Kid-Friendly Winter Fun in Portland, OR

Courtesy of Portland Parks

Whether you want to head out for snowy adventures or snuggle down for cozy fun, here are some ideas to get you through the winter. If you do head out, follow social distancing best practices and confirm all information with the organizer since there may be changes at any time.

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.

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. (This year sno-parks have been particularly busy. If you go, plan to go early and be prepared with water, food and tire tractions. Check driving conditions before you go, and know that there is also heavier road traffic than usual. There are fewer people and less traffic if you go on a weekday.)


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. Tickets required. Check road conditions before you head out, be prepared for road traffic and bring tire chains.

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!

The Rose City Rollers have extended their popular skating sessions in the Lloyd Center garage through January. The open-air, covered space is limited to 50 participants at a time for social distancing. You can rent gear or bring your own. Tickets required.

Families often give back together through Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend of service. This year, with many events curtailed or canceled, consider one of these ways to volunteer with your family during the pandemic.

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. (Again, prepare for your visit by checking road conditions and heading out early with food, water and tire tractions. Go on a weekday if you can.)


Winter doesn’t have to be a time of darkness. Bundle up and visit the Portland Winter Light (non) Festival on the weekends of February 5 and 12. Instead of a large, centralized festival event, this year’s activities will take the form of pop-up light art installations throughout the Rose City.

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.

Celebrate the Year of the Ox at Lan Su Chinese Garden from February 12-February 28. Learn more about this festive and colorful holiday with events that feature lion dances, cultural performances, martial arts, and more.

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. Go to Artemisia, Birds & Bees Nursery, or Pistils Nursery to create a magical terrarium, perfect for visiting fairies and elves.

Try one of these Portland-area parks specifically recommended by PP&R staff as good choices for the winter.

Make art. The Craft Factory is offering art projects to go, Mimosa Studios is open by appointment and is also offering to-go projects, and SCRAP is open for shopping.

The Oregon Zoo is back open with timed reservations. Drizzly weather and smaller crowds often means you get to see more of the animals.

Drive the Auto Tour of The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. In the winter the refuge is only open to car traffic, and it’s a scenic and pretty drive-through experience. Your family might spot deer, ducks and rabbits. Pro tip: If you go, it is a 35-minute drive from Portland, and there are no restrooms available.

Treat yourself. Here are our readers’ poll winners for the best places to take the kids for a sweet treat.

Check the Kids Calendar. You’ll find daily options for in-person and virtual fun.

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