18 Best Things to Do in Portland Oregon in Winter

Craving a romantic winter getaway to somewhere chilly? Consider somewhere in the US – like Portland, Oregon, in winter! It’s filled with cold-weather things to do, so cozy up and get ready for fun with our list of 18 suggestions.

18 Best Things to Do in Portland Oregon in Winter

 This is a guest post by Abby, the blogger behind Trekking Price’s. She and her husband love outdoor adventures and exploring the world, all in the pursuit of appreciating natural beauty and outdoor activities. This post contains affiliate links.

Why consider Portland, Oregon, in winter?

Portland in winter is like stepping into a snowy fairy tale. The air is chilly, and there’s this cozy, hygge vibe that’s just calling your name. From hitting the slopes to finding the perfect spot for a hot latte, Portland’s got all the winter feels.

Whether you’re into action-packed adventures or just want to soak in the snowy charm, Portland’s got something for everyone. So, grab your coziest jacket, and let’s dive into the amazing winter magic of Portland below!

 

18 Best Things To Do in Portland, Oregon, in Winter

1. Attend the Portland Winter Light Festival.

Taking a leisurely walk in the crisp winter air and admiring an abundance of lights is truly a unique experience. Mark your calendars for February 2nd-10th, 2024, as this year’s event promises a spectacular display. 

Don’t pass up the opportunity to witness dazzling lights, with major attractions like Pioneer Courthouse Square and the World Trade Center Plaza illuminating the city. Beyond these landmarks, numerous storefronts and streets also join the luminous celebration. 

What makes it even better? The festival is entirely free, and any funds raised are dedicated to a worthy cause, making it a wonderful and charitable event you won’t want to miss.

Portland Winter Light Festival

Looking for winter things to do in Portland? Be sure to stop by the light festival every February.

2. Make your way to a Portland museum.

Embarking on a museum tour in Portland is like taking a captivating journey through art, history, and culture. The city has a wide range of museums, each offering its own unique perspective. 

From the Portland Art Museum, where you can immerse yourself in exquisite artwork, to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), perfect for the science enthusiast in you, there’s something for everyone. 

Exploring the exhibits, whether it’s a deep dive into local history or a walk through interactive science displays, makes for an engaging and enlightening experience. 

The museum scene in Portland isn’t just about collecting facts. It’s about discovering the stories that have shaped the city and the world.

3. Appreciate downtown Portland, Oregon, in winter.

If frosty temps aren’t your jam, downtown Portland is a cozy escape. Imagine strolling down Main Street, popping into eclectic boutiques, and sipping a hot brew from one of the local coffee joints. 

I recommend heading to the Pearl District for a fun atmosphere full of lively restaurants and shops.

Downtown Portland Oregon in Winter

Visiting Portland in winter? Things to do include wandering downtown to peruse the sights.

4. Try snowmobiling.

Revving up for a round of snowmobiling near Portland is like gearing up for a winter thrill ride. With snowy landscapes just a quick drive away, spots like Mount Hood National Forest transform into a snowmobiler’s paradise

The cool winter breeze, fresh powder trails, and the excitement of cruising through the snow-covered terrain create a seriously exhilarating experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, the snowmobiling scene around Portland offers a mix of groomed trails and off-the-beaten-path adventures

It’s not just about the speed. I’s about embracing the winter vibes and soaking in the breathtaking views while maneuvering through the snowy wonderland. 

So, bundle up and get ready for some high-energy fun on those snow-packed trails!

5. Relax in the hot springs.

Portland’s not just about city life, it’s got some awesome hot springs, too. If you’re up for a short road trip, you can find natural hot springs a few hours away. 

Bagby Hot Springs is a gem tucked away in the Mount Hood National Forest. It’s a bit of a hike to get there, but totally worth it. 

You’ve got these no-frills tubs filled with naturally heated water, all surrounded by the quiet beauty of the forest. Perfect for a chill day away from the city hustle.

Hot Springs Oregon

What to do in winter in Oregon? Get cozy at natural hot springs near the city.

6. Enjoy the local food scene.

You’re in for a treat if you love good food. Portland’s food scene is as diverse as it gets. From hearty city fare to gourmet delights, there’s something for every palate. Portland’s culinary scene is truly remarkable. 

A must-visit is Matt’s BBQ, renowned for its exceptional barbecue that has gained quite a following. I highly recommend you try any of their meats and definitely recommend their queso mac and cheese as a tasty side. The blend of flavors is a culinary experience worth repeating. 

Additionally, the city’s food truck scene adds another dimension to Portland’s cuisine. From gourmet tacos to innovative fusions, these mobile kitchens deliver culinary excellence curbside.

