7 Pacific Northwest Indoor Winter Activities

December 5, 2018


The Pacific Northwest is known for its amazing outdoor adventures. Whether it’s hiking, climbing, skiing, cycling, kitesurfing, or rafting, you can do it all in Oregon or Washington. But you can’t tackle an amazing outdoor trip every weekend, especially in the cold, wet winter. We all need some time to relax, warm up, and enjoy the indoors. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up at home, either.

1. Visit a holiday bazaar

One of the best parts about winter is the holiday bazaars and fairs in Oregon and Washington. Local crafts, delicious food, and seasonal decor—what could be better? It’s also the perfect opportunity to get your holiday shopping done in one local, convenient place. This can also be a fun family activity, especially for older kids.

2. Drink some seasonal beer

Winter is prime time for beer fests, like Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival. Most breweries release seasonal beers, and many create special releases for specific festivals. Grab your adult friends and sample a few unique brews; you could find a new favorite! And with the rainy, wet PNW weather, you really don’t need an excuse to warm up with a hefty ale.

3. Watch a play

Winter is also ideal for enjoying plays and other theatrical performances, especially leading up to the holiday season. While many families have traditions, like going to see “The Nutcracker,” it can also be fun to mix things up with something like “Die Hard: The Parody Musical.” Then you can finally settle that debate with your friends whether “Die Hard” is actually a Christmas movie.

4. Head to the symphony

When was the last time you went to the symphony? If you can’t remember, it’s been way too long. And while it seems Schumann or Rachmaninoff cater more to adults, kids will enjoy such performances as “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert.” It’s the perfect introduction to a lifelong love of beautiful instrumental music.

5. Catch a new movie  

The holiday season is also prime time for new movie releases. Add a little adventure to your moviegoing experience by visiting a local theater instead of scrolling through Netflix. You’ll find plenty of independently owned theaters throughout the Pacific Northwest showing everything from blockbusters to obscure foreign documentaries and vintage flicks.

6. Shop at local businesses

Whether it’s a tiny thrift shop or the largest independent bookstore in the world, it’s easy to wile away a few hours browsing for new treasures. It’s almost too easy to find local shops throughout the Pacific Northwest. Rather than moping around inside, go hunt for some rare used vinyl or peruse the shelves for a good book. A little shopping therapy can’t hurt anyone, even around the holidays.

7. Get some culture

Whether you’re a science buff or just looking to entertain your kids for a few hours, OMSI (or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is a great way to spend a cold, rainy day indoors. If art is more your speed, head to the Portland Art Museum or Seattle Art Museum, or tour some local art galleries in your area.

Sometimes a weekend indoors is just what you need to really enjoy the Pacific Northwest.

While the region is beautiful, it has so much more to offer than that. Between the art, beer, shopping, and music, it’s amazing anyone finds the time to take a hike or go skiing. No matter how you spend your time, we’re all thankful for the Pacific Northwest.

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