Ten things to do on dark winter nights

By Catherine Cieminski | November 22, 2019 5:59pm

When the sun disappears for the winter that spells boredom for many UP students. Luckily, The Beacon is here with a list of activities that conquer the night. Photo illustration by Molly Lowney.

Winter is just around the corner, and you may be feeling the annual cabin fever that most Portlander’s experience during the four months of early evenings and consistent downpour. The short sunlight hours and long, dark nights may make you feel sluggish, lose motivation or interest in hobbies — all symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Young adults are especially susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, but staying engaged and active may help you beat the winter blues. Avoid getting cooped up in your room and try out some of these fun evening activities in Portland.

1. Try your hand at pottery at the St. John’s Clay Collective

Photo by Maggie Markel on Unsplash.

Down to get a little dirty? Stop in to the St. John’s Clay Collective, located approximately 2.5 miles from campus near Cathedral Park. Students can take wheel or sculpting classes in the evenings, or you can pick up an open studio pass to do your own thing. An open studio pass is $100 for 10 visits, with each visit allotting you at least four hours of studio time. Open studio is held every Monday and Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pick up some classes or a studio pass to get creative on dark, rainy nights.

2. Game the night away at the Avalon Theatre and Wunderland

Home to arcade games, an XD Dark Ride and Portland’s oldest movie theatre, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Avalon Theatre and Wunderland. Most retro and modern games cost a nickel, giving you a world of opportunities for only a few dollars. If you’re feeling daring, battle werewolves, robots and aliens in the XD Dark Ride, an interactive 3D simulator. Lastly, end your night with a $4 film and some movie snacks. There’s a night full of nostalgic games and fun every night of the week until 12 a.m.

3. Test your strength at Planet Granite

Keep your blood flowing and endorphins rushing by going to Planet Granite, your one stop shop for rock climbing, yoga and fitness classes. Located on the edge of the Pearl District, stop in and climb for the day for $17, or buy a student membership, starting at $45 a month. And good news, your first week of climbing is free! Don’t forget to bring your student ID for discounts. 

Sophomore Trenton Sewell is a regular at Planet Granite. 

“Planet Granite is a great place where I can unwind, hang out with friends, and make working out fun,” Sewell said. “It’s also a great way to meet people my age that are also interested in climbing.”

Choose to take climbing or bouldering classes, or freestyle it on your own on 30,000 square feet of climbing terrain. Planet Granite offers members free yoga and fitness class, access to exercise equipment and the sauna, discounts at certain local vendors, and free guest passes. Planet Granite is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Grab your chalk bag, harness and climbing shoes for a night on the rock wall. 

Head out to the McMenamins Theatre and Pub in St. John's to catch a movie or grab some food.

by Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

4. Grab dinner and a movie at the St. John’s Theatre and Pub

Catching a movie in Portland can be tricky for underage students since many theatres become 21-and-over in the evening, but the St. John’s Theatre and Pub welcomes people of all ages all night to see current and second run movies. Located two miles from campus, students can see a matinee under a beautiful dome ceiling in this historic theatre for only $7, as well as order a meal during the movie. So, stop in to grab some popcorn, a beer, and a Philadelphia Collins burger while watching your favorite show. The St. John’s Theatre and Pub is currently showing “Last Christmas” until Nov. 21, when the theatre starts showing “Frozen 2.”  

5. Take a dip at the Kennedy School

Unwind in the Kennedy School Soaking Pool in Northeast Portland, open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once an elementary school, the Kennedy School now functions as a McMenamin’s hotel, restaurant, bar, pool, and theatre. Students can swim in the warm, salt water pool surrounded by vibrant mosaics and lush plants in a courtyard that once was the teacher’s lounge. For only $5 an hour, it’s an inexpensive way to relax after a long day of classes.

Students 21 and over can also see a movie in the Kennedy School’s old auditorium after their swim for $5. Kick back, relax and order some food or drinks on cozy sofas and armchairs for a homey movie watching experience.  

