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Rethink your plan for Black Friday with these fun Rose City activities.

November 17, 2015

While fighting other shoppers over half-priced socks at Fred Meyer is a time-honored Portland Black Friday tradition, there's more to the day after Thanksgiving in this Northwest city. For anyone ready to explore other options, here are a few of our favorite ideas for what to do.

1. Kick off the Christmas season by riding the Holiday Express, a vintage steam locomotive that starts at Oaks Park and takes riders through the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Santa and elves will also be onboard.

2. Go and pet some local alpacas. EasyGo Farm and Alpacas of Oregon will open their alpaca barns to visitors on Black Firday. Does buying alpaca yarn for winter projects count as shopping? We think it gets a pass.

3. Lace up those hiking boots and burn off a few Thanksgiving calories. Visit Forest Park for an in-town hike, or drive out to the Columbia River Gorge for an unforgettable day trip. By late November, the crowds at Multnomah Falls will have thinned out.

4. The Willamette Valley's wineries welcome the Black Friday crowd. Wine-lovers can sip their way through its tasting rooms, where like-minded visitors will be sampling the best of the area's reds, whites, and sparklers.

5. Black Friday marks the official kick off of Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo, an annual winter festival where the popular landmark is decked out in a million and a half lights. It's an entirely new way to experience the animals.

6. Before World War Two, what Portlanders now know as Chinatown or Old Town used to be Japantown. You can take a historic tour of the neighborhood, with a free iPhone app to guide you.

7. Want to watch local football on a big screen? Go to East Burn, a popular eatery, to see the Ducks take on the Beavers. Minors are allowed until 9 p.m., so sports fans can bring the kids. Then again, Eugene is just down I-5 for those who want to watch the game in person.

8. Warm up at Kenny Scharf's Cosmic Universe, now showing at the Portland Art Museum. It won't feel like winter inside this psychedelic, Day-Glo installation that's on view through February.

9. Long a family tradition, the My Macy's Holiday Parade kicks off at 9 a.m. in downtown Portland. Wave at 25 floats, school marching bands, Santa and other costumed characters, along with the rest of the city.

10. Guests don't have to be Catholic to enjoy a visit to the Grotto, a shrine located on 62 acres of forested green space. Starting on Black Friday, visitors come for the Christmas Festival of Lights, featuring a half million lights adorning the pine trees, plus choral performances, puppet shows, and a petting zoo.

11. This is also the perfect day to do something for someone else. Help a friend, neighbor, or organization in need by volunteering while you're here. For ideas of non-profits that could benefit from your time and expertise, check out Willamette Week's Give Guide

12. Ice skate into winter at the Oregon Garden's 3,500-square-foot outdoor rink. Then warm up with gluhwein, a traditional Austrian red wine mulled with spices and raisins.

13. Get a cultural steal on the Portland Ballet's 1 p.m. preview of the Russian fairytale "Firebird." The PSU Orchestra will perform Stravinksy's music for only a $5 charge to guests.

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