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23 Fun Things to do in Portland (Oregon) with family and Friends

Portland, Oregon, is one of the United States’ most unique cities. With a world-class food scene and postcard-ideal scenery, it’s unexpected that more people don’t go to this eclectic city.

Portland has been voted one of “the most famous with” inside the U.S, and as quickly as you visit, it is easy to peer why. People are friendly; they’re environmentally conscious (most citizens ride their bikes through the town rather than taking a cab), plus there are lots of fun activities.

And then there are your traditional city attractions along with exceptional eating and interesting historical monuments that will keep you busy for the duration of your stay. Right here are things to do in Portland Oregon and why you must add Portland, Oregon to your bucket list.

23 Things to do in Portland

1. Forest Park

Hiking in Forest Park west of downtown Portland Oregon | By Dee Browning | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★

Location: NW 29th Ave & Upshur St to Newberry Rd

The entry fees: Free, Parks and Gardens, Hiking.

  • A gem in Portland

  • Excellent walking and biking trails

Just west of downtown Portland, one of the nation’s most significant urban forest reserves and offers lovely views overlooking the Willamette River.

  • Why you should go:

Forest Park is the ideal location to cure your nature cravings if you need to be lost in nature without going far from the city.

With trails for running, cycling, or simply exploring, Forest Park’s thick trees and winding paths will make you forget you’re nonetheless technically in the city!

  • Things to do:

Covering a sprawling 5,000 acres, it’s domestic to over 70 miles of hiking and cycling trails.

There are over 100 species of birds here, in addition to sixty-two unique species of mammals.

It’s home to the Witch’s Castle, a deserted stone construction covered in moss; the small stone cottage is one of the most notable things to peer in Portland and to check out the history behind it.

On a time-crunch, stroll around the Lower Macleay Trail or Wildwood Trail.

The hiking trails are the most effortlessly accessible from the Portland city center.

2. Washington Park

by Scott Incardona | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★

Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221

The entry fees: Free, Parks and Gardens, Recreation.

  • Family-Friendly attraction

  • Various activities and attractions

The lovely Washington Park is an exceptional consolation prize. Just 20 minutes from downtown through light rail, the 400-acre city park is effortlessly reachable with public transportation.

  • Why you should go:

Portland gives a bevy of pleasant parks and gardens; however, none has quite the density of sights at Washington Park.

Washington Park is a massive space of land that covers more than 410 acres of land.

The park is home to lots of Portland’s finest sights (many featured on this list).

The park is also home to several great hiking trails withinside the Portland area. 

  • Things to do:

The famed International Rose Test Garden is located close to the incredible Portland Japanese Garden within park grounds.

If you like walking, there are over 15 miles of trails to stroll or jog along; many of the tracks connect with Pittock Mansion, Forest Park, and Council Crest; if you’re traveling to Portland with kids, set apart a couple of hours to roam across the Oregon Zoo.

3. Mill Ends Park

Mill Ends Park | By Ritu Manoj Jethani | Shutterstock

Rating: 4 ★

Location: 56 SW Taylor Street.

The entry fees: Free.

  • The smallest park in the world

Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in Portland; however, it is the smallest in the world! This 452-square inch “park” was devoted as a colony for leprechauns, serving as an example of Portland’s well-known weirdness.

  • Why you should go:

You will locate Mill Ends Park on the intersection of streets in Southwest Portland, placed in the middle divider.

At a whopping 452 square inches, it’s far identified by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the smallest park in the world.

  • Things to do:

This tiny urban park is worth going out of your way to look if you’re in the neighborhood; it’s amusing to say you’ve stepped foot in or visited.

4. Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Geese at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon | By ARTYOORAN | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5 ★

Location: Naito Pkwy between SW Harrison St & NW Glisan Street.

The entry fees: Free, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing.

  • Outdoor adventure

  • Waterfront Park

A narrow strip of green at the riverfront, this park is outstanding for a walk, people-watching, picnicking, or all the above.

100 Akebono-cherries line the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and once they blossom, the whole place comes to life.

This spot is typically packed throughout the spring season, so ensure you arrive early to beat the traffic.

  • Why you should go:

If you need a break from downtown, it’s ideal to catch a breather at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Swathed at the western bank of the Willamette River, the riverside park is a favorite Portland sightseeing hotspot.

The park is trendy among lively types, with many people going to jog, walk, skateboard and cycle.

You also can get a fantastic view of the boats from in the park, making it extraordinarily famous with people from the city who like to come on their lunch breaks.

  • Things to do:

Walk alongside the Waterfront Park Trail to experience views over the Willamette River.

