Portland Aerial Tram
Portland Aerial Tram
Southwest Portlandview website
OHSU Marquam Hill Campus
Portland, OR 97329
Portland Aerial Tram Description
Built more safely than the trams in the Swiss Alps, this public transportation (you read that right, it's public transport!) is the hottest new thing in Portland and a great ride for kids. The designers made safety adjustments for "seismic eruptions" (translation: possible earthquakes) and the cabins, which arrive every five minutes, feel sturdier when you're in them than they look from the outside. It's like taking a gondola without the ski slope. The tram goes 22 miles an hour and climbs 500 feet, and the ride lasts for three minutes (with a breathtaking view of five mountain ranges on a clear day as an extra bonus).
Babies: There are viewing balconies at the top of the ride, and babies will enjoy ogling the small water fountain display. If they're restless and you're up for a walk around OHSU, take your baby to the larger fountain in the courtyard of McKenzie Hall, where she can marvel at the cascading water.
Toddlers & Pre-K: With views on all sides, your toddler will love this short ride, especially if he's safely in your arms. At the view at the top, have him find the submarine outside the OMSI.
School-Age Kids: Big kids may be disappointed that the tram ride is so short but the excitement of going down-down-down on the return trip will make up for that. There are also maps at the top that help school-aged kids identify Portland's bridges and mountain ranges.
Pre-Teens & Teens: Teens are teens and may not be as awed by this feat of engineering and city planning. Those heading to college may be interested in OHSU, which has dental, medical, nursing, pharmaceutical, and science and engineering schools.
- Kid gear allowed. You can take your strollers, baby backpacks, and carriages on the tram, so bring those along if you need them.
- Closed on holidays. The tram is closed on most public holidays and on Sundays in the winter for maintenance. Double check the schedule online for when you want to go.
- Parking is limited. Leave your car at the hotel and take a streetcar from downtown to the tram.
- Standing room only. Tell your kids in advance that they'll be standing, as seating is limited and elderly or disabled riders get first dibs.
- Avoid rush hour. Each car can hold up to 50 people, but it's much more enjoyable with fewer riders. Commuter traffic revolves around hospital shift changes: 7 to 8 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Just the Facts
Hours: Trams operate Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m. -10 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m. (mid-May to mid-September only)
Fees: Under $10
Recommended Time: Less than 1 hour