Fun Toddler Activities in Portland OR: Insider Scoop (2024)

Fun Toddler Activities in Portland OR: Insider Scoop (2024)

There are so many great activities for toddlers to explore in and around Portland, OR. I’ve included some of our favorite picks here!

Toddler Friendly Parks

Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhlurst Park is located in southeast Portland. It is an amazing park for the whole family.

family walk in Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhurst is a huge park with a walking path that loops around a hilly field of giant trees and a duck pond. There is also a biking area with small ramps and miniature half pipes!

toddler riding bike at Laurelhurst Park in Portland Or

For toddlers who love riding strider bikes, they are in for a special treat! While this biking area is for big and small kids alike, morning time is usually a good time to go for some toddler-friendly biking. Especially a Sunday morning. 

Walk a couple of minutes up past the biking stretch, and you will find a lovely little toddler playground. All the equipment is perfectly toddler-sized and there are a bunch of picnic benches surrounding the playground.

toddler park in portland or

If you pack some snacks and a picnic, you could easily spend half a day roaming around Laurelhurst Park with little ones.

The park has a lovely relaxed vibe, and you may even find someone playing guitar on a bench by the pond.  

And most importantly for the adults, there is a wonderful bakery nearby, Crema Coffee & Bakery. It’s a short drive or a 15-minute walk from Laurelhurst Park. It is a casual spot, so drink and eat there, or grab your pastries and coffee to go. There may be a bit of a line, but you know the pastries are worth it!

There are also food trucks right next door to the bakery if you are looking for some variety.

Gabriel Park

One of my favorite parks to spend time at is Gabriel Park in SW Portland. It is a large park area with a playground, walking paths, tennis courts, baseball fields, a skate park, an off-leash dog park, a basketball court, and plenty of open grassy areas. It is a great place to relax and get some fresh air. 

visiting flowering trees in portland or

You can also head up a trail connected to the park to check out a community garden. There are some beautiful flowering and fruit trees in the small orchard as well.

Flowering trees will start blooming in late March through late April, and Gabriel Park and the surrounding neighborhoods are great places to see some amazing cherry blossoms, magnolias, and pear tree blooms!

Multnomah Village

Multnomah Village is a quaint little neighborhood that is a mile or so from Gabriel Park in SW Portland.

Check out Pilea Play in the village and let your toddler explore this indoor play space designed for little ones up to age 6. You can get 2 1/2 hours of playtime for kids up to age 6 for $16 (under 9 monthers do not need a ticket). You can also check out the local toy store, Thinker Toys.

When you get hungry, there are family-friendly restaurants in the village as well. Check out Marco’s Cafe and Espresso Bar, Down to Earth CafeVillage Hut, or Lucky Labrador. Marco’s and Down to Earth have classic American Cuisine and both have kids’ menus. Lucky Labrador is a pizza joint, and Village Hut features seafood, steak, chicken, tofu, rice, and vegetable stir fry plates. 

Powell’s City of Books

It would not be a proper trip to Portland without a visit to Powell’s City of Books. There are 2 other Powell’s locations around the Portland area, but the downtown location on Burnside is the main attraction with the largest section of children’s books.

Powell’s is a huge bookstore, so there is something in there for everyone. It has both used books and new books. We usually buy used ones and they are always in great condition.

Powell’s also has tons of creative and cute gifts unique to Portland, so it’s a good spot to knock out some quality local gift shopping. There is also a coffee shop in the bookstore that is a fun place to get a beverage and pastry.

And don’t forget to get your iconic Portland bridges poster at Powell’s for your toddler’s room! The poster shows 12 of Portland’s famous downtown bridges on the Willamette River.


Hopscotch is a permanent interactive immersive art exhibit in SE Portland. This is a family-friendly experience, and 3 and under-aged kids are free! Adults are $24, and 4-15 year olds are $15. Get your tickets online a day or two in advance. They tend to sell out. 

Washington Park Attractions

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is in SW Portland and is a fantastic place for toddlers to run and explore. If you have a stroller or wagon filled with small children and snacks, you will be in good company at this zoo.

There is plenty of greenery along the walking paths plus a huge grassy area to lay out a picnic. There are also plenty of tables to have snacks or lunch. 

By the rainforest animals, a popular spot for toddlers is the giant sandbox. There is also a small train that you can ride on around the zoo. Train tickets are in addition to regular admission and are purchased at the train area.

If you are local to the Portland area, getting an annual zoo membership is worth it. Otherwise a single visit is $24 for an adult pass (12+ years old) and $19 for 2-11 year olds. Under 2 is free. 

visiting portland oregon zoo with toddlers

If you are visiting Portland in the winter, the zoo does “Zoo Lights”, where the zoo is lit up with more string lights than you have ever seen.

