Portland, Oregon, is a thriving city of neighborhoods knitted together by bike-able streets and readily-accessible public transportation. Teenagers in other cities like Portland, where popular entertainments like microbreweries, dive bars and a rocking indie music scene are alcohol-connected, can find themselves at a loss. In this lively Northwest spot, though, those at that in-between point in life can have a great time by becoming involved in activities appropriate for any age that still showcase the city's best.
Adult Portlanders tend to keep themselves busy -- especially during the long rainy season -- by sitting in bars or brewpubs. Teenagers don't have that luxury, but luckily in Portland there are hangout options for the underage crowd. The Glowing Greens Black Light Adventures Miniature Golf lets your teens putt-putt under black lights, with ska music in the background; it's also open late on weekends for those wanting a night out. At Ground Kontrol, teenagers can play retro pinball and video games for mere quarters. And at McMenamins Kennedy School, housed in a former 1915 school building, there's a movie theater that serves pizza and soda, plus a 102-degree soaking pool.
Portland's amusement parks offer opportunities to cut loose in an all-ages environment. Teenagers can take a spin on the Ferris wheel or ride race bumper cars at the Oaks Amusement Park; the park also operates a roller rink, miniature golf course, numerous carnival games and concession stands. The North Clackamas Aquatic Park draws kids of all ages on hot summer days, with a swimming pool, 29-foot climbing wall and wave pool.
Active kids can let off steam at the Burnside Skatepark, where national pro skaters mix with local amateurs and teenagers are welcome, too. For indoor entertainment, point them toward Department of Skateboarding's indoor bowl, which caters to teenagers on Saturdays with 14-and-younger sessions. Or, drop them off at the Ice Rink at the Lloyd Center, which is open for ice skating year round and keeps late-night hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
All-Ages Music Venues
Much of Portland's vibrant indie music scene is off-limits to teenagers, but a handful of all-ages music venues cater to a younger crowd. Backspace is a popular music hangout with coffee, Voodoo doughnuts, vegan food offerings and chess. The Backdoor Theater at Common Grounds Coffeehouse sits in the hip Hawthorne district and hosts music acts that are open to all ages. The Wonder Ballroom hosts rock bands for all-ages shows, and minors have access to the entire space except for a small 21-and-over drinking area and balcony.