There are many fun things to do in Portland during the Christmas season, including holiday light displays, community events, and Christmas music of all kinds. Here are my recommendations for fun Christmas events in and around Portland.
This annual tree lighting ceremony kicks off each Christmas season in Portland. The family-friendly event, which includes the lighting of the huge outdoor Christmas tree as well as a fun holiday sing-a-long, will be held the day after Thanksgiving at Portland's Courthouse Square.
Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo
Every holiday season the Oregon Zoo
becomes a Christmas wonderland of colorful lights and decorations. On scheduled evenings you and your family can stroll the zoo paths, encountering holiday- and animal-themed displays of light and motion. Viewing Zoolights from aboard the Washington Park and Zoo Railway is also an option. Live music, hot chocolate and treats, and holiday performers add to the festive atmosphere.
Holiday-themed Theater in Portland
You can choose from a number of holiday-themed plays and musicals that appear at Portland theaters, often running for several weeks during the season.
©Portland Christmas Ship Parade
Portland's Christmas Ship Parade is an annual event on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. The parade includes an average of 50-60 boats, decked out in holiday lights, each night. The Portland Christmas Ship Parade can be viewed from a number of different public parks, bridges, and other locations. Check out their web site to get the parade schedule and to find out where to view or how to participate.
The Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden in Portland, puts on a fantastic and moving Christmas Festival of Lights each year. This accessible, walk-through event includes a variety of family-friendly experiences. In addition to spectacular outdoor lighting displays, visitors can enjoy indoor holiday music concerts, puppet shows, carolers, holiday snack and beverages, and a petting zoo.
Winter Wonderland is held at the Portland International Raceway each Christmas season. You'll be able to remain warm and cozy in your vehicle as you drive through a light show that includes over 250 colorful displays and 40 fully-animated scenes.
Performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
has become a popular annual event at Oregon Ballet Theatre. Shows are scheduled throughout the month of December.
More Ways to Celebrate the Christmas Holiday Season in Portland
"Posada Milagro" Christmas Celebration at Milagro Theatre