As a species, Portlanders tend to hibernate in the winter.
Not all of us—plenty of locals strap on their tire chains and roll out to leave the first tracks on Mount Hood. But in the cold, gray, damp months, it's common to get the brushoff from friends content to take the Oregon Department of Transportation's recent Twitter advice and just Netflix and chill.
If you play it right, winter can be magical in this part of the world.
Recent snow scares aside, the weather tends to be mild. Spots overrun with summer tourists are blissfully peaceful now, and so many of the best things to do in this city are best experienced with a chill in the air. Like shellfish—which is just now entering its peak season. And flaming cocktails, which give extra cheer under gray skies.
Winter's also pretty here. Our native firs keep their healthy green hues, and if you drive a few minutes out to the mountain, there's usually a fresh dusting of white powder.
So we decided to put together a bucket list of winter activities in and around Portland.
In a fast-growing city where 6 in 10 people weren't born in Oregon, there is a stark divide in how local traditions are understood by our readers. So we took a two-track approach, pairing items from both New and Old Portland, in the hope we're always offering something new—or new to you.
If you've never taken a trip out to the hippie haven of Bagby Hot Springs to soak in the mineral-rich waters that bubble up there, now's your moment. If you've wondered what goes on in that sleek new skyscraper at the east end of the Burnside Bridge, now's the time to treat yourself to a dip in the heated mineral pools inside.
If you've never been to Dan & Louis, the downtown oyster bar that's been shucking since before most of the oysters we eat now were introduced to our shores, it's time to go. Or maybe it's time to branch out and get varietals you've never seen before at a bougie grocery that also sells cocktails made with obscure vermouth.
It can be tempting to crawl into a warm little hole and barricade yourself in, we know, especially with everything going on in the world.
Come spring, you'll be happier if you embark on some of the adventures that follow.