Cover Story: Winter Activities in Portland’s Backyard

During winter months, there is no shortage of things to see and do here in 24 Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (Visitor Center)the Tualatin Valley. From brisk nature walks to winter wine tasting, here are some ideas to explore not far from your own backyard.

Observe birds of prey at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. (19255 SW Pacific Hwy Sherwood; fws.gov/refuge/tualatin_river/). The winter months are prime sightings for bald eagles, red tail hawks, turkey vultures and other birds of prey. Watch these birds in action along the Refuge’s main trail, which is open year-round from dawn until dusk.

Escape in a work of art that you created. Live Laugh Love Art (12230 SW Main St. Tigard; livelaughloveglass.com) offers group and individual classes, where do-it-yourselfers can create a unique masterpiece. Choose from glass blowing, glass fusing, acrylic painting and welding. Painters may also enjoy Vine Gogh Artist Bar & Studio (11513 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard; vinegogh.com/tigard-studio.html), which offers fun acrylic painting classes paired with wine, beer and cider for a little “liquid 24 Tualatin_Valley_Distilling-Ken_Kocheycourage.”

Wine tasting is a year-round activity, and this winter, sip your way through the North Willamette Valley wine country. More than 30 wineries are located in the Tualatin Valley, and beginners and connoisseurs alike will enjoy flights of fancy with tastes of estate-grown Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and other varietals.

Not really a fan of wine? Not to worry, take a late afternoon tour of the Tualatin Valley’s breweries and distilleries. Our distilleries will warm your insides with their craft spirits, while our breweries–part of Portland’s renowned and robust craft brewery scene—delight with a broad selection of ales, lagers, IPAs and porters. (Visit tualatinvalley.org for a list of wineries, breweries and distilleries).

Finally, chilly winter days call for trip to a cool coffeehouse for a hot 24 Vertigo Brewing Co - Ken Kocheybeverage. Skip the chain shops and support your local coffee shops where baristas carefully craft coffee drinks that will stave off the chill of winter. Grab a cardamom-infused latte at Symposium Coffee (symposiumcoffee.com); taste the wonderful creations at Lionheart Coffee Co. (lionheartcoffee.com), where you can choose the brewing method for that perfect cup of coffee; and taste the flavors of Dapper & Wise’s (insomniacoffee.co/locations/d-and-w-tasting-room/) artfully roasted coffee at its facility and tasting room in Beaverton.

For more winter inspiration, visit tualatinvalley.org/local-favorites for trip ideas, itineraries, and trails and tour routes.