We made it to Portland with the baby - now what?
March 31, 2010 6:47 PM   Subscribe

PortlandFilter: Flying to PDX from May 29-Jun 3 with a 16 month old. Any suggestions for kid-friendly fun?

We haven't decided if we'll rent a car yet, but we will have junior's carseat with us. Is it a necessity? We usually have no problem navigating public transport in new cities. We're from Boston, babby loves the commuter rail and subway here.

We haven't even looked into hotels. We don't really know anyone in the Portland area, which is why we don't even know where to start. If you've lived in or visited with small kids, tell me what you liked! Zoos, parks, kid-friendly museums, coffee shops, restaurants that aren't chains yet don't mind children... I'd even love to go out and find a drum and bass night or a decent 80s night one evening, but I'm not sure about trying to find babysitting in a strange city with a jetlagged baby who will be wanting to sleep at 5PM Pacific.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I've been so focused on how to get through a cross-country flight with a baby that the entire vacation seems overwhelming at this point.
posted by kpht to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (5 answers total)
Best answer: A rental car isn't a necessity in Portland, though it depends on how much of the city and surrounding area you want to see. There is lightrail (including a station at the airport) and a good bus system, as well as some trolleys downtown -- you can always go to http://trimet.org to see how to get from Point A to Point B.

If you don't get a car, you can get a hotel downtown near the lightrail (known as the Max). If you're familiar with Boston's public transit, navigating the Max and buses shouldn't be a problem. If you do get a car, the city is fairly small, so getting a hotel anywhere should be fine.

On the Max, you can easily get to the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children's Museum, the latter of which has some entertaining things for 16-month-olds. If you're downtown, you could walk to Jamison Square, which will have a fountain designed for kids to play in.

You'll also be here during the Portland Rose Festival, which has parades and lots of other events ... nothing really designed for babies, but good people-watching. That will also be walkable from downtown.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) also has a fun "Science Playground" that's best for kids between 15 months and five years ... the rest of the museum (which is pretty big) is aimed at older kids and adults. It's not quite as easy to get to by public transit, but it's doable.

Have fun!
posted by lisa g at 7:48 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and also the local blog UrbanMamas has a weekly feature called "Weekend Warriors" featuring kid-friendly things to do that weekend ... good to check while you're here.
posted by lisa g at 7:52 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have beers and a meal at Hopworks while your little plays in the play area.
posted by turbodog at 8:08 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Portland is an awesome place for kids. All the above suggestions are great!

Please feel free to MeMail, as - for better or for worse - I know way too much about stuff to do with kids in Portland (and I don't even have any!)

80's night - every friday night at Lola's Room at the Crystal Ball Room is 80's night - it's usually packed and really fun.

Good kid-friendly eats - there are tons of places. Hopworks has a kids area, as is noted above, Laughing Planet is super kid-friendly and has toys they can play with (and awesome inexpensive food), any of the zillion amazing pizza places (I recommend Hot Lips...mmmm...).

I happen to work for Portland Children's Museum. If you decide you want to come check it out (and you totally should - it's PERFECT for a 16 month old), you should let me know when you want to come and I can probably hook you up, ahem (hey, it's for a MeFite!).

Heck, I'd have to check with her, but my SO is a nanny, and if you're really desperate for a baby sitter, I'm sure she would oblige.

Anyway, MeMail me if you want to!
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:06 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, lutoslawksi! We'll definitely be checking that out and I'll memail you when it gets closer to the date and we know what we're doing. All of these recommendations are great! I think instead of renting a car we're going to rent two bikes and a trailer for a day or two and hit things that aren't directly on public transit.
posted by kpht at 6:50 AM on April 1, 2010

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