It’s time to start the year off right, and we’ve got you covered. Nothing beats the January blues like getting out of the house for some great events all over the city—and there’s a lot to do! Festivals like Japanese New Year Celebrations, new games in a Chinese garden, stupendous snakes, home court dribbles, and racing rollers are just a few. Don’t miss the fun for the whole family at these budget-friendly events! Read on to find out more.

photo: terrance via flickr

Rose City Roller Derby

 If you’ve never been to a roller derby match, start your year off right by checking out the Rose City Roller Derby! The season opener match is January 13, with more games following. This is a wild, family-friendly event that you won’t want to miss! These ladies skate hard and fast, and there’s always something to cheer for. Brush up on the rules before you go so you know what’s going on, but don’t worry–there’s always someone around to help explain the action. Parking is free at Oaks Bottom, and the concession stand is always full.

$20 general admission
Jan. 13
Doors open at 5p.m., bout starts at 6p.m.
The Hangar at Oaks Park
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Online: rosecityrollers.com/events/tickets/

Portland Art Museum

What’s better on a dreary day than heading to an art museum? Because of their strong desire to showcase art to children, Portland Art Museum is always free for kids under 17! Every Sunday you can find a Family Tour at 12:30 p.m., led by a friendly docent ready to engage and excite your kids. And for the really little ones (and parents needing a break) Baby Tours are available on the first Thursday of every month at 10 and 11 a.m. The not-to-miss exhibit of the season is The Art of Laika, a fascinating peek into the stop-motion animation of Portland’s award winning studio. Kids will love the peek behind some of their favorite movies!

Baby Tours: First Thursday, Jan. 4,  at 10 and 11 a.m.
Family Tours: Sundays at 12:30 p.m.

$19.99/adults, discounts for seniors and students, free for children under 17
1219 SW Park Avenue
Online: portlandartmuseum.org

photo: margaret via yelp

Chinese New Year at Lan Su Chinese Gardens

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Portland’s premiere Chinese garden! This January the garden will be showcasing authentic Chinese games like mahjong and chinese checkers. Traditionally, a family who owned a garden like Lan Su would play many games for recreation and entertainment. The gardens are beautiful even in winter, and the cozy teahouse makes a perfect place to  warm up with treats and hot drinks. The small size means it’s perfectly manageable for an afternoon out. Come by to learn the rules to Wei Chi (Go), and maybe find your own family’s new favorite game!

Jan. 2- 31
Lan Su Chinese Gardens
239 NW Everett Street
Portland, Oregon
503.228.8131
Online: lansugarden.org

Portland Metro Reptile Expo

Does your son or daughter love the scaly, twisty, slimy world of reptiles? The reptile expo might be the perfect place for them! (You can send a brave adult in your place, if needed). Over 150 tables await, full of lizards, snakes, frogs, toads and newts. And that’s not all– you’ll also find arachnids, rodents, and other animals. Even if you’re not in the market for a new pet, there’s plenty of educational materials and sights to enjoy. And if Sally or John does want their very own bearded dragon–this is the place!

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$10/adults, $5/children 6-12, free for children under 6
Cash or check only, ATM available on-site
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jan. 13

Columbia Conference Center at Portland Holiday Inn
8439 NE Columbia Blvd
Online: nwreptileexpos.com/portland-metro-reptile-expo/

photo: daa via flickr

Japanese New Year at PSU

The 22nd annual Mochitsuki celebration will be held at Portland State this month! The celebration centers around pounding rice to make a smooth dough for mochi, creating a sweet treat along with community fun. There will be more food, games, and performances, including Portland Taiko drum group, and traditional storytelling. Fun events include classes like children’s bento, sumo wrestling and martial arts demonstrations, calligraphy activities, and more.

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 28
Portland State University
Smith Memorial Student Union
1825 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Online: mochipdx.org/

Portland Children’s Museum

Don’t miss your chance to get inside the Children’s Museum for free! Normally $10.75 for all ages 1 and up, the First Free Friday offers an afternoon treat for no cost. Start the year off right by taking the kids to try out their imaginations at the Market, the Construction Zone, the Pet Hospital or the Water Works. Bring your rain jacket for the open-ended Outdoor Adventure, which lets kids reconnect with nature in their own way. Then warm up with a show at the theater. Kid-sized snacks are available in the cafe.

4-8 p.m.
Jan. 5
(503) 223-6500
4015 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR
Online: portlandcm.org

Trailblazer Games

No winter can pass without a visit to Portland’s fierce NBA team. Catch the fever at the Moda Center, cheer for your favorite players, and watch Damian and CJ dunk and dribble on their home court. Make it a big event and invite your friends and whole family! Or, create a Game Day at home with snacks, stuffed cheering fingers, and pom poms, and more while you watch from the comfort of your home.

Tickets available online
Moda Center
1 N Center St
Portland, OR
Online: nba.com/blazers/schedule

What’s your favorite January pastime? Tell us in the comments below!

—Katrina Emery