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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Winter Activities to Escape the Cold

Winter is right around the corner and some places have gotten colder already, which can make doing activities outside not that fun. We've been trying out a lot of things over the last couple of months to stay warm, but also have a good time. 

Here are some things you might like when you travel this time of year or to just do at home when it's cold or rainy or snowing out.

Here are some things you might like when you travel this time of year or to just do at home when it's cold or rainy or snowing out and you just want to be warm, but also out of the house/hotel:

Go to all the winter markets 

I hit up a bunch of markets lately, because I'm still looking for some gifts and like fun foods and seeing unique handmade stuff of all variety. Here are some we've done:

ScanFair - They bring the magic of a European Christmas market to us here. Any vendor who makes and/or sells Scandinavian goods in Oregon and Washington come to help folks with their holiday shopping lists and decorate their home.

Market for the Strange - a cool alternative market where you can get your picture taken with The Grinch and/or Krampus and find gifts for the goths or other unusual people in your life. 

Portland Night Market - Once a month, a ton of local artists descend on a big warehouse in town and sell their amazing wares: homemade jewelry, jams, clothing, art, and more. Plus you'll find a bunch of food vendors outside to fuel your shopping venture.

Oddities and Curiosities Expo - a traveling expo for those that like things a bit darker, like skulls, bones, taxidermy, ghosts, monsters, and more. We go every year and find all new local artist to follow.

Geek the Halls - a fun market full of fandom gifts, from engraved cutting boards to purses to table lamps. I've bought so much from this market over the years for gifts.

Wytch Daye - Yet another alternative market, for the witchy friends you have on your list. 

Nights at the museum

We have a science museum that hosts an After Dark event once a month. They often serve alcohol and are for adults. You can enjoy the museum exhibits, eat food, browse vendors, and even see the special exhibits without all the usual crowds (I totally go for that). 

Interactive Art Attractions/Exhibits

I love when I can enjoy art in a completely different way. We just got a new venue in Portland, called Hopscotch. The only other one is in Austin, but it lets you explore art through murals, light installations, lasers and more. 

Last year we spent several hours at the Van Gogh traveling exhibit. I really hope they do this with other artists, because it makes things so much more interesting and also more accessible to people who can't travel to see much of these art pieces.

If you live in a place where there is a Meow Wolf destination, that can be half a day. 

We also have a local artist, Mike Bennett, that does fun walk-through exhibits with a storyline. He started doing large exhibits in his front yard during the pandemic and finally moved into a permanent space that changes throughout the year. Me meet up with friends and do breakfast beforehand, so it's a pretty good outing.

Holiday Pop-Ups

This time of year sees a lot of pop-ups - bars, shops, restaurants, you name it - and it's a chance to get out and experience something different in a space you may already visit frequently. I used my birthday as an opportunity to check out Sippin' On Sixth, which is a tiki pop-up through the end of the year that has tiki drinks, brunch, lunch, dinner, and specialty events. We hit up brunch, when they were doing a Tiki Santa meet. The restaurant was decked out in luau stuffs, but with a Santa theme, and I went home with a fantastic Santa tiki mug. 

Drive-thru holiday lights

The pandemic really brought back seeing things from your car, so check out what's local to you. Our zoo has drive-thru nights now, there are neighborhoods that shut down the streets except for cars admiring their lights, there are raceways that have holiday light events. Bring some cocoa or coffee, crank up the holiday tunes and heater, and enjoy the lights from inside your cozy space. For us it's Portland International Speedway, Zoo Lights at Oregon Zoo, Peacock Lane (above), and Lightopia  

See a show

There are always tons of shows happening around the holidays, so now's the time to get to one or two, whether they're Broadway, off-off-off Broadway, a local band, a ballet, or even a comedy show. You can't beat having a night on the town, even if it's really cheap and really close to your house.

If you're visiting family over the holidays, these can all give you a break from being cooped up inside together, do some bonding activities, or to get away from them altogether for a little bit. 

What are your favorite indoor activities to do when it's cold outside, either at home or on vacation?

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