The coolest season of the year can also be the most beautiful….and the most fun if you know where to seek out the best winter activities. Most visit Portland in the summer but this season can also be a seriously special time of year.
From atmospheric and cozy mountain getaways to awesome “Ski Bowl Tubing” here are the best things to do in or very near Portland in the winter…
1. Take a beautiful winter hike at the Japanese Garden
Located in Washington Park in Southwest Portland, Japanese Garden features diverse styles of botanical gardens in an outdoor space stretching across 5.5 acres.
Portland Japanese Garden is an urban oasis that attracts locals and travelers alike. It features intimate walkways, a Japanese tea house, twisting streams, and hiking trails.
You can start your hike at the Wildwood Trail down to the west of the Japanese Gardens. As you hike down to the Japanese Garden, you get to indulge in the mesmerizing views of the gardens.
It is an out-and-back hike that allows you to explore every corner of Japanese Gardens. Japanese Garden is open Wednesdays through Mondays between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
Phone: +1 503-223-1321
2. Book a cozy winter mountain cabin getaway
If you are visiting Portland in winter, you may want to stay in a secluded cabin amidst the snowy terrains of Mt. Hood.
There are a wide range of superb cabins on Mt. Hood that offers deluxe amenities, including hot tubs and fireplaces.
In addition to upscale amenities, log cabins provide easy access to all outdoor winter recreations, including snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, and ice-skating among others.
Our Choice for Cozy Cabin Rental in Mount Hood – Koselig Cabin
- To book, check prices or availability for Koselig Cabin
3. Go Snowboarding at Mt. Hood Meadows
Located on the southeastern front of Mount Hood, Mt. Hood Meadows is a resort with more than 2,000 acres of skiable area. It is the largest ski resort on Mt. Hood features expansive and diverse terrain for skiers of all levels.
In addition to snowboarding and skiing opportunities, the resort offers scenic chair rides and access to a wide range of hiking trails. The best time to indulge in snowboarding at Mt. Hood Meadows is in summer.
As you snowboard through meadows, you get to enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains. The resort also has a lodge offering daycare, food, and drinks. Mt. Hood Meadows is open to the public Wednesday through Mondays between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Address: 14040 OR-35, Mt Hood, OR 97041, United States
Phone: +1 503-337-2222
4. Go ice skating at Lloyd Center Ice Rink
Located in Lloyd District of Northeast Portland, Lloyd Center is a shopping mall that features a unique skating rink within an atrium. Lloyd Center Ice Rink accommodates skaters of all levels of ability.
Whether you have ice-skated before or not, you can give it a try at Lloyd Center Ice Rink. They have super friendly teachers that teach specific skills in an encouraging manner.
Lloyd Center Ice Rink also offers other ice sports, such as broomball. It is open every day between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. On weekends, they stay open till 8 p.m.
Address: 953 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232, United States
Phone: +1 503-288-6073
5. Go Ski Bowl Tubing (Mt Hood)
While you are in Portland, you must try ski bowl tubing on the snowy terrains near Mt. Hood. There is a special area for this snow sport near Mt. Hood. Located near Government Camp in Clackamas County, Mount Hood Skibowl is an outdoor space that features a skiable area of 960 acres.
The recreation area features four chairlifts, 36 running trails, three surface lifts, and 3 conveyor lifts. It is the only place on Mt. Hood that features conveyor assisted tubing.
Mount Hood Skibowl is the largest night ski area in the United States with an elevation of 5,027 feet. In addition to skiing, Mount Hood Skibowl offers deluxe lodging, adventurous slides, and go-karts.
Address: 87000 US-26, Government Camp, OR 97028, United States
Phone: +1 503-272-3206
6. Snowshoeing at Timberline Lodge
Located a few miles from Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum, Timberline Lodge is a mountainside ski resort offering amazing snowshoeing opportunities.
Timberline Lodge features massive terrains of snow at an elevation of 4,540 feet. The resort has a remote ski-in/ski-out hut for groups. It also has an elegant restaurant, two laid-back bars, and other amenities that make your snowshoeing experience even more wonderful.
Address: 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, OR 97028, United States
Phone: +1 503-272-3311
7. Attend the Portland Winter Light Festival
Portland Winter Light Festival is a series of events that take place every February in Portland. The festival provides Portlanders with interactive experiences with a wide range of imaginative works.
Portland Winter Light Festival takes place along the shores of the Willamette River. The events add vibrancy into wintry darkness through a massive array of lights installations.
