Best Attractions near Moda Center

10 Best Attractions near the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon

The Moda Center in Portland, Oregon is surrounded by cool attractions. The attractions near the Moda Center are almost limitless. Whether you want to shop, visit a museum, go to the zoo, stroll through a garden, tour a brewery, or take your kids to play somewhere awesome we have the place for you to visit. 

We narrowed down the attractions by proximity to the Moda Center, that way if you are limited for time you can still squeezed in an activity or two. 

OMSI tops our list because it is not only one of the closest attractions, but it is one of the best attractions in all of Portland. No matter what age you are you will enjoy exploring the hand on activities at OMSI. 

Need to get food, but want to make sure to you get some of that Portland culture in at the same time? We have that covered too. Grab a doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut or grab a meal at the Kennedy School. Both will provide a one of a kind Portland experience and the food is good too! 

If you need to grab some souvenirs while in town head over to Tom McCall Waterfront park. Here you will get to shop at the famous Saturday Market while also getting to see a nationally recognized green space. 

We hope our list helps you make the most of your time when visiting the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. 


Financial District
Oregon Zoo

Among Portlanders with kids, spending a day at the zoo is probably the most favorite of family activities. Located up above the city in Washington Park, the zoo is home to more than 1000 animals. The staff work constantly to improve the living environments and enrich the lives of the many species they house. Exhibits mimicking the environments on all seven continents add to visitors' understanding of the natural world while offering great views of authentic animal behavior. During the summer, the Zoo's main lawn is a popular live music venue with a broad range of evening concerts. During the Holiday Season, more than a million bulbs create a shimmering wonderland called Zoolights.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: The Oregon Zoo is an incredible zoo that everyone loves and it just a short drive from the Moda Center.

Meagan's expert tip: Kids love the train ride!

Read more about Oregon Zoo →

The Living Room theater in downtown Portland, Oregon is only of only two theaters of this kind in the United States. Living Room Theater is a perfect place to catch an independent film at a sophisticated yet superbly comfortable environment that combines a European style caf� and lounge with a relaxing seating. In the intimate theater you will find over sized chairs with foot stools. Their cafe and lounge is a hip place to hang out and serves craft beers and good food. You can decide whether to eat in the cafe or have your food delivered to you in the theater.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: Living Room theater is a short drive from the Moda Center and a unique place to catch a movie.

Meagan's expert tip: Buy your tickets online and the staff will print them out for you when you get there.

Read more about Living Room Theater →

Despite its name, the Portland Saturday Market is open on Sundays too, every weekend from March through December. Located on the West Bank of the Willamette River, the Market is sheltered by the Burnside Bridge and a glass-roofed structure custom made for open-air shopping on rainy days. Scores of vendors sell their art and crafts – all original creations, unavailable anywhere else. All sellers at the Saturday Market only sell that which they fashion themselves. This includes the freshly cooked, international food which shoppers can eat while sitting in front of the stage featuring free, live music every market day. Buskers throughout the area round out the entertainment.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: Just across the river from the Moda Center is the largest outdoor market in the US.

Meagan's expert tip: Come early on summer mornings, as the market can get very crowded in the afternoon.

Read more about Portland Saturday Market →


Although Pioneer Courthouse Square and Powell's Books are often referred to as Portland's "living rooms," Tom McCall Park could also be named as such. Even in bad weather, a multitude of people congregate along the riverfront, and on nice days, families, bikers, bladers, and joggers all find a way to coexist peacefully. The park is also the site of many of the city's big events, including the Blues Festival, the Oregon Brewers Festival, and many events associated with the Rose Festival. It was under Governor McCall's leadership that Harbor Drive was demolished and replaced by this park in the mid-1970s.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: Just across the river from the Moda Center is Waterfront park home of the Saturday market a must when in Portland.

Meagan's expert tip: Visit on a Saturday to enjoy the Saturday Market and don't forget bathing suits for the kids.