On the way, you’ll walk past several top points of interest, which include the Oregon Maritime Museum, the Japanese American Historical Plaza, White Stag Sign, Mill Ends, and Salmon Street Springs. 

The waterfront park also hosts the Portland Saturday Market. It’s one of the essential recurring arts & crafts markets in the United States (featured on this list) between March and December.

5. Oregon Zoo

The entrance of Oregon Zoo | By ARTYOORAN | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 4001 SW Canyon Rd

The entry fees: $17.95 for 12 and older, $15.95 for seniors, and $12.95 for kids 3 to 11; children two and younger can enter for free.

  • Family-Friendly attraction

  • Home to more than  232 species of animals.

The most well-known attraction in Oregon is most surely Oregon Zoo.

  • Why you should go:

Oregon Zoo first opened in 1888 while a private collector of animals decided to donate them to Portland.

There are about 1,955 animals to see withinside the Zoo ranging throughout 232 species.

Twenty-one of the species that live within the Zoo are both endangered or threatened, and everyone is on a breeding program to help ensure their survival.

  • Things to do:

Observe a massive array of animals global in the diverse well-designed zones across the expansive Zoo with easy-to-follow signs and superb exhibits. 

One of the current successes of the Zoo has been the breeding of recent African Elephants that are always popular with park guests.

6. Multnomah Falls

MULTNOMAH FALLS, OREGON | Joshua Applegate Creative | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7  

Location: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The entry fees: Free.

  • Beautiful Waterfall

  • Bucket list-worthy

Multnomah Falls is a beautiful waterfall located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.

Technically, this isn’t in the Portland city limits; however, it is such a bucket list-worthy that you will want to take the 40-minute drive east to the Columbia River Gorge to see it.

  • Why you should go:

It is one of the remarkable things to do in Portland! Multnomah Falls is split into sections for a total of 611 feet, and each inch is stunning; it is also the fifth-biggest waterfall in the U.S.

It is quite a view from the ground; however, you could also take a hike to stroll across the bridge and onto the top.

  • Things to do:

Visitors have the choice of hiking a 1/4-mile path to reach Benson Bridge, which offers them a more in-depth look at the falls and is at the crux of the first tier.

Another steep, mile-long hike will take visitors to the top of the falls for fantastic views of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Multnomah Falls Lodge, located at the base of the falls, has a gift shop, restrooms, and an eating place for customers to enjoy before or after their hike.

7. International Rose Test Garden

International Rose Test Garden at summer time | by Xiaofotopdx | Depositphotos

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 400 SW Kingston Ave.

The entry fees: Free, Parks, and Gardens.

  • Rose Paradise

  • Must see while in Portland

Not until you visit those sprawling gardens will you understand the reasoning behind one of Portland’s nicknames, the City of Roses.

Because of Portland’s unique climate, roses develop nicely there.

You can see tons of stunning varieties at the International Rose Test Garden; there are more than 7,000 rose plants there, producing blooms in various sizes and colors.

  • Why you should go:

You can wander around the International Rose Test Garden, breathing in the lovely aromas of roses in bloom. This is one of the most famous things to do in Portland.

  • Things to do:

Home to over 10,000 rose bushes and 610 types; this Garden is where many companies test new roses. It’s the oldest rose test garden withinside the country.

During World War I, roses were sent there for testing and safekeeping from all around the globe.

Walking through the Garden, you’re greeted by 550 types of roses strewn amongst over 10,000 plants. You’ll additionally dazzle at scenic views over Mount Hood and Downtown Portland.

The Garden is open all year.

To see the roses at their best, try and visit between May and September.

The rose bloom typically hits its peak in June. They additionally host an annual competition for the city’s best rose.

8. Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 611 SW Kingston Ave.

The entry fees: $16.95 for adults, $11.50 for youths ages 6 to 17 and is free for kids ages five and younger.

  • Peaceful gardens

  • Must see while in Portland

You possibly wouldn’t expect to find exceptional traditional Japanese Gardens in Oregon, would you? But surprisingly enough, Portland is home to what has been called “the best Japanese Gardens in the world outside Japan.”

The Portland Japanese Garden is located in the West Hills of Portland; it is a traditional Japanese garden overlaying more than nine acres.

It features a collection of different greens, such as the Strolling Pond Garden, the Sand and Stone Garden, a Tea Garden, and more.

  • Why you should go:

Located close to the Rose Test Garden, these Japanese gardens were created in the 1960s to symbolize peace among World War II adversaries.

Open year-round, those gardens are splendid during every season and make a pleasant morning or afternoon activity to get away from the city and find Zen.