As you stroll along the Eastbank Esplanade, you get to see beautiful artworks featuring fire, LED lights, and tungsten lights.
Is a series of pop-up installations throughout Portland and beyond
8. Enjoy the Ugly Sweater PDX movement
The Ugly Sweater PDX movement is a yarn bombing project initiated by a team of local knitters. The yarn installations are found in city parks, streets, and other public places.
From statues to trees to sculptures, you can find these colorful handmade creations everywhere. These installations represent the artistic vibe of the city.
Unlike other yarn bombing or gureilla art projects, the Ugly Sweater PDX movement offers much more than satisfaction to the beholder’s eye. It brings awareness to an annual clothing drive that helps homeless people across the city.
9. Go fat tire biking in the snow
Portland offers a wide range of unique outdoor adventures and winter sports. If you like skiing or snowshoeing, you may also want to try fat tire biking in the snow.
Mt. Hood National Forest boasts massive terrains blanketed by snowstorms that are perfect for fat tire biking. These terrains offer a wonderful riding experience even in difficult conditions.
From Oregon Cascades to Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Hood, there are so many fat biking destinations around Portland. Easily one of the best things to do in the winter near Portland, Oregon.
10. Soak in a Hot Spring
There are so many natural hot springs around Portland, many of which feature private bathhouses. The most frequented hot springs sites around Portland include Bagby Hot Springs, Breitenbush Hot Springs, and Carson Hot Springs Resort.
Carson Hot Springs is a resort hotel with a bathhouse and spa services. Breitenbush Hot Springs features three well-maintained soaking pools and many smaller outdoor tubs.
Bagby Hot Springs is nestled amidst towering old-growth fir and cedar trees in Mount Hood National Forest.
11. Snowshoe to Tamanawas Falls
Tamanawas Falls is a beautiful waterfall over a giant lava cliff near the eastern base of Mt. Hood. The terrain around Tamanawas Falls features beautiful trees, including engelmann spruce, western red-cedar, and Douglas-fir.
You can snowshoe to Tamanawas Falls through Tamanawas Falls Hike, an out-and-back trail that has an elevation gain of 560 feet. The trail features gradual elevation and is ideal for snowshoeing.
As you snowshoe along the picturesque Cold Spring Creek, you get to explore all parts of Hood River. As you climb above the creek, you tumble over a series of smaller waterfalls.
12. Go sledging near Mt Hood
Mt. Hood is surrounded by massive terrains blanketed with snowstorms. These terrains are suitable for all types of winter sports near the mountains, including snowshoeing, snowboarding, and sledging.
Sledging is considerably easier than snowshoeing and skiing. Mt. Hood is home to a massive recreational area that offers a wide range of winter sports. The best place to go sledging near Mt. Hood is Trillium Lake. It is also fun to sledge at Timberline Lodge at night.
13. Take a Brewery Tour in Portland
Portland is home to some of the best breweries in the Pacific Northwest. There are breweries in all parts of the city, from the northeast to the southwest.
Some of the most popular breweries of Portland include Breakside Brewery, Level Beer, Upright Brewing, Culmination Brewing, and Von Ebert Brewing Pearl, all of which feature both indoor and patio seating.
If you want to know more about beers, you must take a biking or walking tour of a brewery.
14. Attend an NBA Game
If you are a basketball fan, you must attend an NBA Game while you are in Portland. Moda Center, in North Portland, hosts almost all sporting events in the city.
It is an indoor sports arena configured for basketball with a seating capacity of 19,393.
Moda Center is home to the Portland Trail Blazers, a professional basketball team based in Portland. As you cheer for your favorite team during an NBA game, you get to enjoy amazing food and drinks.
Address: 1 N Center Ct St, Portland, OR 97227, United States
Phone: +1 503-235-8771
15. Enjoy the annual Gingerbread Jamboree at OMSI Portland
Gingerbread Jamboree is an annual fundraising event that takes place at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). The event raises funds for the Junior League of Portland and promotes volunteerism among communities.
At Gingerbread Jamboree, you get insights into the science behind creating gingerbread houses. If you are visiting Portland with family, you must attend the annual Gingerbread Jamboree. Gingerbread Jamboree is an amazing family event that brings holiday bliss to both locals and visitors.
The event provides families with an amazing and memorable gingerbread house-building experience.
Address: 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States
Phone: +1 503-797-4000
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Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued his taste for seeking out new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring everything from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, street food, playing carrom, and fine wine and knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations.