What to do with your kids this Summer in Portland

Published May 22, 2015 | Updated Oct 28, 2019

10 fun ideas to try with the kids. From cool upcoming events, to simple ways to enjoy the city during the summer months.

If you're new in town or are considering visiting Portland during the summer, rest assured that there is no shortage of family-friendly activities in the City of Roses. Portland has numerous parks and festivals, and opportunities for outdoor recreation are abundant. Following is a list of just 10 family-friendly venues that the city of Portland has to offer -- you and your family are bound to find many more fun things to do, but this will provide you with a good start.

The Portland Ariel Tram is a thrilling ride that offers kids as well as adults a bird's eye view of he fabulous city of Portland. Although it was built as a commuter tram, visitors to the city of Portland as well as many locals can't resist taking a ride. It runs between Porltnad's South Waterfront District to Marquam Hill, where the Oregon Health & Science Univer5sity is located. The three-minute ride covers one mile.

Jamison Square tucked away in the Pearl District among high-rise condo buildings, Jamison Square is where parents head to with their kids when days are sunny and warm. Children love to splash in the fountains, and it's safe for them to do so because the water that flows through them is constantly recycled. Jamsion Square features free evening concerts and has tables and chairs available for picnics.

The classic Oaks Amusement Park is tucked away in a corner of the southeastern part of the city of Portland, giving the feeling of a county fair in a semi-rural location. In fact, Oaks Amusement Park also hosts the Multnomah County Fair at the beginning of each summer. Besides the usual outdoor thrill rides, Oaks Amusement Park features a large roller rink that is open year-round.

Covering over 5,000 acres, Portland's Forest Park is a true urban forest that features its own intact, vibrant ecosystem, making it possible for parents and children to spend the day communing with nature without having to leave the city limits. Along with guided hikes and events, Forest Park offers miles of soft-surface trails for day hikes and biking. Forest Park is open every day from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. and is a designated city park.

Portland Saturday Market. The quintessential Portland experience, the Portland Saturday market features tons of activities for kids such as games, demonstrations, crafts, puppet shows, face painting, plays, and more. The Market is open from March through December. It's possible to spend an entire day at the Saturday market without anyone in the family getting bored, and there are plenty of places to sit and relax while enjoying well-crafted street food and cold beverages.

Cool down at McMenamin's Kennedy School. This Portland landmark is an excellent destination for hot days. Kids can splash in the wading pool, relax in a air conditioned movie theater, and get a taste of Portland history by exploring this old school. The Kennedy School is also an excellent destination for young families in search of kid-friendly dining venues.

Visit Washington Park. Centrally located Washington Park features one of the best playgrounds in the entire city of Portland. With over 130 acres of lawns, gardens, picnic areas, tennis courts, ball fields, and trails, this park also hosts the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Childrens' Museum, and the World Forestry Center. Washington Park is the home of many festivals and events during the summer season

Division/Clinton Street Fair. Held annually on the last Saturday in July, the Division/Clinton Street Fair is a piece of Portland that no family should miss. Colorful, vibrant, and fun, the fair features childrens' activities and games as well as delicious street food, art, and entertainment. Even though the fair is attended by people from all parts of the city as well as visitors to Portland, it nonetheless retains an authentic neighborhood ambiance.

Mt. Scott Community Center. One of the best-kept secrets of local families, the Mt. Scott community offers a variety of activities suitable for people of all ages. Swimming lessons and open swims are available in the indoor pool, and the facility also features a six-lane pool designated for laps. There is a large outdoor playground and an indoor rolling skating rink. Mt. Scott also offers a variety of classes.

Rainy days in Portland are somewhat common even during the summer, but local families don't let that spoil their fun -- they simply head to Playdate PDX. Sliced, bounce houses, games, tubes, and an interactive light floor are just some of the features that Playdate PDX provides. Boasting 7500 square feet of indoor fun, Playdate PDX even features a cafe for parents to relax in while their children play.

Summer is truly a wonderful time in Portland, so be sure to get out and enjoy it with your kids as much as possible.

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