Earthy and exciting, Portland has a well-earned reputation as a fun loving city that’s not afraid to embrace its funky side. Surrounded by mountains, bisected by two great American rivers (the Willamette and the Columbia) and shot through with hiking and biking trails, it’s a place where you can explore nature right in the heart of town. And with a coffee shop on seemingly every corner and a clean public transit system that’s easy to navigate, you can ramble as a family.
As one of the epicentres of the farm-to-table, tip-to-tail movement, Portland is also the perfect March break destination to encourage culinary creativity in budding young foodies.
To nurture this inclination in your kids, head to Skyline Farm. Here, on five acres of prime Oregon soil, families can learn about the growing process before heading back into town (about a 20-minute drive) to its sister company, Meriwether’s, a restaurant housed in a cozy, historic building. There, amongst open-hearth fireplaces and year-round gardens, those homegrown ingredients are turned into amazing culinary creations (that can be as simple as a BLT made with local lettuce and heirloom tomatoes on bread from a nearby artisanal bakery).
And Portland certainly offers enough fun family attractions to keep you busy between meals. The Oregon Zoo lets you see a world of animals in an afternoon, with some 2,000 animals (including 21 endangered species) from across the globe that are housed in open- concept enclosures for optimal viewing. The Portland Children’s Museum offers some amazing interactive exhibits, including a “pet hospital” where kids can play veterinarian, a Twilight Trail where they can manipulate light and shadow, and “Build-ing Bridgetown,” a real, family-friendly construction site. And for old-school thrills, head to Oaks Amusement Park, home to a roller rink, go-karts and kid-size roller coasters.
Distance from Vancouver
Distance to travel to Portland, Oregon is 504 kilometres from Vancouver and driving time is 5 hours.
Where To Stay
Hotel DeLuxe is a fun place with a whimsical Old Hollywood style, featuring spacious family-size rooms just steps from the Max Light Rail line and downtown. Rates start at $209* per night (but check for special seasonal rates).
What to Eat
After getting your fill of hearty farm-to-table fare, try Cool Moon Ice Cream, where all-natural homemade scoops are served up with a smile.
If you’re looking to escape the city, take a scenic drive to Washington County, which boasts a lovely 96-kilometre Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. The road takes in views of the Cascade Range, farms, historic sites and a number of the county’s 25-plus wineries (some of which boast tasting rooms that are open all year long).
Looking for more great March Break fun? Find everything you need for the best week off school in our March Break Guide.