Read more about Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park →

McMenamin's Kennedy School

Built in 1915, this architecturally beautiful structure served generations of students before being closed in 1980. Following a series of renovations by the McMenamin brothers, it reopened as a neighborhood entertainment facility. These days, it houses a 35 room bed and breakfast, restaurant, several bars and a gift shop. Have a bite to eat in the Courtyard Restaurant, sample your favorite vintage in the Cypress Room, or hang out in either the Honors Bar or the Detention Bar, depending on your attitude and inclination. Given the particular venue, you'll find local beers, single-malt scotches, espressos, and character galore. Hallways are filled with unique artwork, and the courtyard gains great appeal when the weather's nice.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: This is a cool place to eat and walk around near the Moda Center.

Meagan's expert tip: Plan on touring the property and having a meal here.

Read more about McMenamin's Kennedy School →

Voodoo Doughnut
Photo courtesy of By Rock-O-Billy for Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnuts serves doughnut creations unlike anywhere else, because where else can you find a bacon maple bar, a chocolate donut covered in coco puffs, an apple fritter "as big as your head", or buy a coffin filled with donuts. You can even get married at it's sister location in Northeast Portland while chowing down on a sweet, yeasty treat? Voodoo doughnuts are the talk of the town and indeed, the world and thanks to an eclectic blend of flavors and toppings, a selection of vegan doughnuts, and yes, the benefit of legal weddings performed by ordained ministers. They also serve Stumptown coffee.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: You can not visit Portland without going to Voodoo Doughnuts and they have two locations near the Moda Center.

Meagan's expert tip: Bring cash, because it is the only kind of money they accept.

Read more about Voodoo Doughnut →

Alphabet District

Playdate PDX is a 7,500 square foot indoor play place for children near the Pearl District in downtown Portland, Oregon. Upon entering children are greeted by a castle where once inside there is all kinds of fun including an interactive light floor where kids can play games like Dance Revolution and make musical sounds. There are also lots of slides, including slides with bumps for extra fun. there is a ball room, where they can shoot small plastic balls at each other and at the punching bags. They have rings for kids to play on, tubes to roam through. For parents there is a cafe and plenty of seating.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: This is an awesome place to take kids and it is not far from the Moda Center.

Meagan's expert tip: Check out their website to see upcoming special events like face painting or jugglers and don't forget to take socks.

Read more about Playdate PDX →

Lan Su Yuan, the garden's official name, means "Garden of Awakening Orchids," and is considered the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. Having opened in 2000, the garden was a joint project between Portland and its Chinese sister city Suzhou. Set behind a wall, the garden is a tranquil, urban oasis that fills a full city block. As a living work of art, the garden contains a balance of the five traditional garden elements: rocks, water, plants, architecture and literary inscriptions. Paths wind through the courtyards, pavilions and bridges. The Tao of Tea offers visitors a chance to experience a traditional tea service in recreated Ming Dynasty tea house.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: The Chinese Garden is close to the Moda Center and beautiful.

Meagan's expert tip: The tea house is a great place for a light lunch.

Read more about Lan Su Classical Chinese Garden →

Dedicated to technology and science, this museum offers interactive educational exhibits that everyone can enjoy. The museum's six huge halls are filled with hands-on displays related to everything from outer space to computers. Labs throughout the museum offer more in-depth exploration with exhibits like the chemistry lab and the life lab, which houses various live animals and insects. Upstairs they offer a large area just for younger children where they can play and learn through hands on exibits like a sand area and water area. Downstairs they have rotating national exibits like Lego's and Bodies. Beyond the exhibits, the museum features an Omnimax theater, planetarium and motion simulator.

Recommended for Attractions near Moda Center because: OMSI is just south of the Moda Center and a neat place for families to visit and play.

Meagan's expert tip: Visit on the 1st Sunday of the month for $2 admission.

Read more about Oregon Museum of Science and Industry →


Meet Meagan Wristen

Meagan Wristen is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl, she has lived all around the United States,...  More About Meagan