The arrival of autumn offers a full calendar with culture, wine and holiday events. Now is the best time to get out and play. December is usually the coldest and rainiest month.
Fall events allow us to dress in nice warm sweaters and sip hot apple cider and appreciate the beauty of nature with fall foliage.
It’s also a great time to embrace the spookiness of the season. Do you enjoy dressing up and passing out candy? Some houses put out teal pumpkins to offer non-candy treats like small toy skateboards or bouncy balls.
Fancy a Scream?
The Oaks Amusement Parks hosts Scream Park every year in October. You can choose among three themed haunted houses to walk through while you get jump scared, and terrified. Your price of admission also includes the thrill rides that are open. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink (including adult beverages).
Pick Pumpkins on Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island is perfect for a lovely day out. They have been hosting fun fall activities for over 54 years. During October, the hayrides are free. There’s a corn maze, an animal barn, and of course, the pumpkin patch. You can find classic pumpkins as well as specialty ones and fall decor if you want colorful corn cobs and gourds. There is also a gift shop if you want to get ahead of the holiday rush, and a cafe if you get hungry.
Cider Squeeze at the Philip Foster Farm
If you don’t mind driving a little bit, go check out the Philip Foster Farm which is on the Oregon Trail. It’s a fantastic family-friendly activity. On the third Saturday of September, you can bring apples to press into cider. And don’t worry, they have apples and jugs if you need them. You can also buy pre-made cider. You can tour the reconstructed buildings and talk with the volunteers about what life was like as a pioneer. While there is a country store and covered picnic tables, you’ll need to bring your own food and drink.
Find a Fall Hike
The Outdoor Project lists their top seven best places to hike around Portland in the fall. It includes Opal Creek, Hoyt Arboretum, and Silver Falls State Park. There are many more wonderful places in the Willamette Foothills, Mt. Hood (including the Fruit Loop), and the Columbia River Gorge. Before you go, research the area and the hike. Bring along layers of clothes since the weather can change quickly. And have extra water and snacks.
Find All the Food Trucks with Heated Covered Seating Areas
Do you enjoy trying new and different foods? Some chefs get their start in food trucks or carts. The Portland metro area has a number of areas where these food carts gather allowing you and your friends and family to get something for everyone and an extra to share. Some of these areas are covered and have heaters.
Find the Best Hot Chocolate
Why should hot apple cider get all the attention this fall? If you’ve been outside playing, hot chocolate can warm you up like nothing else. And Portland has a number of places that will make you want to drink more cocoa. There are small shops committed to sourcing their chocolate from sustainable sources and others that craft vegan hot chocolate.
Discover New Portland Music
Let now be the time you try a different music genre. There are a lot of small nightclubs as well as small concert venues that can provide that opportunity. And if you usually hang out there, check out a symphony hall. There is a reason why they’re called the classics.
Watch a Rainstorm from The Grotto
The Grotto was carved out of a cliff in 1923 to serve as an outdoor cathedral. It’s a wonderful place to go exploring. There are two levels. The bottom one is free, and the upper garden is a paid admission. The Grotto will have fall foliage to see, and is also a nice place to go and meditate and find focus.
Eat All the Brunch
We Porlandians have been accused of loving coffee, booze, and eggs. Not necessarily in that order. If you’ve enjoyed your booze, and have woken up mid-morning hungry for some coffee and eggs, get out and discover some tasty brunches-some of which include a little hair of the dog with bottomless mimosas.
Don’t feel you need to limit yourself to the standard diner fare. Although that is delicious. Branch out to the unusual, including Asian brunches like dim sum or fusion like kimchi and bibimbap topped steak and eggs.
Order Speak-Easy Style Cocktails
You won’t need to dress up or limit your visits to Halloween. There are a number of fun new bars cropping up that provide a toast to the 21st amendment and the Prohibition era. But you won’t have to drink any bathtub gin. All of the bars use top-quality liquor in beautiful glasses. Some look for locally sourced ingredients like bitters and cinnamon syrup to provide a unique experience.
Go to a Holiday Market
The holiday season brings specialty markets and pop-up events allowing you to connect with artisans that craft one of a kind gifts. Make your list now of whom you will exchange gifts, and then go out and be inspired. Many of the holiday markets are also fundraisers for schools and other charitable organizations. Make sure you buy extra for those unexpected gift exchanges as well as hostess gifts when you go visiting.
Looking for more fall activity ideas? Visit one of our great local Farmer’s Markets.