  • Things to do:

Spanning 12 acres, it includes traditional gazebos, waterfalls, ponds, Zen sand gardens, and lots of strolling paths.

It’s super enjoyable and serene and delightful all year round, even though it’s specifically beautiful in the autumn while the leaves are changing.

9. Lan Su Chinese Garden

Bridge over a pond at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon | depositphotos

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 239 NW Everett Street.

The entry fees: $10 for adults, $7 for kids ages 6 to 18 and is free for kids five and younger.

  • Tranquil garden in the middle of a crowded city

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a lot more than only a stunning garden.

It’s an innovative wonder, an authentically built, powerfully inspiring experience based on a 2,000-year-old; Chinese culture that perfectly melds art, architecture, design, and nature.

The Lan Su Garden is currently the most authentic Chinese Garden outside of China.

  • Why you should go:

The Garden is walled, and when you are inside, you sense like you have left the United States and been transported into China.

You can explore the Chinese Culture, their history, and their way of thinking.

The name of the Garden is translated to “Garden of the Awakening Orchids.” 

  • Things to do:

Of all the sights in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown, none charms more than Lan Su Garden.

At the Garden, you’ll walk over bridges & walkways beyond pavilions set to a backdrop of local Chinese flora.

A few hours in this Garden can leave you feeling revitalized and fresh.

End your visit to Lan Su Garden with tea at the close by Red Robe Tea House.

The Traditional Chinese tea house serves tea in a traditional Gong Fu style.

 You also can sate your appetite with its delicious Cantonese and American-Chinese fusion cuisine.

10. Portland Art Museum

Mexican artist Leticia Tarrago offers dreamlike scenes of both the ordinary and the extraordinary in her prints | Facebook

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 1219 SW Park Ave.

The entry fees: $20 for adults; $17 for students and seniors is free for kids ages 17 and younger.

Admissions are usually just $5 on Fridays.

  • Excellent cultural attraction

  • The oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest

Opened in 1892, this is. It’s one of the oldest galleries in the United States.

It’s home to over 42,000 items, from contemporary artwork to Native American works to Asian painting and everything in between.

There are permanent exhibitions, rotating temporary galleries, and an outdoor sculpture park.

  • Why you should go:

Are you passionate about artwork? Carve out an hour or peruse the Portland Art Museum.

Located withinside the center of Downtown Portland’s cultural district, the museum is one of the top places to peer in Portland for artwork lovers.

  • Things to do:

The collection at Portland Art Museum covers everything from prints to artwork to photographs.

Artists featured span the entire world.

You’ll spot works from American, European, and Asian artists.

The museum’s primary attention is its collection of Northwest and Pacific Coast Native American artwork.

The superb series consists of both paintings and artifacts like masks and canoe carvings.

11. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry


You probably know that a Tyrannosaurus rex is big, but did you know that four legged plant-eating dinosaurs could have been as tall as 6 stories and stretch up to 150 feet long? | Nastysnowflake on IG

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 1945 SE Water Ave.

The entry fees: $14.50 for adults and $9.75 for children, and entry to the IMAX, the planetarium, and the submarine cost extra. Parking is an additional $5. Public transportation near the museum is available.

  • Family-friendly attraction

  • Amazing exhibits

This interactive museum makes learning amusing with five halls and eight labs with hands-on exhibits devoted to physics, chemistry, paleontology, and more.

  • Why you should go:

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a nationally famed science center offering science learning to a range of audiences.

Their programming is guided by OMSI’s long-term vision to promote a healthy, innovative, and sustainable society wherein every person is ready to participate in civic life.

  • Things to do:

OMSI’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming allows site visitors and program participants to master 21st-century critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.

They achieve this via exhibits, classes, camps, traveling educators, and adult programs across the state.

And if you are a movie lover, you will need to make your way to the museum’s USS Blueback Submarine, which was used in the movie “The Hunt for Red October” and is the most modern U.S.

12. Pittock Mansion

Beautiful sunny spring day @ Pittock Mansion | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 3229 NW Pittock Drive.

The entry fees: $11 for adults, $8 for kids ages 6 to 18, and is free for children five and younger; discounts are also available for senior citizens and students.

  • Historic Mansion filled with antiques

  • Overlook view of Portland

Sitting alongside the Wildwood Trail south of Forest Park, Pittock Mansion is one of Portland’s must-see attractions.

Built-withinside the early 1900s by one of Portland’s most influential families at the time, this 23-room French Renaissance-style château may be visited on tour.

The outdoors of the Mansion is sandstone, and the indoors have been preserved to look as they did while the original owners lived there.

