15 Best Things to Do in Milwaukie, OR

Milwaukie, OR
Lara J / shutterstock.com

Milwaukie is a city and a suburb of Portland, Oregon, primarily located in Clackamas County, with a small fraction extending to Multnomah County.

This former mill town, founded in 1847 along the Willamette River, once competed with Portland’s shipping industry during the 19th century.

Milwaukie is the birthplace of Dark Horse Comics, a publishing company known for Hellboy, Sin City, and 300.

It has also produced movies and TV series such as the Mask and the Umbrella Academy!

Renowned as the “Dogwood City of the West” due to the spring blossoms that adorn its landscape, this welcoming city is the origin of the Bing cherry variety.

It is well-known for its excellent shopping, wine bars, aquatic parks, and more.

Get to know the city by exploring the best things to do in Milwaukie, Oregon.

Hike a Trail at Elk Rock Island

View of Elk Rock Island
Tony Prato / Shutterstock.com

Elk Rock Island forms a portion of an ancient volcano that erupted around 40 million years ago.

Lava formed the predominant bedrock that is believed to be Portland’s oldest exposed rock, known as the Waverly Heights Basalt.

Elk Rock Island was originally a part of the land claim owned by Lot Whitcomb, Milwaukie’s founder.

Still, after the property was passed among several people for about four decades, Peter Kerr bought the island in 1904.

View of Elk Rock Island
red_pexel / Shutterstock.com

Kerr was a well-known businessman from Portland.

Milwaukie eventually acquired Elk Rock Island from Portland in 2016, bringing 13.6 acres of more open space to the community.

Elk Rock Island has seven identified distinct habitats, including seasonal pools which give shelter to numerous amphibians and other forms of marine life, as well as over 50 exotic and unique species of plants.

Take in the natural environment by following the designated paths or hiking trails that loop through the island and around the bay.

Grab Pantry Staples at Bob’s Red Mill

Perhaps you’ve seen the familiar red bold letters of Bob’s Red Mill products in grocery stores near you.

Milwaukie is the home of this healthy and wholesome American “whole grain foods” brand, featuring a whole grain store, a restaurant, and a bakery, all in one location.

Their store is where you’ll find all their 200+ products in every size, baking equipment and supplies, presents, and souvenirs.

Their restaurant offers breakfast and lunch options seven days a week, such as omelets, pancakes, oatmeal, cold sandwiches, fresh salads, and a children’s menu.

These items are made from scratch using excellent Bob’s Red Mill products.

Their bakery sells fresh and delicious bread, cookies, and seasonal pastries using Bob’s Red Mill signature flours, with vegan and wheat-free options available!

Experience the dream and passion of founders Bob and Charlee Moore by visiting Bob’s iconic red mill store in Milwaukie.

Enjoy a Beer at Breakside Brewery

Breakside Brewery, which began as a restaurant and pub in Northeast Portland in 2010, has developed into a well-recognized brewery, producing 30,000 barrels yearly.

The brewery is renowned for its extensive lineup of award-winning and original beer flavors.

Breakside Brewery currently has at least five locations in Oregon, including Milwaukie, which opened in 2013.

They won the Best of Craft Beer Awards in 2018 and Brewery of the Year at the Oregon Beer Awards, which they swept from 2019 through 2022!

Breakside Brewery distributes its beers on draft to several states, including Arizona, Hawaii, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Northern California, and Washington.

Find a nice spot and enjoy a pint or two while having a friendly chat with your friends and your favorite bartenders!

Swim at the North Clackamas Aquatic Park

The North Clackamas Aquatic Park is a water park spanning 45,400 square feet that opened in June 1994.

The North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District owns and manages the water park.

North Clackamas Aquatic Park has numerous swimming pools, water slides, and a 29-foot rock wall.

The Big Surf Recreation Swim is the ideal event to explore all the spectacular attractions of the park, featuring 400,000 gallons of fun and play in the water!

