Summertime means vacation time for many, and Portland is a beautiful destination for long-distance family members to visit. If grandparents have booked their travel to the Pacific Northwest to see their favorite people (i.e. you and your crew), you’ll want to have some ideas in mind for outings that will be crowd-pleasers. Read on for 7 spots that will keep locals and visitors of all generations engaged this summer.

photo: Jeremy McWilliams via flickr

1. Visit the Pittock Mansion.
An outing that is both inspirational and educational is often a big hit for folks visiting a new city. Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock built the house in 1914 on 46 acres of land located about 1,000 feet about downtown Portland. If the 16,000-square-foot home doesn’t awe and inspire, its views of the city below and the mountains to the east will. On a nice day, you could combine this visit with a hike through Forest Park on the Wildwood Trail to really stretch the legs.

Pittock Mansion
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (June-Sept 4th)
Admission: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors 65 and older, $7 for children 6-18, children under 6 are free.
3229 NW Pittock Dr.

2. Spend a morning in the Pearl.
Start at Powell’s City of Books, where you can beat the crowds if you show up when it opens. Spend some time sitting in the Rose Room (i.e. the children’s section) where grandparents can read to the kids at the tables before choosing their favorites to take home. There is a cafe in the store for a quick cup of coffee but we recommend heading to Kenny & Zuke’s Deli for brunch or a mid-morning snack, since their bagels and pastrami can’t be beat. Then head out on a walking tour of the Pearl for some shopping.

Powell’s City of Books
Hours: 9-11 a.m. daily
1005 W. Burnside St.

Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
1038 SW Stark St.

photo: Charlie Marchant via flickr

3. Have tea at the Chinese Garden.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is worth a visit any time of the year. The gorgeous landscaping and Chinese architecture is visually enticing and the storytelling and art demonstrations will keep the kids engaged. Make sure to stop by the Teahouse inside the Tower of Cosmic Reflections. Guests are served tea in the “classic style” with small dishes to enhance the flavor of the tea. There is metered parking surrounding the garden and the bus and light rail both have stops nearby.

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily (March-October)
Admission: $10 adults, $9 seniors, $7 for students 6-18 and college students with ID, children 5 and under are free.
239 NW Everett St.

4. Ride the MAX to the Clackamas Town Center.
Grandparents who like to get their summer-sale shopping on can hop on the TriMet’s light rail MAX Green Line and head over to the Clackamas Town Center mall. The train runs every 15 minutes for most of the day and takes only about a half-hour to get to the shopping center from Portland’s east side. It’s a great option for a hot or rainy day, with a movie theater at the mall to keep you indoors and out of the elements.


Clackamas Town Center
Hours: Sun., 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
12000 SE 82nd Ave.
Happy Valley, OR

Tri-Met Fares: $5 for a one-day pass for adults, $2.50 for a one-day pass for youth (ages 7-17) and $2.50 for an honored citizen/senior one-day pass.

5. Go strolling in Sellwood.
The historic Sellwood neighborhood, which dates back to 1876, is full of character and fun things to do for all ages. The easy stroll along the main drag on Southeast 13th Avenue is jam-packed with unique mom-and-pop shops (think local coffee, art galleries, and a children’s resale shop). It’s perhaps best known for a plethora of antique shops just inviting enthusiasts to browse. Head just north at the end of the day to Papa Haydn’s for dessert.

photo: Gregory A. via Yelp

6. Indulge Your Inner Foodie.
Those who live outside of Oregon might simply recognize Bob’s Red Mill for its packaging of flour, oats, and the like. But we know Bob’s Red Mill as a destination for foodie parents, kids and grandparents. Bring your entire crew to tour the manufacturing facilities and while you’re there, grab a bite to eat and load up on some goodies to take home with you.

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store, Restaurant and Bakery
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.
Factory Tours at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Mon.-Fri. only
5000 SE International Way
Milwaukie, OR

7. Play Arcade Games at Wunderland.
Some grandparents’ fondest memories include arcades full of games that cost nickels (and even pennies!). For a dose of nostalgia for the young and old alike, take the whole family to Wunderland Arcade, where games are a nickel. The movie theater is small and the popcorn is cheap, if you’re looking to extend your afternoon of play.

Hours: Sun.-Sat., 12 p.m.-late, Fri. 11 a.m.-late
Admission: $3.25 for adults and $2.40 for kids (ages 5-12) and seniors
Locations in Portland, Milwaukie, Beaverton and Gresham

What does your family like to do when grandparents are in town? Let us know in the comments below!

— Marianne Walters