Sorry, Portland parents. The thick of January gloom is set to arrive and with it comes an overload of visits to your favorite play spaces, indoor eateries and go-to cold weather spots. Mix up your winter play routine with a visit to the Portland Art Museum. With rotating exhibits, community and family events, a Discovery Room full of kiddo books, toys and puzzles, and indoor and outdoor displays, there’s no better place to combat the winter blues than within the walls of this museum that’ll surely become your new favorite outing in 2014.

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State of the Art
Let’s start with the most important reason to go: the Art. The museum’s permanent collections include American, Asian, European, Native American and Northwest art.  You and the kidlets will be wowed by the pieces from Van Gogh and paintings of Mt Hood, silver displays, graphic design pieces and photography exhibits. And the modern art collection is truly a homegrown legacy. With over 2100 art works on view at any time, there is always something to uncover.

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Works of Art
The museum’s Miller Free Sundays offer complimentary admissions and often family-friendly activities. During the Samurai exhibit kids made their own samurai helmet out of paper, looked on in awe at martial arts demonstrations and got their hands dirty painting wood block Samurai warriors.

Visit on Sunday and partake in the special docent-hosted family tours at 12:30 p.m. And, for the wee set, the museum hosts Baby Hour on the first Thursday of the month at 10 and 11 a.m. where you’ll get to take a 45 minute tour followed by play time, chatting and coffee in the Discovery Room.

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TGIF
Perhaps most exciting are the $5 Friday nights when museum admission is just $5 after 5 p.m. (normally it’s $15 for non-members over 17). The creative hub is open until 8 p.m. which means you and the clan can get your museum fix, then grab dinner—or vice versa. If you really want a fab bargain then wait until the end of the month when the museum offers free general admission (the main exhibit still cost $5) on the last Friday of every month.

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Pretty as a Picture
The Portland Art Museum is so gorgeous, inviting and palatial, you may just feel like going again and again. So join. If you do become a member, your fam can enjoy early admission on Sundays (10 a.m. for members only), hit up member appreciation weekends and gift shops sales, and attend members-only rad parties like the one on February 15, 2014 with a Venetian Carnival theme.

Beauty Without the Beast
Getting hungry? The Museum features a café adjacent to the outdoor sculpture garden. If you’re looking for more than just a snack beyond the museum walls, there are plenty of restaurants around in the South Park blocks. Choice eats include Elephants Deli and Pioneer Place eateries. Or, hop on the streetcar and be in The Pearl in minutes.

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1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Or 97205
Online: portlandartmuseum.org

Open: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday; Closed Mondays.

Cost: General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and college kids, and free for the the under 17 set. Anyone under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Special exhibits cost extra.

What’s your family’s favorite thing about the Portland Art Museum? Tell us in the comment section below. 

— Liz Overson

Photo credit: Sarena Regazzoni, Liz Overson and Portland Art Museum Facebook page.