When my husband and I made the decision to move our family to the PNW, specifically to the Portland metro area, we had a few things on our “must haves” list. We wanted to live in an ethnically diverse area, a good school for our kiddos, and we wanted our community to have a “small town” feel while still having quick access to the city. After doing some research, we decided to settle in Southwest Portland, and have since found it ticked all of our boxes!
Southwest Portland is made up of multiple school districts including Tigard-Tualatin, Beaverton, and a few Hillsboro School District schools in the unincorporated area of Aloha. Beaverton is the fifth largest city in Oregon, and its school district boasts thirty-four elementary schools and six high schools. Tigard-Tualatin includes ten elementary schools and two high-high schools, and Aloha has eleven elementary schools and two high schools.
Wherever you are in SW, you’ll find yourself close to a main highway or freeway. With Hwy 26 to the north, 8 (TV Highway) to the South, and the 217 running through the middle, you can get from the suburbs to the heart of Portland in twenty-five minutes or less (depending on traffic). Plus, there are many bus routes and MAX stations sprinkled throughout the area, making public transportation trips to downtown even more convenient.
Food and Drink
Portlanders love good food, and Southwest Portland has no shortage of options. Here are a few of our kid-friendly favorites:
- El Chinos: As Southern California natives, this spot is our favorite for authentic Mexican food.
- Blue Moon Diner: Super cute vintage decor, jukebox tunes, and happy face pancakes makes this a great Saturday morning family outing.
- Gyro House: The hummus and warm pita bread is out of this world. Order the kids a cheese pizza to split, and splurge on a yummy gyro or shawarma plate.
- Papa’s Pizza: With a massive indoor play area, this is a great meet-up spot for enjoying grown up conversation while the kids play in the play area, including a miniature ferris wheel.
- Momo’s Hawaiian Grill: What’s better than plate lunches and shaved ice? Ask them to pour a little sweetened condensed milk over the top of your shaved ice. You’re welcome.
The Tualatin Parks and Recreation District is the largest of its kind in the state of Oregon, covering fifty square miles of beautiful natural areas to explore, family-friendly trails, and ninety-five parks. It also runs eight swim centers and six recreation centers, including tennis courts, football, soccer, and baseball fields!
Here are a few of our favorite parks:
- Tualatin Nature Hills Park is a GREAT park for little kids as the walking trails are all flat. It can be a great exploration for you and the family, and it’s stroller friendly!
- Commonwealth Lake Park sits in the Cedar Hills area and has a gorgeous lake that connects two parks via trails. In addition to being able to push strollers there, you will love the picturesque scenery and the geese.
- Jenkins Estate is a historical piece of land filled with 100-year-old rhododendron plants and a cute little playground tucked among trees atop the hill. Plan for a picnic in the spring and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.
For the Rainy Days
- IFly: Who doesn’t dream of flying, right? IFly offers you, and your kiddos a chance to experience the thrill of skydiving.
- John’s Incredible Pizza: A great option for those nights you just can’t bring yourself to cook or do dishes. Eat off the buffet and let the kids play in the arcade. Everybody wins.
- Skyart Indoor Racing: With a quarter mile go-kart track featuring cars that can run up to 40 mph, this is a great option for entertaining older kids (and their parents).
- Pump It Up: This place allows you to unwind while your kids literally bounce around and release some energy.
- Beaverton City Library: The biggest library in Southwest Portland has computers, books, and more for the kids while located right next to the Beaverton City Park complete with a fountain! In addition, this library and it’s partner libraries have a calendar full of kid-friendly events happening all the time. Check them out here!
- Washington Square Mall: With tons of retail shops and food options, Washington Square is one of the largest shopping centers in the state. It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!