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  • Writer's pictureKyla Lopez

A Day in Portland

Portland, OR is one of my favorite day trips to make as a mama of three littles. There is plenty to see and do, and Eugene is just 2 hours south of Portland if you’re looking to stretch out your trip a bit.

If heading to Portland from Seattle, I would recommend pre-packing the night before and heading down first thing in the morning. It is roughly a three-hour drive, so pack a few snacks and hit the road. Be sure to check out my blog, Tips for Road Tripping with Little Kids, for all my tips and tricks.

Penny Park in Chehalis is a great halfway point. It’s a huge playground with plenty to do for both young toddlers and school-aged kids. The playground is almost fully fenced and is very popular, so having it as a morning stop is a great way to avoid the crowds. There is plenty of parking, and the restrooms here are in great shape, so it is the perfect spot for a potty break.

You’ll be landing in Portland likely around lunchtime, so I would highly recommend checking out Tin Shed. This spot has a very eclectic feel, with breakfast and lunch items that look divine! Something to keep in mind is that they close at 2p Monday-Thursday and 3p, Friday-Sunday. They have an outdoor dining area with coloring and a small selection of toys for the little ones.

The three following stops are at the top of my list for a day in Portland. I would choose one based on your little one’s interests and energy levels!

The Hoyt Arboretum // The Hoyt Arboretum is truly stunning, and my littles could have played all day under the Redwood trees. They were truly magical. The grounds are open from 5:00a-10:00p, making it accessible to just about anyone regardless of the time of day. Admission is free, though parking is $2/hour or $8/day. My three were not the slightest bit bored wandering the hiking trails. To make it extra fun and adventurous – take ten minutes of your drive and draw out a scavenger hunt for them to complete when there! You can easily spend 2 hours or more here, as long as your little ones love the outdoors.

Westmoreland Park Nature Playground // What I love about Westmoreland Park Nature Playground is that they incorporated nature into every piece of this playground. Climbing structures are made of tree stumps, large boulders, and forts made of tree branches. What more could kids need?! Fairlane Coffee is less than a mile away and has the cutest ambiance of lighting and plants draping from the ceiling. They have a patio out front for outdoor dining and have some great options if you’re looking for a cup of coffee or a snack nearby.

Oregon Zoo // I know what you’re thinking! It’s a zoo, and we have zoos back home. Do I really need to make this a stop? Yes. Yes, you do, and here’s why. As a seasoned nanny and a mama of three little ones, I have been to countless zoos all over the US, and I am telling you, the Oregon Zoo is by far the best I have visited. The zoo isn’t too big, which means you can do it all (or most of it) in a day, unlike the San Diego Zoo, which you need several days for. This zoo also has the best views of the animals. Every time I have visited this zoo, I have never walked by more than one exhibit without seeing an animal. This is a major win for my littles as they have little patience when exhibit after exhibit is empty. Online tickets are required, so make sure to grab those in advance.

Hammer & Stitch Brewery Co// Now onto dinner. If you know me, then you know I love a good brewery, especially one where my littles can tag along. Hammer & Stitch Brewery Co. is just that. They have some great burgers and even some vegetarian options. As for the kids, they have a huge chicken tender basket that little ones could certainly share. It’s a relatively new joint, having opened in the spring of 2021. Though it did not disappoint, and my clan and I will certainly be back.

Tiny Digs// Typically, after dinner is when we would head back home! My littles would probably sleep in the car, and it would be a quiet drive. Though, if you want to stay the night, Portland has plenty of options. One of the stays on my list is Tiny Digs. I have yet to stay here, though I have read plenty of reviews, and I love the tiny home feel. I think my three would love roasting smores around the fire and meeting all the neighbors. This stay would be best suited for families with older children that don’t require a crib.

Pine State Biscuits// I have been to Pine State Biscuits numerous times and each time I am pleased. You have to be sure to stop at Pine State Biscuits. When we stopped there on the way home from our road trip, I had the biscuits and gravy, and they were so good I would have licked my plate clean if I could have. I also loved that they had a build your own biscuit option. They can get busy! So, plan to arrive early. Your little ones will be stuffed and ready for the venture home.

If you’re planning your trip to Portland and want to catch a fun event, here are some of the fun happenings during 2022:

Children's Music Series// If you have toddlers be sure to check out the Children’s Music Series at Leach Botanical Gardens. Tickets are $5, and you can pretty much guarantee your little ones will get their wiggles out dancing!

Portland’s Inaugural Kids 1k Fun Run// Do you have a little one who loves to run? Why not sign them up for Portland’s Inaugural Kids 1k Fun Run this year! Registration is open now, and the run will take place on October 2, 2022. It is $5 per runner and strollers are welcome. Fun for the whole family!

PSU Farmers Market// The PSU Farmers Market has been recommended to me many times. It is open year-round with extended hours from April – October.

Enjoy Portland and safe travels,

Kyla Lopez

The Nanny Consultant

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