Oh Portland, Oregon, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways: 18. Eighteen ways to have fun for free in Portland. From museums to crazy over-the-top play places to some of the best hiking in the Pacific Northwest, here are the 18 best free things to do in Portland with kids.
Editor’s note: This post was written by Meagan Wristen
Fun Free Things to Do in Portland
Playdate PDX offers free admission every last Wednesday of the month to anyone who brings two cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank. Here your kids can climb, slide, and play for hours. While you enjoy wifi and a beer.
Punch Bowl Social – An upscale bowling alley with kid’s bowl free deals, food, arcade games, and more. They run free bowling times for kids off and on throughout the year.
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Oregon Historical Society Museum is free for Multnomah county residents.
Historic Belmont Firehouse offers free tours every Wednesday from 9-3, and the second Saturday of every month for “Safety Saturday” from 9-3
Portland Children’s Museum is free each first Friday of the month after 4 PM
Portland Art Museum is free each 4th Friday of the month from 5-8 PM.
Museum of Contemporary Craft is free every 1st Thursday of each month.
Play Outside in Portland
The Springwater Corridor is a free multi-use trail that runs from SE Ivan St. in Portland all the way to Boring, Oregon. The trail is currently 14.2 miles one way. This is a great place to go biking, walking, or roller blading.
Forest Park encompasses more than 5000 acres full of dense trees, rivers, waterfalls, and bridges. It has more than 40 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails for free.
Tryon Creek Nature Center‘s FREE Story and Stroll program integrates nature exploration, art, literature, movement, and outdoor play. It is geared toward families with young children (preferably ages 2-6) but all are welcome.
Portland International Test Rose Garden is always free and blooming throughout the summer.
Keller Fountain – This is a large fountain not suitable for younger children. But for those with older kids this fountain is always free and awesome on a hot day.
Jamison Square – another free play fountain.
McCoy Park has a splash pad and playground for free.
Scenic Columbia Gorge Hiking
Hiking in the scenic Columbia Gorge area is always free. Depending on which hike you go on you may have to pay for parking.
- Bridal Veil falls only 30 minutes from Portland
- Latourell Falls only 35 minutes from Portland. Kids will also enjoy playing across the way from this fall where the water makes an easy stream to play in.
- Ponytail Falls only 45 minutes from downtown Portland. This is located behind Horsetail Falls and it more difficult than the other hikes on this list. Parts of this hike are quite steep.
- Punchbowl Falls and go cliff jumping only an hour from downtown Portland.