  • Why you should go:

The Mansion is located within the western part of town, it is a 46-room property spread throughout 16,000 square feet, owned by a wealthy couple from England, is a part of the National Register of Historic Places, and contains stunning artwork and furniture gathered by the original owners.

  • Things to do:

You can explore the grounds (over 40 acres) and buildings yourself or take a guided tour.

Even if you don’t enter the Mansion, its West Hills area is an excellent place to explore.

Take a stroll behind the property to experience Portland’s most scenic vistas.

13. Old Town Chinatown

View of the landmark Lan Su Chinese Garden | EQRoy @ Shutterstock

Rating: 3  

Location: 5 minutes drive from Downtown Portland.

  • Beautiful architecture

The city’s oldest neighborhood is packed with surprises.

Portland’s authentic downtown is a bustling amusement district and streetwear shopping hub, from authentic Chinese restaurants, tea houses, and a city-block-sized traditional garden.

  • Why you should go:

Old Town Chinatown is an unusual nightlife hub with clubs, Asian eateries, and energetic streets closed to vehicles on weekends, plus the iconic Voodoo Doughnut shop (listed below).

Sights include the tranquil walled Lan Su Chinese Garden, with local Chinese plants, and the Shanghai Tunnels underground passageways.

  • Things to do:

While exploring Old Town Chinatown, save time for an excursion of the Shanghai Tunnels.

Dating back to the 1850s, the infamous series of tunnels creep beneath the streets of Old Town.

14. Sauvie Island

At Sauvie Island, where the pumpkin is free everywhere | Hayley Dunaway | Facebook

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 10 miles northwest of Downtown Portland.

  • Perfect place to watch the sunset

  • Lots of nature and wildlife

Twelve thousand acres of land on the island were preserved as the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area.

Managed through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the wildlife location is ideal for hiking, birdwatching, hunting, and fishing.

  • Why you should go:

Suppose the weather is charming while in Portland, don’t forget to make a little day journey to Sauvie Island.

It is just 10 miles northwest of downtown Portland, one of the largest river islands in the United States, and much of it is farmland and wildlife refuge, and it is a peaceful escape from the city.

  • Things to do:

Relax on the beach, go berry picking at one of the many farms, get out on the water in a kayak, discover the island by bicycle, or simply watch the sunset.

15. Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch

“Ugh! Don’t look now, but that guy with the camera is back again!” | Facebook

Rating: 5

Location: 35835 Cascade Hwy, Molalla. A 45 minutes drive from Downtown Portland.

  • Enjoyable and educational experience with Alpacas

  • Why you should go:

The Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch is not too a long way outside of Portland and is an amusing stop to pair with some farms visits in the area.

  • Things to do:

You can visit the shop if you’re searching to buy alpaca products; however, the natural appeal is the animals themselves.

You can arrange a tour, or you could pay $5 to get up close and personal and hand-feed them yourself.

16. Portland International Raceway

Portland International Raceway |

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 1940 N Victory Blvd.

If you’re into your motor racing, you must not miss out on a trip to Portland International Raceway while in the city.

  • Why you should go:

For a bit of adrenaline rush, head over to Portland’s International Raceway to observe the cars across the track.

They host exclusive racing vehicles, including the NASCAR and IndyCar races, in addition to many others.

  • Things to do:

Portland International Raceway gets involved in more than simply racing vehicles, though; there are numerous annual walking, running, and other activities that are put on to raise cash for some notable charities.

The track puts on more than 550 events a year.

Buy your tickets and get ready to watch thrilling race shows at the Portland International Raceway.

You can watch spectaculars shows like drag racing, motor cross, motorcycle road racing, auto racing, and cruise-ins. 

17. Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books Oregon at twilight | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.9  

Location: 1005 W Burnside Street.

The entry fees: It’s free to shop or just look around.

  • Perfect for book lovers

The headquarters for this local bookshop chain covers a whole city block and claims to be the greatest independent new and used bookshop globally and is also home to over one million books.

  • Why you should go:

Established in 1971, Powell’s City of Books is worth a stop on your first trip to Portland.

Powell’s is significantly a book lover’s dream with nine rooms, 3,500 sections, and almost one million books.

And although it’s a popular spot, we think you’ll be inspired by the countless rows of literature and that signature “bookshop smell.”

  • Things to do:

The sheer variety of books is mind-boggling, and additionally, they promote many second-hand titles, which give these books a second life.

Powell’s regularly hosts readings and book signings by authors, so check out their calendar of events.

18. Portland Saturday Market

11am @Portland Saturday Market | by OBP

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 2 SW Naito Parkway.

