.powells.com/ When my husband and I were dating we would take a trip to Portland and spend two days straight wandering in the bookstore both separately and alone. Then we would have reading dates, where we would read next to each other and hold hands and read our own books. Now that we have a kid we go and chase him around, but their kid section is also amazing.

  51. Emily F says...

    I grew up in Portland, and I must say, you picked a good spot! It’s hard to go wrong here, so don’t stress too much about the recommendations. To put in my two cents, though, I recommend biking the waterfront (on either side), exploring the beautiful residential neighborhoods on relaxed walks, hitting up the amazing restaurants, cafes, and food carts, and the highlight: watching a Timbers game! Even if you’re not that into soccer, people-watching the Timbers’ Army can be wildly amusing :)

  52. Amy says...

    We just moved after a decade in Portland – I miss it so much!!! Ok, so you can find all the big spots to hit by surging travel guides and PDX blogs. But my insider recommendation is to ride the streetcar (train!!) to the Lovejoy stop and eat breakfast at Lovejoy bakery. You can sit outside in adirondack chairs and watch the streetcar go by. I promise, your family will not look at bread the same way again. Plus, train ride for the boys. Also, you obviously scoped out the tram to OHSU – that’s an experience not to be missed. Go in the middle of the day to avoid shift change work crowds (it’s the main way to get up the hospital for most if OHSU’s staff). There is a pretty awesome farmers market on the hill on Tuesdays, so you can time a trip around lunch if you like. Have fun!!

  53. Sam says...

    I just love Portland! I’m 15 and have lived and grown here; it has such an incredible vibe. So excited for you to visit. xx

  54. Alex says...

    I went to college in Portland and lived there for 5 years and I miss it all the time! It has the best food in the world! Salt & Straw for ice cream, Biwa for Japanese/Korean, Kenny & Zuke’s for Jewish deli, Laughing Planet for yummy healthy lunch (they also have the best cookies), Farmer’s market at PSU on Saturdays is the best, Pine State Biscuits for biscuits & gravy, Clyde Common for yummy pasta dinners, Pok Pok for traditional Thai.

    Powells for books!!!

    To stay: Ace Hotel in Southwest or Jupiter Hotel in Southeast. I’ve also done Airbnb and like to stay by Nob Hill.

    Enjoy!!!!

  55. Kristy says...

    You can’t beat Jamison Square fountain. Kids love it. We like to eat at Hot Lips Pizza and sit on the patio right across from the fountain. Cool moon ice cream is also right there. The gorge is unbelievable. One of the loveliest spots in the US. Pok Pok and Torro Bravo are my favorite PDX places to eat.

  56. So it’s a little way out of Portland, but go for a drive down the Columbia River Gorge. (Go east). Multnomah Falls is amazing as well as a few smaller falls around there, including Bridal Veil Falls. My husband proposed there and it’s beautiful and much more private. I think your kids could even play in the water! Also, there is a scenic drive along that route, which you must take. And stop at the lookouts for amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth!

  57. Nicole says...

    I live in Portland (and grew up here).
    Places to stay: Alberta Arts district (for people who want to keep it classy and funky at the same time), Sellwood (for people who love cute old houses and a family friendly neighborhood) and The Pearl District (for those who want a more modern and ritzy feel).
    Coffee: Coava, Stumptown, and blue kangraroo
    Food: Nicholas’, My Thai, The Waffle Window, Voodoo Donuts, Salt & Straw (best ice cream ever!!!!)
    Places to visit: OMSI, The waterfront, Multnohmah Falls (and gorge area), The Rose Garden, Pioneer Square, the coast.
    Hope you guys have fun in the beautiful city! :)

  58. I don’t think I can add much more to the great advice that’s been given so far! In regards to where to stay, I’d do Airbnb in neighborhoods such as Tabor, Richmond and Buckman, all pretty close to anything really (I find that anywhere we want to go is no longer than 20 minutes away in Portland :) It’s hard to go wrong food-wise; since we moved from Europe, besides NYC, we are yet to find a place where you can eat so well!

    Have fun!

  59. Shannon says...

    Pearl Bakery in the Pearl district. Their Valhrona chocolate shortbread cookies with white chocolate filling are unbelievably rich but not sweet. So good. And their pistoules, with good butter and raspberry jam, are a bit of heaven.
    If you have a car and want to stretch your legs, drive an hour down I-5 to Silver Falls near Silverton. Take a picnic lunch and see the waterfalls; you can walk under several of them and the woods are straight out of a fairy tale.