January is just about the coldest month of the year in Portland! Hello winter. So January is your best bet for experiencing some Portland snow. But more often than not, we just have rain and heavy winds. But watch out if it does snow, as we really don’t know what we’re doing in snow. Even a dusting of snow can send Portland into Snowpocolypse reporting and the entire city shutting down. So here’s more info about visiting Portland in January – weather, events, and the best things to do in Portland, Oregon in the middle of winter. Jump to:
Portland January Events
As I mentioned in my When to Visit Portland post, January isn’t a huge month for events in Portland. Here are a few:
- Portland Old Time Music Gathering – Jan 11-14, 2024. This, just as it sounds – old time music! – festival is scattered across the city at different venues each year.
- Portland Boat Show – Jan 10-14, 2024. This annual event showcases all things boating, at the Expo Center.
- Portland Folk Festival – Jan 12-14, 2024. Hosted at McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom, Portland Folk Festival is back! Buy a 3 day or 1 day pass for folk, Americana, and roots music.
- St John’s Winter Beer Fest – January 19-20, 2024. Celebrate winter beers in St Johns at Stormbreaker.
- Fertile Ground Festival – Moved to April for 2024! This annual arts festival features creative work from theater to dance to comedy and more. Previously: Jan 27-Feb 6, 2022.
- Chinese New Year at Lan Su Chinese Garden – February for 2024. Depending on the year – January or February. There are always Chinese New Year festivities happening in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown and the Lan Su Chinese garden including the Lantern Viewing event.
- Whale Watching on Oregon coast – mid-December to mid-January is the seasonal winter migration of grey whales southbound. Best viewing spots are on central coast or from capes like on the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
- Portland Concerts – the best resources for live music listings is WWeek’s Music Calendar (they also have art/performance/show listings), and Portland Mercury’s Music Calendar now by EverOut (and if it’s too cluttered, tap the star “Recommended” to see fewer listings).
Things to Do in Portland in January
There aren’t a lot of events in January. But there are tons of wintery things to do like snowshoeing at Trillium Lake or other spots near Mt Hood, snowboarding or skiing, or visiting a lookout tower. Another favorite is getting hot chocolate at Timberline Lodge (yes, it’s the best hot chocolate in Oregon). Or stopping at Multnomah Falls or doing a rainy waterfall hike like to Wahclella Falls in the Gorge.
If you want to hang around Portland, there are of course lots of more low key winter things to do like the soaking pool at Kennedy School or Edgefield. And January and February are some the best months for hotel deals (here are my favorite cool hotels in Portland). Portland makes a great city break. And we have tax-free shopping, Powell’s Books downtown. Plus all the great brunch spots, restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries. Our running joke when we have friends visiting is “It’s been 2 hours, Is it time to eat again?!”. January is also a great month for Blazers games at Moda Center.
Portland Weather in January
Note: If you want to know about the weather you can visit a weather website. But one of the most frequent texts I get from friends about to visit Portland is about the weather. So that’s why I include this weather section. It’s how to interpret Portland weather forecasts by a local. :)
The weather in Portland [Oregon] in January is cold and wet! With average highs in the mid 40s and low temps in the mid 30s, January is just about the coldest month of the year in Portland. Add in a 50/50 chance of rain and it can feel even colder! As for daylight, January averages just 9 hours of total daylight, starting the month with a 4:30pm sunset and ending the month with a 5:15pm sunset. Sunrise moves from about 8am to 7:30am. So it’s still dark when you wake up and dark when you come home from work. That’s winter in the PNW! January is also the third wettest month of the year and averages 14 days of rain and 5.8″ of rainfall.
But the silver lining (if snow is your thing), January is our best bet for a dusting of snow in the city! And then everything will shut down. Coming from somewhere like Bend, where snow is just a reality in winter, it can be pretty comical! But even if you get snowy or just cold and rainy weather, Portland is full of places to warm up between outings into the elements.
Portland Historical Average January Weather by Day
Here are the High & Low Temperatures by average for January in Portland.
And with that, I wish you a happy January (or planning for)!