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Traveling Portland With Kids

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Last Updated on June 26, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

We are in Portland!  What brought us here?  Their food.  RedBeard and I visited here in 2017 and frankly just fell in love with the food and the city vibe. We thought this is a potential place to live in.  So, we made it our first stop.

We traveled on a Sunday afternoon without a car. We just got an Uber (two Ubers actually since we can’t all fit in one).  It was so incredibly easy and I’m now in love with this process. I had never done one before, but it is so popular here that you just hop on the app, give your directions of where you are and where you want to go, and boom!  You get a driver usually within seconds confirming and picking you up within a couple of minutes.  I’ve really enjoyed talking to the drivers as they are all locals and getting their feel for Portland.

We’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and I have many fun things to share about. RedBeard got really sick over July 4th, my mom came to visit and we did some exploring and now we are really on our own in this adventure.  Reality is setting in a bit for everyone. Redbeard and I are a little exhausted!  The kids are overall doing VERY well, all things considered, but nonetheless are an exhausting, energetic bunch.

All of the kids with face paint on in Portland

We are staying in the Pearl District, right next to the streetcar that passes by every 10 minutes or so, in a three-bedroom, cozy townhome.  I like the location so much.  We can hop on a couple of streetcars (never waiting more than 10 minutes for one to arrive) right out our front gate and be anywhere in the city quickly.

I love the city itself.  While it is large, it never feels super crowded.  Even when the streetcar is full, it doesn’t make me want to run off at a moment’s notice.  We’ve observed that drivers are always very conscious of pedestrians and will often stop even if there is not a crosswalk.  On the freeway, there isn’t a lot of speeding or aggressive driving AT ALL.  People are fairly laid back and just minding their own business.

There is a ton to see in the city. We love the museums, shopping malls, food, and other venues we’ve been to.  We even took the streetcar all the way to the airport with my mom to send her off.  It took a while, but we could sit back, eat lunch and enjoy looking out the window.

All of the kids and grandma sitting in the street car

I love the walkability of the city and our location.  I just walk to the gym and the grocery store.  I don’t need my car all week and we’ve only used it, so far, to go out of the city.

Things that are hard (at least for our family):

  • Our townhome isn’t very big. Certainly not big enough for us seven.  I miss a basement or other common area to send the kids to – there just isn’t one.  Chris definitely misses his office space and I also miss an outdoor option. 
  • Pretty much no one has this many kids downtown.  Haha!  No surprise there.  We get lots of looks, some happy and some mad, as we cruise around.
  • I wish there were more parks.  We have one very close, but they just closed it to re-do the playground.  This means we have no outdoor space within a quick walking distance either.
  • I find it is hard not to spend A LOT of money.  In order to get out of the house, we need a reason, which usually costs money.  Getting food, going to a store, going to a museum, etc.  I’ve spent a ton on groceries, also not a surprise, but found myself going to the grocery store nearly every day.  That is going to add up fast.
Lucy standing in front of a restaurant sign advertising Handmade Steamed Buns, Bao

In general, I’m loving it here.  I’m so glad to finally be “on the big trip” and we can just focus on our family.  It is both hard and incredibly nice to not have any commitments.  I’m not rushing to get anywhere or worried about the time.  We just adventure as we want.  On the flip side, I’m starting to get lonely.  I miss my social interactions and calendar.  I miss the people who know me.  I miss our girls’ nights, the Bookclub, and Church callings.  Sometimes, I think about how long we might extend these travels and it makes me overwhelmed.  I’m not quite sure how I’ll even make it through tomorrow.  At other moments I am so happy to be soaking up my children that the thought of ever returning to a “normal” life gives me anxiety.

Lucy and a stuffed sloth wearing a shirt that says "Just Do It (later)"

Like all good things in life, we are trying to find moderation and joy in the journey.

Catch great fare deals from Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a nice hotel when traveling from Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover more of the world while having fun through exciting activities from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need to rent a car to navigate the city? Visit Rentalcars.com.

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads.

Want to have a photo shoot while traveling? Check out flytographer!

Capture your best travel memories as we do with a GoPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

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Additional Reading

Visiting The Portland Zoo with Kids

Touring Pittock Mansion with Kids

Children’s Museum San Francisco: The Exploratorium

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