Winters in Portland can be taxing. The temperature plummets, the sun goes on an extended hiatus and a wetness capable of penetrating the thickest of flannels pours itself over the city. It can be tempting to avoid such weather and stay inside, wrapped up in multiple blankets and chugging seasonal lattes, but it’s important to try and stay active.
Besides, if we’re being honest, it’s best we find a way to work off those holiday meals, and busting out your three-point chokehold on people while fighting for a discounted coffee maker during Black Friday isn’t going to cut it. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some casual ways you can stay active without breaking the bank or venturing outside the Portland-metro area.
Ice-Skating at the Lloyd Center
Ice-skating goes as far back as 4,000 years when Finnish folks would strap bones to the bottom of their shoes in order to more easily traverse swaths of icy tundra. Now, people all over the world can ice skate for fun rather than necessity. The Lloyd Center ice-skating rink is open year-round, of course, but the holiday season is the opportune time for you to hit an indoor skating rink and let out your inner Tonya Harding without looking like a weirdo. For a mere $14, you can strap on some skates, take to the ice and bask in the glory of a millennia-old winter sport while you get enveloped by the sugary wafts of Cinnabon and Orange Julius.
Curling is an oddball winter sport invented in Scotland in the early 16th century, and while the purpose or motive behind the game is unclear, it can’t be a coincidence it was invented only a few decades after whiskey. For $30, you can take a comprehensive, two-hour curling lesson at Evergreen Curling Club in nearby Beaverton, Ore. If you find that you’ve got a knack for it, you can invest a little bit more and take Curling 101, a five-week lesson series that will leave you prepared to participate in novice leagues. Who knows? Maybe you could find your niche within the one winter Olympics event where a healthy beer gut can find its way to the podium.
When it comes to staying active, something as simple as getting outside for a brisk walk can do wonders. During a cold, wet Portland winter, though, there had best be some good incentive to do so. What better way to beat the Portland pavement than to enjoy Peacock Lane, a decades-old wintertime tradition in Portland where an entire neighborhood literally “decks the halls,” rigging up each and every house with a fantastic array of lights. Peacock Lane is active from Dec. 15–Dec. 31 and is free of charge. Now, it goes without saying that Christmas is merely one of many holidays Portlanders will be celebrating this winter, but don’t let that get in the way of enjoying a kick-ass light show. If it makes you more comfortable, you could call the Christmas lights “holiday lights” and pretend every nativity scene is merely a depiction of an off-the-grid couple welcoming their newborn child while surrounded by their collection of livestock and a trio of male midwives.
Holiday 5k, 10k and half-marathon race
Okay, okay, the first few activities don’t require a great deal of physical exertion. Maybe you’re looking for something a little less casual, but still festive. Well, if really getting your sweat on is what floats your boat, then the annual Holiday 5k, 10k and half-marathon might be for you. For $18+—dependent upon the race that you enter—you can show up in nothing but your running shorts, sneakers and an ugly sweater and participate in a race that features gingerbread cookie stations, eggnog and a constant battery of carolers. Afterward, you can join a post-race party that involves seasonal beers, holiday-themed DJs and something the race website described simply as “Freddy the Yeti.”