How to Get Through Winter
If you don’t have time to read this article, here’s all you need to know: When the rains begin to fall in Portland, gear up, stick with your plan and get cozy afterward.
Those three steps are a recipe for learning to love the rains that begin to fall as early as September and continue through June. The rain in Portland is rarely a deluge. Often it is an on-again-off-again light mist that is surprisingly tolerable.
Step One: Gear Up
Good gear matters. When you’re dry and warm, you can begin to appreciate the beauty of the season.
Every Portlander should own a pair of waterproof shoes you love to wear (there are so many options these days, like waterproof boots from Columbia or stylish boots from Sorel) and maybe even a pair of rubber boots, too. Find a rain jacket that’s 100% waterproof and fits well. If you plan to do any outdoor activities such as hiking, get a jacket that is breathable so you don’t get hot and sticky underneath. If you want to commute by bike, plan to have rain pants, shoe covers and warm waterproof gloves in addition to a breathable jacket.
For kids, rubber boots are an everyday fashion choice like it’s no big deal. Many families choose to dress their kids in fully waterproof one-piece rainsuits, too. Like a snowsuit, this convenient all-in-one option makes it easy to keep the little ones dry from head to toe.
Wool is the perfect fabric for a rainy day. Synthetic and performance fabrics will often get stinky when wet or during rigorous activity. Especially if they don’t have the chance to properly air out and dry out. Wool, on the other hand, stays fresh. A thick wool sweater is cozy, and will keep you perfectly dry on a misty day. Bonus: Wool lasts seemingly forever so it’s a good investment.
Should you use an umbrella in Portland? Contrary to popular belief, Portlanders DO use umbrellas. Though it would be a hassle to have an umbrella on a crowded street, a windy day, or while hiking, sometimes umbrellas make sense. Whether or not to use an umbrella is a personal choice and though some people may chide you when you do, it’s all in good fun. When you’re headed to a formal event or walking the dog late at night, there’s no shame in grabbing an oversize golf umbrella for maximum comfort!
What to do on Rainy Portland Days
Stick with your plan for that rainy day! Gear up and go. If you continually cancel your plans because of the rain, you will find yourself homebound and depressed. Getting out there for the adventure, no matter the weather, is one of the best ways Portlanders overcome seasonal depression.
You never know, the rain may stop soon after you leave your house, or at least it may hold off for a few hours. The rain is often really just a mist anyway. It’s nearly always nicer in the Hood River region, so keep an eye on the nearby weather reports and skip town for clear skies.
If you’re into snow sports, good news! When it’s raining in Portland, it’s usually dumping fresh powder on the mountain, much to the delight of skiers, snowboarders and those who like to tromp around in the snow.
Here’s an insider tip: The waterfalls are always more majestic when it’s raining! They gush with gusto and delight. You earn those views and it’s well worth it.
Cozy Up on Rainy Days
As you’re out and about on that rainy day, just remember there’s a sweet reward waiting for you at the end of it all.
After a hike or a day in the rain, cozy up with a cup of coffee. Our wet climate is exactly why coffee has long been popular here in the Rose City.
The wet weather can make your bones cold. This is a deeper, different chill, even if the temperature isn’t all that frigid. Relax at home or a cafe as you bring warmth to your core with a hot drink and some good company. A beer or glass of wine, maybe some dry socks and a fresh change of clothes, usually does the trick, too. So does a nice long soak in the bath.
If you’re hungry, go for a steaming bowl of pho or ramen - locations abound throughout the city these days. Just like chicken soup for the soul, these brothy wonders will have you perking up in no time.
And every once in a while, it’s perfectly acceptable to stay home and curl up with a good book. Portlanders are avid readers so if you opt for a literary day, you’ll fit right in.
Oregon’s Abundant Forests and Natural Landscape
Portland and our surrounding region is a natural wonderland because of all that rain we endure. Healthy rivers flow, the trees grow tall and there is a green abundance all around us.
On dreary grey days, just remember: we have the rain to thank for our lush forests and vibrant, easy-to-grow gardens. Head into the woods and soak in the magic.