Finding Fun in the Short Days of Rose City Winter
It can be a bit of a challenge keeping the whole family entertained during the short wet hours of daylight that seem to last through the whole winter in the Rose City. But it’s not even close to impossible. We thrive through the rainy season here in Stump Town, and there’s so much to do here in the winter that you’ll not even miss the sun – well, not much anyway.
So, whether you’re looking to brave the weather, or bundle up on one of those clear and cold days, we have tons of options for you to get the family outdoors for a bit of fun this winter. And, if you’d rather stay out of the elements, we have another long list of exciting options to keep you knee-deep in fun this winter. Here, we present a winter bucket list of family fun in the “best kept secret” in the west.
Outdoor Action, Weather Be Darned
When the mercury drops and the skies clear during the winter months in Portland, it’s typically a great idea to get the family bundled up and outdoors. You could go for a drive in the country or take a day trip to the coast (even if the weather is often the opposite of what we have in Portland during the winter months), or you could head to one of the multiple local wildlife refuges to view wildlife and see our beautiful landscape in a different light.
Sure, you can go for a hike on one of the few reopened Columbia Gorge trails, but why not cap that experience with a side trip to Bonneville Dam to feed the baby fish, view the salmon ladders, and see giant sturgeon. Take a trip across the bridge of the gods and see what Skamania is all about, then drive back to town on the Washington side for an unforgettable opposite view of the Gorge.
Indoor Fun in the Portland Winter, Beyond the Usual Suspects
If this is your first winter in the Rose City, then you need to know about the Portland Children’s Museum, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (aka OMSI), and the World Forestry Center. But, if you’ve been here long enough to check off all the standards and are looking for somewhere indoors to explore that’s a little less packed during our wetter months, go for something a little less traveled:
If you’re looking for that museum experience but have already been to the three listed above, and you want something different, Portland has you covered. Kidd’s Toy Museum on SE Grand has more than fifteen thousand 18th and 19th century toys on display. The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium on NW Thurman has to be experienced to be understood. And the National Hat Museum in SE Portland (open by appointment only) has the largest collection of historic and contemporary hats on display anywhere in the US.
If taking off your perfectly good shoes and strapping on skates is your idea of great family fun, then you’re in luck. Portland still has two centrally located skating establishments open to the public on a year-round basis. Either enjoy the classic roller rink (complete with organ music) at SE Portland’s only amusement park, or hit the ice at the rink where Tonya Harding first learned to skate.
Activate your inner rockhound or treasure hunter with a visit to either the venerable Forest Grove museum of minerals or the NE Sandy retail rockhound extravaganza that is Ed’s.
So Many Options
With so much to see and do in and around Portland, there is absolutely no reason to succumb to winter boredom, no matter what your age is. Get out and see the city and region in a different light, or take a walk on the less-traveled side of Portland’s indoor activities. Put together your own Portland Winter Wonderland bucket list and get to crossing items off of it!