In the summer (mid June-mid August), the zoo hosts “zoo nights” featuring live music, food carts and kids’ activities. You can pack your own food and spread out on the large family-friendly picnic areas as well.

For both Zoo Lights and regular admission days you need to reserve tickets online. 

Also, do not be afraid to visit the zoo on a rainy day. As long as you have some rain gear and it’s not a total downpour, the zoo is great rain or shine. I actually prefer visiting on drizzly days because it is not as crowded. Plus, all the greenery along the paths feels extra refreshing.

Hoyt Arboretum

Next door to the zoo, and also part of Washington Park is Hoyt Arboretum.

toddler in Hoyt Arboretum in Portland OR

While a beautiful area any time of the year, it is truly spectacular in the Fall as the leaves change colors. There are many different species of trees and plentiful paths for little ones to run around and collect all different shaped and sized leaves.

You can stick to stroller-friendly paths or explore some of the hiking trails. There is no admission fee, however it is paid parking. 

International Rose Test Garden

Another attraction of the Washington Park area is the International Rose Test Garden. If you are visiting Portland or looking for activities late May through October, do not miss visiting the Rose Garden.

Toddlers will love running through the rows of rose bushes and smelling the fragrant flowers. Take some pictures and explore the whole garden area. 

Japanese Garden

My initial thought on whether the Japanese Garden is kid-friendly or not was, no. I’ve walked through the Japenese Garden several times (pre-kids) and while I have always enjoyed it as an adult, I did not think it would hold a child’s interest for very long.

Upon greater reflection though, I think the Japanese Garden is a wonderful place to take a young child.

visiting the japanese garden in portland or

It is an opportunity to teach kiddos about respecting a space and appreciating the time and effort put into cultivating a cultural space. There is plenty of plant life and beautiful winding paths to explore as well.

OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry)

OMSI’s Science Playground is designed for kids up to 6 years old. They can climb, play, and explore the interactive exhibits.

With an admission ticket, you get access to the Science Playground as well as to the permanent and temporary exhibits. Ticket prices as of March 2024 are $19/adult, $14/3-13 years old, and free for under 3s. While it can get pretty busy in the kids area, weekday afternoons are typically the least crowded and the best time to visit. 

Rhododendron Garden

The Rhododendron Garden is a magical 9-acre garden for families to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Children 10 and under are free and adults and older kids are only $5 (and free on Mondays!).

ducklings at rhododendron garden in portland or

The expansive garden is bursting with beautiful plant life and happy ducks. Visit in the spring and you will probably see some cute ducklings swimming in a line behind their mama. 

Oaks Park

Oaks Park has a roller skating rink as well as an amusement park.

The amusement park is only open in the spring, fall, and summer months. Ride bracelets are a bit pricey (up to almost $50 for adults) and around $25 for under 48″ kiddos on peak days, in addition to a small daily parking fee. However, they have lots of fun rides for young kids and some family-friendly rides. 

The roller skating rink has roller skates as little as toddler size 7 for rent and they offer 6 and under, and 10 and under skate session times. They have as little as toddler 7-size roller skates for rent. 

Portland Aerial Tram 

Take a ride on Portland’s aerial tram to see some beautiful views of the city. Kids aged 6 and under are free, $8 for an adult pass


There are plenty of storytimes offered throughout the Portland Multnomah County Library locations. You can search for specific library storytimes through their website, as well as see any additional kid-friendly events going on.

Another great offering through the library system is My Discovery Pass. You can get one of these passes with your library card and get free access to many attractions in Portland like the Portland Art Museum and the Japanese Garden.

Vancouver Children’s Library

While not in Portland, the Vancouver Community Library is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Portland (less than a 15 minute drive from downtown Portland). Plus, if you live in Multnomah County you can still get a Vancouver library card through their reciprocal library system. 

The Vancouver Library in WA has an amazing children’s section and play area. There are big tables with markers available, large tent-like structures for kids to wander in and out of, plenty of toddler-friendly seating, and lots of interactive displays.

vancouver children's library near portland or

Livability has ranked the Vancouver Children’s Library as #2 in the top 10 best children’s libraries in the US.

You can check out the library’s schedule of events to see if there are any fun activities or performances scheduled (just be sure to filter for the downtown Vancouver library as the schedule shows all the Vancouver libraries). Last summer we went to an amazing juggling act put on for kids. 