A few swimming pools include a four-foot wave pool with shallow and deep play areas, an interactive space with cascading water fountains, a kiddie pool, and a huge hot tub.

North Clackamas Aquatic Park also offers lap swims, aquatic exercises, and swim lessons.

Visit the Milwaukie Museum

Front view of Milwaukie Museum
Ingamilkmaid, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Milwaukie Museum occupies the old George Wise House, which relocated to its current position in 1973.

George Wise constructed the house in 1865 for his wife Sara Tong and, eventually, ten of their children.

Over time, the house fell into a terrible state and was slated for demolition when it was instead donated to the Milwaukie Historical Society.

Today, the museum contains a collection of Milwaukie's history and other North Clackamas County areas.

It features numerous historical items such as native Indian artifacts, Oregon Trail memorabilia, and the Lewelling Cherry Tree.

The Milwaukie Museum is only open on Saturdays.

However, unique visits can be arranged by getting in touch with Society.

See Beautiful Roses at the Sara Hite Memorial Rose Garden

The Sara Hite Memorial Rose Garden is a formal garden that spans a full acre and is situated just south of the Milwaukie Community Center and North Clackamas Park.

The garden was named after former Milwaukie Center Director Sara Hite.

The central red brick plaza of the Rose Garden is encircled by well-kept rose beds at ground level and framed at each of its outer edges by raised beds, low plants, and pathways.

Stroll around, sit on one of the benches, and gaze at more than 400 rose varieties!

Sara Hite Memorial Rose Garden is open every day from dawn to dusk; you can also rent the place for special occasions.

Play Sports at North Clackamas Park

North Clackamas Park is a 45-acre park located next to the Sara Hite Memorial Rose Garden and the Milwaukie Community Center, featuring fields, mature oak trees, and waterways.

You can do numerous recreational activities at this park, including two playgrounds, shaded areas, shelters for picnics, a dog park, horseshoe pits, a volleyball net, softball fields, and walking trails.

The park’s network of trails and walking routes connect to many of the park’s amenities.

North Clackamas Park contains several natural areas, delicate ecosystems, and wetland and non-wetland river plant communities home to various wildlife species.

There are also overlook spots, ideal for birdwatching and enjoying nature.

See the Latest Movies at Wunderland Milwaukie Cinemas

The Wunderland Milwaukie Cinemas is more than just a regular theater.

It’s a place for fun and entertainment, offering movies, arcade games, laser tag, mini golf, escape rooms, and more.

The family-owned theater and arcade chain has five branches across Oregon, including Milwaukie, Beaverton, Portland, Gresham, and Salem.

Try the Hologate VR and experience a virtual reality that takes gamers into a new realm.

Discover the thrills of the XD Dark Ride, including an epic battle with the terrifying Gigamon monsters, a frantic chase through the wild American West, and a fight against alien robots, werewolves, and zombies!

Wunderland Milwaukie Cinemas is the ideal location to spend time with loved ones or friends on the weekends or just about any day of the week!

Shop at the Milwaukie Farmers Market

The Milwaukie Sunday Farmers Market is open to locals and visitors alike to shop for fresh, local, and in-season produce and farm products sourced directly from the producer to the local community!

The Farmers Market started in 1999, making it Oregon’s longest-running farmers market.

They started with only seven vendors and now have more than 70 different weekly vendors!

Milwaukie Farmers Market runs every Sunday from May through October, where you’ll find various products, including ready-to-eat dishes, plants, cut flowers, gift items, and more.

The market is at the junction of Harrison and Main Street Downtown, accessible by foot, bike, or car.

Grab Burgers at Roake’s

Front view of Roake’s
Old White Truck from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Drop by Roake’s, a retro snack shack on SE McLoughlin Boulevard, famous for its hot dogs, burgers, fries, and milkshakes!

It all began in 1937 when Roy Dowell had the vision to build several diners on trailers and distribute them around Oregon and Washington.

In the 1970s, after going through several owners and store name changes, Roake's, now owned by Jim Roake, established itself as one of Portland’s best hot dog places.

