The Best Summer Activities in Portland

School’s almost out, so it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do this summer. Portland has something for everybody to do during the summer months, so I thought I’d round up some of the best activities for you. Go ahead and get that calendar out and start planning!

Visit a Splash Pad

It’s a little surprising to realize just how many splash pads we have here in Portland. There’s certainly no need to go to the same one twice! They’re such a great way to beat the heat with little (and bigger) kids.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the splash pads in our area.  A couple of highlights: the Grant Park splash pad has a Ramona-themed water feature (thank you, Beverly Cleary), the Khunamokwst Park has an interactive water feature, and the Blue Lake Regional Park has several whimsical devices to play with.

Pick Some Berries

We have such delicious berries here in Oregon, and it’s so much fun to go pick your own and then, of course, eat them. They honestly taste so much better than the berries from the grocery store do.

Some of the best spots to pick berries:

Sauvie Island: This no-frills family-owned farm has some of the best berries around. Pick your own strawberries or buy pre-picked strawberries from the farm.

Hillside Blueberries: This spot has chemical- and pesticide-free berries, with blueberries better than you can imagine. This is another family-owned, no-frills spot.

Rowell Bros: Ready for some delicious raspberries? The Rowell family has farmed this land for over 170 years, and they know their stuff. They have three different varieties of raspberries, and different ones are perfect for freezing, cooking, or just eating. They can help you pick the right ones!

Concerts in the Park

Are you ready for Portland’s Concerts in the Park series this summer? This tradition has been going on for over 110 years, if you can believe that. There really is something for everyone in this series—classical to rock and everything in between.

Concerts usually begin at 6:30 p.m. and there is often free popcorn to go along with the show. If you want to stick around, most of the concerts are followed by a movie (many of them are family friendly, too). See the complete 2019 schedule here.

Leach Botanical Garden

Leach Botanical Garden is a stunningly beautiful place for people of any age to enjoy—adults and kids alike. John and Lilla Leach, prominent members of the Portland community in the 1800s, specified that this property was to be given to the City of Portland and used for a botanical garden.

It serves as a horticultural resource for both the casual and the serious gardener. It’s also a place that encourages people to be hands-on and learn about the world around them. Plus, it’s just an incredibly beautiful place that encourages people to spend time together in nature.

Mount St. Helens

If you’re looking for a day trip, you should definitely take a little drive to explore Mount St. Helens. This national monument in southwest Washington was the site of a volcanic eruption in 1980. The most popular tourist route into the area is Washington State Route 504.

There are a couple of visitors’ centers at Mount St. Helens—one at Silver Lake and one at Hoffstadt Bluffs (this one offers helicopter tours). There’s also a Forest Learning Center, and the Johnston Ridge Observatory has excellent views of the north face of the volcano. This is easily a full-day adventure.

Oaks Amusement Park

Oaks Amusement Park is in Portland’s historic Sellwood neighborhood. It’s one of the oldest amusement parks in the country that’s still in operation. The park is the perfect outing for a family, and it’s a great blend of modern amusements and nostalgic ones. You can’t beat that old-fashioned charm!

The park has over 20 rides for you to enjoy, including a Ferris Wheel, Go Karts, and roller coasters. Oaks Amusement Park also has other activities, including miniature golf, arcade games, roller skating, and more fun activities for everyone.

Regal Express Movies

This is short and sweet, but you can see kids’ movies all summer at Regal for just $1 a ticket.  Check out the movies here.

World Forestry Center

The World Forestry Center is all about creating a sustainable future. This nonprofit hopes to inspire you to help in the cause. The 20,000 square foot Discovery Museum is here to change how you see trees in a truly engaging way.

Check out the many exhibits at the museum, including a raft ride, an aerial view of the forest, and more. The museum also has many programs throughout the year, so be sure to check out that schedule here.

Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation

Portland has a rich industrial heritage that’s intertwined with the history of rail. The Brooklyn Yard is one of the last roundhouses with a turntable, which is a pretty awesome piece of history itself.  There are all kinds of railroading treasures to enjoy at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.

The best part, though, might be visiting the vintage locomotives. If you have any interest in Portland history or in trains, this is the spot for you.

Ground Kontrol

Head to Ground Kontrol to get your fill of classic arcade games (is such a thing even possible)? This is the west coast’s premier classic arcade center. They have over one hundred classic arcade games, plus around 40 pinball machines. Kids are even welcome here until 5:00 p.m.

There’s also a full-service bar on the premises, and Ground Kontrol hosts all kinds of events for guests. These include karaoke, comedy shows, gaming tournaments, and more. Here’s a complete list of events for you to look forward to.

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