Beauchamp Recreation Center is a great place to go at night for a rock climbing session, game of basketball or a hard hitting workout.

by Molly Lowney / The Beacon

6. Sweat it out at the Beauchamp Recreation and Wellness Center

Only a walk away from your dorm or house, the Beauchamp Recreation and Wellness Center offers plenty of options for everyone of any skill and interest. Go for a jog on the indoor track, shoot some hoops with friends, or sign up for a workout class like yoga, kickboxing or zumba. Students can also utilize the climbing and bouldering wall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. And the best news is, it’s all included in tuition!

Brian Dezzani, director of recreational services, emphasizes the variety of activities for students at Beauchamp.

“We try to have a little bit of something for everyone at Beauchamp,” Dezzani said. “We’re open until 12 a.m. on weeknights or 10 p.m. on weekends, so we see a lot of students coming in the evenings to rewind from their school day by playing basketball, taking a workout class, or using the exercise equipment.”

Starting in February, students can also get outside and enjoy the Oregon winter on the Outdoor Pursuits Ski Bus that runs Fridays 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. For only $10, join your classmates at Mount Hood’s Meadows Ski Resort and receive discounted ski and snowboard rental rates.

7. Catch a laser light show at OMSI

Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash.

Education gives way to entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) when the Kendall Planetarium becomes a venue for vibrant laser lights synchronized to your favorite artists. Watch colorful lasers flash in rhythm through thick fog on a 360 degree screen to artists ranging from Beyoncé to The Gorillaz to Michael Jackson. Starting at 7 p.m. and 8 pm, get ready to dance along with the lasers, or sit back in your seat and enjoy the show. 

You may never get to see Pink Floyd live, but you can watch their laser show at OMSI this month for only $7.50. This November, OMSI is playing Pink Floyd’s “The Machine” and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” but shows change monthly. 

8. Score a hole in one at Glowing Greens

Round up your friends and head to Glowing Greens in Downtown Portland for a round of 3D, glow in the dark mini golf. Players put through a deep sea, pirate themed 13 hole course for a full sensory experience including moving skeletons, CGI videos, and ocean sounds. Come before 9 p.m. on weekdays, or 11 p.m. on weekends to play a game of glow golf for $11.50. Bonus, if it’s your birthday, you play for free!

But mini golf is not all Glowing Greens has to offer. Stop by Mental Trap, Oregon’s only multi-room escape adventure for an hour of mind stumping puzzles and testing your wits. If escape rooms are not your jam and you’re looking for something a little more physical, Glowing Greens is also home to Wicked Axe Throwing. It’s just like darts, but with axes. 

9. Own your friends at ping pong at Pips & Bounce

Ping pong paradise is awaiting you and your pals at Pips & Bounce, located in the Lower Morrison district of Portland. Play a classic game of ping pong on weeknights until 11 p.m., or enjoy cosmic pong until 1 a.m. on weekends. Grab some drinks and appetizers while you’re at it, or just enjoy the game for $12 with your student ID. Students looking to up their ping pong game can take lessons, and more dedicated players can buy a membership to Pips & Bounce.

10. Get in touch with your inner gamer at Guardian Games

Photo by Clint Bustrillos on Unsplash.

Join a gaming league this winter and hone in on your gaming skills at Guardian Games, open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There are competition leagues, as well as hobby leagues for gamers of any level of expertise. Come play a variety of board games like Dungeons and Dragons, Settlers of Catan and Agricola, or a host of old and new video games. Players 21 and over can play at Guardian Games’ critical sip nights for food, drinks and board or video games. Grab a group of people and reserve a gaming table for a low price, or drop in and meet some new friends!

Portland winters mean short days, long nights, and a steady drizzle, but that doesn’t mean the dwindling daylight hours should keep you holed up in your room at night. Round up some friends, or make it a solo adventure, and visit some of these spots to find that yes, you can still have fun when it’s dark and rainy. 

Catherine Cieminski is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at cieminski22@up.edu.