Winter is already in full swing and there’s something about this time of year that can makes everyone in Portland with start to twitch a bit, especially families with young children to entertain. Whether you’re interested in some fresh ideas for beating cabin fever with your energetic crew or scoping out what Portland institutions have available for kids this season, here are a treasure trove of activities to help you brighten the cold winter months while keeping a smile on everyone’s face.
photo: Carrie Uffindell
1. Spend a day tiring out your rambunctious kid at an indoor play space built to exhaust the little ones.
2. Dine al fresco with the kids this winter. Yes, it’s possible! Here are some great restaurants in town with heated outdoor spaces.
3. Add to your child’s dress up collection by making a homemade hat. Here are some simple ideas for hat crafts.
4. Strap on some skates and hit the ice at these four local ice skating rinks.
5. From Finnegan’s to Seahorses, Portland is home to 11 independent toy stores. Check one (or more!) out.
6. Show your kids the books you read when you were young. Got any classic books to add to our list?
7. Bumpers or no bumpers, bowling is always a great option on days you need to stay indoors.
8. In a cheese pizza rut? Then take the little ones out to one of these kid-approved dining spots that offer some of the best menus for children in town.
9. While snow may not blanket our city the entire winter, your kids can still enjoy snowflakes, no matter the weather.
10. Got a kid with a winter birthday? Here are our picks for the best winter birthday party venues.
11. Nervous about getting the kids on skis? We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to get your kiddos cruising down the bunny hills in no time.
12. Cabin fever — has it hit your household yet? Here are 11 awesome ways to beat it.
13. Have pots of mealtime fun at these Portland fondue-eries.
14. Winter may mean a lack of great produce, but that hasn’t stopped us from juicing. We seriously can’t get enough of these awesome juicing recipes.
15. Enjoy breakfast and a soak with the kids at the Kennedy School, a former elementary school turned indoor playground.
17. Warm with some kid-friendly winter mocktails.
18. Get lost in these totally amazing tree house designs. We can all dream, right?
19. Introduce your kids to some old school games from to Clue to Life to Guess Who?
20. What could be better on a chilly Portland day than a pint at a family-friendly brewery?
21. Stretch out those little limbs with some Portland yoga for kids. It will bring you all a little piece of zen this winter!
22. Bust the bathing suits out of storage to spend a winter day at one of Portland’s indoor swimming pools.
photo: James Garrett
23. Catch a Portland Trail Blazers game – the fast-paced basketball game will keep your little ones’s attention easily!
25. Portland doesn’t usually get a ton of snow, but thankfully the mountains are close-by – head east for some snow tubing fun.
26. Or hit the slopes for a day (or more!) at one of these five Portland-area ski resorts.
27. Huddle around your fireplace or your stove and pretend you’re camping with some delicious homemade s’mores.
28. Cuddle up with a book. Here are some must-read picks straight from our friends at Chronicle Books.
29. Put on some warm clothes and venture around Portland to all of the famous Beverly Cleary statues and follow the paths that some of her beloved book characters did, including Ramona.
30. Arrrrr, mateys. Plan an indoor treasure hunt for your kids that will have them entertained all morning long.
31. Pay a visit to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, an ideal spot to indulge your train-crazy kid.
33. Winter days are perfect for exploring textile arts like finger knitting, crocheting or knitting with needles. If your kids are ready, get started here.
34. Slide out of a real Boeing 747 aircraft at the area’s most jaw-dropping indoor water park. You’ll be blown away.
35. We all have paper bags lying around the house. Make good use of them with some fun paper bag crafts.
36. Need an engaging indoor activity? The World Forestry Center is perfect for an entire morning or afternoon of indoor fun.
37. Catch a play at the Northwest Children’s Theatre.
38. We’ve come up with 8 fab DIY activities that will provide endless fun.
39. Fitness for the whole family is possible in winter. Here’s a list of local exercise classes that you and the kids can take together.
40. If you have little ones under two, we’ve got some great ideas on how to entertain the toddler set on these cold winter days.
41. Fine dining and kids. Not two words you’d think go together. Luckily, our city has a new fine dining establishment that welcomes families.
42. Kick family game night up a notch with an awesome new game.
43. Winter days are perfect for making a mess in the kitchen – especially when that kitchen isn’t your own! Here are some classes in the Portland area that get kids baking and cooking.
44. Bundle up and head out to sample one of Portland’s classic food carts. Here’s six every kid should try at least once.
45. Did you know the Portland Art Museum offers guided Family Tours and Baby Mornings, specially designed to engage and entertain budding art lovers? Read here to learn more.
46. Prep for the next snow day by perusing these super-cute and cozy winter hats.
47. Treat your family to a weekend at Belknap Hot Springs, a cozy lodge that’s home to two hot spring pools, located a few hours outside Portland.
48. Moms, grab your favorite friends and go on a mom-date… It’s the new bro-mance!
49. Head to a winter farmer’s market to pick up some veggies for dinner – soup sounds like a great idea!
50. Get a jump start and plan your next winter wonderland getaway.
What are your go-to winter activities? Sound off in the comments below.
— Carrie Uffindell and Katie Kavulla