Alternatives to Shopping in Portland on Black Friday

Skip the malls and big-box stores on Black Friday. Instead, take advantage of your extra day off from school and work and play tourist. After all, there are more than a few reasons why Portland has become a major travel destination. Check out just a few of them:

A Chocolate Factory Tour is a sweet way to spend Black Friday. Creo Chocolate Factory offers tours and tastes of its chocolaty goodness, but space is limited so be sure to sign up on the website. Creo Chocolate Factory tours are great whether or not the kids are with you because you get an education into the joy of chocolate. The tour includes some tastes, but you can also check out the Tasting Room before and after the tour for a rotating selection of chocolate delights, which can include everything from decadent brownies to refreshing chocolate sodas.

Pittock Mansion gets decked out for the holidays at this time of year. Check out the festive décor and then head for a nearby trail for stunning views of the city, without getting trampled by rabid shoppers. If exploring a historic home isn't your thing and the weather is fine, do what many Portlanders do on weekends and hit some of the trails around the house. Be prepared for mud, but if isn't raining, you'll have stunning views of the city as you explore the forest.

Mt. Hood Railroad transforms into the Polar Express during the holidays, so head over to Portland's own North Pole. Perfect for families, the railroad even offers special pricing for the Polar Express Train and group rates so that you can afford to take a ride and buy gifts. The ride reenacts the favorite childhood story, complete with golden tickets, characters, and hot cocoa and cookies for a memorable experience.

Museums are also a great way to get out of the rain and away from the madding crowds that take over on Black Friday, including the Portland Children's Museum and the Portland Art Museum.

Carly Zinderman is a freelance writer from Los Angeles that currently spends her time exploring Portland. She has written for many websites on topics including travel, food and drink.