Yes, it’s true — it does sometimes rain in Portland. Locals don’t let that stop them, and neither should you! As often as not, the rain is gentle and short-lived, and chances are that when you return from ducking into one of these destinations, it will have subsided.
Indoor Activities for Children
When Portland's weather prevents kids from running around outside, families can choose from dozens of indoor activities.
Portland’s Coziest Fireplaces and Fire Pits
Portland winters are usually mild, but the city offers all sorts of welcoming places to warm up. Relax next to one of our favorite fireplaces in Portland.
Portland Art Museum
The largest art museum in Oregon and one of the oldest in the country, the Portland Art Museum is central to the city's cultural district, housing a large and wide-ranging collection of artworks.
Oregon Historical Society
The Oregon Historical Society collection includes thousands of historic artifacts (including the “Portland Penny"), permanent and rotating exhibits and an extensive research library that shaped the land now known as Oregon.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
With a planetarium, a giant-screen theater, a retired navy submarine, traveling exhibits and “After Dark” events, OMSI has lures for all ages.
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
Tree- and forest-lovers of all ages can learn about the importance of sustainability and experience a Portland icon at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, with exhibits on local and global forests.
Powell’s City of Books
Covering an entire city block, Powell’s has grown into a Portland landmark and the world's largest new and used bookstore — and its location is now at the heart of the city, bridging the Pearl District, downtown and the West End.
Where to Go When It Rains
Art Galleries & Museums
The Portland Art Museum and Oregon Historical Society are located an easy walk (or train ride) from downtown hotels. Meanwhile, plentiful art galleries in the Pearl District, Old Town Chinatown and downtown offer great escapes from sudden cloudbursts.
Explore more than 17 miles of bookshelves, housing a remarkable 875 tons of books, in downtown Portland’s Central Library. The main branch of the Multnomah County Library system, first opened in 1913, is housed in a three-story, Georgian-style building with stunning architectural details.
A rainy day might be the perfect excuse to visit one of Portland’s independent movie theaters, many of which serve locally brewed beer and noshes like pizza.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
An authentically built Ming Dynasty style garden right in the heart of the city, Lan Su Chinese Garden is serene and welcoming in any weather. Covered walkways and the beautiful teahouse offer sheltered views of the central lake.
Portland Japanese Garden
As the weather changes, so does the personality of the Portland Japanese Garden, where water droplets shimmer on sculpted shrubs and create rippled patterns on the koi pond.
Powell’s City of Books
Rain or shine, it’s easy to while away countless hours inside Powell’s City of Books. Covering an entire city block, Powell’s contains more than 1 million books in 3,500 different sections, as well as in-store coffee shop to help fuel your browsing session.
What to Do When It Rains
Historic Oaks Amusement Park, which has operated continuously since 1905, is a natural summertime destination, with its carnival rides and picnic grounds. But there’s nostalgic fun to be had year-round at the park’s roller skating rink, where you can lace up your skates and roll around the large, meticulously maintained wooden floor beneath the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ.
If you don’t mind a few raindrops, you can easily walk from store to store in the compact shopping districts of downtown, the Pearl and Northwest Portland. But if you prefer to stay out of the elements, Portland has you covered with two major indoor shopping centers: downtown’s Pioneer Place and Lloyd Center, just across the river. Both malls are served by MAX light rail.
All Jane Comedy Festival
Portland's five-day comedy festival showcases nearly 50 female comedians each October.
My People’s Market
My People’s Market showcases local entrepreneurs and makers of color, connecting them with industry professionals and consumers.
The Portland Book Festival
Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”) returns every November with an impressive (and extensive) lineup of local and national authors.
Wine Country Thanksgiving
During Oregon’s premier tasting and cellar-stocking event, more than 150 wineries open their doors to the public, offering samples of favorite selections.
Holiday Ale Festival
The Holiday Ale Festival, set beneath the region’s largest decorated holiday tree, returns every year with more than 50 big, bold beers designed to keep revelers warm on cold winter nights.
Fertile Ground Festival
See Portland's newest theater and dance works every January at Portland's Fertile Ground Festival.
Lunar New Year Celebrations
Portland hosts its own Japanese Mochitsuki Festival, Vietnamese Tet Festival and multiple Chinese New Year events.
Black History Month in Portland
Every February, Americans of all races and backgrounds celebrate Black History Month. Celebrate with these Portland events.
The One Moto Show
Every February, the One Moto Show draws thousands of bikers and enthusiasts to Portland to celebrate all things motorcycle.
Portland Winter Light Festival
Brighten your February with glowing sculptures and thousands of twinkling lights at the annual Winter Lights Festival.
Portland Jazz Festival
The Portland Jazz Festival returns every February with a stellar series of concerts and events celebrating Black History Month.
Need more ideas? Browse our zine, “34 Things to Do in the Rain,” below.
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