Lets not kid ourselves about why we have so many holidays around this time of the year, it’s because we fracking need it. This is a bleak and stressful time of the year, and now more than ever we all need a release. Take it from the perspective of that lowliest of God’s creatures, the grad student. You’re still shell shocked from midterms, finals are just around the corner, you’re running out of time in your lab rotation to make it look like you actually did something, and the sky is a wet and endlessly oppressive gray. So getting out of the lab, seeing our friends or families, and gorging ourselves on pie and winter ale isn’t excessive over-indulgence, it’s survival.
But if gluttony isn’t your cup of tea, or if the idea of visiting with your family is by far the most stressful part of the holidays, then you’re going to need something different. So what else is there to do in Portland during the wettest time of year (preferably indoors)?
My first and favorite choice for staving off seasonal depression is indoor rock climbing. You get all the fun of potentially falling from very high up, and of loosing all the skin on your fingers, it’s great! The best options are The Circuit and Portland Rock Gym. And don’t worry if you don’t have a climbing partner, because both are bouldering gyms, so no ropes, padded floors, and not very far to fall.
Since this is Portland, there’s always the ever ubiquitous beer festival. It’s not like you need much of an excuse to drink this time of year, but this is a great one; The Portland Holiday Ale Festival.
Wednesday nights at Dante’s is Jedi Mind F*ck, which is a suitably bizarre mix of alcohol, magic, and hypnotism. I guarantee it will make you forget that you haven’t seen the sun in a month, one way or another.
If however gluttony is your cup of tea, but you can’t even cook toast, let alone toasted brioche with Kobe beef tartar, then you’re in luck. There’s a lot of amazing restaurants to stuff yourself at, and the best part is, unlike your relatives, they’ll actually serve something other than turkey or ham. Some of my recent favorites are Yakuza, Nicholas, Toro Bravo, Biwa, and The Grilled Cheese Grill.
And if none of that is enough of a release, then get yourself up to the mountain, strap something to your feet, and enjoy the fruits of the weather!
I hope that helps, I know I’ll be doing most of the above to stay sane. If anyone has any other suggestions on ways to get out and let off some seasonal steam then let us know in the comments.