We'll be going to Portland, OR this August, and taking kids (age 12 & 13). Any tips for where to stay and what to see (besides the Rose Gardens which we already plan on)?
mt tabor park is a defunct volcano
drive up the columbia gorge to Mt hood
take use od the free public transportation zone downtown. it's great
we are seriously considering Portland when my husband retires.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is very, very good. The End of the Trail Museum is also very good. Drive along the Columbia and visit the falls. Don't just visit Multnomha, get out and actually hike around the the others as well. One of the trails actually takes you behind the falls which I think your children would really enjoy. Time permitting, I would certainly drive out to Fort Clatsop
You didn't mention what type of activities you like, or if you are willing to travel outside of the downtown area. Here's a few ideas I thought you might be interested in.
OMSI is great (oregon museum of science and industry). You can also catch a laser light show or omnimax movie.
Zoo-They use to have evening music in the summer. They might still have it. It is near the rose garden. They also have tennis courts at the rose garden if you like that.
Pearl District Downtown if kind of fun if you like outdoor cafes, shopping and such. If that isn't your think I wouldn't bother.
Jakes Seafood is great for seafood if you like that. There are two and I always forget which is which, but we prefer the one that is NOT attatched to the hotel.
McMennamins Kennedy School is another neat place. It is an old school that has been renovated. They have movies certain hours that kids can go to (some hours they aren't allowed). You can eat in a restraunt or order pizza and such to take into the movie. You sit in an old auditorium in sofas and chairs watching the movie. You will also find great spririted drinks from the bars. McMennamin brothers have renovated several places around including the old poor farm in Gresham. Kennedy school is my favorite one, Edgefield is my hubbies.
Trip on the Sternwheeler up the river. I think you can catch it downtown.
Jet boat trip to Oregon City Falls.
Oregon City has Historical things including homes you can visit, and the OR Trail Interp Center.
Oaks Amusement Park- A small amusement park and large skating rink. The floor is also made of wood and survived a flood way back. The rink is huge. It also has a nice picnic area for families too.
If you want a resonably priced Italian meal. Try the Old Spaghetti Factory near John's Landing and downtown. It is right on the river and is very pretty. Dress is casual and reservations aren't taken. It can be very crowded at peak times. I don't even think they are open for lunch, but not sure.
Columbia River Gorge- great day trip. Be sure to take the scenic route there through Corbett. You will miss some beautiful spots if you don't. You can come back the hwy if you choose to and make a loop since the hwy is faster. Other interests besides scenery and Multnomah Falls might be Bonneville Dam, windsurfing in Hood River if the wind is blowing. If you happen to be in the gorge on a Sunday morning I highly recommend the Skamania Lodge Brunch. They have everything you could possibly imagine for food and it's good. The decor is comfortable, lodgy, family friendly and you can sit outside and enjoy a great view as well. You cross the Bridge of the Gods and go to Stevenson Washington (not far across the bridge). They serve other meals too, but I can't vouch for them.
Hiking and scenery near Salem at Silver Falls State Park.
Timberline Lodge. You could get there from the gorge crossing over at Hood River. The drive is beautiful, but it would be a long day. If you were inclined to stay somewhere between Timberline and Portland if doing a long day trip you might give the Resort on the Mountain a try. There is a very nice golf course if you like golf. There is another place you can rent cotages or trailers but I can't recall the name. I think it is MT Hood RV village. They have an indoor pool for the kids.
Beach-Seaside is probably the kids favorite because there are lots of things to do there. It is a very active place. Couple hours or less from Portland.
A visit to Mt St Helens.
Ride bikes, skateboard, rollerskate on the springwater trail. Much of it is along the river.
Visit Kah Nee Ta Resort- about two hours from Portland over Mt Hood. It is hot and crowded so if that isn't your thing avoid it. There is a large hot spring pool below with a resort and casino above on the hill. They also have golf and horse riding. It is on the Warm Spring Indian Reservation.
Bend has an awesome museum, lava lands and lots of other things, but it is someplace you could stay for a few days and is about 4 hours away. One could even do a day trip to Crater Lake from the area. Sunriver Resort is our favorite for lots of bike trails and big pools.
I'm out of ideas, but hope this might help you or others. Have a great trip!
I can't go to Portland with out going to Powells book store. I also recommend the Skamania Lodge. A friend and I had an awesome seafood buffet there. I found the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Garden beutiful and moving. And the botantical gardens were wonderful.