Not everybody wants to try hiking up a mountain in the middle of winter, and we don’t blame you! Luckily, Portland offers plenty of ways to stretch your legs without crampons or ice axes — or even muddied boots. Bundle up and take one of these winter walks, then warm up with a cozy cup of coffee or tea.
Located in the heart of Portland’s east side, 31-acre (13-hectare) Laurelhurst Park has plenty to offer in any weather. Circle the park on paved pathways, passing horseshoe pits, picnic tables and basketball, tennis, volleyball and soccer courts. Kids can explore the play equipment (if it’s not too slippery) and dogs can run in an off-leash area. When everyone needs a rest, sit by the spring-fed pond in the middle of the park to spot catfish, carp, ducks and turtles swimming in the water.
Walk a few blocks west on Stark Street to Oblique Coffee Roasters, a funky coffee shop set in a green Victorian mercantile building that dates back to 1891.
Home to 2,000 species of trees and shrubs, 189-acre (76-hectare) Hoyt Arboretum is entertaining and educational any time of year. Visitors can expect to see blooming yellow, pink and purple flowers in the Winter Garden, as well as colorful dogwood and witch hazel in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Portions of the park are even ADA accessible, and the paved paths are a boon to all when the weather’s wet.
Head to Northwest Portland’s Tea Chai Te for one of over 100 hand-blended teas or steaming chai made from scratch.
Mt. Tabor Park
Beat the winter chill by hiking to the top of Mt. Tabor, a volcanic cinder cone in the middle of Southeast Portland. Choose between dirt trails and paved paths as you climb your way past towering evergreens, basketball and tennis courts, a large playground and a series of gleaming open reservoirs. At the top of this extinct volcano, you’ll find breathtaking views of the city, plus a statue of Harvey W. Scott, who was editor of The Oregonian in the late 1800s.
Rain or Shine Coffee House sits at the southwest corner of the 191-acre (77-hectare) park, and the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters location is located less than a mile down Southeast Division Street.
Memorialized in two local novels (Mitchell S. Jackson’s The Residue Years and Heidi W. Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky), Irving Park remains a popular neighborhood destination for Northeast Portlanders. The 16-acre (6.5-hectare) park features a series of tree-lined paved paths that loop past play structures, baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Burn off any extra energy in the covered basketball court, or head to the center of the park to meet a few four-legged friends in the unfenced off-leash dog area.
South Park Blocks
You don’t need to leave downtown Portland to enjoy a little nature time. Simply stroll down the South Park Blocks, the leafy stretch of Southeast Park Avenue from Salmon Street to Jackson Street. In addition to trees and other greenery, each block is complete with its own artwork, including bronze statues and limestone sculptures.
Pop into one of the cafés that dot the park blocks, or enjoy Japanese snacks and matcha tea at Behind the Museum Café, tucked behind the Portland Art Museum.
In addition to Portland’s many pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, your feet can take you to some fantastic places around town.
The 4T trail is a self-guided tour that lets you explore the city — and see some of the best views — without a car.
Oregon’s great outdoors offers excellent adventures all year-round. Here are six Portland-area paths perfect for all-weather adventures.