This is a guest blog from Daniel at dadsolo who writes about beinga single dad in the Portland area.
While Portland might be known for hipsters and hoppy brews, it’s also a great place to take a quick trip with the kids, especially if you’re traveling solo with your mini me. With excellent public (and private) transportation options and ample activities that will keep the kids’ interest, Portland may be your new favorite getaway.
But first, the weather
There are several things you should learn about Portland before moving there. For example, Portland is wet most of the year. The rain is rarely a complete washout, but an umbrella and a pair of cute rain boots are a must. Even those who hate wet weather enjoy living in the Beaver State for its exceptional summers when temps hover at a comfortable (and sunny) 80 degrees.
Trimet’s HOP Card is your ticket to exploring the city. It’s a rider-friendly fast pass that allows you to reload when you need more fare money. And, if you plan to hang around for multiple days, HOP gives you a free day pass once you’ve “tapped on” twice in single 24-hour period. Portland’s bus lines, MAX Light Rail, WES Commuter Rail, and it’s famous street cars will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. Of Course, Portland is a wonderful city to traverse on foot and, for older children, by bicycle. Check out PDX Bike Rentals for rates and tour ideas.
When you travel alone with the kids, it’s especially important to have the peace of mind knowing that you are in a safe place. Enter Portland's Kid-Friendly hotels. The Monaco is a downtown favorite that boasts a colorful lobby, complete with floor pillows for tired toddlers and an inviting social hour each evening. Need more incentives? The last Thursday of each month is VooDoo Doughnuts night.
If you prefer to rack up points, consider the DoubleTree. This Hilton property is famous for its unlimited cookies available at check-in and anytime at the front desk. It’s pet friendly so make sure to ask for a pet-free room if your children have allergies. The DoubleTree offers a kids’ menu and cribs and highchairs for your convenience.
Fun times with the fam
What could be cooler than stuffed animals that can walk and talk? Nothing really, at least not to young imaginations. Check out the Portland Puppet Museum to get a glimpse of some truly unique marionettes that the kids are sure to remember. While that will entertain the young (and young at heart), older tweens and teens might enjoy a day the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. More than 200 interactive exhibits and eight hand-on labs make OMSI an enthralling experience no matter your interests. The best part, members get in free. A family membership is just over $100, which is a great price if you plan to visit more than once. The history-minded may be more at home at the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation and one of its theme trips. Check out the Holiday Express for a fun time you’re not soon to forget.
More active parents and children will love Oaks Park and The Grotto. Oaks Park bombards the senses with carnival games, mini golf, and roller skating. It’s also a full-scale theme park for the more adventurous. The Grotto is a low-key sanctuary where you can relax and reconnect with your faith. Built as a Catholic shrine dedicated to Mary, this attraction draws more than 300,000 people each year, young and old alike.
Keep in mind that Portland is not small town. There are hundreds of square miles to explore and that leaves more than a few places open for debate where safety is concerned. When traveling solo with the kids, know where to go and what to avoid. This AOL article outlines the safest areas in town and which to steer clear of at all costs.