I love the New York Times “36 Hours in…” travel stories, but come on, there’s no way those dreamy itineraries were written for families with small children. So behold, here’s my kid-friendly version for Portland.
3 p.m. Enjoy happy hour at the southeast location of Papa Haydn. The fondue and mac ‘n’ cheese are fun enough for kids and tasty enough for adults. And at 3 p.m., kids will definitely feel welcome. If you sit by the window, you might not have to bring out the iPhone as distraction.
3:45 p.m. After a not-so-leisurely meal, walk, bike or drive to burn off some carbs at the nearby nature-based play area at Westmoreland Park.
6 p.m. Head back to your hotel for a little pre-bedtime swimming. And then while your kids are asleep, hide under the covers and watch a little TV on your iPad.
8:00 a.m. Arrive at Besaw’s when it opens and you won’t be plagued with the hour-plus wait that happens at most Portland weekend brunch establishments. Hey, there’s one positive to waking up early on a Saturday, right? And since the kids have been up for a couple of hours, they’ll happily devour the Mickey pancakes. The jam is so good you’ll be tempted to order an additional side of toast to go along with your farmer’s hash.
9:00 a.m. Hop on the streetcar and take it to south waterfront, where you can then board the Portland aerial tram and enjoy the amazing views of Portland.
Noon Find your way across the river for a quick bite at Boke Bowl. The kids will love the peanut butter and jelly steam buns and the fried chicken rice bowl will provide you enough fuel for the next stop.
1:00 p.m. OMSI provides educational and fun experiences for kids of all ages (and if you hit it up in the afternoon, you might avoid the toddler crowd who have been carted off for nap time). Don’t forget about the delicious selection of Salt and Straw ice cream available in the cafeteria for a mid-visit snack.
4:00 p.m. Cross the river once again for an early dinner at Deschutes Brewery, where kids are warmly welcomed and if you’re lucky, the weather will cooperate and you can sit outside and people watch. Three words: chicken and waffles. You will not be disappointed. The kids can fill up on the extra large pretzel. Sneak a bite (or two!).
5:30 p.m. Check out the nearby Powell’s and grab a few books for bedtimes stories.
7:00 a.m. Start your day early on Alberta Street at Pine State Biscuits. Everything on the menu is worth ordering. Pick a few options and share, family style!
8:30 a.m. Play at the nearby Harper’s Playground, a fantastic public-private partnership created to provide a playground for kids of all abilities.
10:30 a.m. Shop at the very cute Grasshopper store for a toy or two and browse the shelves at Green Bean Books.
11:30 a.m. If you didn’t get to sample Salt and Straw during your OMSI visit, be sure to get a couple scoops before you finish your tour of Alberta Street.
And then start planning your return trip because next time you’ll want to check out the Portland Children’s Museum and the Oregon Zoo, eat Blue Star Donuts and brunch at Harlow.