Today’s customers are the next generation of the very first customers from the 1930s.

See, taste, and experience what makes Roake’s a tradition in Milwaukie!

Stroll around Milwaukie Bay Park

The 8.5-acre Milwaukie Bay Park is nestled between the Willamette River, Kellogg Creek, and Johnson Creek.

The park is easily accessible from Downtown, just right off McLoughlin Boulevard.

Milwaukie Bay Park has pathways, restrooms, a boat ramp, and parking, including spots for vehicles that can tow boat trailers.

More park improvements include a play area for children, an amphitheater with a stage, a water feature, a Trolley Trail connection, geese mitigation, and redwood tree preservation.

Milwaukie Bay Park opened to the public in 2015, made possible through a fund partnership with the City of Milwaukie, Clackamas County, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Marine Board, and Kellogg Good Neighbor Committee.

Buy Unique Fabrics at the Mill End Store

If sewing is your passion or if you need fabric for a particular project, a visit to the Mill End Store is a must!

The Mill End Store is a family-run fabric store that opened in Milwaukie in 1918 and a second location in Beaverton in the 1980s.

Mill End Store is the oldest and largest family-owned textile store in Oregon, specializing in traditional sewing skills and attentive customer service.

Visit to see more than 50,000 square feet of unique and various fabrics, trims, & accessories!

Since they don't have an online store, they accept phone and mail orders from customers worldwide.

Mill End Store’s customers range from novices to interior designers to renowned designers for fashion, movies, and TV shows, who make unique visits to Portland only to visit the store!

Browse Comics at Things from Another World

Things From Another World is your go-to place for everything anime, comics, manga, and pop culture!

The hottest and latest comics, toys, collectibles, and more are available for affordable prices, including anything from Dark Horse Comics, DC, Marvel, Image, and Gundam.

Founded in 1979, the first Things From Another World location was opened by Mike Richardson in Bend, Oregon, in 1980 with only just 400 square feet of space.

They were once known as Pegasus Books but decided Things From Another World suited their style more.

Things From Another World has expanded over the past 30 years to become the third-largest comic book store in the country.

They have several locations in Oregon, including Milwaukie, Portland, and Beaverton, as well as in Los Angeles, California.

Whatever you're interested in, Things From Another World has everything you could seek for!

Explore Nature at Spring Park Natural Area

Spring Park Natural Area is a hidden treasure in a quiet residential area in Milwaukie, adjacent to the Willamette River.

After 20 years of planning, building, and disputing park boundaries with the neighbors, the park opened to the public in 2015.

Visitors will see a playground, picnic tables, bike racks, and art installations upon entering the park.

Visitors can access the nearby wetlands through a boardwalk, a rock path, and an overlook area without compromising the area's wildlife habitats.

Spring Park Natural Area also gives visitors access to Elk Rock Island, but move cautiously and be mindful of the shifting water levels.

Depending on the season, the climate, and the tides of the Willamette River, water levels may change and rise, blocking access to the land bridge that connects the area to the Island.

Join a Dance Class at Chapel Theatre

Chapel Theatre is home to the Chapel Theatre Co, TriptheDark Dance Company, and several other dances, theater, and comedy companies.

After transforming the former church space into the present one, Corinn and Illya de Torres launched this facility in 2018.

Corinn and Illya are dedicated to promoting the arts, made possible through their connections in Milwaukie and Portland.

Chapel Theatre offers a space for dance classes, performances, rehearsals, plays, and private events.

Classes include Chapel Theatre classes and those taught by other instructors, businesses, or organizations that rent space from them.

Programs fluctuate, so please check their website for the updated class schedule.

Final Thoughts

Milwaukie is a fantastic choice if you want a diverse vacation experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Located ten minutes from Portland, Milwaukie offers beautiful riverfront parks, access to numerous water activities, and a charming main street.

Top it with exceptional dining, shopping options, arts, and history.

There’s more to discover in the city, thanks to the best things to do in Milkwaukie, Oregon!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.