7. Go skiing or snowboarding.

Portland, Oregon, is a sweet spot for winter sports lovers because it’s close to several ski resorts. The drive times to these ski slopes can differ, but in general, you’ll find them within a pretty reasonable distance

It’s a cool perk for anyone in Portland looking to hit the slopes without a marathon road trip. Many ski resorts are a short 90-minute to 2-hour drive away from the city. Some of the top resorts include Mount Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, and Mount Hood Skibowl.

If you’re not a seasoned snowboarder or skier, no worries! Luckily, the different ski resorts on Mount Hood are the perfect spot for all skill levels. From bunny slopes to black diamonds, you’ll find your groove. Like many sports, snowboarding and skiing take a while to master. Plus, the stunning views make the whole falling-on-your-face thing a little more bearable.

Skiing Portland Oregon Winter

What to do in Portland Oregon in winter? Go skiing or snowboarding, of course!

8. Peruse the stacks at Powell’s City of Books.

Walking into Powell’s City of Books in Portland is like stumbling into a haven for book lovers. This place isn’t your average bookstore, it’s the biggest independent one on the planet. 

Wander through its color-coded rooms and zigzag through the shelves. This is where you’ll find all sorts of books, from the newest releases to those hidden gems you never knew you needed. 

9. Go for a winter hike in winter near Portland Oregon.

Winter hiking around Portland is like stepping into a snowy fairy tale. The trails, like Multnomah Falls Loop and the Columbia River Gorge, turn into picture-perfect scenes with frozen waterfalls and trees dusted in snow. 

I’ve personally ventured to Multnomah Falls during the colder months and can vouch for how beautiful it is. And if you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, the trails in Mount Hood National Forest offer killer views of those snow-covered peaks. 

It’s not just about getting some exercise but also about taking in the incredible scenery. Definitely worth lacing up those boots and putting on your favorite pair of winter gloves for an unforgettable adventure.

Hiking Near Portland Oregon in National Forest

Winter things to do in Portland Oregon include hiking in the snowy mountains.

10. Spend time ice skating.

Gliding onto the ice for a day of skating in Portland is like journeying into a winter fairy tale. With several rinks scattered across the city, like the iconic Winterhawks Skating Center, there’s no shortage of places to lace up your skates and hit the ice. 

Whether you’re twirling under the city lights or enjoying a leisurely skate surrounded by the winter ambiance, Portland’s ice skating scene has an appeal of its own. 

11. Enjoy the craft beer scene.

Diving into Portland’s brewery path is like embarking on a hoppy adventure in a craft beer wonderland. With an abundance of local breweries, each offering its own unique brews, you’re in for a treat. 

Whether you’re exploring established favorites or uncovering hidden gems, places like Deschutes Brewery or Ecliptic Brewing, the city’s brewery scene caters to every palate.

The casual, laid-back vibe of the breweries makes it the perfect setting to enjoy a cold pint with friends. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, Portland’s brewery scene is a beer lover’s dream. It creates an atmosphere where every pint tells a story, and every brewery has its own distinct charm.

Craft Beer Portland

One of the fun things to do in Portland winter is to sample brews at craft locations throughout the city.

12. Get a sweet treat from Voodoo Doughnut.

Known for its quirky and inventive doughnut creations, Voodoo Doughnut is not your typical bakery. It’s an experience.

From the iconic Voodoo Doll doughnut to the Maple Bacon Bar, each pastry is a work of art. I personally love their Maple Bacon Bar and their Oh Captain, My Captain. But you really can’t go wrong with any of their delicious creations. 

Plus, the vibrant and eccentric decor of the shop adds to the overall fun atmosphere. A visit to Voodoo Doughnuts has to be on your to-do list while visiting the city!

13. Observe nature at the Portland Japanese Garden.

Checking out the Japanese Garden in Portland is pretty interesting. You can appreciate many things, including a koi pond, a Zen garden, and pops of color from the flowers. 

The paths lead you to several beautiful spots, like the Tea Garden, where you can take a breather. Also, there are neat elements like traditional bridges and lanterns scattered around. It’s a pretty laid-back scene, perfect for unwinding and enjoying the peaceful surroundings. It’s especially interesting in winter.

Portland Japanese Garden in Winter Frozen

One of the best things to do in Portland Oregon in winter is to see the Japanese gardens frozen over.

14. Visit the animals at the zoo.

Swinging by the zoo in Portland is a wild and easygoing adventure. The Oregon Zoo, surrounded by greenery, is your ticket to hanging out with all sorts of awesome animals. 

