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Holiday time in Portland, Oregon

Updated on August 14, 2015

Celebrate the magic in Portland

Whether you're home for the holidays or a native wanting to celebrate the season, Portland has a lot offer during the holidays. Music, theater, lights, a parade, dance, kids events and some other special treats.

Check out the links below and make your plans. Many of the events are low cost, all are filled with holiday cheer. This list includes annual events. It does not include events in your local neighorhood.

Music during the Holidays in Portland

The Grotto - A wonderful holiday tradition began as a gift to the community in 1988. This Christmas choral and lighting festival is one of the largest in the world. Spectacular lights, music concerts, caroling and other family entertainment, The Grotto's festival surrounds visitors with all the season means.

The Schnitz - Check out the schedule for holiday concerts. You'll find the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Gospel, Tchaikovsky, Portland Youth Philharmonic and more. Music sure to put you in a holiday mood.

The Old Church - Music from around the world can be heard from this beautiful historic church. Celtic, baroque and Jewish are a sample of the music heard here during the holidays.

Tuba Christmas - Imagine 200 tubas gathered together playing the festive music of the season. You'll find it at Pioneer Courthouse Square during the holidays.

Trans Siberian Orchestra Conceived by Paul O'Neill, the orchestra is a conglomeration of all the styles of music O'Neill grew up and worshipped. You will hear sounds inspired by: rock opera by The Who; classic rock by Emerson, Lake and Palmer; light shows like Pink Floyd.

Only in Portland

Lights during the Holidays in Portland

Winter Wonderland - at Portland International Raceway. Instead of racing cars, enjoy a dazzling display of lights and animation spanning the track. This is the largest drive-through light show in the Northwest.

Tree Light Ceremony - The event of the season at Pioneer Courthouse Square. On the evening after Thanksgiving, Portland gathers at the square to celebrate the official start of the season by lighting the 75' tree.

Zoolights - A premier family holiday event, Zoolights combines thousands of lights, hundreds of musical groups, a ride on the zoo train, cosumted animal characters, an artist market and seasonal treats.

Christmas Ship Parade - Started in 1956 by one boat owner, the fleet now has over 200 boats. The parade cruises on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

Peacock Lane - Since the 1920's, each house in the SE neighborhood has been required to decorate for Christmas. The houses are adorned with sparkling lights, scenes, trees and Santa and Frosty.

Fantasy Trail - Come out to the country and enjoy this walk with thousands of lights. Visit the 40 foot castle, go through a tunnel or maze, check out the crooked house or make your way across the suspension bridge. When you're done, enjoy hot beverages around the bonfire.

Theater During the Holidays in Portland

Singing Christmas Tree - For over 40 years, Portland has enjoyed a new story line intertwined with over 300 adult and youth choir voices, a full orchestra, local actors, and featured soloists.

A Tuna Christmas - Spend the holidays with your favorite citizens of Tuna, Texas. Enjoy a new story line with old and new characters sure to provide side-splitting comedy.

A Christmas Carol - Based on the Dicken's classic, enjoy this dramatic reading.

Santaland Diaries - A one-man show of one of Santa's helpers as he copes with the mad shopping season. Meant for adults.

Dance During the Holidays in Portland

Do Jump! - Home for the Holidays. In time for the holidays, Do Jump! returns for a classic: The Doors. Enjoy a unique blend of aerial dance, acrobatics, live music and some surprises.

The Nutcracker - Join Marie the the Nutcracker Prince on their magical journey to the world of the Sugarplum Fairy where candy confections spring to life and holidays dreams come true. Performance by Oregon Ballet Theater.

Shopping for the Holidays

Portland Saturday Market - Holiday Artisan Market will be in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Discover hundreds of unique items sure to fill your gift list.

Portland Christmas Bazaar - Nearly 1000 booths. You're sure to find the perfect gift.

Formal Holiday Artisans - Located in the beautiful Chelsea Ballroom, you'll find lots of handmade gifts while listening to classical music.

Other Treats During the Holidays in Portland

The Polar Express - Board the Mt. Hood Railroad train at Hood River. Listen to the story of hte Plar Express and meet Santa and his elves at the north pole.

Pittock Mansion - At the Pittock Mansion where each room reflects a verse from the famous children's poem.

Pioneer Courthouse Square - There's something going on just about every day during December. It's all about the holidays with singing minstrels, dancing elves, school choirs and of course, Santa himself.

Macy's Parade - Horses, floats, lots of colorful characters and, of course, Santa Clause all winding their way through downtown Portland.

Cinnamon Bear - On board the Portland Spirit, take a nostalgic trip back in time to the land of Maybeland with the Cinnamon Bear and friends.

Holiday Ale Festival - Celebrate the region's craft brewed ales. Sample beers brewed especially for the holiday season.

Providence Festival of Trees - Live entertainment includes choirs, bands and dance groups. And be sure to visit Santa and his elves.

How do you Celebrate in Portland?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      how i wish i could come to portland and celebrate the holiday there

    • amitsarkar lm profile image

      amitsarkar lm 

      6 years ago

      I love to visit outside country of India. And Poland is one of them

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 

      6 years ago

      Great lens. Unipiper video is quite interesting and amusing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I live in Vancouver, so the Portland Holiday Time resource page will help me a lot! I went to Zoolights last year and will go again this year. Plan to do the Ship lights this year and maybe Peacock Lane! All are fun activities to do with kids. Thank you for researching and putting this together!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice... just pasted through Portland a few weeks ago. Would love to go back for a longer visit. *S*

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      6 years ago from Washington KS

      I've never been to Portland, but would love to visit, especially during the holidays. Loved your lens.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      6 years ago from USA

      I haven't been there during the holidays, but it is pretty. Love the video.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very nice! I love the Winter Wonderland Lights we went Monday night for the Doggie Walk night. It's great.


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