Portland lore tells of winters so frigid that the Willamette River froze several inches deep, transforming into a natural outdoor ice skating rink. Today’s Rose City winters are milder than yesteryear, but several manmade rinks keep the tradition of ice skating in Portland alive, complete with holiday festivities and winter charm.
Year-round indoor ice skating rinks
Lloyd Center Ice Rink
Since 1960, generations of Portlanders have learned to skate at Lloyd Center Ice Rink — including infamous Olympian Tonya Harding. And thanks to an extensive 2016 remodel, the newly upgraded rink is now better than ever. It’s open year-round, but is merriest during the holidays, when a giant Christmas tree stands proudly at center ice. Skate around it a few dozen times, then shop till you drop at the surrounding Lloyd Center Mall.
Winterhawks Skating Center
A quick 15-minute drive to the Portland suburb of Beaverton delivers skaters and hockey lovers to the Winterhawks Skating Center. The rink serves as the official practice and development facility of the Portland Winterhawks, an American major junior ice hockey team that plays their home games in Portland’s Moda Center and Memorial Coliseum. But you don’t need to be a pro skater to have fun here — public skate sessions are open to all, and children 5 and younger get in free!
Sherwood Ice Arena
Located 30 minutes southwest of Portland, the Sherwood Ice Arena offers daily public sessions and fun events. Drop by on Wednesdays and Fridays for the adults-only Longbottom Coffee Club, which features free cookies and cups of joe, or take advantage of the weekly “date night special” every Friday evening.
Seasonal outdoor ice skating rinks
The Oregon Garden
No fewer than 500,000 twinkling lights illuminate the seasonal ice rink at Oregon Garden in Silverton, 40 miles (65 km) south of Portland. Carolers’ voices fill the air as revelers meander with hot cups of gluhwein, spiced wine, from the traditional German artisan market. Families skate around the outdoor rink and daring kiddos squeal with delight on the 150-foot (45 m) snowless tubing track. Visit between Thanksgiving and the New Year to join in the fun.
Winter Village at Jerry Willey Plaza
Every December, Jerry Willey Plaza at Orenco Station in Hillsboro transforms into a winter wonderland featuring the closest open-air ice rink to Portland. (It’s 15 miles [24 km] northwest of downtown Portland on US Highway 26, and accessible via the MAX light rail blue line.) Carolers wassail as families loop around the nearly 100-foot-long (30 m) rink and shop at the Orenco Station shopping center. Visit the Winter Village before Jan. 3, 2017, to enjoy holiday-themed kids’ activities, delicious dining options and of course, plenty of ice-skating.