Whether you’re checking out the massive elephants or having a laugh with the playful penguins, every corner has its own cool vibe. The mix of chirping birds and kids having a blast creates this lively and fun atmosphere. 

Whether you’re chilling in the African Savanna or catching the underwater show in Steller Cove, the zoo is just a cool place to be.

Plus, during the winter months, you can enjoy the magical atmosphere of ZooLights, where the Oregon Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with dazzling light displays.

15. Go snowshoeing.

Throwing on some snowshoes for a winter day near Portland is the perfect way to experience a snowy paradise. Just a short drive away, places like Mount Hood or Trillium Lake turn into awesome spots for snowshoeing fun. 

The sound of your boots crunching in the snow and that chilly winter air hits just right. Whether you’re strolling through quiet forests or tackling easy slopes, snowshoeing gives you a unique way to check out the winter scene. 

I recommend bringing along your favorite backpack for winter adventures so that you have plenty of snacks, water, and layers to keep you warm while having fun.

Couple Snowshoeing in Oregon

What to do in Portland in winter? Go snowshoeing and enjoy the wintery weather.

16. Cheer on the home team at a Winterhawks Hockey Game.

Attending a Winterhawks hockey game in Portland is an exhilarating experience that captures the city’s passion for sports. 

The atmosphere at the arena is lively as fans gather to cheer on the team. From the electrifying sound of the puck hitting the ice to the roaring cheers of the crowd, every moment is a testament to the excitement of the game. 

Whether you’re a die-hard hockey enthusiast or a casual spectator, the Winterhawks deliver a fast-paced and action-packed event.

17. Sip a cup of delicious coffee in Portland Oregon in winter.

Coffee in Portland extends beyond the morning routine, it’s deeply ingrained in the city’s lifestyle. With a diverse coffee culture, Portland offers a range of distinctive coffee establishments, from artisanal roasters specializing in small-batch creations to charming cafes exuding eclectic ambiance. 

The variety extends to the coffee itself, from meticulously prepared pour-overs to visually appealing latte art and robust cold brews. 

Beyond the caffeine boost, the experience is an exploration of diverse flavors and atmospheres, rendering Portland an ideal destination for both coffee enthusiasts and casual consumers.

Portland Oregon Coffee Shop

Cozying up in a coffee shop is one of the romantic things to do in Portland Oregon in winter.

18. Participate in the First Thursday Art Walk.

The First Thursday Art Walk in Portland is a vibrant celebration of creativity and culture that takes place on the first Thursday of each month. This artistic extravaganza turns the Pearl District into a bustling gallery, showcasing the work of local and international artists. 

As you stroll through the streets, you’ll encounter a diverse range of galleries, studios, and exhibitions, each offering a unique perspective on different art forms. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed-media installations, the First Thursday Art Walk transforms the neighborhood into an immersive experience for art enthusiasts. 

The atmosphere is lively, with artists and visitors talking to each other about their appreciation for the arts. It’s a dynamic and accessible way to explore the ever-evolving art scene in Portland and connect with the creative pulse of the city.

Bonus (if you visit Portland, Oregon, in winter around the holidays)

Exploring the holiday markets in Portland is a festive tradition that adds a touch of magic to the winter season. These markets pop up throughout the city, offering a delightful array of handcrafted goods, unique gifts, and seasonal treats. 

Strolling through the stalls, you’ll find everything from artisanal crafts to locally made goods, providing a perfect opportunity to discover one-of-a-kind treasures for yourself or your loved ones.

The atmosphere is brimming with holiday cheer, with lights, live music, and the smell of fresh baked goods filling the air. 

Whether you’re in search of a special ornament a hand-knit scarf, or just want to soak in the festive ambiance, the holiday markets in Portland offer a charming and community-driven shopping experience that captures the spirit of the season.

Portland Oregon Christmas Market

If you visit Portland Oregon in winter near the holidays, be sure to stop by a Christmas market!

Save our tips on visiting Portland, Oregon, in winter.

Considering a winter trip to Portland is a pretty cool idea, no pun intended. There’s this mix of festive vibes and diverse activities that make it stand out. 

From the Winter Light Festival to the artsy First Thursday Art Walk, the city has a lot going on

And it’s not just about the events. You’ve got the rich coffee culture, serene spots like the Japanese Garden, and even Winterhawks hockey games if you’re into that. 

Whether you’re a foodie, art journaler, or outdoor adventurer, Portland’s got something for everyone in the winter. It’s like a year-round destination that keeps surprising you.

Best Things to Do in Portland Oregon in Winter

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