The rain doesn’t have to go away for you to enjoy all that Portland has to offer. In fact, a rainy day might lead you to some of the city’s best treasures. Discover someplace new in Portland on the next rainy day. (Let's be honest; if you're visiting in the fall, winter, or spring, that rainy day is probably as soon as tomorrow.) You'll find yourself looking forward to the next wet-weather day in these ten great places.
Here's Where To Go On Your Next Rainy Day In Portland
1. Read a book
There’s nothing like curling up with a good book on a rainy day. You can find your next read at Powell’s City of Books, which has over a million books in 3,500 different sections. Whether you’re waiting for the rain to let up, or you’ve planned a rainy day trip to the bookstore, it’s easy to while away the hours at Powell’s. The bookstore even has a coffee shop on-site!
Where: 1005 W Burnside St.
2. Enjoy nature
If you like to be in nature, rain or shine, you can do so without getting drenched. The Lan Su Chinese Garden, located in the heart of Portland, has covered walkways—and a teahouse—that offer sheltered views of a lake and garden. The Portland Japanese Garden offers another close-up glimpse of nature’s beauty in rainfall.
Where: 239 NW Everett St.
3. Watch roller derby
Anything involving the Rose City Rollers is bound to be a lively event, come rain or shine. Show your support for Portland’s flat track roller derby league team at one of their home games. If you prefer to be in the rink, head to Oaks Park, Mt. Scott Community Center or one of the other public skating rinks in town.
Where: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way
4. Buy a new outfit
Who would’ve thought Portland would have such great shopping districts? If you don’t mind a little rain, dart from store to store in the downtown, Pearl or Northwest Portland shopping areas. If you’re dealing with heavy rainfall, check out Portland’s indoor shopping centers. You’ll find Pioneer Place in downtown Portland, and Lloyd Center just across the river.
Where: 700 SW 5th Ave.; 2201 Lloyd Center
5. Spend the afternoon in a mansion
Why stay at home when you can tour a mansion? The Pittock Mansion is a historic site with a great view of the city. (The estate is situated almost 1,000 feet above downtown Portland.) Walking around the house and grounds is free, but tickets must be purchased to enter the mansion—a price well worth the tower view.
Where: 3229 NW Pittock Dr.
6. Explore forests
Take a trip to the woods the next rainy day. The World Forestry Center will whisk you away to forests around the world. Through the center’s interactive exhibits, woodland creatures and nature-inspired art, visitors can “travel” to different regions to learn about forests and environmental sustainability. Visitors can also hop aboard Peggy the Train, and try river rafting, with a trip to the center.
Where: 4033 Southwest Canyon Rd.
7. See diverse animals
The Oregon Zoo is right across the World Forestry Center, and surprisingly, not a bad place to visit on a rainy day. The animals are still there, but the crowds aren’t! If the rain isn’t too bad, plenty of animals will be out and about. There are also a number of covered areas in case of a downpour.
Where: 4001 Southwest Canyon Rd.
8. Learn about local history
The Oregon Historical Society has rotating exhibits, which means fresh discoveries with each rainy-day visit. The impressive museum, located in downtown Portland, isn’t only on Oregon history. Past exhibits have included comic book history to contemporary indigenous cultures. The Society’s research library is also open to the public, and museum events are usually free.
Where: 1200 SW Park Ave.
9. Head to an independent theater
It’s time to hit the theater when it starts to rain. But not just your typical, big-screen IMAX theater. The next time it rains, check out one of Portland’s independent, local venues. They all have their quirks. Living Room Theaters in downtown Portland, for example, has a cocktail bar in the lobby, with an impressive happy hour. The best part is food delivered right to your seat!
Where: 341 SW 10th Ave.
10. Be a scientist for a day
Save the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for a rainy day—you’ll need several hours to explore the center. The science and technology museum features rotating shows, submarine tours and even a planetarium. For your lunch break, check out Theory, a restaurant inside the museum that explores the science of food with seasonal, fresh fare.
Where: 1945 SE Water Ave.
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.
Photo credits: Brendan Gates/Flickr; Loren Kerns/Flickr.