Winter in Oregon has its own unique allure. While snow-filled adventures and cold-weather outings are fun in their own right, the season also beckons us to get back in touch with our inner child and explore the great indoors.
Tualatin Valley is teeming with opportunities for hands-on enjoyment, captivating games and riveting activities for the whole family — no snow gear required. Here are some of the ways you and your crew can let loose indoors this winter.
Soak In the Nostalgia at a Pinball Museum
Flipper fingers feeling warmed up? At Next Level Pinball Shop and Museum in Hillsboro, you can spend the afternoon rocketing a pinball through a maze of ramps, loops and obstacles. Test your skills on hundreds of pinball, arcade and other games featuring colorful neon lights, beloved characters, nostalgic animation and feats of mechanical engineering. If that alone weren’t worth the visit, a floor-to-ceiling display of lunch boxes, signed movie paraphernalia and toys and collectibles makes this spot a true pop-culture museum.
Admission to the shop and museum allows you all-day in-and-out access to play more than 475 free games. Bring the whole family for a little friendly contest to see who can win the best high score (or just who has the best luck). Feeling competitive? Stop by on a Friday evening to test your skills in a drop-in weekly pinball tournament.
Learn to Rock Climb
Ever wanted to hang upside down or abseil down a wall? How about getting yourself to the top of a 14-foot structure all on your own? Do all of that and more at Portland Rock Gym’s Beaverton location, which boasts 8,000 square feet of indoor bouldering. This rock-climbing haven features two adjustable training walls and a special climbing wall that replicates the course at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, so there are plenty of challenges for novices and experienced climbers alike. You can drop in and rent shoes or sign up for guided instruction at one of their intro-to-bouldering classes.
New routes are set every eight weeks, so there’s always something new to try. Plus, the facility also has two yoga studios and a fitness room, so you can try multiple types of strength and training exercises. When the second phase of the rock gym’s construction is complete (scheduled for spring 2024), it will also include a covered outdoor bouldering area, a speed-climbing wall, a weight room, a locker room and a sauna.
Get Your Game Face on With Bowling and Laser Tag
Nothing captures the good-natured thrill of competition like a few frames of bowling or teaming up for a game of laser tag. Can’t pick just one? At Langer’s Entertainment Center in Sherwood, you don’t have to choose. With 22 bowling lanes, a 5,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, a 46-foot-tall rock wall and a recreation room filled with arcades, Skee-Ball and virtual reality games, everyone is sure to find a favorite game to play.
At the forestry-themed, multistory Timber Town jungle gym, kids can spend hours whizzing down slides, navigating obstacles and aiming ball shooters. While little ones channel their inner lumberjack, those over 21 can settle into the Tack Room, which serves craft beer and cocktails and features four private bowling lanes, two pool tables, darts and free arcade games.
Refuel With a Cozy Meal
After a day full of activity, spend the evening relaxing and recounting the day’s highlights at one of the many restaurants at Beaverton’s Cedar Hills Crossing. Bamboo Sushi is famous for its sustainable sushi rolls, signature sashimi and other Japanese favorites. Or enjoy pan-fried, boiled or steamed dumplings at Dough Zone. For an upscale vibe, head to Oswego Grill for a wood-grilled steak and other seasonal favorites made from fresh, local ingredients.
Save room for dessert. The weekly rotating menu of traditional and inventive flavors at gourmet cookie shop Crumbl, also in Cedar Hills Crossing, will have your mouth watering — and may just tempt you to take a dozen home. If you’re not ready for your fun-filled day to end, the shopping center is also home to Cinemark Cedar Hills 16, where you can cap off the day by kicking back and watching the latest blockbuster movie.