The entry fees: It’s free to shop or just wander around.

  • A MUST if you’re in Portland on a Saturday

Portland’s Saturday Market is identified as one of the biggest open-air markets within the united states and offers small local businesses a great way of showcasing their crafts and edibles, particularly from the Pacific Northwest region.

  • Why you should go:

Whether you are craving delicious meals or searching for a unique souvenir, the Portland Saturday Market is the location to look.

The marketplace is located on the northern side of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and features 252 booths full of local art, clothing, toys, pet supplies, and many more.

  • Things to do:

After you’ve got your fill of shopping, fulfill your appetite at one of the many food booths, which serve everything from Nepalese to Polish cuisine.

Depending on the day, you could additionally catch a performance or special event at the marketplace.

19. Voodoo Doughnut

Caramel Cha Cha Chai is callin’ your name! | Facebook

Rating: 4  

Locations: 1501 NE Davis Street or 22 SW 3rd Avenue.

The original Voodoo location on 3rd Avenue in downtown Portland is well-known for its shiny pink exterior.

There’s usually a line, no matter the time of day

  • Why you should go:

Portland is known for its doughnuts.

If you Google the city or look for it on social media, doughnuts will unavoidably pop up.

Voodoo Doughnut put the town on the map with its bizarre and exquisite combinations, becoming a city staple.

  • Things to do:

What makes this the new spot in Portland is the unique flavors that it has.

Marshall Mathers is covered in M&Ms to signify Eminem.

The Loop Donut is covered in Fruit Loops.

The Dirty Snowballs have marshmallow topping dipped in coconut topped with peanut butter. 

If you head over to the Original Location on 3rd Ave., the ‘Keep the Portland Weird’ sign is right across the street.

20. Alberta Arts District

Clary Sage Herbarium | Pinterest

Rating: 4.5  

Location: Alberta Street.

The entry fees: It’s free to shop or just stroll around the neighborhood.

  • Food and Art zone

This neighborhood is located north of the Mississippi neighborhood and runs east to west.

Known as the “arts district,” it has to come as no surprise that this is the excellent area in Portland to peep some street art!

  • Why you should go:

The Alberta Arts District is a must-visit for arts & culture lovers.

It’s a place of youthful cultural activity and a fun spot to visit.

You will locate cute coffee shops, cafes, boutiques, psychics, and more.

It’s better to park on one end of NE Alberta Street and stroll the length of the commercial area.

  • Things to do:

If you are visiting Portland during the summer, see if your journey aligns with the Last Thursday Art Walk.

As the name implies, this occasion takes place over the last Thursdays of June, July, and August.

It’s a fun way to peer lots of vendors and artists come together.

21. Salt & Straw


Rating: 4.5  

Locations: 3345 SE Division Street, or 838 NW 23rd, or 2035 NE Alberta Street. 

  • An absolute MUST for ice cream lovers
  • Why you should go:

They are known for unique flavors and a line that’s usually out the door. 

You’ve probably never tasted ice cream quite like Salt & Straw! This Portland ice cream parlor is a game-changer for lovers of the creamy treat.

  • Things to do:

You can get vanilla and chocolate ice cream anywhere, but Salt & Straw will surprise your taste buds with unique flavors like honey lavender and strawberry honey balsamic.

If you’ve ever wanted proof of how innovative Portland’s culinary scene is, that is it.

22. The Aerial Tram

The view of Portland Aerial Tram | By Jess Kraft | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 3303 S Bond Ave.

The entry fees: A round-trip ticket costs $5.15 but is free for OHSU patients and certain visitors; OHSU employees and students ride free.

  • Breathtaking views of the city

Why you should go:

The Tram is a famous destination for tourists, locals, and those simply seeking to try something fun.

The Aerial Tram is a unique transport system that gives terrific high views of the city and beyond.

The Tram normally operates on load and go, with cabins departing about every five minutes.

23. Portland’s food-cart scene

Portland’s legendary food-cart scene | Travelportland

Rating: 4.5  

If you’re a foodie, you can’t go to Portland without taking a food tour.

  • Why you should go:

Portland is frequently considered as the home or birthplace of the food truck phenomenon.

And indeed, you could find them everywhere in the city.

You can keep your eye out for individual carts or lookout for the “ods” (large gatherings of many different trucks) dotted all through the city.

  • Things to do:

Explore worldwide flavors and unique new meals concepts without waiting for a sit-down restaurant at Portland’s many food cart pods.

Food trucks and carts provide five-star food and desserts from nations across the world.

Enjoy your trip…