There are also lots of different storytimes available for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families. Other family friendly scheduled events include “Crafternoons” and “Music & Movement”. All amazing for young kids, and of course free of charge. The Vancouver library system also has Grow a Reader program, where you can borrow learning kits from the library with different themes for kids. 

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum (PAM) is another spot that I did not initially consider would be a toddler-friendly spot to visit. Little did I know though, the PAM hosts Family Day events that include art-making and meeting local artists.

The PAM website encourages parents to bring their kids and let the kids lead the way. Parents can spend extra time looking at and talking about the art pieces that their kids are naturally drawn to in the museum. PAM also suggests asking kids open-ended questions about the art they are looking at and letting them take pictures of the artwork as a way to connect. Parents can also model an interest in and love for art during their visit, which kids will pick up on.

There is a small cafe in the museum, so everyone can get a snack too if kids and/or parents need a little morale boost!

Portland Art Museum has free admission every Friday from 4pm-8pm! If you are local and have a Multnomah County library card, you can get a My Discovery Pass and reserve free tickets for 2 adults. And anyone under 21 years old is free! Otherwise, adult admission is $20.

Visit the PAM website for information on current temporary exhibits. Parents will likely only see a small portion of the museum with little ones in tow, so if there is an exhibit you really want to see you can prioritize it. 

Indoor Playgrounds

A good indoor playground is a must in the rainy Pacific Northwest. While I love being out in the rain, there are some days that you just want to stay dry inside. Here are some good indoor playgrounds to check out in and around Portland on those downpour days. 

DiG PDX in Beaverton – Less than 15 minutes from downtown Portland, you can find Oregon’s biggest indoor sandbox. Toy construction vehicles and mounds of sand? My toddler could spend hours here. Admission is $16/child. Non-walking siblings are free. 

Playdate PDX – Your classic indoor playground with a large play structure and some chairs and tables for snacking. Admission is $13.50/hr per child. 

City Play in Vancouver – While not in Portland, City Play is in nearby Vancouver WA. Just about a 20 minute drive from downtown Portland. The owners were inspired to start City Play when the Portland Children’s Museum closed. City Play has themed rooms with toys and furniture to inspire creative imaginative play. Admission is $15/child aged 1-8 years old. 

Leka Playland – Leka Playland is in Portland’s neighboring city, Tigard. It is a beautiful indoor play space designed for kids up to age 5.  

Nature Walks

Forest Park

Wanting to go for a hike, but not prepared to head out to the Columbia Gorge with little ones in tow? Don’t worry, you can find ample beautiful hiking and plenty of trails right in the city in Forest Park. Check out the Hardesty Trail for a family-friendly hike in the park. 

Tryon State Park

Tryon State Park in SW Portland is one of my favorite places. 

tryon state park walk with toddler

You are surrounded by big trees and beautiful forest plant life. You can either stick to a paved path or wander off onto a dirt trail. Parking can be a bit hairy during the weekends, so I suggest visiting on a weekday if possible. It is a great place for kids to explore nature and get some walking in.  

George Rogers Park

Visit the George Rogers Park Beach along the Willamette River to play in the sand and watch the boats and paddle boarders. Additionally, from George Rogers Park you can take a walking path to Old River Road Pathway. This is a beautiful walking path that runs alongside the Willamette. There are a number of other walking paths to explore in the area as well.

Portland Parks & Recreation Nature Walks

Portland Parks & Recreation has a Ladybug Nature Walks program for toddlers and preschoolers. Groups meet at various parks around Portland and a Nature Educator leads a walk with learning activities. Sign up for a walk online. There is a $5 fee per child. 

Pittock Mansion

Check out a spectacular view of the city from Pittock Mansion and let your toddler run around the grounds. You can also pay to do the tour inside the Mansion if that sounds interesting.

view from Pittock mansion in portland or

There are also Forest Park trails right by the Mansion, so you can take a little forest walk as well during your visit. The parking lot is paid parking, but it’s only a couple of dollars per hour.  

Berry Picking

Berry picking is one of our favorite family activities around the Portland area. The season lasts from June through August, so be sure to visit one of the U-pick berry farms if you are looking for something to do in those summer months.

toddler picking berries at u-pick farm near portland or

Columbia Farms on Sauvie Island is a favorite for a variety of berries, however, there are many farms all over the place. Sauvie Island is surprisingly accessible though, being less than a 30 minute drive without traffic from downtown Portland. 

