Subscribe by Email

Share On

What to Do in Milwaukie, Oregon | Your Guide to Spending a Full Day in Milwaukie

  |  Featured Neighborhood, Local Happenings, Portland

Located just southeast of Portland, this inviting and laid-back city has plenty in store for residents and visitors alike. Known as the “Dogwood City” of the West and the birthplace of the Bing Cherry, Milwaukie was settled and claimed by Pioneer Lot Whitcomb in 1847 and was formally incorporated in 1903. Today, the small town has a tight-knit community, a number of alluring small-town features, and an abundance of natural beauty throughout.

Whether you’re simply passing through or you’re lucky enough to call Milwaukie your home, there is plenty to do, see, taste and experience in this charming town nestled along the river.


Start With Coffee

Coffee in Milwaukie, OR

Any good day starts with a cup of coffee or tea, paired with a sweet or savory bite to eat. There are plenty of coffee shops scattered throughout Milwaukie to ensure you get your day off to a good (and caffeinated!) start.

Serving locally roasted and artfully crafted artisan coffee, Rohst Coffee Co. is conveniently located just a couple of blocks from the river, providing the perfect pit stop before a riverside stroll. Wind Horse Coffee is a unique and cozy Old West-themed shop serving Caffe Umbria coffee and various small bites and pastries. Milwaukie Cafe and Bottle Shop is a one-stop-shop for all your coffee, food and other drink needs! In addition to coffee, they serve a great selection of beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks.


Go Downtown

Milwaukie, Oregon

Photo By Finetooth [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Milwaukie has experienced a renaissance of sorts over the last several decades. It now hosts a number of new apartments, retail space and a riverfront park nearby. Take a stroll through the charming downtown area and pop in and out of locally owned boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and more.


Check Out Elk Rock Island

Elk Rock Island Milwaukie, OR

Photo Courtesy of Mark Gamba via the City of Milwaukie

Just off the shore of the Willamette near the Island Station neighborhood lies the picturesque Elk Rock Island. This 12- to 13-acre island has designated habitats to protect and nurture several species of plants, mammals, reptiles and birds. Accessible during the summer and fall, the island provides a serene space for locals to relax and picnic among ancient forest and explore the park’s many miles of winding trails. This iconic island was formed by a volcano 40 million years ago, and is considered the oldest place in the Portland area.


Visit the Farmers’ Market

Milwaukie Farmers' Market

Every Sunday morning from May through October, downtown Milwaukie comes to life with the Milwaukie Farmers’ Market. At this busy market at the intersection of Main and Harrison, you can find produce, a variety of prepared foods, flowers and plants, and countless gifts. The market runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday. Take part in this lively community tradition in the heart of the city!


See an Outdoor Concert

Outdoor Concert Series Milwaukie, OR

Photo Courtesy of the City of Milwaukie

There are a number of free outdoor concert series taking place in historic Milwaukie and the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek and Lewelling neighborhoods each summer. Plus, you can always expect live music at the Sunday Farmers’ Market and First Friday events from May through October! Take a look at the many outdoor concerts happening in the Milwaukie area throughout the summer.


Go to the Riverfront Park

Milwaukie Riverfront Park

Photo Courtesy of the City of Milwaukie

Step away from it all with a visit to Milwaukie Riverfront Park, an 8.5-acre park adjacent to downtown. The park has undergone many improvements and construction after the city received a $1.2 million grant from the Oregon Marine Board to create a new boat launch, parking and restrooms. Take in beautiful views of the sparkling Willamette River from this peaceful and lush park.


Splash Around at an Aquatic Park

North Clackamas Aquatic Park Milwaukie, OR

Photo Courtesy of the North Clackamas Aquatic Park

Stay active in Milwaukie — even on a gloomy or rainy day — with a visit to the North Clackamas Aquatic Park. This aquatic park features Oregon’s largest wave pool, a toddler splash zone, diving and lap pools, water slides, and even a 29-foot rock wall. They also offer swimming lessons, aquatic fitness classes and party rentals. During Big Surf! Open Swim time, visitors can enjoy the many park features, excluding the lap pool. Take a look at the schedule and rates to plan your visit to North Clackamas Aquatic Park.


Sip on Wine


After all this activity, you may want to relax and unwind with a glass of wine. Thankfully, there are a number of places in Milwaukie serving an exceptional selection of wines, whether you’re looking for a glass of red on a cold day or a refreshing white on a summer afternoon.

Arrivederci Wine & Jazz Bar is a cozy and intimate shop serving great wine and food. Plus, they host some of the best jazz musicians in the Portland area on an almost-nightly basis. Wine 30 Bistro is a quaint neighborhood wine bar located on Main Street in historic downtown Milwaukie. They serve wines by the glass or bottle, a selection of beer, non-alcoholic drinks, and a delicious food menu.


See a Movie

Wunderland Milwaukie Cinemas is a fun destination for both kids and kids at heart. In addition to showing movies, this discount cinema has arcade games fueled by nickels, providing a complete nostalgic and budget-friendly experience. Take a look at upcoming showtimes with admission prices ranging from just $5.50 to $7.50.


Grab a Bite to Eat

No itinerary is complete without a list of places to eat. Rice Thai Cookery serves some of the best Thai food around, featuring an extensive menu of curries, noodle dishes, rice dishes and other Thai staples. Experience island living with a visit to Ohana Hawaiian Cafe, a casual restaurant serving delectable Hawaiian food, such as Kalua pork, shoyu chicken and shave ice. Canby Asparagus Farm’s Casa De Tamales incorporates authentic and fresh ingredients to create outstanding tamales, mole, chili rellenos and other Mexican specialties.


Make Yourself at Home

City of Milwaukie, Oregon

Photo Courtesy of the City of Milwaukie

If you enjoy your visit to this alluring town enough, you may just want to call it your home! We don’t blame you. Milwaukie has a mix of single-family homes, including restored farmhouses, stately mansions, English Tudors and traditional ranch-style homes, in addition to a collection of contemporary condominiums and row homes.

Explore the many homes for sale in Milwaukie and contact us if we can be of assistance during your home search!

Share On

About the Author

Courtney Itami

You May Also Like