Whether you want to take advantage of the winter weather, or snuggle down for some cozy fun, there is lots to do in Portland during the winter with kids. We’ve put together some of our favorites here.


  1. Get your fill of winter veggies at a winter farmers market. Lloyd Farmers Market, People’s Farmers Market, and PSU Farmers Market, among others, are open all year long.
  2. Who knows if it will snow here – but if it does, we’ve got some great hills. Try the steep hill just outside of Sellwood Park on the south end, or head to Gabriel Park or Cathedral Park for some awesome hills. No snow? We love White River West Sno-Park.
  3. For an out-of-this-world (and out of the city) adventure, head to Skibowl East, just south of government camp and snag a few two-hour cosmic tubing passes.
  4. Lace up those hiking boots and head out for a winter nature walk. We love the views from Mt. Tabor at this time of year! You can also take part in one of the regular guided nature walks at Tryon Creek, geared toward kids.
  5. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend of service is a great time to give back together as a family—but you don’t need to limit your volunteering efforts to that weekend. There are a number of great opportunities that welcome kids. We’ve put them together here.
  6. Have you ever walked on water? Well, winter is your chance to do just that at Mirror Lake. The three-mile loop is the perfect snowshoeing adventure spot, and it’s close enough to Government Camp that you can grab a hot chocolate on your way out.
  7. Winter doesn’t have to be a time of darkness. Bundle up and head to the Portland Winter Light Festival on the weekend of February 6. The festival brightens up the winter skyline with dazzling displays of light, color and imagination.
  8. Did you know it’s a scientific fact that March 1 is the worst day of the year? Okay, well maybe not a “fact” or “scientific,” but still. The weather is usually bad. The day is short. It’s not the greatest day. Have fun and get out there anyway with the annual Worst Day of the Year Ride. Kids under 12 ride for free.
  9. Wax on, wax off. Or just wax your skis and head to Cooper Spur Mountain Resort for a great starter mountain for the family. There’s a gentle bunny slope perfect for beginners.
  10. Celebrate the Year of the Pig at Lan Su Chinese Garden from January 25-February 9. Learn more about this festive and colorful holiday with events that feature lion dances, cultural performances, martial arts, and more.


  1. Bring the outdoors in with a trip to a rock climbing gym. Bonus: your kids will be tired out enough for a good night’s sleep!
  2. Rock climbing not your thing but still need to get the wiggles out? There are lots of indoor gyms nearby to do just that. Jump, bounce and swing your way out of cabin fever with this list.
  3. If you and the kids are feeling more adventurous, you can try laser tag, virtual reality, an American Ninja Warrior-style gym, or indoor sky diving.
  4. Even if the ponds don’t freeze, you can head to one of the many local indoor ice skating (or roller skating rinks) to get your winter ice skating fix!
  5. Let arrows fly at an indoor archery range. Trackers Earth offers regular open archery sessions, as does Archers Afield in Tigard.
  6. The weather may not be quite right for gardening yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your very own indoor fairy garden. Head to Artemisia, Birds & Bees Nursery, or Pistils Nursery to create a magical terrarium, perfect for visiting fairies and elves.
  7. ‘Tis the season for warming up over a big pot of soup, or some tasty treats. Let your kids do the work after signing them up for a kids’ cooking class.
  8. Did all that cooking make you curious about where your food comes from? Why not take a factory tour to find out.
  9. Life is more fun when it’s messy—especially if you don’t have to clean it up. Head to a messy art studio to throw glitter on glue with abandon. Or throw it with less abandon at home by trying one of these art projects, designed by some of our favorite local artists.
  10. Going to a museum in Portland is fun! Our Kids Heart Museum guide is a great way to learn about local kid-friendly area museums. Be sure to check out this guide to find discounted and free museum days!
  11. Some days you just need to check out for a bit. We get it. Why not veg out with a bag of popcorn at one of these kid-friendly theaters?
Ali Wilkinson
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