Sweet Treats

Eb & Bean Fro Yo

There’s nothing better than a good fro-yo date with a toddler! If you want to take your frozen yogurt experience to the next level, check out Eb & Bean

They have locations in NE, SE, and NW Portland. You can order dairy or non-dairy frozen yogurt and choose from flavors like Maple Rosemary Hazelnut and Purple Carrot Cake. Don’t forget to add some sauce like Coconut Milk Caramel or Local Honey, and magic shells like cookie butter plus all the good toppings. Yum!

Pips Donuts

One of the great things about Pips is that their donuts are kid-size! So if you want to avoid the drama of cutting a regular donut in half to give to a toddler who wants the whole thing, head to Pips!

Pips also serves a variety of housemade Chai drinks. They have a location in NE Portland and one in Beaverton. 

Voodoo Doughnuts

While there are now several Voodoo Doughnut locations in different states, it all started in downtown Portland, OR. Since the doughnut shop has become a tourist destination, you may have to wait in line. If your toddler doesn’t mind waiting though and you have something to keep them busy, you will have plenty of yummy doughnuts to choose from. Don’t forget to try the famous Bacon Maple Bar. 

Blue Star Donuts

Blue Star has 6 locations around Portland (and one in CA), and makes gourmet donuts with high-quality ingredients. While your toddler may not appreciate the Bourbon Blueberry Basil donut, they just may love the Lemon Poppy Old-Fashioned, the Tropical Delight, or the Passion Fruit Cake! 

Coffee Shops


Papaccinos is a cozy coffee shop in the Woodstock neighborhood in SE Portland. They have a small kids’ play area and I like that it has a more open feel with a bigger square footage than many coffee shops.

There is also a New Seasons across the street with some rooftop outdoor seating. This can be a good place to have a casual meal with young kids. There is also a great ice cream parlor, Cloud City nearby. 

Awake Coffee & Art

What could be better than a place that offers art activities for kids and coffee for adults? I honestly can’t think of much that is better in this season of life with young kids.

Check out Awake Coffee & Art in the Sellwood neighborhood in SE Portland. For $8/class, they have story reading followed by an art class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. 

Posies and Kenton Park

Posies Cafe is a family-friendly coffee shop in North Portland. They have a play area for kids and even some kids’ menu items.

You can walk to nearby Kenton Park after grabbing your coffee for some fresh air and playtime as well. 

Woodburn Tulip Festival 

While not in Portland’s city limits and only open seasonally, the Woodburn Tulip Festival is worth the 40 minute or so drive from downtown Portland. You will never see so many colorful tulips in all your life.

family outing to woodburn tulip festival farm

This is a great place for a toddler to run around. If it’s raining there are some amazing mud puddles to splash around in. 

Visit the Woodburn Shoe Tulip Farm website for open days and admission prices.

Swimming Pools and Splash Pads

North Clackamas Aquatic Park

North Clackamas Aquatic Park in SE Portland has special swim times for infants and children under 6 years old. Admission is $5 for non-resident adults, and $4 for non-resident 3-6 year olds. Under 3 years old is free. 

Community Center Swimming Pools

Portland Parks & Recreation runs several indoor and outdoor pools. The outdoor pools are seasonal, but you can check out the kid-friendly indoor pools year-round.

Jamison Square Splash Pad

Jamison Square is located in NW Portland and has an interactive water feature that is touted as a favorite among many local parents. The water is chlorinated and it is the perfect place to hang out on a hot summer’s day. The fountain does not run in the fall and winter, so visit the Square and splash around in the warm summer months. 


While not exactly a tourist destination, locals especially may be interested to know that Ikea offers up to an hour of free childcare while parents are shopping.

Plus, most young kids really love the food in Ikea restaurants. It is plain and simple and for some reason, my toddler will even gobble up their veggies. The restaurant has open seating and it is a very casual place to grab some food and sit with kids. The line can be a bit long at peak times, but if you go when they first open you can fly right on through and get your food quickly.

If you are flying in and out of Portland, know that Ikea is out by the airport. So may be a good destination before or after a flight to refuel and take a moment. 


Explore the creations of Portland-based artist, Mike Bennet, while playing mini golf and grabbing some food at Wonderwood Springs and Wonderwood Mini Golf. The miniature golf course and restaurant/coffee shop are right next door to one another and kids and adults alike are welcome! It’s $10/person, but under 3s are free!

Portland OR Toddler Activities and Sites Wrap Up

There are so many more great toddler activities in Portland OR that I have not included in this list, so I will be adding to it as we continue to check out this amazing city! 

What’s your favorite place or thing to do with young kids in Portland? Please share in the comments below!

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  • Gussi Ochi

    Just another mom learning and growing in motherhood everyday! | BA in psychology, MA in art therapy & counseling, former licensed massage therapist

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