Winter Activities in Portland, OR
The Willamette Valley, which surrounds the south end of Portland, is home to over 200 wineries and tasting rooms. This section of Oregon's Wine Country is famous for its delicious Pinot Noirs. There are many ways you can explore the wineries of the Willamette Valley -- private companies offer guided tours that will take you from winery to winery, or you are welcome to explore tasting rooms on your own. Winter winery events include special releases and reserve tastings, a crab and chowder festival, and wine and chocolate pairing seminars. Looking for a unique view of the vineyards? Hot air balloon rides over the Valley are available all winter long.
For the ski bunny crowd visiting Portland, Mt. Hood Meadow Ski Resort is the place to get your snow fix. It only takes about an hour from downtown Portland to reach the slopes, so it's easy to make a day trip to the resort. If you're up for some fun, try Meadows After Dark -- the park is open for operation and illuminated for night skiing and snowboarding until 9pm (Wednesday through Sunday nights). Before you head back to the city, stop and grab a bite at Mt. Hood Brewing Company.
Sometimes a cold winter day calls for a good massage to warm you up. We think you'll love Bliss Salon and Day Spa in downtown Portland. Bliss is a locally owned spa who, in true form to Portland’s consciousness to being ‘green,’ keeps sustainability and conservation at the top of their priorities list. There are a variety of spa packages available -- try the Queen for a Day for five blissful hours of pampering -- or you can always order off their ala carte menu of services. If you need a quick pick me up after doing so much relaxing, go around the corner to Stumptown Coffee Roasters for a caffeine fix.
Winter was made for comfort food -- eating the dishes that make you feel like you're at home. It doesn't matter if Portland is your home or you are just a visitor, everyone can enjoy the comfort food at Mother's Bistro and Bar. Located in the heart of downtown, Mother's is a local favorite for enjoying a warm, satisfying meal. Each month, in addition to the regular menu, there is a Mother of the Month who creates a special menu featuring her favorite dishes. For those who don't live in Portland, pick up a copy of the Bistro's cookbook to take back home.
For those of us who don't ski or snowboard, but would still like to spend time outdoors enjoying the snow, snowshoeing is an excellent option. Showshoers of all skill levels will enjoy the trail at Frog Lake at Government Camp on Mt. Hood. The trail is approximately 1.5-miles long and is ideal for families. The snow park surrounding the Frog Lake Trail can be busy on the weekends -- especially with snowmobilers. If you can, try to visit on a weekday. Before you leave Portland, stop at REI to rent snowshoes, poles and any other gear you may need.